From underdog triumphs to own goals: The story of Euro 2020 so far
UEFA Euro 2020 has already lived up to its billing by producing some edge of the seat footballing action. The ongoing edition of the European Championship has witnessed several surprising results, with defending champions Portugal, world champions France, Netherlands and Germany crashing out in the round of 16. As we head into the business end of the tournament, here are three interesting facts that you should know ahead of the quarter-final meetings.
Euro 2020 is first major tournament without France or Germany in quarter-finals since 1950
Pre-tournament favourites and world champions France suffered a shock Euro exit after losing to Switzerland 4-5 in a penalty shootout in their round of 16 tie at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania.
After falling 3-1 behind heading into the last 10 minutes, Switzerland staged a marvellous comeback to draw level at 3-3 and take the tie into extra-time and subsequently, a penalty shootout. Kylian Mbappe’s miss in the shootout meant Switzerland reached their maiden quarter-final at a European championship.
In another tantalising round of 16 encounter, a star-studded England side defeated Germany 2-0 at the Wembley Stadium. This victory was the Three Lions’ first win against Die Mannschaft in a major tournament’s knockout stage game since the 1966 FIFA World Cup final.
Goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane propelled England into the Euros quarter-finals stage for the first time since 2012.
These results have ensured that the ongoing edition of Euro will be the first major tournament (World Cup or European Championships) since the 1950 FIFA World Cup where neither France nor Germany will participate in the quarter-finals.
Three third-placed teams advance to the Euro 2020 quarters
As many as three of the four third-placed teams from the group stage have booked their place in the ongoing edition of the European Championship quarter-final. While Switzerland, Czech Republic and Ukraine have made it to the last eight, defending champions Portugal are the only third-placed team to have suffered elimination in the round of 16.
The third-placed sides will have the same number of representatives in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals as teams that topped their groups like Italy, Belgium and England.
On the other hand, Denmark and Spain are the only two group runners-up to have advanced to the last eight.
Most own goals in a single edition of European championship
There have been plenty of own goals in the ongoing edition of the Euros. In fact, if own goals could win the Golden Boot, it would have a sizable lead on its closest rival.
As many as nine own goals have been scored in the ongoing edition of the tournament. Portugal football team captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who leads the Golden Boot race has bagged five goals and provided one assist.
Euro 2020 started with an own goal scored by Turkish defender Merih Demiral in the opening game of the tournament between Italy and Turkey. Since then, Lukas Hradecky, Mats Hummels, Wojciech Szczesny, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Martin Dubravka, Juraj Kucka and Pedri have all added to the tally with seven games still to go.
Interestingly, Euro 2020 now has the same number of own goals as every other European Championship put together. Nine own goals were scored across previous editions (Euro 1960 - 2016), but that tally has been matched in a single edition in Euro 2020.
Featured photo: Justin Setterfield / FRANCK FIFE /Attila KISBENEDEK/ POOL / AFP