1) The United Kingdom (up 1)
With an almost flawless performance against Ukraine, Gareth Southgate’s squad advanced to the semi-finals. Not only did they keep a clean sheet for the fifth time in a row, but the addition of Jadon Sancho to the attacking midfield three behind Harry Kane gave another dimension to their attack. After a shaky start to the tournament, Raheem Sterling was once again spectacular, providing the assist for Kane’s opening goal, and the Tottenham striker now has three goals in two games. England takes on Denmark in the semi-finals at Wembley on Wednesday, confident of going all the way.
Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring the game’s first goal.
England beat Ukraine 4-0 to go to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, where they will face Denmark.
2) The country of Italy (up 1)
During their extraordinary 32-match unbeaten streak, the one criticism levelled at Italy was that they had not defeated a team ranked in the top 15 of the FIFA world rankings. Yes, it was a shaky one – you can only defeat what you’re up against – but that doesn’t matter now after the Azzurri’s 2-1 victory over Belgium on Friday. The one blemish on Roberto Mancini’s side’s night was a devastating injury to their rampaging left-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who ruptured his achilles tendon. “The team has improved after by game,” a delighted Mancini stated. “Even in the face of adversity, the squad has always improved — and there is still opportunity for improvement.” Ominous.
3) The Danish Republic (up 2)
The fairytale goes on. Even if the second half was a struggle, Kasper Hjulmand’s team deserved to win 2-1 over the Czech Republic. The Danes were innovative, enthusiastic, and effervescent in the opening 45 minutes. They could have been 4-0 up by halftime, but had to settle for two goals: a Thomas Delaney header and a Kasper Dolberg poacher’s finish following a superb outside-of-the-boot pass from Joakim Mhle. Hjulmand deserves credit as well, as he responded to the Czechs taking the initiative in the second half by making a double substitute in the 59th minute to reclaim midfield control.
4) The country of Spain (-)
They were unexpectedly in the semi-finals. Somehow. Luis Enrique’s team did not impress in their penalty shootout victory over Switzerland, but they will not complain. Spain is in the last four of a tournament for the first time since winning the Euros in 2012. This slightly weird team, without any True Madrid players and without any real stars, has Spain in the last four of a competition for the first time since winning the Euros in 2012. They played with a man advantage for 42 minutes against Switzerland without creating many chances. “This is a fantastic moment,” remarked Unai Simón, the goalie who made that dreadful error against Croatia. “All that wrath, all that desire made me very thrilled, very emotional. “There was a part of me that yearned for this.”
5) The Belgian Federation (down 4)
Is this the end of an era? Is there such a thing as a golden generation? Maybe not quite, but the Belgian FA will be wallowing in self-pity after their latest failure to reach the final. They gave it their all against Italy, and with Eden Hazard and a completely fit Kevin De Bruyne on the pitch, they might have been able to pull it off. They were already short on a busy night in Munich. The defence, which includes Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, and Toby Alderweireld, will need to be renewed, but with the World Cup only 18 months away, it’s unlikely that any major changes will be made. Belgium fans will take heart from Jérémy Doku’s electrifying performance as the team attempts to rebound.
Switzerland (No. 6) (-)
There was to be no further upheaval in the end. Switzerland forced a European superpower into extra time and penalties for the second time this season, but unlike against France, they blundered against Spain, missing three of their four penalty kicks. Despite losing Breel Embolo early to injury, they were brilliant again, coming back from a goal down to get a superb equaliser by Xherdan Shaqiri. Their threat as an offensive force, though, ended in the 77th minute when Remo Freuler was unjustly sent off. Vladimir Petkovic, the coach, was correct in calling his players “heroes” after the game. Switzerland has performed admirably throughout the tournament.
Czech Republic (number 7) (-)
After a 2-1 setback in Baku, the Czechs were eliminated after one strong half against Denmark. After Patrik Schick scored his fifth goal of the tournament, they came out a different team in the second half, trailing 2-0. Jaroslav Silhavy’s substitutions worked wonders at first, but they struggled to create clearcut chances against a compact Danish defence after Patrik Schick scored his fifth goal of the tournament. Tomas Vaclik, the goalie who made several key saves yet again, expressed his pride in what he and his teammates had accomplished this summer. He told uefa.com, “No one believed in us, but we stuck together.” “There is a great sense of belonging among the members of the team. This group has something unique to offer. I believe we will only discover positives from this tournament as time passes.”
Ukraine (number 8) (-)
For Andriy Shevchenko’s team, the game against England was a step too far. They had a gameplan in place, similar to the one that had worked so well against Sweden, but it was undone in the first four minutes when Harry Kane surged into the area unchecked to score. As a result of Serhiy Kryvtsov’s injury, Ukraine switched to a back four configuration, and they had their best run of the game before the halftime. However, immediately after halftime, Harry Maguire scored to make the game a battle. Ukraine has earned the respect of their country by reaching the final eight. They must now decide whether Shevchenko will stay or play club football.