In any major tournament, big scores can often occur while the field is at its largest and the potential gap between teams is largest, in group play. But, once teams have been whittled down for the knockout stages, we expect tighter games and narrow scores. Well, I don’t know what happened in EURO2020 yesterday, in the round of 16, as Spain and Croatia played to a 5-3 win for Spain, after extra time, with Croatia equalizing in the dying minutes of regular time.
After a little breather, we were off again with France versus Switzerland; the World Cup holders, France, were strong favourites. Well, we know that ‘big’ fish had already fallen at this stage, already, notably The Netherlands toi Czech Republic.
Swiss intentions were clear from the off, and they were not there to show off how well the could make cheese fondue, and they took an early lead. France struggled, and the Swiss could have gone up 2-0 with a penalty, but it was saved. Minutes later, Karma struck as France scored twice within two minutes to lead 2-1, then a super bender from Pogba for 3-1 after 75 minutes made it seem the game was over. Well, back came the Swiss in the 81st minute for 3-2 and it was game on, and they enabled an equalized on 90 minutes. France hit the bar with almost the last kick of regular time. Extra time brought no more goals, thought hot action.
On to penalties and it was tight all the way, with perfection (naturally) from the Swiss, for a 5-4 lead. Up stepped France’s golden boy, Mbappé and he struck the ball well to the top left and Sommer arched himself and slapped it away. He paused, looking to see if there was a refereeing matter, then raced off to the fans in the corner.
So, 14 goals in 2 matches; we often don’t get that in all matches combined.
If it stays like this the quarter finals could be even hotter matches. Is this a COVID effect? Tired minds and bodies? Who knows, just bring on more of it.