Yesterday, Wales went down 4-0 to Denmark in Euro 2020 Round of 16 action at Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam. After putting in an inspired opening 15 minutes that culminated in Gareth Bales’ just missed shot, the Welsh progressively ceded control of the match to Denmark, who had begun the game a bit out of rhythm. As the Danes took charge opportunities began to appear.
At the 27th minute, the Danes had a similar chance to Bales’ but this time Kasper Dolberg made his count as he curled a beautiful shot from just outside the Welsh box and past the outstretched hands of Danny Ward whose view of the ball had been impeded, albeit legally, by Martin Braithwaite.
The score stood at half-time and as the sides resumed action it was the Danes who took the initiative and an errant clearance from Joe Morrell found Dolberg the recipient in the box and he slammed home from close range at the 48th minute.
Unfortunately for the Welsh, the game got increasingly chippy thereafter and the officiating left a bit to be desired, favoring the Danes almost 2-1 in called fouls until a few favoring the Welsh, at the meaningless last few minutes, began to narrow the tally.
But when Joakim Maehle scored Denmark’s third at the 88th and Harry Wilson was shown an unfair red card at the 90th, the game’s outcome was clear. Braithwaite’s 90+4’ goal was more salt on the wound that merited reward. The Danes progressed to meet the winner of the Netherlands-Czech Republic match to be played later today in Euro 2020’s Round of 16.
Italy 2-1 (a.e.t.)
Italy needed 120 minutes to defeat Austria 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in London in their Euro 2020 Group of 16 match. Meeting a resolute Austrian team the Italians were unable to breach their opponents’ defense in 90+ minutes of action.
The Austrians seemed to have opened the scoring with a beautiful header from Marko Arnautovic but he was rightly judged to have been just offsides and the goal was reversed by VAR. For most of the first half, the Italians controlled the match but once the second half began it was the Austrians controlling the action.
The Italians used five substitutes to Austria’s six and it was one of Italy’s subs, Federico Chiesa, who scored a magnificent opening goal at the 95th minute to put the Italians ahead in extra time. Matteo Pessina doubled the margin at the 105th but Sasa Kalajdzic scored a diving header off a corner from an impossible angle to allow the Austrians to dream for the remainder of the match.
As the final whistle blew, Roberto Mancini could be seen to hug everyone on his staff within reach as the relief of having won over the first true competitor his team had faced was etched in his every facial expression and mannerism. Italy now move on to their first match with a superior opponent as they meet the winner of today’s second Round of 16 match between Portugal and Belgium.