Sunday, June 27, 2021

The first two quarterfinalists

Denmark destroyed Wales 4-0; the the first time in European Championships that a team has won two games in a row with at least 4 goals, so that underlines the wave that the Danish team is riding on, and they appear to have reason to be (carefully) optimistic about the quarterfinal, where they will face either the Netherlands or the Czech Republic. I am saying carefully because, despite it all, Denmark has some weaknesses that stronger teams can exploit. Wales started the match well, but when they went behind on a goal by Kasper Dolberg, they had nothing to offer; that will not be the case for any team that Denmark will face in the quarterfinals.

That said, the Danes in the quarterfinals is proof of enormous mental strength in a team that has been on an emotional rollercoaster over the last two weeks.

Italy won 2-1 against Austria after extra time. After the first round Italy was rightly touted as perhaps the strongest team of the tournament, but today they looked weaker against a well-organised Austrian side who with a bit of luck and better technique could have won against the long-undefeated Italians. At the score 0-0 the game had to go into extra time, where the Italians went ahead 2-0 on goals by Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina. That said, the Austrians scored the first goal against Italy in 11 matches when Sasa Kalajdzic pulled one back, and did give a bit of excitement to the last minutes of the match.

Italy will face the winner of Portugal-Belgium. Despite them not winning as overwhelmingly today, the Italians should still be considered favourites, specially because they can keep their heads cold in a match like this one. In my view Italy are still one of the favourites to take the title.

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