Roundup of the final round of group matches at Euro 2020 as Groups E and F drew to their conclusions in dramatic fashion.
Group E saw Spain and Poland battling for survival as both teams started their games sat bottom of the group, although only one of those two teams would eventually survive to fight on following a dramatic finish.
Group F meanwhile saw Germany and Portugal enter their matches looking to avoid shock cupsets on a crazy evening, in which both teams at various points stared down the exit barrel before the final group positions emerged at full time.
Embed from Getty Images
Spain entered their final Group B match against Slovakia needing a win to secure a knockout place and got off to a strong start as Jakub Hromada controversially conceded a penalty, after accidentally hitting Koke behind the leg as both went to shoot the ball in synchronisation.
Alvaro Morata however missed the resulting 12th minute spot-kick as Martin Dubravka dived to his right to make a huge early save.
Pablo Sarabia and Pedri then flicked wide individual chances in the 19th minute before Morata saw a shot saved five minutes later.
Spain’s dominance eventually paid off as Sarabia found the bar on the half hour mark with Dubravka bizarrely whacking the falling ball into his own net with his right hand, as he tried to make an one handed save.
Gerard Moreno then missed two late first half chances before Aymeric Laporte nodded in from Sarabia’s chipped pullback to put Spain in control at half-time.
After the break, Spain weathered early Slovakian pressure but Sarabia’s hard work was rewarded in the 56th minute, as he fired in from Jordi Alba’s pass to confirm victory, although two further goals made sure of La Roja’s first win at Euro 2020.
Ferran Torres added a fourth goal as he flicked in Sarabia’s low 67th minute cross before Juraj Kucka knocked Pau Torres’s header into his own net four minutes later, confirming a 5-0 win for Spain as they advance to the Last 16 off the back of their biggest ever win in this competition.
Sweden meanwhile claimed a two goal lead through Emil Forsberg only for a second-half brace from Robert Lewandowski to level the scoring at 2-2 apiece, before Viktor Claesson to strike in injury time to hand Sweden top spot in Group E with a 3-2 victory.
Spain consequently finished runners-up and will now face Croatia on Monday 28 June 2021 (5pm BST), at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Poland meanwhile were eliminated as the bottom-placed team of the group whilst Slovakia also crashed out despite finishing third, as a result of their five goal thrashing in Seville ultimately costing them a place in the four best third-placed teams on goal difference.
Embed from Getty Images
Group F drew to a blockbuster conclusion as reigning Euro champions, Portugal collided with world champions, France in Budapest, Hungary, with both teams knowing that victory would see them through as group winners.
Renato Sanches and Cristiano Ronaldo both nearly got Portugal off to an early flier but their chances went begging, whilst Paul Pogba’s tenth minute through ball to Kylian Mbappe for France was saved by Rui Patricio as both teams wasted chances in the opening 25 minutes.
Sanches eventually set up Portugal’s opener after drawing a foul from N’Golo Kante with Hugo Lloris punching over the free-kick over, only to collide with Danilo Pereira’s face as he made the clearance with referee – Antonio Mateu Lahoz controversially awarding a penalty.
Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and dispatched the resulting spot-kick down the middle to become the outright record European top-scorer across all major competitions, as he put Portugal ahead.
Joao Moutinho then missed two late chances before Nelson Semedo controversially conceded a penalty after catching Mbappe with his right elbow as they chased a direct cross, with Karim Benzema equalising from the spot-kick just before half-time.
Both teams proceeded to make half-time changes as Portugal substituted Danilo for Joao Palhinha and France benched Lucas Hernandez for Lucas Digne, who then suffered an injury which forced him off just seven minutes later.
Once the game restarted, France made the better start as Paul Pogba played a 47th minute through ball for Benzema to fire in off the left post, which was initially ruled offside before VAR overturned the decision and awarded the goal.
Portugal then won a penalty 11 minutes later after Jules Kounde accidentally handballed Ronaldo’s cross after an initial block, with the Portugese firing the spot-kick into the bottom left corner to restore parity.
France missed a huge opportunity to retake the lead in the 67th minute as Pogba curled in a shot but Rui Patricio punched away to Antoine Griezmann, only to block his shot then Pogba fired his rebound effort wide.
Both teams thereafter exchanged chances throughout the closing stages but France ultimately clung on to top the group with a 2-2 draw and progress as winners, thereby setting up a Last 16 tie against Switzerland on Monday 28 June (8pm BST) at Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania.
Portugal meanwhile advanced as one of the four best third-placed teams after Germany secured second following a 2-2 draw against Hungary in Munich.
Germany will therefore face England in London on Tuesday 29 June 2021 (5pm BST) in the Round of 16, whereas Portugal meet Belgium in Seville, Spain, on Sunday 27 June (8pm BST).
Now here is the full fixture list for the Round of 16 which takes place from 26-29 June.
|Saturday 26 June 2021||Wales v Denmark||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam||5:00pm|
|Saturday 26 June 2021||Italy v Austria||Wembley, London||8:00pm|
|Sunday 27 June 2021||Netherlands v Czech Republic||Puskas Arena, Budapest||5:00pm|
|Sunday 27 June 2021||Belgium v Portugal||La Cartuja, Seville||8:00pm|
|Monday 28 June 2021||Croatia v Spain||Parken Stadium, Copenhagen||5:00pm|
|Monday 28 June 2021||France v Switzerland||Arena Nationala, Bucharest||8:00pm|
|Tuesday 29 June 2021||England v Germany||Wembley, London||5:00pm|
|Tuesday 29 June 2021||Sweden v Ukraine||Hampden Park, Glasgow||8:00pm|