Football News

4 things we learned from the Euro 2024 quarterfinals

I Euro 2024 the quarter-finals brought 450 minutes of play, but that was not a good thing.

Only one of the four contests did not require extra time, two of the contests went the distance. They were eliminated in the 12th place and the four competing nations came out in a shootout with only two goals scored and an error. The quality there is undeniable.

The quarter-finals offered even more contests and magical sequences of play, but a sense of timing and the disjointedness of some outfits meant that fans were forced to get ahead of the action – in two games anyway.

Here are four things we learned from the Euro 2024 quarterfinals.

Ivan Toney

Eyes on the goalkeeper / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

England were unchanged against Switzerland but had a good opening 45 minutes – although there was no chance to play.

For a long time it looked as though Gareth Southgate’s side would be heading home after letting the game slip away. Breel Embolo opened the scoring but Bukayo Saka held his own to equalize quickly. There was a bitter end to the battle when Switzerland came out strong in extra time, but England held on on penalties.

There was a time when the five words that ended the paragraph above would have been met with existential dread. Penalty shootouts once produced restraint and unbearable anxiety, but this set of players seems immune to any kind of pressure.

Five penalties in total and Jordan Pickford’s early denial by Manuel Akanji sent the Three Lions into their third major competition semi-final under Southgate.

They are always uncertain and flawed, but England’s ability to hold their own when it matters will help them as they aim to secure their first ever European Championship trophy. Southgate’s team welcomes the event.

Didier DeschampsDidier Deschamps

France still to score in open play / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Didier Deschamps’ France was once described as ‘pragmatic’, but the former water carrier has drifted so far into the realm of caution and conservatism this summer that to label this side of the French pragmatic would be a disservice.

With defenders filling the back line and three managers providing protection in midfield, Deschamps’ France are far from an encouraging watch. However, their defensive tenacity is undeniable, and they always seem to find a way.

Some have pointed to the rise of the knockout stage after an unsatisfying group stage but, after getting past Belgium and beating Portugal in a penalty shoot-out without scoring an open-play goal, it’s fair to say so. this this is what we should expect from the 2018 World Cup winners.

No major breakthrough is imminent, but they have as good a chance as any to win the competition for the first time since 2000.

Dani OlmoDani Olmo

Dani Olmo opened the scoring against Germany after replacing Pedri/Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Spain is the best team left in the tournament, but suffered a serious defeat after defeating Germany in the quarter finals.

A funny but hardly hateful booking from Toni Kroos – which did not warrant a booking – on Pedri ended the Barcelona midfielder’s campaign. After shining at Euro 2020, Pedri’s career has stalled due to a number of setbacks and his latest knee injury will sideline him for six weeks.

The 21-year-old is about to add to the 83 games he has missed for club and country due to injury.

His absence hurts Luis de la Fuente’s side, but Spain are full of reserves and Pedri could take his place and provide supplies against Germany. The versatile Dani Olmo replaced Pedri and began a free-roaming career in Stuttgart. Olmo opened the scoring and was named Player of the Match for his role, but it was substitute midfielder Mikel Merino who produced the final minute of extra time.

Merino struggled for the start of the tournament but De la Fuente opted for Fabian Ruiz and the PSG star enjoyed an excellent campaign. With Pedri out, Merino could get a chance in the Spanish engine room. The 28-year-old has played for Real Sociedad in recent years, emerging as one of the most reliable and flawless players in La Liga.

Wout WeghorstWout Weghorst

Wout Weghorst changed the game for the Netherlands / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Despite their technical prowess, the Netherlands have an uneasy relationship with the striker.

The Dutch are a proud team that still resembles the style of play pioneered by Johan Cruyff’s Total Footballers. There is no room for a limited big man as part of an ever-changing squad, but the Netherlands’ recent outfits, including Ronald Koeman’s current iteration, have been far from Total Football utopia.

The Netherlands team on show in Germany has some good pieces with controls in the middle of the park, but leans closer to the 2010 performance unit than Cruyff’s 1974 team – both World Cup finalists.

As a result, many have come to the opinion of Wout Weghorst. Having scored the winner from the bench in Matchday 1 against Poland, there have been calls for Koeman to start the Burnley striker in place of Memphis Depay, who holds the Netherlands’ all-time goalscoring record. Koeman has since resisted such cries for his praise of Depay, but Weghorst has been used as his Plan B.

The Dutch were 1-0 down when the coach referred to his manager at half-time. He did not score but served as a much-needed reference point for his teammates. Weghorst was there and was able to compete much better with the aggressive Turkish backline. He helped his team change direction and an exceptional defensive clearance prevented the Netherlands from falling behind 2-0.

There will be a cry for Weghorst when they face England, but it is likely that someone will come off the bench.


Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button