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Euro 2024 last-16 overview: Spain thrash Georgia, Bellingham & Kane spare England’s blushes & more

Overview of the early action from Euro 2024 round of 16

The curtain rose on the knockout rounds of the 2024 European Championship this weekend, and the drama didn’t disappoint.

After an action-packed group stage, the 16 nations that qualified for the knockouts have been narrowed down to eight as the fight for continental glory intensifies.

England booked their place in the quarter-finals with an unconvincing 2-1 victory over Slovakia. They’ll need to step up their game significantly, with a tricky clash against Switzerland on the horizon.

Spain thrashed Georgia to set up a tantalising quarter-final showdown against Germany, while Kylian Mbappe will face off with his idol Cristiano Ronaldo as France take on Portugal in a mouth-watering clash.

Romania, Netherlands, Austria, and Turkiye will battle for the final two quarter-final slots on Tuesday night, with EURO 2024 tickets still available for purchase at seatsnet.com.

While we anticipate more thrilling drama in the final games of the round of 16, here’s a quick rundown of the events of the other fixtures.

Switzerland 2-0 Italy

Switzerland sent shockwaves throughout the tournament as they sent Italy packing with a comprehensive 2-0 victory.

The result marked the second consecutive Euros where Switzerland eliminated a major powerhouse, following their defeat of then-world champions France in 2021.

Fuelled by their previous giant-killing feat, Switzerland entered the match against the reigning European champions brimming with confidence.

They controlled possession for much of the first half, showcasing remarkable composure.

However, they struggled to capitalise on their dominance until Breel Embolo forced a sharp save from Gianluigi Donnarumma just before the 25-minute mark.

Italy’s first-half performance was lacklustre, but the Swiss kept their foot on the gas and ramped up the pressure as the game progressed.

Their efforts finally culminated in an opener as Remo Freuler volleyed an effort past Donnarumma to give Switzerland a deserved lead.

As half-time approached, Donnarumma produced a sublime save to keep out Fabian Rieder’s free-kick.

However, he was powerless to stop Ruben Vargas’ spectacular curled shot from finding the top corner as Switzerland cushioned their lead just after the restart.

Italy rallied to get back into the game, and they came agonisingly close as Gianluca Scamacca hit the woodwork.

However, Switzerland held firm to see off the reigning champions and book a place in the quarter-finals with their first victory over the Italians since 1954.

Germany 2-0 Denmark 

Second half goals from Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala were enough for Germany to see off the challenge from a resilient Denmark side under adverse weather conditions.

A frantic start to the game saw Germany put the ball in the net after four minutes as centre-back Nico Schlotterbeck rose highest to meet Toni Kroos’ corner and beat Kasper Schmeichel with a towering header.

However, the goal was chalked off after a review found Joshua Kimmich guilty of an infringement on Andreas Skov Olsen.

Germany kept their foot on the gas, piling pressure on the Danish backline, and it seemed like it would only take a matter of time before they finally broke the deadlock.

However, Denmark gradually grew into the game, and Christian Eriksen and Joakim Maehle went close before the skies darkened and thunder claps and lightning filled the air.

The stormy skies forced referee Michael Oliver to suspend action just over half an hour into proceedings. Action resumed after a 24-minute delay, and both sides picked up where they left off.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock before the half-time interval.

Havertz sent a free header straight at Schmeichel, and Rasmus Hojlund rippled the side-netting at the other end before being denied by Manuel Neuer’s brave goalkeeping.

Joachim Andersen thought he had given Denmark the lead after lashing home from ten yards, but celebrations were cut short when a VAR review found Thomas Delaney offside during the build-up.

Andersen then went from hero to villain in a matter of minutes as he was penalised for a hand ball at the other end. Havertz dispatched the resulting penalty with aplomb to set Germany on their way.

Musiala settled the tie in the 68th minute, latching on to Schlotterbeck’s long pass before slotting past Schmeichel.

England 2-1 Slovakia

The pressure and scrutiny will be as hot as ever for Gareth Southgate after his England side squeaked their way into the last eight.

Southgate received a mixed reception before kick-off in the nail-biting contest against Slovakia, a game that nearly ended England’s title bid.

The Three Lions looked far from threatening, and Slovakia aimed to exploit the frailties in Southgate’s side.

Slovakia stunned England when they took the lead in the 25th minute. David Strelec showed expert awareness to slip in Ivan Schranz, who made no mistake slotting past Jordan Pickford.

That goal darkened England’s mood, as did the team’s response heading into the half-time interval.

England started the second half with renewed optimism, and Phil Foden seemingly levelled matters four minutes after the restart, but his goal was ruled out for offside.

England returned for the second period with more bite in their attack.

Southgate raised eyebrows when he replaced Kieran Trippier with Cole Palmer, moving Bukayo Saka to left back despite having Joe Gomez as an option on the bench.

However, England pushed for an equaliser and came agonisingly close as Harry Kane somehow failed to hit the target with a header from Foden’s free-kick.

Declan Rice hit the woodwork from 25 yards three minutes later as the Euro 2020 runners-up plugged away for an equaliser that looked set to evade them as the match entered six minutes of stoppage time.

However, Jude Bellingham, who had blown hot and cold throughout the game, finally stepped up with a clutch moment, hitting a brilliant overhead kick past Martin Dubravka.

The strike got England out of jail and took a tie that looked beyond them into extra time, where Kane headed home from point-blank range to seal England’s place in the quarter-finals.

Spain 4-1 Georgia 

Spain showed their prowess as they came from behind to secure a 4-1 victory against Georgia to punch their tickets to the quarter-finals.

Despite a spirited effort from Georgia, La Roja maintained their 100% record against the Crusaders.

Spain dominated both their qualifying matches against Georgia with a scathing aggregate scoreline of 10-2.

However, it was Georgia who broke the deadlock in Cologne, when Otar Kakabadze’s cross found the net off Robin Le Normand in the 18th minute.

Despite this setback, Spain’s relentless pressure paid off as Rodri equalised with a drilled left-footed strike in the 39th minute.

Fabian Ruiz then put Spain ahead with a headed goal, courtesy of a superb cross from Lamine Yamal.

Spain extended their lead as Nico Williams found the net, sealing the victory. Dani Olmo added the finishing touch with a classy finish, securing a place in the quarter-finals, where Spain will face Germany.

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