After five decades of heartbreak and anguish, of shootout defeats and unfulfilled dreams, England will again play for a major men’s soccer trophy.
The Three Lions took another step toward their first title since 1966 at tense Wembley Stadium, defeating Denmark, 2-1, in extra time to advance to the European Championship final.
Harry Kane broke the deadlock in the 104th minute, but not after another anxious moment. Kasper Schmeichel saved Kane’s penalty kick, but the ball rebounded back to the captain for a simple finish.
Italy 1, Spain 1 (Italy advances, 4-2, on penalties)
Three years after Italy watched the World Cup from home, missing out on that global showcase for the first time in 60 years, the Azzurri have made a redemptive run back to a major tournament final.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma stepped up in the shootout, Jorginho calmly rolled in the clinching shot, and Italy defeated Spain, 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, in the European Championship semifinals Tuesday at Wembley Stadium in London.
After Spain dominated possession in the first half, Federico Chiesa scored on a counterattack to give Italy the lead early in the second. But Alvaro Morata came off the bench to equalize for Spain late in regulation, and neither team found the breakthrough over 30 minutes of extra time.
Spain 1, Switzerland 1 (Spain advances, 3-1, on penalties)
As Spain’s jubilant players sprinted onto the field to celebrate a penalty-shootout victory at the European Championship, Luis Enrique stood alone and simply pumped his fists. Amid the tension and rising pressure inside Saint Petersburg Stadium, the Spain coach might have been the calmest person around.
“I told them to relax ... and to enjoy the moment as much as they could,” Luis Enrique said, revealing what he’d told his team ahead of the 3-1 shootout victory over Switzerland.
Easier said than done for a team that had squandered chance after chance in extra time as Switzerland’s energy-sapped players hung on for a 1-1 draw through extra time. For a team that had come into the match as the favorite and had taken an eighth-minute lead, only to see that wiped out by a defensive mistake.
So imagine the relief when Mikel Oyarzabal stepped up to convert the decisive spot kick past goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
Italy’s defenders celebrated their stops like the attacking players celebrated their goals. Both had plenty of reason to be happy.
Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Insigne scored a goal each while Leonardo Spinazzola made a key second-half block to give Italy a 2-1 win over Belgium and a spot in the European Championship semifinals.
Romelu Lukaku kept his team in the game with a penalty right before halftime but the Belgians missed further chances to equalize in the second half as Italy’s defenders excelled.
Denmark’s journey at the European Championship is headed to London.
The Danes, who have developed into a surprise contender after their tournament began with midfielder Christian Eriksen suffering cardiac arrest on the field, advanced to the semifinals by beating the Czech Republic, 2-1.
Denmark quickly took control against the Czechs on a hot and humid night in Azerbaijan. Jens Stryger sent an outswinging corner in the fifth minute to Thomas Delaney, standing in space by the penalty spot. Delaney’s bouncing header went in past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík.
Denmark doubled the lead just before halftime. Joakim Maehle hit a cross from the left using the outside of his right foot. The ball eluded Martin Braithwaite’s attempt at a header but Kasper Dolberg got past his marker and beat Vaclík in the 42nd.
England is going back home — with something to play for.
Harry Kane scored twice and England overwhelmed Ukraine, 4-0, to reach the semifinals.
It was the only match of Euro 2020 that England had to play away from Wembley Stadium and it was the team’s most dominant performance of the tournament. Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also scored as England kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight match of the competition.
Round of 16
England is unburdened by the weight of agonizing history: Germany has finally been beaten in a tournament again.
Just like in the 1966 World Cup final, England triumphed over a German team at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, winning 2-0 to reach the quarterfinals. And just like in England’s two group wins, Raheem Sterling was on the scoresheet, breaking the tense deadlock in the 75th minute in a move he started and completed. — Associated Press
Ukraine reached the round of 16 at the European Championship with worst record of the advancing teams.
And now the quarterfinals, too.
Ukraine eliminated previously unbeaten Sweden, 2-1, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday with a goal in stoppage time at the end of extra time. Substitute Artem Dovbyk stooped low to guide a header from Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross past goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
Ukraine Coach Andriy Shevchenko ran down the sideline to celebrate a goal that sends his team to Rome to face England on Saturday. — Associated Press
France is out of the European Championship, and it was Kylian Mbappé who missed the penalty kick in the shootout.
Switzerland eliminated the World Cup champions, 5-4 in the shootout, after a 3-3 draw on Monday in Bucharest, Romania. The Swiss will next play Spain in the quarterfinals in St. Petersburg on Friday.
Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who left the team during the group stage to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, made the decisive save on the 10th penalty after the previous nine had all been successful. Swiss substitute Mario Gavranović forced extra time with a 90th-minute equalizer.
Spain first gifted Croatia a bizarre own-goal, then threw away a late 3-1 lead. Álvaro Morata made sure it didn’t matter in the end.
Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal scored in extra time to give Spain a 5-3 win over Croatia and a place in the quarterfinals after a wildly entertaining see-saw match at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
It was the second-highest scoring game in the history of the European championship, trailing only Yugoslavia’s 5-4 win over France in the opening game of the inaugural tournament in 1960. — Associated Press
Tomás Holes and Patrik Schick scored second-half goals to give the Czech Republic a 2-0 win over 10-man Netherlands and a quarterfinal match Saturday against Denmark in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Netherlands central defender Matthijs de Ligt was sent off for a handball in the 55th minute when under pressure from Schick. The red card was given following a video review.
Holes scored with a powerful close-range header in the 68th minute and then broke into the left of the penalty area and set up Schick for his fourth goal of the tournament in the 80th. — Associated Press
In the highest-wattage matchup of the round of 16, world No. 1 Belgium held held Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal scoreless, continuing its gripping defense throughout the tournament.
Thorgan Hazard scored the winning goal in the 42nd minute with a swerving shot from outside the area that left Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patrício wrong-footed and late to swat the ball away.
Belgium will next face Italy in the quarterfinals on Friday in Munich. — Associated Press
Kasper Dolberg scored two goals to give Denmark a 4-0 victory over Wales in Amsterdam and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Denmark has ridden a wave of emotion through the tournament since playmaker Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest in the team’s opening group match and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator.
Denmark Coach Kasper Hjulmand gave Dolberg his first start of the tournament and he scored a goal in each half. Joakim Maehle scored the third goal in the 88th minute and Martin Braithwaite added the fourth in injury time. — Associated Press
With three exquisite touches of control, technique and finishing, Federico Chiesa ended 95 minutes of Italian frustration.
This record-breaking team is off to the quarterfinals with a defense that finally allowed a goal after more than 19 hours but with a national team-record 12th straight victory. After breezing through the group stage, Italy was made to fight for its 2-1 victory over Austria in a last-16 game that came to life in extra time.
An unmarked Chiesa brought down Leonardo Spinazzola’s high cross with his head, controlled the bouncing ball with his right boot and then used his other foot to shoot low into the net for the opener. The second goal was more about calmness in a goalmouth scramble as Matteo Pessina, who came on midway through the second half, sent the ball into the far corner of the net in the 115th minute. — Associated Press