Football thrives not only on outstanding performance of players but also on the enthusiasm of its fans. After all, every admirer dreams of a football miracle on the pitch. The European Football Championship recently proved that this could become a reality. Many enthusiasts of the game will not forget June 28, 2021 for a long time. On that day, 2 of 16 matches shook the audience in their seats. In the end, the football world was amazed at the result that nobody had expected.
First of all, the vice-world champion Croatia had to compete against the co-favorites Spain. After a back pass from a defender to his goalkeeper, a Spaniard let the ball pass unhappily and thus ensured a surprising lead for the Croatians. But the favourites recovered quickly and swiftly turned the result upside down. After a 3-1 lead, the game result seemed to be decided prematurely. However, Croatia caught up with a goal and leveled the result with a saving equalizer to 3:3 in stoppage time. Spain had to go into extra time and increased the score to 5:3. Spain burst the dream and made it to the quarter-finals. But this dramatic game was nothing against what was to follow later in the evening.
A Game of the Century
Switzerland scored a surprising 1:0 lead against the world champion France in the first half. After the break, the French fans suddenly found themselves in sheer horror. But Switzerland missed the penalty for a possible 2:0 and slumped. The superstars from France turned it up tremendously and made it 2:1 within just 2 minutes. Moments later, Paul Pogba scored a true dream goal; the decision seemed made with 3:1 for France, but the brave Swiss did not give up. They narrowed it to 2:3, sadly, the referee denied the goal because of offside. At this point, every viewer was sure that the Swiss would lose heart, but quite the contrary. The confederates fought tirelessly and, a few minutes later, they hit the ground running again, which brought enormous drama to the encounter. In the last minute of regular time, the 3:3 was scored, so the game also went into overtime.
There were some chances but no goal until the last minute. Kingsley Coman had everything in his hands at the last minute of the game,but his shot only hit the bar in the Swiss plan. So, Switzerland reached a penalty shootout that just a second ago seemed entirely out of reach. But the prerequisites for success were terrible: Switzerland had never successfully finished a knockout phase game in its history and, at the same time, there have been significant problems with penalty shootouts in the past. But this time, the football gods showed mercy.
They made sure that the tension boiled over. Both Switzerland and France scored on their first four penalties. The Swiss’ fifth penalty landed securely in the net when superstar Kylian Mbappe took the final shot for France. Ironically, the most expensive player on the field failed because of the Swiss goalkeeper and thus ensured the rise of the blatant outsider. The world champion France burst into sorrowful tears and said goodbye to EURO 2020.