16 Chelsea players entered Euro 2020’s final 16 – the most of any other football club worldwide. This post aims to reflect on how each player performed in the first part of the knockout phase, whilst focusing on the progression of their nation in the competition.
June 26th 2021 – Wales (Ethan Ampadu) vs. Denmark (Andreas Christensen).
The first game of the knockout stage was an interesting one, as an inform Welsh side took on Denmark – a side who just about made it through the group stage with a victory in their final game against Russia.
The game was also a meeting between two Chelsea defenders. However, after receiving a red card in his previous game against Russia – Ethan Ampadu was suspended for the fixture. For Denmark, Andreas Christensen was once again listed in the starting eleven.
After winning their last game 4-1, Denmark continued their hot form against Rob Page’s side. The Danes put four goals past Wales in Amsterdam, which ensured their place in the tournament’s last eight.
Wales also received a red card in dying minutes of the game, with Harry Wilson being dismissed on the 90th minute.
Result: Wales 0-4 Denmark.
Next game: Czech Republic (Saturday July 3rd, 5pm).
June 26th 2021 – Italy (Emerson, Jorginho) vs Austria.
After winning every game of the group stage, Italy looked dot-on favourites to overcome Austria at Wembley. The Italian’s looked a finished product, barely coming out of first gear and keeping three clean sheets in the process.
However, the Austrian’s proved to be a tougher task as they forced Roberto Mancini’s side into extra-time. Although Italy eventually won the game 2-1, the Austrian’s provided a scare and made Italy look extremely vulnerable at times.
In the match, Chelsea’s Jorginho played the entire 120 minutes of football whilst defender Emerson remained an unused substitute. Both players will however be delighted to see the next stage of the competition, although it could prove to be a much tougher task given the difficulty of their opponent.
Result: Italy 2-1 Austria (A.E.T).
Next game: Belgium (Friday July 2nd, 8pm).
June 27th 2021 – Belgium (Michy Batshuayi) vs Portugal.
In what was the standout game of the fixtures, Belgium took on Portugal in Spain with a place in the tournaments quarter-finals on the line.
After surviving the ‘group of death’, the Portuguese knew they were up against yet another tough task – with Roberto Martínez’ star-studded squad being one of the most well-rounded in the competition.
In what was a close affair, Belgium managed to hold off Cristiano Ronaldo and co to edge past Portugal with a 1-0 victory. Former Blue Thorgan Hazard was the goalscorer on the night, pushing the Red Devils forward to Euro 2020’s last eight.
Despite tasting victory in Seville, Belgium suffered injuries to both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard on the night – which could affect their chances if they remain out of the squad.
Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi was an unused substitute on the evening.
Result: Belgium 1-0 Portugal.
Next game: Italy (Friday July 2nd, 8pm).
June 28th 2021 – Croatia (Mateo Kovačić) vs Spain (César Azpilicueta).
Monday’s early kick-off saw Blue’s midfielder Mateo Kovačić face off against the club’s captain – César Azpilicueta.
Both nations endured tough starts to the competition following disappointing results within the group stage. With that being said, both sides had also won their previous game – with Spain notably hitting Slovakia for five. This resulted in both countries carrying a slight bit of momentum, and consequently fancying their chances ahead of the game.
At half-time, they two nations were locked at 1-1. However, as the second half rolled on, Chelsea’s Azpilicueta scored Spain’s second on the 57th minute, with Ferran Torres later converting a third on the 77th minute.
Spain had a 3-1 lead with just five minutes to go, yet a late comeback from Croatia saw the game dramatically finish 3-3. Former Chelsea midfielder Mario Pašalić was on target in the 92nd minute – forcing the game into extra-time.
From here, Spain went on to blow the Croatian’s away – with the game finishing 5-3. Once again, another former Blue was on the scoresheet as striker Álvaro Morata scored Spain’s fourth on the 100th minute.
Both Kovačić and Azpilicueta started the game for their nations.
Result: Croatia 3-5 Spain (A.E.T).
Next game: Switzerland (Friday July 2nd, 5pm).
June 28th 2021 – France (Kurt Zouma, N’Golo Kanté, Olivier Giroud) vs. Switzerland.
Heading into the competition, World Cup winners France arrived with arguably the most talented squad, which was stacked with depth across the field.
Consequently, Didier Deschamps side were favourites to win Euro 2020, as well as their match against Switzerland in Bucharest.
However, in the same fashion as the Croatia vs. Spain game earlier on in the day, France let a late 3-1 lead slip. The Swiss stunned Les Bleus with a late comeback, forcing the game into extra-time.
Unlike the earlier game, the additional 30 minutes remained goalless – with the match then going on to penalties.
After nine immaculate penalties, the pressure then fell on the shoulders of Kylian Mbappe to keep France’s hopes alive. The young Frenchman however saw his penalty saved by Sommer – with Switzerland stunning France to reach the final eight of the tournaments.
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté played every minute of the game, with Olivier Giroud also coming off the bench and converting his penalty in the shoot-out. Defender Kurt Zouma remained an unused substitute.
Result: France 3-3 Switzerland (4-5 penalties).
Next game: Spain (July 2nd 2021, 5pm).
Like Portugal, Germany also had just escaped the ‘group of death’ and was reliant on a draw with Hungary to scrape their way into a clash with England.
Southgate’s men entered the match having finished top of the group without conceding a goal. Something that wasn’t in his team’s favour was the nations form in against Germany in major competitions – with England failing to beat the Germans in 55-years.
The Three Lions were also boosted by having Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount available for selection, with the Chelsea pair returning from their self-isolation.
The game itself looked hard to look, with both sides looking fairly equal on paper. Although Germany enjoyed a positive start to the game, it was England who later took control and came out on top.
The game finished 2-0, with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane finding the back of the net for their nation.
Chelsea’s Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount all failed to make apperances in the game. However, Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner all started in Joachim Löw’s starting eleven.
Result: England 2-0 Germany.
Next game: Ukraine (July 3rd, 8pm).
Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).