Euro 2020 (Quarter-Finals – Part One)
Friday evening saw Saint Petersburg play host, as over 60,000 people saw reigning European Champions Portugal bow out of the competition at the quarter final stage, as they fell 2-0 against the Germans, who crashed out at the semi-final stage 5 years ago. The second game, at the Allianz Arena, was a far tighter affair with a near full house seeing Russia take on France, beaten finalists on their home turf last time out.
The French were dealt a blow when they lost tireless midfielder N’Golo Kanté 34 minutes into the game, with neither side able to find a breakthrough in the first half. With the second half also heading for stalemate, Russia were then handed an injury concern of their own as they lost 31 year old Lokomotiv Moscow defensive midfielder Yury Gazinskiy. In a fiery affair, the Russians picking up 3 bookings in normal time, it was they who made the breakthrough, Monaco attacking midfielder Alexandr Golovin eventually breaking the deadlock on 101 minutes. Any hope of an easy victory were wiped out, however, when former Monaco and current Atlético Madrid winger Thomas Lemar pulled the French level just 7 minutes later.
With neither side able to add to their tally, the Munich crowd were handed a penalty shout-out to decide who would progress to the semi-final stages, with Russia stepping up first. Both sides made no mistake from the spot in the opening 3 penalties, with Lemar and Golovin among those successful from the spot, but after Kuzyaev converted for Russia, Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir saw his effort saved easily by Alexandr Maximenko as he opted to go straight down the middle. Zenit fullback Vyacheslav Karavaev was left to step up for the final penalty, and although French skipper Hugo Lloris went the right way, he was unable to stop the effort nestling in the corner to send the Russians through to the semi-finals, their best performance since they finished 3rd after reaching the same stage back in 2008.Share this: