This weekend ended up being a marathon of watching football. After needing some much needed sleep I skipped the first game of Netherlands v Sweden to be fully alert for the Germany v Denmark game. Rain had other intentions, because the game ended up being postponed to be played on Sunday after a very valiant squeegee-ing effort from volunteers and ground staff.
Instead of games being spread out over two days, my watching was narrowed down to a day. Germany v Denmark now Sunday night our time followed by England v France the following morning. On top of Euro’s were Tournament of Nations matches, where Australia played Japan Monday morning. A good 24 hours of football, with game I could only drool over.
Netherlands 2 – 0 Sweden
The first of the giant slayers. Netherlands entered this game on red hot form, whilst Sweden more or less stumbled out of the quarter finals and never really looked prepared for the talent this Euro’s have brought.
I didn’t get to watch this game as being sick and 2am kick offs are not conducive to a person watching a football game. But if Twitter is a reliable source, the Swedish struggled to catch up once they went down a goal. As Sweden needed to chase the game, the Netherlands were able to conquer. Again the Netherlands attack worked wonders down the flanks. One of the Dutch goals came off a free kick where the Swedes wall left a large gap that allowed Lieke Martens to exploit and score a sweet, sweet free kick.
The hometown team are now one game away from the final.
Germany 1 – 2 Denmark
Brilliantly this game started at 8pm Australian, which is unprecedented for any European tournament game. So I was happy and only slightly sleepy (I will blame that on still being a bit sick though).
Germany started the game with a bang! An early long range shot produced a German goal as the Danish goalkeeper Stina Peterson committed a blunder. Yes another goalkeeping blunder, I think I’m going to have to watch some YouTube video’s of greats Nadine Angerer and Hope Solo to remember how good keepers can be. Worth an acknowledgement that the rest of the game Peterson was solid as a rock for Denmark. The rest of the first half was end to end, with neither side looking the better.
In the second half the Germans were served a reminder to always play to the whistle as Denmark scored a goal early off the back of Germany waiting for the whistle to go. Further downfall to Germany’s game plan was leaving Penile Harder with so much space, seriously this is a player with pace to burn, why simply hand her a 1v1 with the last defender?? Just asking for trouble. Clearly this isn’t the defensively organised Germany of years past. With the threat of extra time looming Denmark scored the winner by finally utilising the wide open spaces Germany consistently left on the flanks.
Germany are out. It has been over 20 years since Europe have had a champion that wasn’t Germany. Thanks Germany for being fantastic champions for so long and raising the bar for our sport. But now we live in new and exciting times, trudging though unchartered waters. It’s gonna be fun. Thanks and well done Denmark!
Austria 0(5) – 0(3) Spain (penalties)
A nagging suspicion told me this game would be a bit of a snooze, so I when I woke up at 4am to catch extra time I felt vindicated as from the looks of it, I predicted right. Just off the back of extra time neither side were able to break the other down. The story of Spain’s campaign was to hold possession and not do anything with it, whilst Austria were never the most prolific team entering the game.
Going to penalty shoot outs, Austria appeared to have the edge from the start. Their goalkeeper, Manuela Zinsberger, guessed the right way each time and it was only a matter of time the Spanish slipped with a weaker kick for the keeper to finally save one. Meanwhile each of the Austrian penalties were taken with a kind of efficiency I’ve come to expect from this side. Austria know how to get the job done. Including winning the lottery that are penalties.
Austria are through to the semi finals. Pigs continue to fly across Europe. They will meet Denmark.
England 1 – 0 France
WE FLIPPING BEAT FRANCE!!!! This is a result made even more sweeter as England have gone so long without a win against the French. On top of advancing to the semi finals! But man, my poor heart. I’m so use to raising my hopes for England to do well only to be dashed by a French or German side. However this time we PREVAILED!!!
Honestly most of this match is a bit of a blur to me still.
After a lazy group stage, France finally found some urgency! This is not what I was hoping for though, but well played France, I suppose.. The first half saw both sides have chances yet there was nothing clear cut to threaten for a goal. It was during half time that I was able to recognised England were the better side, but know well that hasn’t stopped them losing a quarter final before.
Somehow in a very messy, all over the place second half, England were able to snatch a goal through the incredible goal scoring machine that is Jodie Taylor. France quite honestly dominated the midfield, but Steph Houghton’s defensive ideology of “you shall not pass” ensured France didn’t move beyond the midfield. Gutted to see French legend Camille Abily retire from her national team though, she has been fantastic whenever I’ve watched her play for them.
England now face tournament hosts Netherlands. BRING IT HOLLAND.
Photo of the Round
This round was made complete by a rain delay. It made for some good gifs.
Next Round || Semi Finals
Friday 4th August
Denmark – Austria 2am
Netherlands – England 4.45am