Euro 2020 sees De Gea save Spain, Mbappe leads France and Germany stumble

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The weekend of the eEURO 2020 finals began in earnest on Saturday as 16 nations gathered to participate in the largest international virtual football championship ever organized.

Reduced from the 55 preliminary participants, the teams – which consist of two to four players from their national efootball team, playing Konami’s eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 on Playstation 4 – have entered the final two-day phase of the competition having been divided into four groups.

The group format is a bit unorthodox, but fundamentally, four teams play two opening matches with the winners of the two games face to face (the “winners’ match”) knowing that another victory automatically sees them qualified for the quarter-finals.

The two losers also face off (the “losers match”), with the winner gaining another chance to qualify for the next phase by facing the loser of the “winners match” in a tiebreaker.

The winner of the play-off match then qualifies for the quarterfinals as a group finalist in the top two teams in each group.

Clear? Clear. Not like a UEFA tournament to be unnecessarily complicated, is it?

GROUP A

As you would expect, things started in Group A, where Spain and Germany were the heavyweight contenders in the midst of a flurry of high-score opening fights.

La Roja Roughly overtook Romania by winning their first game 6-5 while their German rivals carried out a complete demolition 5-1 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Spain then made sure to finish top of the group with a 4-2 victory over Germany in the winner’s match – although they did thank goalkeeper David De Gea once and for all.

Bosnia was eliminated by Romania in the losers’ game, finding themselves on the wrong side of an 8-2 flay.

However, they left eEuro 2020 with a starting gift in the form of a wonderful consolation free kick from Miralem Pjanic.

Group A was then closed with a shock result as Romania defeated Germany 4-3 in a tiebreaker with a golden goal immediately after kickoff, which sent the first alongside Spain.

Spain 6-5 Romania
Germany 5-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Loser of the match: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-8 Romania
Winners’ match: Spain 4-2 Germany
Tiebreaker match: Germany 3-4 Romania

GROUP B

In Group B, Italy was inspired by a motivational message from real national team coach Roberto Mancini as they beat Denmark 5-1 in their first game.

the Azzurri then met Serbia (who beat Turkey 6-1 in their first match) in the group winner’s match only to clinch a dramatic 6-5 victory over their opponents and secure first place and round of 16.

Turkey then blazed out the Danes in the Group B losers game – a 7-2 win characterized by Oguzhan Ozyakup’s perfect laser-guided pass to prepare Burak Yilmaz for the second goal.

Serbia then met Turkey in the Group B tiebreaker, the former second in a narrow 4-3 victory.

Denmark 1-5 Italy
Serbia 6-1 Turkey
Losers Match: Turkey 7-2 Denmark
Winners’ match: Italy 6-5 Serbia
Tiebreaker match: Serbia 4-3 Turkey

GROUP C

Group C started with Montenegro defeating Luxembourg 2-1 and the Netherlands eliminating Croatia in a tense thriller 3-2.

The Dutch then capped things off by beating their Montenegrin opponents 2-1 to finish at the top of the stack.

And so, Montenegro was opposed to its Balkan rival, Croatia, in the tiebreaker of Group C, which saw the two teams exchange blows throughout a close and attrition draw.

After an unsuccessful overtime, the match was finally settled by a nervous shootout.

The two sides missed a series of shots before Croatia stopped it deeply, deep in sudden death as the unlikely hero Dejan Lovren kept his cool in the midst of increasing pressure.

Montenegro 2-1 Luxembourg
Netherlands 3-2 Croatia
Losers match: Croatia 5-3 Luxembourg
Winners’ match: Montenegro 1-2 Netherlands
Tiebreaker match: Montenegro 2-2 Croatia (pens: 4-5)

GROUP D

Austria started Group D with a 2-1 victory over Israel, which was quickly followed by French 3-2 spanking over Greece.

France then defeated Austria 2-0 with Kylian Mbappe on the match sheet in the winner’s match to lead the group and secure their own passage to the quarterfinals.

Israel rebounded in game against loser, winning 2-1 and condemning Greece to their fate, scoring a place in the Group D tiebreaker against old enemies Austria – the second time the two nations clashed at eEuro 2020.

Another tight and biting skirmish ensued, which went aimlessly until two quick shots in two minutes propelled the Austrians to the lead.

However, Israel wasted no time in relocating as Eran Zahavi fired one to suddenly trigger a fairly lukewarm tiebreaker.

Indeed, while the clock was ticking in the 85th minute, Israel scored again to put things in focus at 2-2 and introduce overtime and, possibly, penalties.

Austria scored their first two kicks and then missed the next four, because again it took a sudden death to separate the teams – Israel sank the decisive penalty to clinch that final quarter-final place .

Austria 2-1 Israel
France 3-2 Greece
Losers Match: Greece 1-2 Israel
Winners’ match: Austria 0-2 France
Tiebreaker match: Austria 2-2 Israel (pens: 2-3)


Quarter-finals, May 24

Netherlands vs Romania
Spain against Serbia
Italy against Israel
France against Croatia

Semi-finals, May 24

Netherlands / Romania v Spain / Serbia
Italy / Israel v France / Croatia



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