Euro 2020 might just be the best international tournament in recent history, and we’re not even done with the Round of 16 yet. A tournament full of great knockout matches saw another classic and another upset on Monday as defending World Cup winners France are out thanks to a memorable 3-3 draw and a loss on penalties to Switzerland in Bucharest.
The late game on Monday was very similar to the one we saw earlier between Croatia and Spain, with the underdogs jumping to a quick lead: Steven Zuber played a cross from the left, and Haris Seferovic dominated Barcelona’s Clément Lenglet, the surprise starter in the French team, to head home the opener.
Lenglet was in the team because Didier Deschamps wanted to change formations to a back three to match Switzerland’s system, but France looked disjointed from the jump and couldn’t put together a meaningful attack in the entire first half.
Deschamps took off Lenglet at halftime to bring on Kingsley Coman, and the change worked as the French looked more natural and comfortable on the pitch. And then, within five minutes early in the second half, the game changed.
VAR spotted a penalty from Benjamin Pavard on Zuber, and Ricardo Rodriguez stepped up to try and make it 2-0 from the spot but his penalty was saved by Hugo Lloris. Four minutes after that miss, France were already 2-1 up thanks to two goals from Karim Benzema, the second coming after a gorgeous interplay between Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.
TWO IN 90 SECONDS FOR BENZEMA— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
FRANCE HAS ARRIVED! pic.twitter.com/H26XLhJ4dQ
France then made 3-1 with a screamer from Paul Pogba, and France looked ready to advance with 15 minutes to go.
POGBOOM ‼️— ESPN (@espn) June 28, 2021
Pogba with a perfect strike to the upper 90 pic.twitter.com/TdzrfC20yb
But just like we saw in Croatia vs Spain, the underdogs were not ready to die yet. Seferovic scored another powerful header in the box to make it 3-2, and substitute Mario Gavranovic scored a beauty to send the game to extra-time:
France were the better team in the additional 30 minutes and had excellent chances to score the winner, the big one falling to Mbappé inside the six-yard box but the PSG phenom somehow missed it.
We went into a penalty shootout, and the first nine takers scored perfect penalties, leaving Mbappé with the responsibility to make it 5-5 and keep France alive. He stepped up, and Yan Sommer came up big to make the save and eliminate the favorites:
MBAPPE MISSED!!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 28, 2021
SWITZERLAND PULL OFF THE MASSIVE UPSET!! pic.twitter.com/Wv3hEYoURF
Switzerland are moving on to face Spain in the quarterfinals, ending a memorable day of international football with 14 goals, 240 minutes and a massive upset. Wow.