Euro 2020: Hurt but proud, what next for Wales after Denmark defeat?

June 26, 2021


“Even by the standards of this transcontinental tournament, Wales’ was an arduous route to the second round, as they travelled thousands of miles to Baku and Rome for group games before facing Denmark in the Dutch capital. As Wales contemplated their 4-0 beating, was this more than just their European Championship over; the end of an era? This squad included eight of the players who took Wales to the historic new heights of the semi-finals at Euro 2016 and, after the final whistle on Saturday, the spotlight inevitably fell on the most famous of those who remain, captain Gareth Bale. Asked if this would be his final game for his country, the 31-year-old simply walked away. …”
BBC
BBC: Wales 0 Denmark 4
ESPN: Denmark’s fairy-tale run at Euro 2020 continues thanks to new characters Dolberg, Stryger (Video)
Guardian: Denmark end Wales’ Euro 2020 dreams as Dolberg double caps dominant win


Keeper v taker in a penalty shootout – the pressure, the run-up, the psychological battle

June 26, 2021


Diego Alves had a phenomenal record when facing penalties
“Facing a penalty is a game of poker to see who can sell a bluff and come out on top. Every goalkeeper will tell you that they thrive in the moment during a penalty shootout. The opportunity to become the hero is the equivalent of an outfield player scoring a last-ditch winner, so that motivates us and excites us. The pressure is on the taker, because in those moments the odds are heavily stacked against the goalkeeper — nobody really expects you to make the save. Not everyone can handle that and one of the biggest weapons for a goalkeeper in that moment is to let the taker know how much pressure is on them. …”
The Athletic


The Case for a 32-Team Euros

June 26, 2021


Portugal found a way through to the round of 16.
“Thomas Vermaelen’s header hit the ground first and then rose before colliding with the post near the corner where it meets the crossbar. As the ball spun out, sideways toward the middle of the goal, Lukas Hradecky, the Finland goalkeeper, was still turning around. It was all happening in the blink of an eye. Instinctively, Hradecky reached out a hand to try to swat the ball away. In that instant, on his fingertips, a substantial portion of Euro 2020 hung. Had Hradecky been able to claw the ball away from his goal, away from danger, Finland might have been able to hang on, to keep a vaguely interested Belgium at bay, to qualify for the knockout stages of the first major tournament it has ever reached. Denmark, playing simultaneously in Copenhagen, might have been sent home. …”
NY Times