Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Euro 2024 round-up: Saka lights up tournament

Euro 2024 delivered plenty of thrills and spills at the quarter-final stage with five Arsenal players progressing to the next round and one heading to the beach.

Here’s a round-up of how they fared in their respective national teams’ crucial matches…

Kai Havertz

Spain 2-1 GERMANY (AET)

Mikel Merino’s header in the final minute of extra-time ended Kai’s hopes of winning the Euros on home soil. The Arsenal man proved to be a lively but imprecise presence in attack as the hosts laid siege to the Spanish goal in the closing stages of normal time. His audacious chip, following a mistake by Unai Simon, nearly cancelled out Dani Olmo’s strike before Florian Wirtz finally found the net with a minute remaining. Havertz’s shift was brought to an end before extra-time and he was left utterly dejected as his countrymen conceded just as penalties looked inevitable.

Havertz tournament minutes: 391


David Raya

SPAIN 2-1 Germany

David enjoyed a memorable 24 hours as his move to Arsenal became permanent and Spain reached the semi-finals. As things stand, it looks like David will have a watching brief when his country plays France with Unai Simon still the number one.

Raya tournament minutes: 90


William Saliba

Portugal 0-0 FRANCE (France win 5-3 on penalties)

France still haven’t conceded a goal from open play, in no small part thanks to Saliba’s terrific performances in the centre of defence. The Arsenal man has pocketed so many strikers in Germany that it’s a wonder his shorts haven’t fallen down. To be fair, marshalling Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t that difficult these days, he increasingly resembles that weird statue of himself in Madeira airport. Les Bleus’ victory was sealed via the penalty spot as Didier Deschamps’s side converted all five efforts in a tense shootout. Amazingly, they have become the first side in the history of the tournament to make the semis without scoring a goal from open play.

Saliba tournament minutes: 480


Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice, Aaron Ramsdale

ENGLAND 1-1 Switzerland (England win 5-3 on penalties)

England produced their best performance of the tournament so far – admittedly, that’s not saying much – on their way to a penalty shootout victory over Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland in Dusseldorf. Saka was his country’s bright spark throughout and produced a moment of magic when they needed it most, curling home an equaliser from outside the box five minutes after the Swiss had taken the lead. It was a carbon copy of the goal he scored for Arsenal against Manchester United a couple of seasons ago. And, as if that wasn’t impressive enough, he then volunteered for the shootout and sent Yann Sommer the wrong way to bury the memory of his miss in the Euro 2020 final. What a guy. Declan Rice also played the full 120 minutes and registered the assist for Saka’s goal.

Saka tournament minutes: 456
Rice tournament minutes: 510
Ramsdale tournament minutes: 0

 


Euro 2024 semi-finals

SPAIN vs FRANCE
ENGLAND vs Holland

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C.B.

Saka and Saliba, both sensational! Hope they spend their whole careers with us!!! And Rice too obviously.

C.B.

Saka played 28 for England, MOTM 11 times!

Giddygun

Saka stepping up to take that penalty was an epic moment. The moment where a great personality is defined

Ebo

Declan getting an assist for that Saka goal reminds me of those times I used to peel the potatoes as a kid and then got credit for helping cook the meal

Mayor McCheese

Rice getting the assist just for putting the rice on.

A different George

On the American feed, Landon Donovan (often boring as a commentator, but actually knows a lot about football) pointed out–immediately–that Rice continuing his run caused both Swiss defenders to hesitate a moment and allow Saka to cut inside. So, he deserved the assist, though he only got it because of the pass. More important, has Gareth Southgate really not thought to instruct his players to do this? You don’t have to be as good as Odegaard to make that pass and run.

Yorkshire Gooner

Rice continued his run which took one of the 2 defenders facing Saka away from him. Super quality from Saka but intelligent play from Rice too.

Ebo

Don’t disagree at all, I really do wish players got assists or some other widely appreciated stat for making crucial intelligent runs that make space for others, then Kai Havertz would lead the league alongside Odegaard

Bobbert

If Southgate had done the right thing and sent his assistant coach packing after the world cup instead of alienating ben white, England could have had a more fluid attack and a competent defender on the right side, and probably gotten a lot more out of saka this tournament.

Magneto

It’s certainly true that France have been struggling bigtime to convert chances created into actual goals.

But the two ‘own goals’ that have gone in France’s favour were both scored in open play, primarily as a result of the attacking play by French players.

So whilst I know what people mean when they say that so far France haven’t scored any goals from open play, I don’t necessarily agree with that narrative.

Gunner1971

France players haven’t scored from open play.
Is that better?

Doghouse

Superb strike from Buyako, top performance aswell, his wave away Luke Shaw to celebrate with Ramsbo on the touchline was class..

Doghouse

Incredible how 3 Arsenal players and 1 former were all involved in the goal and celebrations in the space of 10 seconds, firstly Dec’s sublime pass to his teammate, Buyakos wonderful strike, Xhaka turning his back to to let it fly between his legs, Buyako brushing aside Luke Shaw to celebrate with Ramsbo on the touchline.

Gunner1971

Watching whilst on vacation. Might have scared some people with the reaction to that curler.
Love you starboy!!!

Walleye

Beautiful play game after game by saka. Would be even more effective if Ben white had not been pushed away. the USA had a terrible tournament and the coach is being reviewed. personally t don’t think the coach England is having a bad tournament stylishly but will reach the finals. The coach is even worse than the USA coach. How Toney hasn’t replaced kane, how TAA isn’t staring at RB, how ezie isn’t starting and ho Conner Gallagher isn’t staring beside rice is tough to understand. coaches are paid to make hard decisions. Time to make some. I want to… Read more »

Gunner1971

Agree about Toney and don’t mind the Eze shout, but TAA (like Foden) for me only seems to thrive in a certain setup. Maybe if we go back to a back 4 (Walker is mostly dreadful aside from recoveries), TAA could work.
As for Gallagher over Mainoo? You really lost me there.

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