Soccer·EURO 2020 ROUNDUP

Italy's reserves step up again in extra time win over Austria, advance to Euro quarters

After breezing through the group stage at Euro 2020, Italy was made to fight for its 2-1 victory over Austria on Saturday in a last-16 game that came to life in extra time.

Dolberg's brace sends Danes into last 8 to face winner of Netherlands-Czech Republic

Italian substitute midfielder Matteo Pessina scored what would turn out to be the winner in Italy's 2-1 extra time victory over Austria in the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 on Saturday. (Laurence Griffiths/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

With three exquisite touches of control, technique and finishing, Federico Chiesa ended 95 minutes of Italian frustration.

This record-breaking team is off to the quarter-finals of the European Championship with a defence that finally allowed a goal after more than 19 hours but with a national team-record 12th straight victory.

After breezing through the group stage at Euro 2020, Italy was made to fight for its 2-1 victory over Austria on Saturday in a last-16 game that came to life in extra time.

It was Roberto Mancini's substitutes who made the difference with the goals from Chiesa and Matteo Pessina at Wembley Stadium.

"We needed some fresh energy," Mancini said, "and the guys who came on were brilliant."

An unmarked Chiesa brought down Leonardo Spinazzola's high cross with his head, controlled the bouncing ball with his right boot and then used his other foot to shoot low into the net.

"Usually when the ball arrives like this you try a first time on the volley," Chiesa said. "But I think the goal came because I was composed, I was relaxed and I was focused."

The goal rolled the clock back 25 years to when European Championship games were last played in England and his father Enrico Chiesa scored for Italy. Euro '96, however, ended in the group stage for Italy.

Now it's onto a quarterfinal meeting in Munich on Friday against the winner of Sunday's match between defending champion Portugal and top-ranked Belgium.

"Ideally we would like to avoid both," Mancini said, "but it's not possible."

After scoring seven goals without reply in the group stage, Italy didn't have it so easy against an Austrian team playing in the knockout stage at a European Championship for the first time.

"After 90 minutes we said that we just had to improve the quality of the final passes," Spinazzola said, "and finally the goals arrived in extra time."

Individual skill produced the breakthrough from Chiesa. Italy's second was more about calmness in a goalmouth scramble. Pessina, who came on midway through the second half, sent the ball into the far corner of the net in the 105th minute.

"In this team everybody can score and this is our main strength," Pessina said. "We are a great group."

The group spirit was clear in the raw emotion of the goal celebrations as teammates collapsed on Pessina, a late injury replacement in the squad.

"He's not a player I have necessarily unearthed — he has been doing brilliantly for Atalanta," Mancini said. "He has certainly proved that he is a top player and I think he will have a great future with Italy because I think he is only going to get better."

Italy was also celebrating in extra time after setting a world record for minutes played without conceding a goal in international soccer. The previous record was also Italy's and was set with goalkeeper Dino Zoff in the team. The Italians went 1,143 minutes between 1972 and 1974 without allowing a goal.

But Italy soon conceded for the first time in 1,168 minutes, from a set piece in the 114th minute when Sasa Kalajdzic headed the ball in from a corner.

"Maybe Italy was a little bit nervous," Austria defender David Alaba said.

The Austrian comeback ended there, however, and Italy held on for its 31st straight unbeaten match — another national team record.

Video review helped, too.

Austria took 63 minutes for its first shot, then found the net two minutes later. Alaba headed the ball across the penalty area and Marko Arnautovic nodded the ball past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. But the video review showed Arnautovic's right boot was offside.

"We are disappointed and sad," Austria coach Franco Foda said. "We need justice in football but today it hit us. It was a close offside and we have to live with it."

Denmark ride emotional high to romp past Wales, advance to Euro quarters

Still riding a wave of emotion, Denmark won again at the European Championship.

And they won a big one at a stadium that means a lot to them.

The Danes advanced to the quarter-finals at Euro 2020 by beating Wales 4-0 on Saturday, getting two goals from Kasper Dolberg exactly two weeks after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field during the team's opening match. Eriksen had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator and spent several days in the hospital before returning home last week.

Both Eriksen and Dolberg played for Ajax, the team that plays its home matches at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Much of the crowd of 16,000 was cheering on the Danes.

"It feels like a home game," Dolberg said. "This stadium, which is very special to me, it's fantastic."

Dolberg, who was given his first start of the tournament by Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand, scored a goal in each half. Joakim Maehle scored the third in the 88th minute and Martin Braithwaite added the fourth in injury time.

Dolberg took a pass from Mikkel Damsgaard in the 27th minute and cut infield from the left before curling a right-foot shot into the far corner. He doubled the lead in the 48th minute when he scored with a low shot after Neco Williams' attempted clearance went straight to him.

Dolberg knows all about about scoring in Amsterdam. He found the net 45 times in 119 matches for Ajax from 2016-19 before signing for French club Nice.

Gareth Bale (11) of Wales and Simon Kjaer (4) of Denmark pose for a photo with a Christian Eriksen shirt with match officials. Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's opening game vs. Finland. (Koen van Weel/Getty Images)

Saturday's strikes brought his tally at the Johan Cruyff Arena to 31, with the other 29 coming for Ajax.

Dolberg became the first Danish player to score at least twice in a match at a major tournament since Nicklas Bendtner against Portugal at Euro 2012.

With Wales increasingly ragged, Maehle made it 3-0 with a powerful shot when he had time and space to control the ball and beat Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward. Braithwaite's goal was initially ruled offside but allowed after a video review.

Harry Wilson was sent off in the 90th minute for a foul on Maehle.

The Danes will next play either the Netherlands or the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals in Baku on Saturday.

Wales had an early chance to take the lead when captain Gareth Bale sent a swerving shot just wide in the 10th minute. He shot wide again two minutes later as he attempted to break an international goal drought that has now reached 15 matches.

Bale was one of Wales' key players when the team reached the semifinals at Euro 2016 in France.

WATCH l  Bring It Panel on banned U.S. runner Shelby Houlihan's steroid excuse:

Burritogate: The latest on Shelby Houlihan’s competition ban

1 year ago
Duration 11:26
Morgan Campbell, Meghan McPeak, and Dave Zirin discuss Shelby Houlihan’s four year competition ban from a positive drug test in January 2021.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?