Euro 2024 Day 7 recap – Spain impress again, England struggles continue

Euro 2024 Day 7 recap – Spain impress again, England struggles continue

It’s been another day of drama at the 2024 European Championship, with three more games to talk about.

Slovenia looked to be heading for all three points thanks to Zan Karnickic’s second-half strike against Slovenia, but an equaliser in the dying second by Luka Jovic snatched a vital point for Dragan Stojkovic’s men.

Next up in Group C was a meeting between Denmark and England. The Three Lions laboured through another unimpressive display, drawing 1-1 while failing to look anywhere near their best.

The day ended with a fixture between two of Europe’s most prestigious nations, as Spain faced Italy. La Furia Roja dominated the game from start to finish, but relied on an own goal by Riccardo Calafiori to win 1-0.

Standout Performer – Nico Williams

Spain were outstanding in their match against Italy. They boasted 59% possession and had 20 shots to their opponents’ four. The only thing missing from their stellar display was the finishing.

Nico Williams was guilty of spurning a glorious opportunity early on, heading wide from Alvaro Morata’s cross. But that doesn’t invalidate his wonderful performance on the left.

Italian full-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo had an impossible time dealing with the Athletic Bilbao winger, who showed the full extent of his threat.

He used his pace and dribbling to great effect on several occasions, working his way into some very promising positions.

The 21-year-old also played a key role in the only goal. His powerful cross was flicked on by Morata, whose header was palmed onto the leg of Calafiori by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the net.

He was also unfortunate not to score what would have been one of the goals of the tournament. With approximately 20 minutes left, Williams cut inside on his right foot and unleashed a stunning effort onto the crossbar from distance.

The win secures Spain’s place at the top of Group B. If they can maintain this level of performance, they will give themselves a real chance at lifting the trophy.

Poorest Player – Aleksandar Mitrovic

There were countless players who could have gone here – mostly from England – but it’s hard to ignore the nightmare afternoon that Aleksandar Mitrovic endured.

As Serbia’s all-time top goalscorer, his nation looks to him to provide the goals.

On four occasions, he had the chance to get his first of the tournament, but ended the game goalless.

First, he had a free header from point-blank range from a corner but was unable to get a clean connection on the ball.

Not long afterwards, he muscled off Strahinja Pavlovic and worked space for a shot inside the six-yard box, but was denied by Jan Oblak.

In the second half, Dusan Tadic sent him through on goal but he efired straight at the goalkeeper.

After his side fell behind, Mitrovic was handed another chance to find the net when he met a cross from close range. However, his volleyed effort crashed back off the bar.

Defeat would have left Serbia with a mountain to climb going into their closing game against Denmark. A draw isn’t a disaster, but they would be in a much more favourable position had Mitrovic been more clinical.

Talking Point – Same problems arise for England

When England beat Serbia unconvincingly in their previous outing, many people were concerned about the lack of control in midfield. This proved to be an issue once again in their match with Denmark.

After taking the lead through Harry Kane’s scrappy finish, Gareth Southgate’s team found themselves pinned back, with the Danish midfield getting the better of England’s three.

Eventually this pressure brought results, as Morten Hjulmand rifled a stunning 30-yard effort in off the post.

The remainder of the game wasn’t particularly entertaining for the neutral. Andreas Christensen missed a good chance from a corner, while Phil Foden hit the post down the other end. But the full-time whistle went with the points shared.

A strong midfield is crucial for top sides. If you win the midfield battle, you relieve pressure on your backline and put your opponents’ defence under immense stress.

The Euro 2020 finalists have found things difficult in this area in two consecutive games. If Southgate doesn’t sort this out soon, he can forget about reaching the latter stages this time around.

Up Next

First up today is a meeting of two sides who had very opposite fortunes in their openers, as Slovakia face Ukraine.

The former pulled off a shock victory over Belgium, while the latter were demolished 3-0 by Romania.

This is followed by a match between Poland and Austria. Both sides have landed in a difficult group and will see today’s game as their best opportunity to get three points. It should be a fascinating watch.

Finally, two of Europe’s big boys go head-to-head in the late kick-off, as France face Netherlands.

Neither were particularly convincing in their first games, but they still won. This game could determine who claims top spot in Group D.