The first knockout round of the tournament has provided several dramatic and nail-biting moments, as well as some truly shocking results. Sweden and Ukraine were not left out as they put up a breathtaking spectacle that will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it.
A quick start to the game saw both sides fashion good chances. But it was Ukraine who drew first blood just before the half-hour mark.
Andriy Yarmolenko produced an audacious outside-of-the-boot flick that went round the Sweden defense to land perfectly for Oleksandr Zinchenko on the edge of the area.
The Manchester City man showed great technique to keep his strike low and the force of the shot meant that Robin Olsen stood no chance.
Sweden drew level through captain Emil Forsberg two minutes before halftime. Alexander Isak teed up the RB Leipzig man whose shot on goal took a wicked deflection to leave Georgi Bushchan wrong-footed in the Ukraine goal.
The second half kept up the same intense tempo and a 15-minute spell after the restart saw exciting end-to-end action played between the two sides.
Both goalkeepers were called into action with stunning saves, while the woodwork was also hit at both ends of the field.
The action dried up a little as the reality of extra time, as well as fatigue, took a toll on the
Sweden manager Janne Andersson went for the kill by making three attacking changes right at the start of extra time.
His plan, however, backfired when Marcus Danielson was given his marching orders for a horrendous studs-on challenge on Artem Besedin. The referee had initially brandished just a caution but changed his mind after consultations with the VAR.
Danielsson was extremely careless with the tackle, which left significant damage to Besdin’s knee ligaments, and the red card was well-deserved.
The reduction to 10 men tamed Sweden’s attacking impetus as the Scandinavian nation tried to hold on for penalties.
Ukraine struggled to make their one-man advantage count. But just when it looked like a penalty shootout was on the cards, substitute Artem Dovbyk netted a dramatic winner in injury time of extra-time.
Zinchenko found space on the left flank and set the ball on a plate for Dovbyk with a precise cross into the area. The Dnipro man only needed to glance home his header to send his country into wild
Incredibly, the 24-year-old had only been on the field for 15 minutes and was indeed making his first appearance of the tournament. It was also his first international goal and he would be hard-pressed to score a more important goal in his career.
The victory means Ukraine have booked a quarter-final date with England at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday while Sweden head home.
Here are five talking points from the thrilling encounter at Hampden Park.
#5 Sweden’s Emil Forsberg departs Euro 2020 as one of the breakout stars of the tournament
Emil Forsberg has been one of the most important players for RB Leipzig who have become a force to be reckoned with in German football.
However, the Sweden international does not have a profile that matches his immense ability.
International tournaments often give an opportunity for a global audience to watch lesser-known players more closely. And talented footballers often take the opportunity to cement their legacies.
Emil Forsberg is one of those who undoubtedly made a mark at Euro 2020. He continued his fine run at the tournament with another star performance against
His directness and technique proved to be a handful for Ukraine in the first half. And it came as no surprise when he drew Sweden level with a fortuitous shot in the 43rd minute.
His luck, however, deserted him in the second half and he struck the post and crossbar with two shots from promising positions. He should have arguably buried those chances.
Emil Forsberg, who scored four goals in four games, boosted his stock with what was a splendid tournament for him on a personal level.
#4 Fairytale run continues for Ukraine at Euro 2020
Ukraine have a relatively modest footballing history and came to Euro 2020 as one of the rank outsiders.
The Eastern European nation had tasted immense success earlier. They were part of the USSR who won the first-ever edition of the European Championship.
However, a combination of several factors, including political turmoil and squad disharmony, meant Ukraine struggled to make a mark on the international scene since independence.
Andriy Shevchenko’s appointment as manager helped calm the storm as the former striker has brought renewed l
Despite this, few, if any, would have given Ukraine a chance of making an impact in this tournament. And their indifferent group stage campaign backed the notion.
They narrowly sneaked into the round of 16 as the fourth-best third-placed team. Ironically, they had Sweden to thank for their qualification.
Sweden’s last-gasp winner in the five-goal thriller against Poland saw Ukraine book their spot in the knockout round of the Euros for the first time.
One of the hallmarks of Ukraine under Shevchenko has been their doggedness and cameraderie. This was in full evidence against a Swedish side many had tipped to be the dark horses.
The victory secures a date with England on Saturday. Despite being overwhelming underdogs against the Three Lions, there is no telling how far this Ukrainian side can go.