Euro 2020: Switzerland knocks out heavy favorites France via penalty kicks

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Hours after Croatia scored twice late to force extra time against Spain, Switzerland did the same thing to France.

Switzerland scored twice in 10 minutes late in the second half to take the defending World Cup champions to an extra 30 minutes tied at 3-3. Unlike in Spain’s 5-3 win over Croatia, no one scored in the final 30 minutes. And unlike Croatia's comeback, Switzerland's was fruitful as it beat France 5-4 on penalty kicks to advance to the quarterfinals against Spain.

Switzerland made all five of its penalty kicks and France star Kylian Mbappe missed the fifth and final kick for France. Mbappe didn't score a goal in any of France's four Euro 2020 games and wasted numerous chances in front of goal during Monday's game. 

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The Swiss comeback came after France appeared to have snuffed out any hopes of an upset in a five-minute span early in the second half. Hugo Lloris saved Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty in the 55th minute as Rodriguez attempted to put Switzerland up 2-0.

Karim Benzema tied the game at 1-1 two minutes after Lloris’ save in a goal that featured a preposterously good touch to gather the ball before the goal.

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And then less than two minutes after Benzema tied the game he put France in front with a header after France ran rampant in Switzerland’s penalty area. Paul Pogba's incredible strike in the 75th minute made it seem that France was well on the way to a win.

But Switzerland scored late as Haris Seferovic got his second goal of the game in the 81st minute and Mario Gavronovic tied it in the 90th minute. 

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France was the big favorite

France entered Euro 2020 as the big favorite to win the tournament. 

France was bet down to +375 immediately ahead of the tournament despite being in the same group as Portugal and Germany.

France beat Germany to start the tournament and then drew with Hungary and Portugal in its next two games. It started Monday’s game poorly and looked stagnant on offense.

But with a lineup featuring Mbappe, Benzema, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, France had the most stacked attack of anyone in the tournament. And that was evident in the second half after Kingsley Coman came onto the field. France sprung to life after the penalty save and showed just how dangerous they could be. Just look at this incredible strike by Pogba. 

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Switzerland never stopped attacking, however. And it exploited gaps in France’s defense late in the second half after France had switched to a back four that needed midfielder Adrien Rabiot at left back because of multiple injuries.

The story after the game will be Mbappe’s struggles, however. The 22-year-old is one of the young stars of world soccer. But he didn’t play well at all and his penalty miss was a metaphor for the way his tournament had gone.

The favorite to win the tournament will now likely be the winner of Tuesday’s Round of 16 game between Germany and England. The winner of that game will play the winner of Sweden vs. Ukraine in the quarterfinals and would face the winner of Denmark vs. Czech Republic in the semifinals.

The other half of the bracket features heavyweights like Italy, Belgium and Spain. And this resilent Switzerland squad. Those four teams will play Friday for spots in the semifinals.

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