An unbelievable late header from Artem Dovbyk – scored in injury-time of extra-time – sent Ukraine into their first-ever tournament quarter-final. They now travel to Rome, where they’ll meet England on Saturday, while Sweden – who fought and defended resolutely after Marcus Danielson was sent off – go home.
The first half started slowly, but livened up after 20 minutes or so and on 27 Ukraine took the lead, Oleksandr Zinchenko driving home after good work from Taras Stepanenko and Andriy Yarmolenko. Naturally, Sweden then turned it up, but found clear-cut chances hard to come by – until, on 43 minutes, Alexander Isak found Emil Forsberg, who clattered home a drive – with the help of a deflection – that gave him his fourth goal of the competition.
Ukraine's Oleksandr Zinchenko scores the opening goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 match between Sweden and Ukraine at Hampden Park, on June 29, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland
Both sides had chances to win the game in the second half, both hitting the woodwork – Sweden twice – but as the players tired, bodies strewn about the pitch, penalties looked the only possible outcome. But then on 100 minutes, Danielson lunged for the ball, and though he got it, he clattered Artem Beslin in the follow-through and the ref was forced to send him off, while Beselin limped off.
This, though, galvanised Ukraine – eventually – and with second left, Zinchenko planted a perfect cross onto Dovbyk’s head, and a game of exquisite strangeness ended in spectacular style.
Sweden have defended well throughout this competition, and their ability to do that almost earned them a quarter-final spot. It’s a good quality to have, and can be said of fewer teams than ever before. But it’s not one a team should want to rely on, and Sweden are guilty of doing unnecessarily.
It’s not always been the case, but they now have the players to cause any team problems – Emil Forsberg, Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski. But to get the most out of them, in games that they should win – games like tonight – they need to alter their approach.
In too many periods of play and especially in the opening 20 minutes, Sweden were too passive, and Ukraine punished them for it, going ahead. Then again, in the second half, they didn’t push for the win and were punished by the red card, which ultimately cost them the match. Playing cautiously has been successful for Sweden for quite some time, but nevertheless it’s time for a rethink.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 29: Emil Forsberg of Sweden celebrates with Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindeloef and Sebastian Larsson after scoring their side's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Sweden and Ukraine at Hampden
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ukraine) Scored a fine goal, made the greatest goal in his nation;s footballing history.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 29: Ukraine's Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates his opening goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 match between Sweden and Ukraine at Hampden Park, on June 29, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.
27’ - GOAL! Sweden 0-1 Ukraine (Zinchenko) JUST LIKE THAT! Ukraine move it beautifully from left to right, Stepanenko finding a lovely switch, and when the ball goes on to Yarmolenko, he swerves a luscious outside-of-the-boot cross to Zinchenko, who crashes a low finish that Olsen can only help into the net!
43’ - GOAL! Sweden 1-1 Ukraine (Forsberg) He's done it again! Isak moves the ball across the face of the box to Forsberg, who takes a good touch to move it out his feet on the half-turn. One look, and he flings his entire corporeality into a left-footed drive, which kicks off Zabarnyi and flies over Buschan, who's already dived low. That was semi-coming, and Forsberg now has four for the competition.
55’ - Sweden have stopped playing! Yarmolenko moves down the right then clips back a pass for Stepanenko, who arrives onto it beautifully 20 yards out, right of centre. He punches a curler that bends back towards goal ... and cracks the near post!
56’ - Now it's Sweden's go! Isak, collecting the ball in centrefield, opens up his legs and moves past two men in centrefield before spreading for Forsberg. He takes a touch, opens his body ... and bumps a low finish against the base of the post!
69’ - AAARRRGGGHHH! Forsberg ducks in off the left, inside a challenge that takes him into the box, then away from another that takes him outside the box, but opens the space for him to unfurl a curler that shrieks past Bashchan and onto the bar! That was almost an incredible goal, but instead it's nothing. This game!
100’ - Eesh! Danielson swings a leg at a bouncing ball and I think he gets it, but he also catches Besedin high on the knee and thigh, hyper-extending them. From one angle, it looks like he's run into him, from most others it looks awful, and VAR is looking at this. I think he's going to go. Yup, Danielson goes - I feel for him because he went after the ball - but Mr Miyagi will not be impressed. .
120+1’ - OH MY ABSOLUTE DAYS WHAT A GOAL! JKJNDFSLKMWFLKSFLKN Sweden 1-1 Ukraine (Dovbyk) Zinchenko goes down the left, swings over a monstrous cross, and Dovbyk - who's looked a bit of a lump, truth be told - flies into a violent header that puts Ukraine into the quarter-finals!
Artem Dovbyk's winning goal, scored after 120:37, is the second-latest goal in European Championship history, behind Semih Sentürk for Turkey v Croatia in 2008 (121:01), and , overtaking Michel Platini for France v Portugal in 1984 (118:53).