Paris (AFP) – While Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick top the individual scoring charts at Euro 2020, their five-goal hauls are well adrift of the 11 own goals at the tournament — a total that eclipses all the other European Championships combined.
AFP Sport picks out some of the most striking mishaps ahead of Sunday’s final between England and Italy:
Merih Demiral’s Turkish omen
As Turkey went toe to toe with Italy in the opening game, Demiral’s moment of misadventure swung the game sharply in the hosts’ favour in Rome. The Juventus defender bundled Domenico Berardi’s cross into his own net, setting the tone for a disastrous Turkey campaign, as the first of many disappointments.
Double the pain for Wojciech Szczesny
Not for the first time misfortune has stalked Szczesny at the Euro. The Poland goalkeeper, sent off in the opening game of the 2012 edition, unwittingly gave Slovakia the lead when Robert Mak’s shot cannoned back off the post and struck the prone Szczesny’s upper arm, trickling over the line much to the horror of the Juventus man.
Mats Hummels returns the favour
Having knocked France out of the 2014 World Cup, Mats Hummels inadvertently settled one of the standout games of the first round with an own goal against the world champions. The Germany defender sliced a Lucas Hernandez cross into the roof of his own net in the 20th minute of a 1-0 loss to France in Munich. The Germans had their work cut out to reach the knockout phase after this defeat.
Huge helping hand from Martin Dubravka
What was going through the mind of Martin Dubravka? Moments after saving an Alvaro Morata penalty in a crucial game with Spain, the Slovakia goalkeeper produced a clanger from which his team never recovered. Tracking the rebound as the ball looped down after striking the crossbar, Dubravka badly miscalculated his effort to tip over, comically swatting into his own goal. “Errors are part of life and football. I’m sure Martin will learn from that,” said Slovakia coach Stefan Tarkovic in defence of his blundering player. Unfortunately, the incident served to open the floodgates as Spain won 5-0, with Juraj Kucka also putting one past his own keeper.
Pedri and Unai Simon’s baffling team effort
Never before at the tournament had an own goal been scored from outside the penalty area. Pedro and his goalkeeper Unai Simon changed all that as they combined to produce another bizarre Euro 2020 moment. The teenager’s back-pass from 45 metres rolled over the boot of an embarrassed Simon, who was left with his hands on knees and the own goal replaying through his head on a loop. Luckily for Spain they recovered to beat Croatia after extra time in a thrilling last-16 tie. It was the only time so far a team scoring an own goal had not gone on to lose.
Simon Kjaer suffers cruel fate
Widely acclaimed for his handling of the Christian Eriksen trauma, the Denmark captain’s own goal against England ultimately contributed to ending his side’s fairytale run. Attempting to cut out a cross from Bukayo Saka, with Raheem Sterling waiting to pounce, Kjaer diverted into his own net to hand England the equaliser as they came from behind to win 2-1 in extra time in the semi-finals.
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