Ukraine beat 10-man Sweden 2-1 in extra time at Hampden Park on Tuesday to book a Euro 2020 quarter-final clash with England. Artem Dovbyk scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time at the end of extra time. Ukraine made it to the last eight of a major competition for only the second time, following reaching the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup.
After 90 minutes, the two teams were tied at 1-1 after goals from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Emil Forsberg of Sweden, but the situation changed nine minutes into extra time when Sweden defender Marcus Danielson was sent off.
Sweden appeared to be resigned to a penalty shootout, but Dovbyk had other plans, converting Zinchenko’s cross in the 121st minute to end the game and put Ukraine into uncharted European Championship territory.
England will be strong favourites against Andriy Shevchenko’s side in Rome on Saturday, after being stunned by Iceland in the knockout round of the last European Championship five years ago. The resolute Ukrainians will be no pushovers, having never given up against a Sweden team that came into their last-16 meeting unblemished from the group stage, where they ended ahead of Spain.
“Both teams played very well,” Shevchenko said at a press conference. “It was an interesting match. We had this drama at the end because neither side wanted to lose. Our team has earned the love of the entire country for their dedication and excellence.”
The team nearly got off to a dream start when Roman Yaremchuk was stopped by a smart Robin Olsen save at Hampden, where a tiny band of Ukraine supporters was present to witness their side’s first-ever appearance in a European Championship knockout stage. In a thrilling start, Sweden caused issues as well, but Ukraine took the lead after 27 minutes, with Manchester City’s Zinchenko smashing home after being picked out by a superb Andriy Yarmolenko pass with the outside of his boot.
Sweden needed a slice of luck to get back into the game after falling behind in the tournament for the first time, with Forsberg’s speculative strike taking a large deflection before reaching the net shortly before halftime. After the half, Forsberg, who now has four goals in the tournament, one less than Cristiano Ronaldo, followed Ukraine’s Serhiy Sydorchuk in hitting the woodwork twice.
Only Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more goals in the Euro finals for Sweden than Forsberg, and without the RB Leipzig forward’s goals — two in the critical 3-2 victory over Poland and the game-winner against Slovakia — Sweden would have finished last in the group stage with only one point. But, like the rest of his teammates, he was exhausted, and with neither team able to come up with a winner, extra time was called. Following a VAR review, Danielson was sent off for a high and dangerous tackle on Artem Besedin, making Sweden’s task much more difficult.
Following the drama of world champions France’s exit on Monday, another last-16 penalty shootout seemed likely, but Ukraine had one final attack left in them, with Dovbyk stealing the show. His strike was second-most recent in European Championship history, trailing only Turkey’s Semih Senturk’s in 2008, and it was also the most recent match-winning strike in the competition, with his performance certain to go down in Ukrainian footballing folklore.