BUDAPEST: Kylian Mbappe missed the crucial penalty on Monday (Jun 28) as world champions France were sent packing from Euro 2020 in a shoot-out against Switzerland, who go through to a quarter-final tie against Spain after an unforgettable day of drama which featured a total of 14 goals in two games.
Switzerland had never won a knockout tie at the European Championship and had never won a shoot-out, but they triumphed 5-4 on penalties against the World Cup holders after a remarkable 3-3 draw in Bucharest.
France, who came into the tournament as favourites to add the continental crown to the World Cup they won in Russia three years ago, had earlier come from 1-0 down to lead 3-1 and looked to be cruising through, only to concede two late goals.
The game in the Romanian capital followed a 5-3 extra-time win for Spain over Croatia in Copenhagen, and the 2008 and 2012 European champions will face the Swiss in the last eight in Saint Petersburg on Friday.
Switzerland went ahead early on when Haris Seferovic headed in a cross, but they looked set to rue the moment early in the second half when Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty was saved by Hugo Lloris.
By the hour mark the game – watched by a crowd of around 25,000 after coronavirus restrictions in Bucharest were eased – had been turned on its head by Karim Benzema, who controlled Mbappe’s pass to fire in the equaliser and then nodded in Antoine Griezmann’s centre.
Paul Pogba’s stunning curling strike into the top corner seemed to have put Les Bleus out of sight at 3-1 with quarter of an hour left, but Seferovic pulled one back and substitute Mario Gavranovic netted a last-minute equaliser to force extra time.
With no further goals, the tie went to penalties and all nine kicks were converted before Mbappe saw his effort saved by Yann Sommer.
“It is painful,” said France captain Lloris.
“We are the world champions, so to go out in the last 16 is not a good result.
“We were the first ones to expect better. We will need time to get over this disappointment.”
Switzerland, who only qualified for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed sides, had not won a knockout tie at a major tournament since the 1938 World Cup.
“It was an incredible evening. I am so proud of the team,” said goalkeeper Sommer.