A time where a Juventus player wasn't part of Euro 2016 was bound to happen. That's the reality we all knew was coming when the knockout round arrives. Teams, no matter how good or poorly they play, will be heading home for the summer with a loss.
Following the first three games of the Round of 16, we can say this:
Stephan Lichtsteiner and Switzerland — going home.
Mario Mandzukic and Croatia — also going home.
After seeing Juventus players' countries suffer just two losses in the entire group stage, Juventus players and their respective nations went 0 for 2 on the first day of the Round of 16. Both games went to extra time, one went to penalties (Switzerland-Poland), one looked like it was destined for penalties until a 117th-minute goal (Croatia-Portugal). It was about as tough of a way to go home as there is when the knockout round gets underway.
Juventus' representation is still in double digits — for now. Although, by this time Sunday that may no longer the case if France and Germany somehow tumble against teams they probably should beat.
Neither of the two games with Juventus players was very good. And I feel pretty safe in saying that the Croatia vs. Portugal game was about as dull and boring as you could get, with all of ONE shot on goal being recorded in 120-plus minutes being played. That obviously doesn't bode well for Mandzukic, who put forth his usual workrate but clearly showed that he wasn't 100 percent and couldn't get anything going in front of goal. His hard tumble to the ground after going up for a header against Pepe was a fitting end to a tough day at the office for Mandzukic, who didn't score a goal in three starts at the tournament.
Lichtsteiner, who captained Switzerland at Euro 2016, saw his squad bow out on penalties, thanks in large part to the standout performance from Poland backup goalkeeper ukasz Fabiański. Lichtsteiner, as we haven't seen much at all during his Juventus career, scored Switzerland's first penalty in the shootout to determine who got the first spot in the quarterfinals.
The good part of Croatia and Switzerland being eliminated at this stage of the game? Lichtsteiner and Mandzukic get a nice amount of rest before re-joining their Juventus teammates for preseason training. So if there's a positive to come out of two not-so-thrilling Euro matches, there you go.