And now, business is about to pick up.
The group stage at Euro 2020 is over and done with. The two days without games — also over and done with. Now the games are back, and the knockout rounds are officially here.
It just so happens that one of the biggest draws on this here blog is helping kickoff the knockout rounds, too. They did so when it comes to the tournament as a whole, now Italy is playing on the first day of the round of 16. The Azzurri aren’t the first game and they aren’t playing in Rome — which sucks because that was a damn fun atmosphere — but they are, suddenly, one of the favorites to win Euro 2020 after an impressive three games in the group stage.
But since Italy is not the first game of the day, here’s the schedule for the next couple of hours:
- Wales vs. Denmark in Amsterdam
- Italy vs. Austria in London
That’s a solid opening day to the knockout round. And unlike the last few days around here, there’s a big draw and a team that many a-folks who lurk here will be rooting for. (I’m guessing that Chuks’ Netherlands crew doesn’t have the same draw as Roberto Mancini and his fancy blazers.)
Now we get to see what Italy’s group stage performances were all about. Can they keep the good times going? Or will the knockout rounds slow down a train that has been gaining plenty of steam over the last couple of weeks? There’s plenty on the line, and now there’s the expectation that Italy will continue to perform at this level as well as pick up the results needed to compete for the top spot at Euro 2020.
We’re about to find out, at least for the first step in the knockout rounds, what Italy is all about.
So, as you wait for the games to begin, here is a picture that makes me laugh for some reason:
Oh, I know why. It’s because Marco Verratti is 5-foot-5 ... and he’s clearly taller than Lorenzo Insigne. It’s wild that two of Italy’s most creative players are just a couple of inches taller than Sebastian Giovinco. (Who, I might add, is currently out of contract, so maybe Max Allegri should make a call. I AM KIDDING.)
Wales vs. Denmark
When: 6 p.m. local time and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. on the East Coast; 9 a.m. on the West Coast
Where: Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands
HOW TO WATCH
Television: ESPN (United States); TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, CTV (Canada); ITV 1 UK, STV Scotland (United Kingdom)
Online/mobile: WatchESPN, fuboTV (United States); TSN.ca, TSN app, CTV app (Canada); The ITV Hub (United Kingdom)
Italy vs. Austria
When: 9 p.m. across Europe; 8 p.m. local time in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. on the East Coast; 12 p.m. on the West Coast
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
HOW TO WATCH
Television: ABC (United States); TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, CTV (Canada); BBC One (United Kingdom); RAI 1, Sky Sport Football, Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport 251 (Italy)
Online/mobile: WatchESPN, fuboTV (United States); TSN.ca, TSN app, CTV app (Canada); BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Web (United Kingdom); RaiPlay, SKY GO Italia, NOW TV (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.