PARIS, France, Jun 24 – The group stage of Euro 2020 came to an end on Wednesday, and with the last 16 starting at the weekend, AFP Sport looks at some of the best quotes from the tournament so far ahead of the knockout rounds:
“Thankfully John McGinn gave me some tips. He said: ‘If he comes on you need to get nibbling in his ear. But don’t be critical, be complimentary’.
“So the full time he was on I was telling him how good-looking he was, and I loved his calves, and asking him how he got his hair to look like that.”
— Scotland wing-back Stephen O’Donnell, speaking to the ScotlandHQ, on how he managed to nullify the threat of England’s Jack Grealish, an Aston Villa teammate of John McGinn, in a 0-0 draw.
“It’s an old player who is working in the studio, isn’t it?”
— Sweden’s 21-year-old forward Alexander Isak after former England great turned TV presenter Gary Lineker called him “an exceptional talent”.
“I think everyone was waiting for it. There was a little pressure on me from all over the country but I’m a footballer, a professional — I need that pressure.”
— Karim Benzema after ending a near six-year wait for an international goal.
“I promise you it won’t be 23 years till the next one.”
— Scotland coach Steve Clarke, whose side finished bottom of Group D on their return to a major international tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.
“We managed to get Christian back.”
— Denmark team doctor Martin Boesen after midfielder Christian Eriksen had to be revived on the pitch in the team’s opener against Finland.
“It’s insane that we’re through. That team, these players… It’s fantastic to be part of this. Totally amazing to hear people get crazy.”
— Denmark winger Mikkel Damsgaard after scoring in an emotional 4-1 victory over Russia in Copenhagen which saw the team reach the last 16.
“I have a feeling that we are like a bottle of cava that is about to be uncorked.”
— Spain coach Luis Enrique on his team after drawing their first two group games. The three-time champions then thrashed Slovakia 5-0 to go through.
“I wanted to look like (MMA fighter) Nate Diaz, who is usually covered with blood after each fight. I was just imitating him.”
— Czech striker Patrik Schick on his celebration after scoring against Croatia. He netted a penalty after being caught by Dejan Lovren’s elbow and celebrated by flexing his biceps, while sporting tampons up his bloodied nose and blood smears on his face.
“It’s nice to have equalled a legend like Pozzo. But he has more important trophies than the 30 games.”
— Italy coach Roberto Mancini after his side matched their country’s record unbeaten run of 30 matches, set under two-time World Cup winning coach Vittorio Pozzo between 1935 and 1939.
“I always said if I played at Wembley in a major tournament, I’m scoring. I had to score in my back garden and delighted to do that.”
— England’s Raheem Sterling after scoring the winner against Croatia at Wembley, close to where he grew up.