The AnswersThatWork Blog


June 2016
 


EURO 2016 — European Football Championship


EURO 2016 has started...

Download our great printable EURO 2016 football wallchart (click on the yellow arrowheads to read match report) or follow it here for plenty of match comments and updated results. 

 


Thursday, 30th June 2016
POLAND --- PORTUGAL

Stadium: Stade Vélodrome - Marseille
Referee: Felix Brych, Germany


Poland:
Portugal:
 


Monday, 27th June 2016
ENGLAND 1-2 ICELAND

Stadium: Stade de Nice - Nice
Referee: Damir Skomina, Slovenia


England: Wayne Rooney (4 (P))
Iceland: Ragnar Sigurdsson (6), Kolbeinn Sigthórsson (18)

The English press got it wrong again and played the "class" card rather than rely on results.  So they interviewed Patrice Evra after the France win against Ireland, and started discussing the quarter-finals between England and France !!!  Patrice Evra, quite rightly, indicated that it was not guaranteed that England would win against Iceland, and wasn't he right !  Let's not forget :  this is the Iceland which did not lose a single match in a group which had Portugal and Czechia in it, they even won one match, against Austria.  It gets better :  they also scored more goals than England in their group matches, and they have scored in every game so far in these Euros.  The same Iceland which, incidentally, beat Holland home and away on their way to qualifying for Euro 2016.  Coincidence ?  Of course not — that's the sign of a good team.  And so it proved today.  England started at an amazing tempo and got a deserved break in the 4th minute in the shape of a penalty on Raheem Sterling.  Wayne Rooney scored it — 1-0 to England.  Did that deter Iceland ?  Of course not — if they could go down 1-0 to Portugal and still draw the game, why not against England.  Within 2 minutes they were level — one of their well-rehearsed long corners was headed into the box by Amason for Ragnar Sigurdsson to slot into the goal. England were shocked by this equalizer — they not only did not expect it, they had never envisaged a scenario where they would score first and Iceland would equalize.  13 minutes later Iceland were in Dreamland — this time the goal was a beautiful goal.  Iceland pinged the ball to one another on the edge of the penalty area, bamboozling the English defence with a succession of one-twos with the ball eventually falling to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson who passed the ball into the net.  It was a great team goal.  That, effectively, was the end of the game because from that moment on it was a case of Iceland resolutely and at times very skilfully defending their lead in the face of constant pressure from England.  England never found a breakthrough however.  A fairy story for Iceland.
Man of the match :  Birkir Bjarnason.
 


Monday, 27th June 2016
ITALY 2-0 SPAIN

Stadium: Stade de France - Saint-Denis
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir, Turkey


Italy: Giorgio Chiellini (33), Graziano Pellč (90+1)

I said, after their first match of this tournament against Belgium, another 2-0 win, that Italy was worrying me the most in this tournament.  Well, as a French person, my worry is now turning to panic !
.  This Italy team is scary — there are no world-class superstars in their team aside from Buffon, the goalkeeper, but as a TEAM they are very very special.  In all the years I have watched football I have rarely seen an Italy team that creates so many scoring chances against every team they play against.  David De Gea in the Spain goals was fantastic — but for him Italy would have been 3-0 or 4-0 up at half-time, such was their first half domination.  When has anyone ever seen Spain reduced to aimlessly lumping the ball into the penalty area, but that was how clueless Spain were in the first half against this inventive, skillful and hard running Italy side.  I love watching this Italy team, especially their front 3 or front 4, whatever one calls their formation; the interchanging and the angles they find are just brilliant.  Spain came back into it in the second-half, dominating the possession without ever creating a single clear-cut chance except for a long kick from De Gea which fell to Pique in the penalty area but Buffon pulled off a world-class save.  Italy, on the other hand, even though not dominating the play, still kept creating clear-cut chances and they were finally rewarded in added time when they scored a lovely team goal on the counter through Graziano Pellč.  A great match.  I still have the same reservationnow that we are at the knock-out stage, with no opportunity to rest players, I do wonder how long Italy will last with such a high average age, 31 !!  At the same time, Germany have never ever beaten Italy in a European or World Cup competitive match ....
Man of the match :  Graziano Pellč.
  


Sunday, 26th June 2016
HUNGARY 0-4 BELGIUM

Stadium: Stadium de Toulouse - Toulouse
Referee: Milorad Mažic, Serbia


Belgium: Toby Alderweireld (10), Michy Batshuayi (78), Eden Hazard (80),
Yannick Carrasco (90+1)

This was an exhilarating match to watch, and for one reason only :  Hungary came to play attacking football come what may !  As a result we were treated to a wonderful feast of end-to-end football.  Ahhhhh, if all football games were like that ..... It was "gay abandon" football — you try to score, we try to score, we try again to score, your turn to try to score !!  Fantastic for the neutral, and probably also for Belgians and Hungarians alike.  But Belgium did have a technical edge on the Hungarians as, finally, this golden generation has been clicking into a .... great football TEAM.  Belgium should really have been 6-2 up at half-time but a combination of wayward finishing and good Hungarian goalkeeping kept the score, unbelievably, at 1-0 only, meaning Hungary were still in the game.  The second half was very special :  it was Eden Hazard vs Hungary.  He was everywhere, testing the goalkeeper, jinking past players at will, opening up the play, creating chances for other players — he was truly world-class — he illuminated the evening with his class, created the second Batshuayi, and scored a classic Eden Hazard third goal.  Ahhhhh, if all football games were like this !
Man of the match :  Eden Hazard.  


Sunday, 26th June 2016
GERMANY 3-0 SLOVAKIA

Stadium: Stade Pierre Mauroy - Lille
Referee: Szymon Marciniak, Poland


Germany: Jérôme Boateng (8), Mario Gomez (43), Julian Draxler (63)

Well, there is one certainty after this match :  there is no way Germany will get another game in these Euros that was as easy as this one.  They won this match at a canter — it could have been 6-0.  Slovakia offered absolutely no threat; as a result, for the neutral this was a very low-key match, particularly after Germany scored so early, in the 8th minute through a brilliant 25m volley from Jerome Boateng off a cleared corner.  Once that goal went in, all the tension went out of the game as it was clear Slovakia would never score in this match.  A good win for Germany against a very weak team — their quarter-final against either Spain or Italy, who they have never beaten in major tournaments, will be a much sterner test than this was.
Man of the match :  Julian Draxler.
 


Sunday, 26th June 2016
FRANCE 2-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Stadium: Stade de Lyon - Lyon
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli, Italy


France: Antoine Griezmann (58), (61)
Republic of Ireland: Robbie Brady (2 (P))

This was the best game of the tournament so far.  Ireland played an incredible game, full of attacking verve, energy, and ..... skill.  They rattled France, there is no doubt about it, first with that first minute goal which was all to do with starting the match from the first second and pouring men forward.  It was a deserved penalty, and a deserved goal — France had forgotten that a match starts at the referee's whistle.  I expected us to react from this, but Ireland were so fired up they were winning every ball, every second ball, every third ball, they were everywhere, and once they had the ball they were skilful in utilizing it, creating 3 more goal chances in that first half, two of them clear cut.  It was a fantastic first half for Ireland.  However, however, in the 40th minute the first signs of them running out of steam started to show — suddenly France were having more space, more time on the ball, were able to find each other, and a lot of that was due to the intensity of the Irish pressing dropping down a notch.  It had to, no team on this planet can play 90 minutes at the intensity that the Irish started this game.  At half time Didier Deschamps made a positive change, bringing on Kingsley Coman and from the first minute of that second-half it was all France, with 80% possession, 75% of it in the Ireland half.  The goals, when they came, were beautiful — what a player Antoine Griezmann is proving for France after a relatively anonymous 2014 World Cup.  Ireland went down to 10-men when Shane Duffy got sent off for a last-man foul on Griezmann.  It should have been France all along from then on, and in truth, France did create a handful of chances after the sending-off, but, incredibly, Ireland were not out of the game and created two chances of their own.  It was a fantastic performance by Ireland, so much so that Patrice Evra was moved to spending the whole of his post-match interview congratulating Ireland.  A brilliant match. 
Man of the match : the man from Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann.  


Saturday, 25th June 2016
CROATIA 0-1 PORTUGAL

Stadium: Stade Bollaert-Delelis - Lens
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain


Portugal: Ricardo Quaresma (117 (ET))
 


Saturday, 25th June 2016
WALES 1-0 NORTHERN IRELAND

Stadium: Parc des Princes - Paris
Referee: Martin Atkinson, England


Wales: Gareth McAuley (75 (O))

This was a strange match.  After looking so full of life in their last group matches, these two teams played most of match as if the magnitude of the UK Brexit vote was weighing on the minds of the players.  I cannot imagine that any of the 22 players on the pitch would have wanted their respective countries to come out of the EU, and they would have been talking about the shock referendum result all day yesterday, and possibly all night long last night, with family and friends, and it showed in this match.  The football was leaden, one-pace, devoid of the "joy-of-being-there".  In the 55th and 63rd minute Chris Coleman, the Wales coach made substitutions which injected some pace into the Welsh attack, and he also moved Gareth Bale to the left wing, and ultimately those changes won him the match :  Gareth Bale produced the sort of impossible-to-deal-with cross which had only one destination, either Gareth McAuley would cut it out but put it in his own net, or Hal Robson-Kanu behind him would score — tragically for Northern Ireland Gareth McAuley scored the own goal.  And that was it — this dreadful match continued being dreadful.  Wales will have to play better in the quarter finals to make it to the semis.  Can they ?  I am not so sure :  I think the political situation in the disintegrating UK will only make things worse for the minds of the players.
 


Saturday, 25th June 2016
SWITZERLAND 1-1 POLAND
(After Extra Time — Poland win 4-5 on Penalties)
Stadium: Stade Geoffroy Guichard - Saint-Etienne
Referee: Mark Clattenburg, England


Switzerland: Xherdan Shaqiri (82)
Poland: Jakub Błaszczykowski (39)

The right team won.  It is strange to say this in a game where the losing team scored as many regular time and extra-time goals as the winner and hit the woodwork a number of times too, but I do think Poland have the greater cutting edge and the greater capacity to go further in the tournament.  They certainly dominated the early part of this match and deservedly went in front with Blaszczykowski on a brilliant counter-attack in the 39th minute.  In the second half, Switzerland came back into it, they had to or they were going out of the tournament, and hit the post twice, but all along it looked like Poland were playing within themselves trying to preserve their 1-0 lead.  But then came the goal of the tournament so far :  just when it looked like the match was going towards a 1-0 win for Poland, Xherdan Shaqiri produced a magical overhead kick to equalize for Switzerland — this goal will be watched and re-watched over and over.  So the match went to extra time where nothing happened, absolutely nothing.  Switzerland dominated the first half of extra-time without creating a single clear chance, and Poland dominated most of the second half, again without creating a single clear-cut chance.  So it went to penalties.  I hope all other teams left in this tournament watched this penalty shoot-out :  it was an absolute demonstration of penalty-taking by Poland, Switzerland never had a chance.  It may have been a tight match in the end, but the right team went through.
 


Wednesday, 22nd June 2016
ITALY 0-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Stadium: Stade Pierre Mauroy - Lille
Referee: Ovidiu Hategan, Romania


Republic of Ireland: Robbie Brady (85)
 


Wednesday, 22nd June 2016
SWEDEN 0-1 BELGIUM

Stadium: Stade de Nice - Nice
Referee: Felix Brych, Germany


Belgium: Radja Nainggolan (84)
 


Wednesday, 22nd June 2016
HUNGARY 3-3 PORTUGAL

Stadium: Stade de Lyon - Lyon
Referee: Martin Atkinson, England


Hungary: Zoltán Gera (19), Balázs Dzsudzsák (47), (55)
Portugal: Nani (42), Cristiano Ronaldo (50), (62)


Wednesday, 22nd June 2016
ICELAND 2-1 AUSTRIA

Stadium: Stade de France - Saint-Denis
Referee: Szymon Marciniak, Poland


Iceland: Jón Dadi Bödvarsson (18), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (90+4)
Austria: Alessandro Schöpf (60)
 


Tuesday, 21st June 2016
CROATIA 2-1 SPAIN

Stadium: Stade de Bordeaux - Bordeaux
Referee: Björn Kuipers, Nederland


Croatia: Nikola Kalinic (45), Ivan Perišić (87)
Spain: Álvaro Morata (7)

If ever there was justice in football, even after their own fans' madness, then this was it :
 Croatia finishing top of their group.  While I will always root for France first, there is no doubt that, up to this stage, Croatia have played the best football of Euro 2016 so far.  First and foremost they play as a team, as a team of brilliant individuals.  Croatia rested 5 players today and you would not have noticed the difference.  I do not think any other team at these Euros has this strength in depth of players playing for the top clubs of the strongest leagues in Europe :  Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Monaco, Inter Milan, Juventus, Fiorentina, Lokomotiv Moscow, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Dynamo Kyiv, and a few from the top Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb.  Class throughout.  The team plays with incredible fluidity, able to turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye with silky passing skills and dribbling ability, and, critical, critical in this Euro 2016 of well drilled defences, they have creativity throughout the team.  It is just beautiful to watch, and Spain, who themselves also rested a few players, can count themselves lucky not to have been beaten by a heavier score.  Croatia is now my "second team" in these Euros and I hope they go all the way to the final ....... against us !  Of course ! 
Man of the match :  Ivan Perisic.
 


Tuesday, 21st June 2016
CZECHIA 0-2 TURKEY

Stadium: Stade Bollaert-Delelis - Lens
Referee: William Collum, Scotland

Turkey: Burak Yilmaz (10), Ozan Tufan (65)
 


Tuesday, 21st June 2016
NORTHERN IRELAND 0-1 GERMANY

Stadium: Parc des Princes - Paris
Referee: Clément Turpin, France


Germany:  Mario Gomez (30)
 


Tuesday, 21st June 2016
UKRAINE 0-1 POLAND

Stadium: Stade Vélodrome - Marseille
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen, Norway


Poland:  Jakub Błaszczykowski (54)
 


Monday, 20th June 2016
SLOVAKIA 0-0 ENGLAND

Stadium: Stade Geoffroy Guichard - Saint-Etienne
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain

 


Monday, 20th June 2016
RUSSIA 0-3 WALES

Stadium: Stadium de Toulouse - Toulouse
Referee: Jonas Eriksson, Sweden


Wales:  Aaron Ramsey (11),  Neil Taylor (20),  Gareth Bale (67)
 


Sunday, 19th June 2016
SWITZERLAND 0-0 FRANCE

Stadium: Stade Pierre Mauroy - Lille
Referee: Damir Skomina, Slovenia

 


Sunday, 19th June 2016
ROMANIA 0-1 ALBANIA

Stadium: Stade de Lyon - Lyon
Referee: Pavel Královec, Czechia


Albania:  Armando Sadiku (43)
 


Saturday, 18th June 2016
PORTUGAL 0-0 AUSTRIA

Stadium: Parc des Princes Paris
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli, Italy

Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo !  If ever there was a case of someone who should have shut their mouth, this was it.  Portugal are now in third place below the Iceland that Ronaldo insultingly called "small minded".  Ronaldo is a footballer who likes to be adored, as all footballers do actually, but he is also one who revels in the taunts of opposing fans.  The problem is, in this case he was facing universal condemnation for what he said about Iceland, universal, and that's a whole different type of pressure from any of the pressures he has ever faced in his life.  Trying to show your adoring fans that you are the star, that you still have it, or trying to ram down their throats the taunts of opposing supporters is one thing. Universal condemnation, on the other hand, is completely different — it pulls you down like a lead weight.  And, after his failure to apologize to Iceland, this is exactly what happened to Ronaldo in this game.  He had all of the best chances, every single one of them a chance he would have put in the back of the net with his eyes closed for Real Madrid, but universal condemnation does that to someone — he missed every single one, including, horror of all horrors, a penalty !  Can Portugal recover from this ?  I do not think so — Portugal, the world-class Ronaldo aside, are an average team, and I simply can't see them beating Hungary who absolutely has to get a result to guarantee a 1st or 2nd place finish.  Portugal will finish third and if they do it will be one of the poorest thirds of this Euro 2016, meaning they will not make it to the knock-out phase.  Ronaldo, Ronaldo !


Saturday, 18th June 2016
ICELAND 1-1 HUNGARY

Stadium: Stade Vélodrome Marseille
Referee: Sergei Karasev, Russia


Iceland: Gylfi Sigurdsson (40 (P))
Hungary: Birkir Sćvarsson (88 (O))

There is one thing I do like about this Euro 2016 is that it rewards the teams who are trying to win the game.  Hungary were rewarded today for having tried to win this game from the very first minute.  Not that Iceland did not try to win the game either, and in fairness they had the better chances in the first half eventually leading to a debatable, debated, but ultimately correct penalty.  1-0 Iceland.  Up to that point both teams had been attacking each other and it was an entertaining match, not hugely skilful but definitely entertaining.  As soon as Iceland scored, however, their attacking ambitions vanished and from that point on, on both sides of half-time, they played solely to keep the 1-0 result.  It was frustrating to watch because a more adventurous coach would have tried to at least score a second for the first 30 minutes of the second half, but not this particular Icelandic coach.  Hungary, on the other hand, kept probing and probing against an 11-man defence and, eventually, in the 88th minute, got what they fully deserved — a goal !  The goal was an Icelandic own-goal — talk about poetic justice after their entirely negative second-half !!  At the end of the match Hungary celebrated the draw as if they had won the World Cup because that draw is almost a guarantee that with 4 points they will be in the knock-out phase.  As for Iceland, a very difficult team to score against, this was their chance and they did not have the courage to seize it — I have a feeling Austria will make them pay for that negative second-half mindset....
 


Saturday, 18th June 2016
BELGIUM 3-0 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Stadium: Stade de Bordeaux Bordeaux
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir, Turkey

Belgium: Romelu Lukaku (48), (70), Axel Witsel (61)

I said Belgium had played well in their loss against Italy, contrary to the British press which tends to categorize most win results as the winner having played well and the loser having been terrible !!!  Belgium were fantastic in the second half against Italy — they were just unfortunate to have gone 1-0 down against the team that has the best defence in this tournament.  But Marc Wilmots, the Belgium coach, had also started with the wrong team against Italy and was in danger of wasting one of the best generation of footballers around.  No such mistake in this match :  an attacking team designed to utilize Belgium's attacking talent started the game this time round and from the first minute the result was never in doubt.  It may have taken until the beginning of the second half for the goals to come but the truth is that Ireland were outclassed.  Half-time came at the wrong time for Ireland — they had run so much during the first half to harass and contain Belgium that it was inevitable that after the 15-minute break they would lose some of that energy.  And so it proved :  with Ireland's intensity levels having dropped, Belgium suddenly had more space and they took Ireland apart with devastating counter-attacking football.  Belgium will go through against Sweden, I am sure of that — I just cannot see Ireland able to get the win they need. 
Man of the match :  Romelu Lukaku.
 


Friday, 17th June 2016
SPAIN 3-0 TURKEY

Stadium: Stade de Nice - Nice
Referee: Milorad Mažic, Serbia


Spain:  Álvaro Morata (34), (48), Nolito (37)

Spain served notice today of who the current back to back European Champions are !  In a devastating 15 minute first half spell they blew away Turkey.  This was the Spain that mesmerises the opposition with triangular shapes around the pitch, the Spain where Iniesta is the source of everything magical that happens, this was Spain playing like Barcelona, the Spain that rarely lets you have the ball.  It was beautiful stuff, it was scary stuff if, like me, you support another team !  When you look at the team and see Silva, Iniesta, Fabregas, Alba, Pique, Busquets, Ramos, you then realise what a fabulous generation Spain has had — these 7 were all World Champions in 2010, European Champions in 2012, and they are still the core of today's Spain team.  Xavi and David Villa have retired, but the core of the team is overwhelmingly the same, they even have Casillas and Pedro on the substitutes bench.  Amazing. France, Italy, and now Spain already qualified for the knock-out stages — is that a new series of "Neighbours" .... ?
 


Friday, 17th June 2016
CZECHIA 2-2 CROATIA

Stade Geoffroy Guichard - Saint-Etienne
Referee: Mark Clattenburg, England


Czechia: Milan Škoda (76), Tomáš Necid (90+4 (P))
Croatia: Ivan Perišić (37), Ivan Rakitić (59)

An unbelievable first happened today :  fans of one country fighting amongst each other at a major tournament !  This was truly unbelievable — it was so unreal that for a long time I just could not believe it was happening.  How can you go to a football match to supposedly support your country and end up fighting against your own country people.  I simply don't get it.  And the sad thing about it is that in doing so the Croatian "fans" completely demoralised their team who had played such wonderful football in the first part of the match and who deserved to win.  Ivan Rakitic was almost reduced to tears when the firecracker exploded on the pitch knocking down a journalist and one of the Croation players — in that moment he knew that the fate of Croatia might be decided in the meeting rooms of UEFA rather than by the result on the pitch.  Completely shaken by what their own supporters had done, the Croatian players were never able to settle down when the game resumed and the penalty which enabled Czechia to equalize was, I am sure, down to the total lack of concentration brought about by what the Croatian supporters had done.  After that first hour of beautiful Croatian football, I was really looking forward to seeing Croatia in the knock-out phase — I now don't know if they will be there ....
 


Friday, 17th June 2016
ITALY 1-0 SWEDEN

Stadium: Stadium de Toulouse - Toulouse
Referee: Viktor Kassai, Hungary


Italy: Éder (88)

If you had watched either Sweden or Italy's first matches, you would not have recognized those two teams in the first half of this game.  The vibrant Italy who beat Belgium 2-0 was nowhere to be seen in this first half.  Gone was the energy, they could not find each other on the pitch, they were even, unbelievably for an Italian team, often mis-controlling the ball.  I had wondered, at the end of the Belgium game, how much the Italian team's average of 31 might count against them as the tournament goes through its latter stages ....  Conversely, Sweden were unrecognisable from the ponderous slow team that had rescued a 1-1 draw against Ireland without ever managing a single shot on target.  They were energetic, and a lot quicker than in their first match, but this is not the Sweden of the Henrik Larsson years — aside from the class of Zlatan Ibrahimovic this Sweden team is devoid of creative class :  very good footballers throughout the team, but creativity belongs to just one man, Zlatan, and at this level it is not enough, even when Italy are having a bad day, as they clearly were today. Result :  it never once looked like Sweden would manage to score against Italy's world-class defending;  the only question was, would Italy manage one moment of class to take the win ?  Guess what ?  They did, and it was beautiful self-made goal by Eder, running at 3 Swedish defenders, evading tackle, and slotting a beautiful bending goal past Isaksson.  Italy can now rest some of their 30-year olds for the knock-out stages !
 


Thursday, 16th June 2016
GERMANY 0-0 POLAND

Stadium: Stade de France - Saint-Denis
Referee: Björn Kuipers, Nederlands


It is not often one can say that a Germany game was boring, but this one was.  I am not sure what was in view most :  the fear of losing or the desire not to spend too much energy given that both teams were on a victory and a point each was good for both ?  But the match did not start in this fashion :  Germany did try to win this match in the first 20 minutes, completely monopolising the ball;  however, this is a good and athletic Poland team which knows how to defend, so the breakthrough never came.  After the first 20 minutes Germany lost their intensity and Poland came more into the game, creating more clear-cut chances than Germany had managed during their period of dominance.  Then, then ...... we reached half-time.  This was a significant moment because after half time nothing happened :  both teams played not quite to draw, but not to lose and, perhaps, just perhaps, steal a win if the other team made a mistake.  A 0-0 draw was the eventual and expected result between the two best teams in the group.  


Thursday, 16th June 2016
UKRAINE 0-2 NORTHERN IRELAND

Stadium: Stade de Lyon - Lyon
Referee: Pavel Královec, Czechia

Northern Ireland: Gareth McAuley (49), Niall McGinn (90+6)

Northern Ireland's first win in a European Championship in a match which they never looked like losing.  Poland had to work overtime to beat Northern Ireland and that result by Northern Ireland was not a fluke, and they proved it today in a match where the only question was :  would Northern Ireland score, and if they did, how many ?  The reason : Ukraine can't shoot.  How can a team that simply cannot shoot reach the finals ?  I did not watch their qualifying campaign so I can't comment, but it has to be embarrassing for Ukrainians to see their team play so embarrassingly in front of goal.  Not winning a game is OK, being beaten is OK, but to not be able to master the skill of shooting at this level is not OK — I cannot see the Ukrainian coach lasting beyond this Euro.  Northern Ireland, on the other hand, are in dreamland and I just love the celebrations of their incredulous supporters, and so did the camera man who gave us extended shots of the Northern Irish supporters after each goal :  brilliant, absolutely brilliant.  Just for their supporters I would like to see Northern Ireland make it to the knock-out phase. 
Man of the Match :  Niall McGinn.  


Thursday, 16th June 2016
ENGLAND 2-1 WALES

Stadium: Stade Bollaert-Delelis - Lens
Referee: Felix Brych, Germany


England: Jamie Vardy (56), Daniel Sturridge (90+2)
Wales: Gareth Bale (42)

There is nothing that annoys me more than a manager who wastes a generation of golden talent. This is what Roy Hodgson did against Russia when 1-0 up and massively on top with 20 minutes to go — going defensive.  Not learning from his mistakes, Roy Hodgson, the England Manager who has at his disposal some of the best attacking talent in Europe at the moment (Kane, Sturridge, Vardy, Rashford, Rooney), and some great backup in midfield, played the sort of conservative formation that should have got him sacked for pure talent wastage.  But he got lucky — he got lucky that Wales scored early in the first half, thereby leaving him with absolutely no option but to use his attacking talent, all of it at the same time !!!  It paid off in brilliant and exhilarating fashion — what a goal by Sturridge !  As for Wales :  they did not believe in themselves and to some extent, neither did their manager.  Whereas Didier Deschamps had the guts to substitute Pogba and Griezmann in France's first game, Chris Coleman did not have the guts to subsitute Aaron Ramsey who was poor throughout the entire game and kept losing the ball, bringing pressure back onto Wales.  Still, for the neutral this was a great game to watch and a thoroughly deserved win by England.
Man of the Match :  Daniel Sturridge.
 


Wednesday, 15th June 2016
FRANCE 2-0 ALBANIA

Stadium: Stade Vélodrome - Marseille
Referee: William Collum, Scotland


France: Antoine Griezmann (90), Dimitri Payet (90+6)

I think all France matches should start with a draw 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, whatever one's fancy, and start only from the 85th minute with 3 or 4 minutes of added time determined by a roll of dice.  This would give us, French supporters, a game lasting 5 to 8 minutes of pure undiluted joy, without a nerve-wrecking 84-minutes before it !  Ahhhh, I wish !  Well Albania proved today why they are one of the top 24 teams in Europe — they could have gone ahead in the first half, they are athletic, skilful, most of their players play in top leagues around Europe, and, actually, were a joy to watch, and they gave us an almighty scare.  I have not looked at the stats but we must have the highest conversion rates of all teams at the moment :  4 shots on target, 4 goals, 3 of them in the last minutes of the game.  We played well in the sense that we kept focused throughout the entire match against an unbelievably well organized Albania team who were strong in the tackle, skilful at retaining the ball, and occasionally dangerous.  Albania are out of the tournament but I hope they score at least 1 goal before they go home.  As for France, well, mission accomplished, and it is great for Didier Deschamps that he now has the luxury of being able to rest some players :  N'Golo Kante and Dimitri Payet come to mind — these 2 have been immense for us in the two matches and Payet the man of the match yet again.  Ahhh, the beautiful game .....
 


Wednesday, 15th June 2016
ROMANIA 1-1 SWITZERLAND

Stadium: Parc des Princes - Paris
Referee: Sergei Karasev, Russia


Romania: Bogdan Stancu (18 (P))
Switzerland: Admir Mehmedi (57)

This was an average game to watch — somehow both these teams cancelled each other out for long periods of time.
  Then, out of nothing, somehow Switzerland would manufacture a chance and you wondered how they did not put it in the net.  You would get bored watching the game and then in the space of 20 seconds there was a very good Swiss chance and you wondered how on earth they missed it.  And what always happens in such situations, happened :  against the run of play Romania scored at the other end, a penalty for shirt tugging.  That still did not make the game more interesting as both teams continued to cancel each other out until, eventually, Switzerland created one goalmouth scrambles too many for Romania and Admir Mehmedi latched onto a loose ball and scored a thumping drive through a crowd of players.  That was just before the hour mark.  The next 30 minutes offered nothing and the draw was the just result in the end.  Every major championship has a game like this one where two teams cancel each other out in a totally forgettable draw — this was the game.
 


Wednesday, 15th June 2016
RUSSIA 1-2 SLOVAKIA

Stadium: Stade Pierre Mauroy - Lille
Referee: Damir Skomina, Slovenia


Russia: Denis Glushakov (80)
Slovakia: Vladimír Weiss (32), Marek Hamšík (45)

How did Russia get to the Euro 2016 ?  I cannot believe that a country as big as Russia does not have more creative players and better strikers.  That's absolutely impossible — so either their best creative players were unfortunately injured before the tournament or it is a problem with the coach and his selection criteria.  Personally I think it's the coach — inability to shoot on target for most of the match, inability to find each other 50% of the time — that's a coach's responsibility.  As for Slovakia, they looked good and, critically, they did what England could not do against Russia, they took every opportunity they had and they did in style.  Marek Hamsik and Vladimir Weiss III. Slovakia lost to a very good Wales team in their first game but after this showing I fancy them to get better and better and better (they will want to forget the last 20 minutes when they relaxed too much), and I see them winning this group, with Wales second.  Russia's only chance of getting third place is now in the hands of Wales provided Wales beats England and then fields a weak team against Russia.


Tuesday, 14th June 2016
PORTUGAL 1-1 ICELAND

Stadium: Stade Geoffroy Guichard - Saint-Etienne
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır, Turkey


Portugal: Nani (31)
Iceland: Birkir Bjarnason (50)

Well, that was some volcanic eruption — Iceland drawing with the supposedly mighty Portugal !
    Except that Portugal are no longer the Portugal of Euro 2004 these days.  They still have one of best footballers the World has ever seen and will ever see, Cristiano Ronaldo, but apart from him and Pepe, world class talent is very thin on the ground throughout the squad.  Joao Moutinho, one of my favourite footballers when he was at his best, is no longer what he used to be, and Nani is ..... Nani — occasionally brilliant, most of the time just another good footballer.   So I personally did not expect Portugal to do anything special in this tournament, I even thought they would be edged out by Austria and Hungary, so today's result was no surprise to me. What did surprise me was that Iceland were able to come back after being 1-0 down as they had offered virtually nothing in the first half.   But there was obviously some private eruption during the half-time talk (apologies for all these puns,
) as they had a lot more attacking intent after half-time and their goal was a very well taken calm spectacular volley.  A deserved draw for Iceland and I wonder, I wonder if they might be the ones who go through out of this group with Hungary ?
 


Tuesday, 14th June 2016
AUSTRIA 0-2 HUNGARY

Stadium: Stade de Bordeaux - Bordeaux
Referee: Clément Turpin, France


Hungary: Ádám Szalai (62),  Zoltán Stieber (87)

Well, Football is about goals isn't it ?  You would never have thought so for the first hour of this match !  Hungary were playing beautiful if not excellent football at the back and in midfield, but they were awful in the last third of the pitch. Austria, on the other hand, were OK, not much more than that, but were nevertheless creating endless goalmouth chances and scrambles without ever putting the ball into the Hungarian net.  A betting man would have said :  "Sooner or later Austria will score, it is only a matter of time".  Well, the sooner did not come, nor did the later !  Instead, Austria had a man sent off and, suddenly the game changed :  suddenly Hungary discovered that there is a last third that matters and that that is where goals are scored.  Eventually they scored with the same sort of beautiful passing, but this time carrying it all the way to the goal.  The more skillful team had scored. Austria disintegrated after that, unable to string passes together and they were eventually caught on the break for the second Hungarian goal.  Hungary have a lot of potential, their play is very pretty, they work hard, and they have lots of efficient skills — I wonder if they will realise that potential ?


Monday, 13th June 2016
BELGIUM 0-2 ITALY

Stadium: Stade de Lyon - Lyon
Referee: Mark Clattenburg, England


Italy: Emanuele Giaccherini (32),  Graziano Pellč (90+3)

One thing you always know about Italy is : they can defend !  When an Italian team starts a major tournament with a 2-0 win scoring two beautiful goals, and showing wonderful calmness and creativity, then you should worry because that is usually an Italian team that either goes far or wins the tournament !  This was the best game of Euro 2016 so far.  Belgium will feel unlucky — they played a fantastic second half but came up against what has to be the best defence in Euro 2016, and eventually lost the second goal on a counter in the last minute of the game.  What made it such a fantastic game was the skill level on show :  for me Italy are like the Brazil of Europe — they always have ultimate ball control and wonderful passing, but this Italy team have something else, wonderful movement and creativity.  On the other side was what has to be the best Belgium team of any generation :  ball control, dribbling and passing of the highest order.  Belgium's problem :  they started with the wrong team, Lukaku, as good as he is, is not good at playing with his back to goal — they should start with the team that played most of the second half and then they will be alright and should qualify for the next round at the expense of Sweden and Ireland.  Italy :  the only question is, with so many players over 30, can they keep that energy for the whole tournament ?
 


Monday, 13th June 2016
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1-1 SWEDEN

Stadium: Stade de France - Saint-Denis
Referee: Milorad Mažić, Serbia


Republic of Ireland: Wes Hoolahan (48)
Sweden: Ciaran Clark (7 (O))
 


Monday, 13th June 2016
SPAIN 1-0 CZECHIA

Stadium: Stadium de Toulouse - Toulouse
Referee: Szymon Marciniak, Poland


Spain: Gerard Piqué (87)
 


Sunday, 12th June 2016
GERMANY 2-0 UKRAINE

Stadium: Stade Pierre Mauroy - Lille
Referee: Martin Atkinson, England


Germany: Shkodran Mustafi (19),  Bastian Schweinsteiger (90+2)
 


Sunday, 12th June 2016
POLAND 1-0 NORTHERN IRELAND

Stadium: Stade de Nice - Nice
Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan, Romania


Poland: Arkadiusz Milik (51)
 


Sunday, 12th June 2016
TURKEY 0-1 CROATIA

Stadium: Parc des Princes - Paris
Referee: Jonas Eriksson, Sweden


Croatia: Luka Modrić (41)
 


Saturday, 11th June 2016
ENGLAND 1-1 RUSSIA
 

Stadium: Stade Vélodrome - Marseille
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli, Italy


England: Eric Dier (73)
Russia: Vasili Berezutski (90+2)
 


Saturday, 11th June 2016
WALES 2-1 SLOVAKIA
 

Stadium: Stade de Bordeaux - Bordeaux
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen, Norway


Wales: Gareth Bale (10),  Hal Robson-Kanu (81)
Slovakia: Ondrej Duda (61)
 


Saturday, 11th June 2016
ALBANIA 0-1 SWITZERLAND
 

Stadium: Stade Bollaert-Delelis - Lens
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain


Switzerland: Fabian Schär (5)
 


Friday, 10th June 2016
FRANCE 2-1 ROMANIA
 

Stadium: Stade de France - Saint-Denis
Referee: Viktor Kassai, Hungary


France: Olivier Giroud (57), Dimitri Payet (89) Romania: Bogdan Stancu (65) 
 

This match starts and ends with Dimitri Payet.  Whenever we have done well in European Championships or World Cups, it has been because we have had an outstanding if not world class central midfielder — Zinedine Zidane in the 1998 and 2006 World Cups and him again in the 2000 Euros.  And, of course, the old TV footage is all there to show that Michel Platini was our star in Euro 1984. Well, when everyone had penned Paul Pogba as the probable star for France this time round, the forgotten man of the Brazil World Cup 2014, the man who was working part-time stacking supermarket shelves in my old student town, Nantes, while trying to make it as a footballer, illuminated this match from start to finish.  Of course his sublime winning goal will be what everyone will remember about this match, but everything he did throughout the 90 minutes, was simply infused with skill, class, vision, impudence, and he created the first goal too.  I hope he continues in the same vein.  As for the match, well the players admitted after the match to feeling the pressure of a home soil opening match, so we were good without being brilliant, but a lot of that had to do, in my opinion, with the fact that Romania are a good team too.  In fact they had the clearest chances of the match and I see them going through as one of the top 2 in this group. One of the better opening games of recent years.

Man of the match :  Dimitri Payet of course !



 

 


 

Copyright © AnswersThatWork.com

 

 

 

 

 



<< June 2016     

M T W T F S S
      1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      

   HOME

   FIX MY PC

RSS

 

Highlights
Searching for domain names using TUT
Andreas Lubitz, Germanwings 4U9525, and Pragmatism
Barack Obama, Julia Gillard, and Patrice Evra
Security in the Office
Football World Cup South Africa 2010 wallchart
Our Earth is Disturbed
Play your part in changing history
Let it Rain
Barack Obama, President-elect 2008
www.OptimizeThisPC.com
Most Tech Savvy State
McAfee Site Advisor Toolbar problems
Get Rich Quick
José Mourinho joins AnswersThatWork
Baby steps count too!
A new type of eBay fraud
TUT v4 is released
Amazing Space Shuttle facts and statistics
Disable Windows Vista's multiple confirmations
MSN Search does not cut it
Casio Exilim EX-V7
Canaries in a coalmine
IE7 configuration
CA nightmares and McAfee Site Advisor
Digital cameras
Philips makes us glow
Nokia 6234 / 6233
Fake antivirus programs