So another four days have past and I’m starting to get into the swing of waking up at 5am then falling promptly back to sleep at 7am for a wee bit longer. Any who here is another round of game observations I watched with sleepy eyes.
Norway 0 – 2 Belgium
Netherlands 1 – 0 Denmark
Oh boy looks like the 2013 Euro’s runners up (Norway) are poised for an early exit. I must admit it took my muddled brain a bit to comprehend that Norway had lost to Belgium because it just didn’t make sense until I looked up the result during half time to see with my very eyes that yes… Belgium had done the unthinkable and got a win against Norway.
The Netherlands v Denmark game was a story of two halves. The Dutch ought to have buried the game well and truly before half time. Instead they were only a goal ahead thanks to another weak penalty (the year of weak penalties continues). Denmark returned after the break to dominate and create a raft of chances. However the Dane’s inability to find the net and some good goalkeeping meant the Netherlands prevailed in this dual.
Sweden 2 – 0 Russia
Germany 2 – 1 Italy
An abundance of yellow cards, a couple injuries, passion, a red card and ace goal celebrations, the Germany v Italy game had a bit of everything. Whilst Germany largely controlled a sluggish tempo in the first half, the Italians came out the second half ready to fight. And fight they did. Unfortunately right after conceding Germany’s game winning goal is not the moment to make a challenge likely to give you a second yellow card. Italy played with heart and ought to be proud of their efforts but this result ends their hopes of reaching the knock out stage in a tough group.
Meanwhile Russia’s hopes of surviving the group remain alive despite a loss against Sweden. Russia will now be looking for points off Germany to qualify for the quarterfinals, which is a formidable task to ask of any team.
Iceland 1 – 2 Switzerland
France 1 – 1 Austria
Park the bus you say? Well Austria did just that. This game was a master class in how to defend with numbers behind the ball, to then transition into a counter attack. France struggled to break down a well-disciplined Austrian side, with their lone goal coming off a corner. Otherwise the only threat France posed was from shots 30 yards out that were neatly dealt with by the talented Austrian goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.
Meanwhile Iceland bow out of the tournament after Switzerland came from behind to win 2-1. Whilst a tough break for the Icelandic’s, Switzerland ensured they remained in contention to reach the next stage of the competition. This result leaves the group wide open, with France, Switzerland and Austria all vying for 2 spots.
Scotland 1 – 2 Portugal
England 2 – 0 Spain
An early goal, another early goal (*wrongly*) called offside, an overturned penalty (*rightly* was it hand to ball or ball to hand?) and a team with 75% of possession losing, this game had my sleepy heart all over the place. Spain seemed to forget football isn’t a game of keepy offs. Meanwhile England produced a master class in how to absorb pressure and clinical finishing. Spain saw about 3/4 of the ball whilst not producing any real threats. England showed the ability to organise a defence to ensure there were no options for Spain to produce a final pass. Whilst lacking much of the possession they still managed to get two goals past the Spaniards. Swedish efficiency? More like English efficiency.
With the later result going England’s way, Scotland remain capable of reaching the next round despite a disappointing result against Portugal. However unlikely as it would be a big task for Scotland to beat Spain, let alone by 2 goals.
Photo of the Round
This photo demonstrates how only one statistic really means anything in the end. And that is how many goals a team can score.
Belgium v Netherlands || Norway v Denmark
Russia v Germany || Sweden v Italy
Iceland v Austria || Switzerland v France
Portugal v England || Scotland v Spain