Two games are on at the same time. So the double screens are out. Otherwise known as two iPads set up against a couple pillows on my bed. If I’m careful I can get them set up at the right angle straight away, otherwise it will be a balancing act the entire 90 minutes. Also I’ve come down with a cold. I can’t stop coughing when I wake up to watch these games… So sorry neighbours.
Norway 0 – 1 Denmark
Belgium 1 – 2 Netherlands
Both games had a penalty, each penalty couldn’t have been any more different from the other. One was taken by a confident Dutch player, who coolly slotted it into the back of the net with little drama. The other was missed, being hit poorly from a Norwegian whose team just can’t even buy a goal.
Norway gave Denmark far too much space in and around the box in the first half. This space was utilised early on, allowing Denmark to gain the lead. All tournament Norway has looked underwhelming. This game was no different. Simply lacking in confidence, when Denmark played poorly in the second half Norway still never looked capable of winning the game. A better team will well and truly exploit Denmark later in the competition if they continue to stop playing in the second half.
Belgium put up a fighting effort, but hometown advantage won out making the Netherlands victors and through to the quarterfinals off the back of three straight wins. The Dutch look exceptional when going forward, utilising the pace they have on the wings. Most impressive is the Netherlands not only play down the wings well, but they are capable of putting the ball into the mixer and have players ready to get on the end of it.
Sweden 2 – 3 Italy
Russia 0 – 2 Germany
I’m disappointed with myself. Despite having both screens set up most of my time was spent watching the German game. The German game was boring. For the duration of the 90 minutes it was a matter of how often can Germany look like scoring but not do so. Both their goals were a result of penalties. A game in which two teams were fighting to ensure their quarterfinal place did not look like one. Germany were underwhelming yet maintained dominance over the game, while Russia barely threatened Germany.
Meanwhile the game I SHOULD have been giving my limited, early morning attention to was Sweden v Italy. Italy played with guts and determination. They won me over with their fierce play against Germany and continued by providing not only a stern test for Sweden, but actually beating them. Whilst the German game sent me to sleep, when I woke up somewhere in the 80th minute it was to Italy having got the winning goal. Remember for Italy any result still meant they weren’t going to make the next round. Sweden’s tactic of sitting back to soak up pressure and getting a goal off a counter attack was destroyed by Italy. I doubt though Sweden will have a plan B for the next round.
I’m going to miss Italy.
Iceland 0 – 3 Austria
Switzerland 1 – 1 France
France knows how to give their fans a heart attack. After less than a mere 20 minutes of play, the French go down to 10 players and proceed to go a goal down. Switzerland brought it to France and from the start the contest looked fierce. For much of the game it looked as though France were incapable of getting a result. At the 76th minute veteran Camille Abily stepped up to score from a free kick. On one hand France were lucky to get a draw and for that to be enough to reach the next round, on the other hand France still largely dominated the game playing 70+ minutes with 10 players. The repercussions of this game for France will be felt through to the quarterfinals however, as they will be without their first choice right back Eve Perisset and perhaps more importantly without their centre back and captain Wendie Renard. I would feel bad for France but as England face them next round I’m glad to not play a French team with Renard in it.
Contrast the French game with Austria’s. They knew their task was to get a win at the start of the game and they achieved that. The professionalism of the side was of one I would expect of an experienced team such as Germany or Sweden. Instead it was Austria that demonstrated in this round how to comfortably win their last group game. Unfortunately Iceland never had anything to play for and weren’t allowed any advantages from the Austrians.
Austria (the groups total underdogs) topped the group. Pigs now fly.
Scotland 1 – 0 Spain
Portugal 1 – 2 England
Scotland nearly did the impossible and were a goal away from qualifying to the next round. I’ll admit, I wrote this game off as a certain Spanish victory. Boy was I wrong! I didn’t even bother watching it bar the last 10 minutes when suddenly I was like “hey Scotland are winning and only need another goal to get to the quarters”. From that 10 minutes it was apparent Scotland found something they have lack the rest of the tournament. Scotland can go home with their heads held high. In other news from this game, Spain need to learn how to score if they are to do better in the quarterfinals.
A team only needing to avoid a hefty defeat, England set out a fresh starting 11, with only Millie Bright having previously started the prior games. In usual fashion, England made me nervous. Whilst going ahead early (again) the English looked to lack any urgency, being flatfooted for most of the first half. Portugal capitalised by tying the game soon after England went ahead. The second half saw England wake up slightly and in return they were able to snag another goal. Most of the game was stuck in the middle of the park and demonstrated all the features of a classic boring English international game. The positives England can get from this game are they were able to rest their starters and grind out a result. Meanwhile Portugal are sent packing.
Photo of the round
More like photos of the round. I just couldn’t chose OK. But all photos are of teams who are no longer in the tournament but I wish were.
The Italians, so good at the end of the tournament
The best celebrations
And legend, Melania Gabbiadini, retiring
and SCOTLAND WHO BEAT SPAIN
And this cute Scottish fan
Sunday 29th July
Netherlands v Sweden 2am
Germany v Denmark 4.45am
Monday 31st July
Austria v Spain 2am
England v France 4.45am