Okay, I know I haven’t done one yet, but I was away over the weekend and I intend to do this daily!
The Euros opened in Paris amid reports of fan violence in Marseille and David De Gea’s possible involvement in an ongoing rape case. I have spent entirely too much time talking about both, and so I am skipping that. And if you’d like to learn more about either, I encourage you to Google or check out my Twitter. Also the lovely, intelligent, and talented Shireen Ahmed has spoken at length about it on Twitter.
Friday 10 June 2016: France 2 – 1 Romania
Man of the Match: Dimitri Payet (France)
Hosts France claimed victory after a bit of a shaky start. Olivier “Girnude” Giroud scored the first goal in the 57th minute off a glorious cross from Dimitri Payet. Romania then scored on a penalty in the 65th minute when Evra brought down Stanciu in the box. It was Stancu who also put it in the net. Then, in the 89th minute Payet gave France the lead again with an absolutely stunning strike.
Saturday 11 June 2016: Albania 0 – 1 Switzerland
Man of the Match: Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)
Brothers Granit (Switzerland) and Taulant Xhaka (Albania) started opposite each other in this match. Switzerland took their lead early when Schär headed in a Shaqiri cross in the 5th minute. In the 36th minute, Albania’s Cana received his second yellow card, resulting in the first sending off of the tournament. New Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka may have been awarded Man of the Match but keeper Yann Sommer was hailed as the true match-winner in Sunday’s Swiss papers. He was a hero, keeping 10-man Albania from a late equalizer on multiple occasions.
Saturday 11 June 2016: Wales 2 – 1 Slovakia
Man of the Match: Joe Allen (Wales)
Ignoring that not a single player for Wales has good hair, they pulled off the win in their first major tournament in over 50 years. Our Gare-Bear opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a hell of a 25-yard strike. Duda equalized for Slovakia in the 61st minute by slipping the ball into the corner of the net from a Mak pass. In the 81st minute, Ramsey got the ball in to Robson-Kanu. His shot wasn’t pretty but even ugly goals count and Wales had their second goal to hold on for the win.
Saturday 11 June 2016: England 1 – 1 Russia
Man of the Match: Eric Dier (England)
This match was marred by fan violence both before and during. As such, UEFA has warned both the English and Russian federations that they could face disqualification from the tournament if the violence from both sets of fans continues. The match was dominated by England in the first half despite a lack of goals. England scored in the 73rd minute with a free kick from Eric Dier just outside the box. Russia equalized in extra time off a goal from Glushakov to ruin England’s hopes for a win.
Sunday 12 June 2016: Poland 1 – 0 Northern Ireland
Man of the Match: Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland)
The first half ended scoreless on this one. It was nervy for Northern Ireland but Poland were having a hard time finding the net. Arek Milik broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when he drilled a low shot into the net for Poland. The assist went to Kuba (it’s late. I’m not spelling his name out). There was a bit of a nervous moment for Poland when Szczęsny and Piszczek collided due to miscommunication. Luckily both players were okay. Poland recorded the win, but honestly Northern Ireland can be proud.
Sunday 12 June 2016: Germany 2 – 0 Ukraine
Man of the Match: Toni Kroos (Germany)
While I will agree that #ToniLive had a fabulous match, for me Man of the Match honors should have gone to Jerome Boateng. He was absolutely HUGE for Germany. Mustafi opened the scoring with a great header that was off a perfect delivery from #ToniLive free kick. Germany’s downfall is defending set pieces and Neuer was called into action multiple times. He is excellent. I don’t like him. But he’s excellent. In the 37th minute, Boateng made a remarkable clearance to prevent a certain equalizer. He stopped Konoplyanka’s side-footed volley with his midriff before toe-poking it off the goal line as he was falling backward into the goal. Honestly, Boateng was immense. Schweinsteiger scored in extra time after coming in as a substitute in the 90th minute. It was an excellent half-volley on a Mesut Ozil assist. Brilliant pass and pretty little goal for Germany to secure a great start to their campaign.
Sunday 12 June 2016: Turkey 0 – 1 Croatia
Man of the Match: Luka Modric (Croatia)
It seemed Turkey would score first, but it wasn’t to be. After playing very well, they conceded in the 41st minute. It was a stunning volley from Lucky Luka when Inan tried to clear the ball, instead falling to our favorite Croatian. I feel like he was as stunned by it as we were, his celebration was amazing. I love when he scores. He’s always so excited about it. A Croatia free kick hit the bar in the 55th minute. Turkey still were putting immense pressure on Croatia. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t get it done. A disappointing result for Turkey, but excellent for Croatia.
Monday 13 June 2016: Spain 1 – 0 Czech Republic
Man of the Match: Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Reigning Euro champions, Spain had a big task to put goals past Petr Cech. It seemed a positive lineup for Del Bosque with Morata getting the start up front. At first it felt a bit like they fell into what had gotten them into trouble in Brazil. They seemed to have no actual desire to move forward and put real pressure on the goal. It was Czech Republic who were putting on most of the pressure. The teams went into the second half scoreless. Fabregas had to clear the ball off the line in the 78th minute to keep Spain from conceding. Finally, Pique got his head on the ball in the 87th minute to give Spain the win. The assist was Iniesta’s.
Monday 13 June 2016: Republic of Ireland 1 – 1 Sweden
Man of the Match: Wes Hoolahan (Ireland)
I was upset to not get to see this match. I figured the sides would be fairly evenly matched. The teams couldn’t break the deadlock before the half and entered the dressing rooms scoreless. Ireland got an early shot at goal but it was blocked well. They opened the scoring in the 48th minute however. Coleman chipped the ball to the far post and Hoolahan met it on the half volley to find the top corner. Excellent bit of skill. Sweden were shaken awake, however and continued their onslaught of pressure. In the 71st minute, a great back heel by Guidetti to play in Ibrahimović resulted in an own goal. Ciaran Clark, trying to keep it from reaching Larsson, headed the cross into his own net. Harsh result for Ireland.
Monday 13 June 2016: Belgium 0 – 2 Italy
Man of the Match: Emanuele Giaccherini (Italy)
As I’ve seen many times, Belgium have a stacked team. They just have no fullbacks. That was especially apparent in this match as Italy heaped on the pressure. Giaccherini opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Bonucci sent a long pass over the top to Giaccherini who settled and curled it into the bottom corner past Courtois. Italy coach, Conte, celebrated so hard that he gave himself a bloody nose. Ew! In the second half, Pelle seemed to be having some issues with his hand. But this isn’t a game of handball and in extra time, Pelle secured Italy’s win with an emphatic volley.
And for good measure, my favorite photo of the day:
I hope you’re enjoying all the footie!