I woke up Saturday morning expecting every one of these matches to end differently than they did.
Saturday 18 June 2016: Belgium 3 – 0 Republic of Ireland
Man of the Match: Axel Witsel (Belgium)
De Bruyne was a doubt for this match due to injury but he was leading the Belgians strongly at the start. Despite Belgium seeming to be on the front foot, the half ended scoreless. When the second half started, it didn’t take long for Belgium to strike. In the 48th minute, Lukaku scored from De Bruyne’s assist. In the 61st minute Meunier played a very nice ball in for Witsel to finish for Belgium’s second. In the 70th minute, Hazard had the assist on Belgium’s final goal by Lukaku. After 3 minutes of added time, Belgium had a decisive win.
Saturday 18 June 2016: Iceland 1 – 1 Hungary
Man of the Match: Sigthórsson (Iceland)
Hungary had the upper hand in the opening minutes of this match. They were creating more chances than Iceland, initially. Neither team were able to score before the 38th minute. Iceland were awarded a penalty when Kádár brought Gunnarsson down inside the boss. Sigurdsson took the penalty well, giving Iceland the lead in the 40th minute and going into the break. Iceland captain, Aron Gunnarsson, was taken off for Emil Hallfredsson when it looked like he injured his groin again in the 68th minute. I thought Iceland would pull off the win, but in the 88th minute Nikolić played a low cross into the box for Hungary and Sævarsson inadvertently turned it into his own net. After 5 minutes of stoppage time, it ended in a 1-1 draw.
Saturday 18 June 2016: Portugal 0 – 0 Austria
Man of the Match: João Moutinho (Portugal)
Portugal were overall disappointing but it was by far not Crispy’s best match. Portugal had a number of chances early which included Nani missing the target. They were on the front foot, but their ability to take those chances was non-existent. João Moutinho may have been voted Man of the Match, but for Austria in the first half Stefan Ilsanker was the man doing almost all of the work. I was tired just watching. The pace of the match was insane. Quaresma continued to be threatening in the second half, but Portugal still couldn’t direct his dangerous crosses into the net. Austrian keeper was excellent as well, it didn’t all rest on Portugal’s inability to finish. And when they had their chances Austria weren’t finishing well either. In the 79th minute, Portugal were awarded a penalty but Ronaldo’s kick smacked the post. After 2 minutes of added time, both teams were disappointed.