Haven’t we all become Iceland fans at this point?
Wednesday 22 June 2016: Iceland 2 – 1 Austria
Man of the Match: Kari Arnason (Iceland)
Iceland only needed a draw to advance, but they weren’t out for anything but a win. It took almost no time for them to get a shot on goal. Gudmundsson hit the post in the 2nd minute! In the 18th minute, a long throw in was flicked toward goal by Árnason and Bödvarsson had time to take the shot and put it past Almer. Austria had their chances too, but couldn’t convert. In the 37th minute, Dragovic took the awarded penalty when Alaba was brought down in the box. He recreated Ronaldo’s penalty against Austria, however, when he hit the post in exactly the same manner that Ronaldo had. Iceland held the lead going into the break. In the second half, it was the substitute Schöpf who made the difference for Austria. He collected a pass from Alaba, made his way through the defense and slotted the ball past the keeper. It seemed the match would end in the draw, but in the 4th minute of added time, Iceland had other plans. Bjarnason made a quick break and squared to Traustason in front of net. All Traustason had to do was slide in to put it on net. That was the win for Iceland! If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s what the Icelandic commentator sounded like:
Wednesday 22 June 2016: Hungary 3 – 3 Portugal
Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
This game was insane and I’m so mad that I didn’t get to watch it. There’s been a lot of talk about Cristiano not showing up and being petty (like throwing a reporter’s microphone into the water). But he showed up in a big way in this match. It was Hungary that struck first through Gera in the 19th minute. Portugal answered in the 42nd minute with a Nani goal that was assisted by Ronaldo. The first half ended in a 1-1 draw. When the second half started, Hungary scored again in the 47th minute when Dzsudzsák‘s free-kick deflected off André Gomes and into the net. Just 3 minutes later, Ronaldo equalized yet again on an assist from João Mário. It was a fabulous backheel goal. But Hungary weren’t done and in the 55th minute Dzsudzsák scored again, this time deflected off Nani. Portugal responded yet again in the 62nd minute. Quaresma played the ball in and Cristiano headed the ball in. And that’s how the match would stay for the remainder. How exciting!
Wednesday 22 June 2016: Italy 0 – 1 Republic of Ireland
Man of the Match: Robbie Brady (Republic of Ireland)
I don’t know what I expected out of this match, but a win for Rep. of Ireland wasn’t it. Granted, Conte made a number of changes, but I still expected an Italy win. The biggest change for me was that instead of Gigi in at keeper, it was Sirigu. I think that made all the difference at the back, as the defense didn’t seem to trust him the same way they trust Gigi. Both teams had chances, but the first half ended scoreless. It took until the 85th minute for Ireland to beat Sirigu. Wes Hoolihan played in a brilliant cross and Robbie Brady had Ireland’s goal much to the delight of ForzaSusan! After two minutes of extra time, Ireland secured their spot in the next round.
Wednesday 22 June 2016: Sweden 0 – 1 Belgium
Man of the Match: Eden Hazard (Belgium)
The hardest part of this match was knowing that it was Zlatan’s final match at the international level. Belgium were definitely on the front foot for most of the first half, though Sweden had a couple of chances that they missed. At the end of the half, however, it remained scoreless. The second half began much in Sweden’s favor before Belgium could get going. Overall the half was not as one-sided but in the 84th minute, Hazard drilled a cross to Nainggolan and he thundered the ball past Isaksson into the bottom corner from long range. Sweden had no response and that was Belgium’s spot in the Round of 16 secured. And, unfortunately, the last we’ve seen of Ibra as a Swedish international.