Showing posts from June, 2016

Poland v Portugal Match Analysis

Poland got off to a storming start. A shocking bit of defending from Southampton's Cedric allowed Poland's Kamil Grosicki to get in behind and float the ball into the box for the main man Robert Lewandowski to finish first time with a genius finish to make it 1-0 to Poland. The drought was over for Lewandowski who grabbed his first goal at Euro 2016. Poland continued to dominate the game and tested Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal on several occasions mainly through the lively Arkadiusz Milik.

Portugal started to come into the game from the 25th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo was pushed to the ground by Polish defender Pazdan but the referee saw nothing wrong with it and gave no penalty. Ronaldo was infuriated with the decision being denied a clear penalty after the clumsy defending of Pazdan. Soon after Portugal were level. After some elaborate play from Nani who backheeled the ball to Renato Sanches who shifted the ball and took aim to fire the ball into the back of the net pas…

England vs Iceland

All of the talk prior to tonight's match up with Iceland has surrounded speculation on Roy Hodgson's team selection following a dominating but ultimately toothless display against Slovakia. Speculation has persisted that Adam Lallana was either injured or would be dropped, which would see the return of Harry Kane to the starting lineup. England needed goals. It really was as simple as that. The front line of Sturridge, Kane and Sterling had been the favoured prediction from most of the press, then an hour before the game, their foresight was confirmed.

The England line up looked attacking and Hodgson's men adopted an aggressive formation from the start, seemingly with a view to putting the Iceland team very much 'in their place'.

90 minutes later, Roy Hodgson and his backroom team have resigned. England's reputation is in tatters. A 2-1 loss to a team displaying all of the Viking spirit of their forefathers, but handed to them on a plate by an insipid approach …

Italy v Spain Match Analysis

Italy put in a dominant performance to beat defending Champions Spain 2-0 and progress to the Quarter finals of Euro 2016. It was a tactical battle in which Italy manager Antonio Conte romped to victory in, leaving Spain manager Vicente del Bosque looking like yesterdays manager.

Italy took the lead on the 33rd minute through strong centre back Giorgio Chiellini after David De Gea saved brilliantly from Eder's fiercly struck free kick and was somehow able to smother Emmanuele Giaccherini's follow up effort but he was powerless to stop Chiellini tapping in the rebound to give Italy a 1-0 lead. It took the herorics of David De Gea to stop Italy increasing their lead in the closing stages of the 1st half. De Gea lept into the air to tip Emmanuele Giaccherini's long range effort over the bar. An outstanding save from the Manchester United number one who was now saving his country in the same way he has his club over the last 3 years. All in a days work for the world class stop…

Hungary vs Belgium Match Analysis

Hungary played Belgium at Toulouse for the sixth match of the round of 16 for the Euros. Both, of course, needed a win to qualify for the quarter finals against Wales, however, it was pretty difficult to pick out a winner till the very end of the game which made for some interesting watching. The first half was all Belgium, they were on the front foot, dominating the opposition half and passing the ball around very well, in fact to such an extent that by the 10th minute, they were a goal up thanks to Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld, who got a free header and shot right behind the keeper from De Bruyne's free kick. This stopped all Hungarian operations and made them think for a minute, however, Belgium tried very well to exploit this opportunity and score another but the Hungarian goalie, Gabor Kiraly, kept the Hungarians in the game.  Hungary decided to step up after about 40 minutes, when they started getting a few shots on target and giving a good battle in mid field, their ch…

Germany v Slovakia Match Analysis

Germany put in an imperious performance to put Slovakia to the sword and show off their Euro 2016 winning credentials. There was no need for extra time, penalties or late winners need for the Germans who were just too good for Slovakia to cope with.

It didn't take long for the Germans to show what they can do. On the 8th minute Jerome Boateng put Germany ahead with a deflected volley. The Slovakian's were facing a near impossible challenge to get anything from Germany before the game had hit the 10 minute mark. 5 minutes later Liverpool's Martin Skrtel pushed Mario Gomez to the ground to concede a penalty. Mesut Ozil had the chance to double Germany's lead but he saw his penalty saved by Kozacik in the Slovakia goal. The 2nd Arsenal player to miss a penalty in the space of 27 hours at Euro 2016. Germany continued their dominance despite the miss and doubled their lead with Julian Draxler setting up the much criticised Mario Gomez who made no mistake to give Germany a …

France v Republic of Ireland Match Analysis

The Irish media billed this game as a revenge mission, referring to Thierry Henry's handling of the ball in the build up to a goal during a playoff for qualification to the 2010 World Cup finals. French coach, Didier Deschamps, played this down, stating that "In football, there is no revenge", and I'm sure he was sincerely hoping this would be the case, as failure to reach the last eight would be seen as disastrous for the host nation. The overriding motivational factor for Ireland, as well as wanting to do it for themselves and their army of fans, was most likely to be a possible quarter final tie against the old enemy, England.

For the French supporters, their main concern centred around the fact that this team of superbly gifted footballers has largely played within themselves so far. Could this be the day that they threw off the shackles, and cut loose with a display of expressive, free-flowing attacking football?
The Irish fans, however, were asking the opposit…

Croatia v Portugal - Match Analysis

Heading into today's round of 16, of all three Saturday fixtures this game is set up to be the feature. Taking into account both of the teams previous results in their last group game, it'd be surprising if this game wasn't a thriller. Croatia stunned all with a classy display and a convincing 2-1 win over holders Spain, whilst Portugal were enthralled in a 3-3 draw with first placed Hungary in group F.

Portugal have been off the boil so far this tournament, whilst far from awful they still have a lot to prove in the coming game, main man Cristiano Ronaldo will set to be the focal point if they are to come away with a win. Croatia themselves reached the quarter finals in 2008, and with Luka Modric passed fit, have it all to play for to better themselves compared to previous years.

Quick statistics board before they take to kick off doesn't look great for Croatia, as Portugal have won all three of their encounters, scoring six goals and conceding none. Although they ar…

Wales v Northern Ireland Match Analysis

If there was ever a greater display of the unifying power of sport than that which has been on display at this tournament, then I've yet to see it. After the violence and public disorder of the first week, the beautiful game came to the fore and transfixed the continent with a blend of light entertainment, tension and high drama. Then we had a two day break, and Europe went to hell and in a hand-cart - politically speaking at least. You see what happens when there's no football? With everything that has happened in the last two days, Europe, and particularly the UK, needs a distraction, and in this game we have the perfect diversion to the news dominating the headlines.

After topping their group, Wales headed into this fixture full of confidence, especially because some of the relatively unknown players, particularly Ben Davies and James Chester, have stepped out of the shadows of their more illustrious teammates. The goal threat of Bale, the tireless running of Ramsey and the…

Poland v Switzerland Match Analysis

Poland triumphed over Switzerland winning 5-4 on penalties to book their place in the last 8 of Euro 2016. The 2 sides couldn't be separated after 120 minutes so it ultimately took a shocking shootout  miss from Arsenal new boy Granit Xhaka to be the decider

Poland should have been ahead after 30 seconds after a shambolic mix up in the Switzerland defence when former Arsenal hero Johan Djouoru passed short to his goalkeeper Yan Sommer and it fell to Robert Lewandowski instead but Sommer was able to smother the effort from the Bayern Munich man. However, it then fell to Arkaduisz Milik to blasted over the bar. Switzerland were incredibly flat in the 1st half unable to show any real quality compared to the energetic attacking play of the Polish. Poland were rewarded for their attacking play in the 39th minute when Kamil Grosicki broke down the left side to get the ball in the box to find Blaszczykowski who slotted the ball through Sommer to give Poland a 1-0 lead going into the brea…

Italy vs Ireland Match Analysis

Group E toppers, Italy faced off against The Republic Of Ireland at Stade Pierre Mauroy for their final match of the group stage. While Italy had already qualified for the round of 16, a win for Ireland would seal one for them and rule out Turkey in the third place standings.  Italy boss Antonio Conte made a total of eight changes to the squad that faced Sweden a few days ago, they kicked off and were looking like the Italy we're used to seeing, but the coin flipped real quick as the Irish got on the offensive and started pushing very well quite early on in the game. Italy had their fair share of chances, but they were either too tough or were closed down pretty well by the Irish defenders. Much to everyone's surprise, Ireland totally dominated the first half, there were a ton of chances that could've been finished had it not been for some poor finishing. They often used to choke in and around the box  but you must hand it to the Italian defence for reacting to the pressu…

Hungary v Portugal Match Analysis

All the talk before this game centred around Portugal's talismanic frontman Cristiano Ronaldo, who has so far struggled to cope with having the expectations of an entire nation resting on his broad, gym-sculpted shoulders. Only today, he grabbed a reporter's microphone and threw it into a lake, although, going by the wayward finishing he has so far displayed in this tournament, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that he was actually trying to throw the mic somewhere else. Wayward finishing aside, he has been by far Portugal's best player so far. Other attacking talents, such as Nani and Quaresma, have drifted in and out of the two games they have played, and neither the midfield or defence have covered themselves in any glory. If only Portugal had a player along the lines of N'Golo Kanté at the heart of midfield they would look like a much more balanced team. Alas, this is not the case, so for the third consecutive game Portugal are going into a game hoping th…

Croatia v Spain Match Analysis

Spain's place in the last 16 of Euro 2016 was already confirmed before they kicked off against Croatia thanks to 2 wins from their previous 2 games. Croatia sat on 4 points from their 2 games but were not guaranteed a place in the top 2. Vicente Del Bosque kept faith the same team that has served him well in the 2 previous games. Meanwhile Ante Cacic made 5 changes to his Croatia team with Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic not risked due to minor injuries.

In the early stages of the game it looked like the 5 Croatian changes would haunt Ante Cacic. Spain were at their sparkling best culminating in David Silva coasting a delightful ball across the box to Cesc Fabregas who lifted the ball over Daniel Subasic in the Croatia goal for Alvaro Morata to tap into the empty net. Spain didn't build on the promising start with some sloppiness creeping into their play. David De Gea made an uncharacteristic mistake taking too long to pass the ball and when he finally did he passed it straig…

Northern Ireland vs Germany Match Analysis

Northern Ireland played Germany at Paris in their final match in the group stage and while the Germans required anything other than a loss to go into the next round, a win was pretty necessary for the Northern Irish to avoid the third place qualification troubles. Northern Ireland kicked off the first half, and right off the bat seemed promising, they beat the lines and pulled Neuer out of his box, but it was all useless in the blink of an eye though, the Germans showed why they were the world champions by countering ever so well. It did not have much of an effect, but Michael O'Neill's men seemed to take a step back to understand how the Germans were lining up, not a good move.
It wasn't much of a surprise to see the Germans constantly subjecting the opposition with attack after attack, so much so that by the 10th minute, they should've been up by 2 goals, credit given to the Northern Ireland goalkeeper, who was in top form and stopped both from ending up behind the …

Slovakia vs England match analysis:

Following England’s heroic last-gasp winner in stoppage time against Wales, hopes were high ahead of a match with Slovakia, where a win of any kind would be enough to secure 1st place in the group and ensure that we would be facing a third placed team in the last 16. Although on paper it seemed like a straight forward win for England, this would not be the case, as despite a match long assault on the Slovakian goal, Roy’s boy’s were unable to find the back of the net, meaning that yet again English fans were left disappointed, with top spot in Group B being stolen from our grasp by the Welsh whom recorded a straightforward 3-0 victory which sent Russia crashing out of the tournament (I doubt they’ll be missed).

Hodgson had rung the changes for this final group game, with there being six changes from the line up against the Welsh, both full backs were replaced, as well as Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson coming into the midfield, with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge also coming into …

Wales v Russia Match Analysis

It was simple for Wales, beat Russia and guarantee qualification for the last 16 of Euro 2016. It was also a precarious position for Wales who could even have finished bottom of the group had results gone against them. However, it's not in the makeup of this Wales team to hide when they have to get the job done and wow they sure got it done in real style.

Wales have started their previous 2 games at Euro 2016 quickly and they continued in that vein against Russia with the midfield and forward players pushing high up the pitch against an aging Russia team. The positivity of the Welsh was soon rewarded with the energetic Joe Allen feeding the ball through to Aaron Ramsey who delightfully chipped Igor Akinfeev in the Russia goal to make it 1-0 to Wales and ease the pressure. It would have been understandable for Wales to sit back after taking the lead but this fearless team wanted to qualify for the last 16 in style. The formation of Wales caused Russia all sorts of problems with th…

France v Switzerland - Match Analysis

Both teams sit with different feelings within their camps, hosts France sit with two wins from two and will most likely cruise to another when they kick off at 8pm tonight. Whilst the Swiss so far will be searching for something more to kick start their campaign, only scraping a draw and win against the two outsiders of the group.

Didier Deschamps rang the changes to his squad, with a safety net of points and anything from a draw upwards will confirm the top spot as West Ham's Payet and Manchester United's Anthony Martial take to the bench along with French talisman Oliver Giroud. Andre-Pierre Gignac, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko come into a team that looks set to take the point.

From the draw against Romania coach Vladimir Petković makes one change to the starting line up, Haris Seferović drops to the bench and in comes highly-rated FC Basel forward Breel Embolo, who is currently linked with a move to Manchester United. Wide men Mehmedi and Shaqiri keep their places as the…

Portugal vs Austria Match Analysis

Portugal faced Austria in the final match of match day 2 and while the latter had won their match against Hungary and could do with even a point, the former needed a desperate win to qualify for the knockout stages The Portuguese started the first half quite well, with Nani getting a few chances early on, but nothing came of them. The first quarter of the match was mostly back and side passing by both teams but it picked up its pace by the 17th minute as Portugal got very close to scoring again, they seemed to be a threat every time they launched an attack but thanks to some poor passing up front, nothing really developed. Meanwhile Austria were constantly on the defensive, they were well organised and that helped them overcome the threat of the Portuguese attack, which seemed quite simillar to that of an energetic Manchester United.  The rush ended by the half hour mark and it seemed to be back to normal, both teams introduced the ball to the keepers' gloves again, but thanks to…