France v. Germany; Portugal v. Wales, the semi-finals to be played next Wednesday and Thursday. Iceland's soccer fairy-tale came to an end today but the brave newcomers have made a lot of friends with their honest, direct soccer and fantastic fans. And the Huh! We will hear this again, for sure.
We bring you in one single and unique document the entire history of UEFA EURO 2016 in France, from the group stage matches through the Last 16, with match reports, results, players and scorers.
France 5 Iceland 2
Sigthórsson (56) Birkir Bjarnason (84)
Giroud (12, 59) Pogba (20)
Payet (43) Griezmann (45)
In 11 previous matches, France had won eight and three were drawn. In this game Iceland came out firing, gatting a shot in by 2' but on 4', France started to impose the rhythm of the midfield abd before Giroud got the first goal on 12', Griezmann and Sissoko had already created danger in the Icelandic area.
The second came on 20' from a corner, Pogba heading home after jumping higher than the entire Icelandic defense. Iceland came back on 24' with a good effort by Bödvarsson in front of goal. It was Iceland's signature goal, a long throw-in from the right flicked on by Sigthórsson to Bödvarsson, who only managed to kick the ball over the crossbar under pressure from Umtiti, recently transferred from Lyon to Barcelona, and playing his first game for the senior French national team. Nevertheless, an opportunity for Iceland's 2-1. On 41', a free kick from the left saw Lloris grab a difficult bounce with three Icelandic forwards advancing.
But the first half ended 4-0, Payet firing home after a four-man move and then Griezmann at the end of the first half, running through from the half-way line and firing past Halldórsson. After the break, the signature throw-in resulted in Iceland's goal of honor, Sigthórsson firing home at his first touch from the center but three minutes later, Giroud scored his second and France's fifth, a header into the center of goal, converting a long free kick driven up the field.
63' ball on hand in the French area after pressure from Iceland saw Lloris save the Icelandic second...the Icelandic volcano threatened to explode. But the French defense is tight, very tight, and there are fast, resourceful midfielders who can take the game up the park within seconds.
If the scoreline wasn't already fixed, those watching the game in the middle of the second half would say that Iceland had a chance, because the team coached by Lars Lagerbäck and Heimir Hallgrimsson was matching that managed by Didier Deschamps attack-for-attack. And the 5-2 came, Birkir Bjarnason heading home an excellent cross from the left in a packed area on 84'.
Iceland ended the game playing as if it were drawn, playing for the first goal.
The "Huh" or "Huuu" Viking war chant continued to echo around the stadium in the second half, a chant originating from the Vikings to terrify their opponents before battle. The chant of "Huh" is emitted after a clap, the claps getting faster and the chants too. However, in Scotland, Motherwell fans claim they started the Huh chant and that it was taken to Iceland by the fans of Stjarnan, a team from Reykjavik on a Euro qualifier at Motherwell in 2014.
Whatever the case, soccer followers will expect to hear the Huh from Iceland's fans at future venues. Thank you Iceland for bringing something special to soccer, something more than soccer, more than a decent and honest approach to the game, something touching and something human. Huh-man.
Lloris (Captain), Evra, Griezmann, Payet (Coman), Giroud (Gignac), Matuidi, Pogba, Sissoko, Sagna, Koscielny (Mangala), Umtiti
Kante, (Martial), (Rami,
Halldórsson, Saevarsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Sigthorsson (Eidur Gudjohnsen), Sigurdsson, Arnason (Finnbogason), Bödvarsson (Ingason), Gunnarsson (Captain), Skúlason
Germany 1 Italy 1 Germany wins 6-5 on penalties
Özil (65) Bonucci (78, Pen.)
In the previous encounters, Germany had won 8, Italy 15 and 10 were drawn. In final phases of soccer competitions, Italy had won 4 times, there were 4 draws and no wins for Germany. Germany had won four of the last five matches, drawing one. Italy had won four, losing one to the Republic of Ireland.
The game plan was easy to see from the beginning: Germany playing possession football, Italy waiting to pounce with between five and seven players in forward positions but behind the ball. On 4' and 5' we saw Italy's potential danger, with two attacks and two corners.
Germany regained composure, and on 9' came the first corner. Germany had three forwards up against the Italian central defenders, playing the entire team upfield, including the three central defenders, showing a tremendous ability to regain lost balls and launch attack after attack. Khedira pulled out with muscular problems on 15', substituted by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who put on the Captain's armband.
The first half belonged to Germany, just (53% to 47%) with Italy showing that if given the opportunity to pounce, the game could change. Half time, 0-0. But let us remember that Italy had 5 shots against 4, 3 saved, one on target and one off, Germany's four being one on target and three off, three corners to Italy, 2 to Germany. So Italy was waiting for the opening.
Second half. Italy began working down its left flank, amid multiple attacks by Germany, which resulted in the goal on 65' by Özil, after Mário Gomez recovered the ball on Germany's left flank, passing to Hector and Özil put the ball away. Italy did not give up and although Gomez had a position in front of goal on 68', Pellè shot just wide on 73', the Italians kept up the pressure and Boateng handled in the area on 77', giving Italy the penalty, which Bonucci converted on 78'.
Extra time. No significant changes. Match drawn. Penalties.
Insigne scores for Italy. Kroos equalizes. Zaza and Müller miss. Barzagli scores, Özil hits the woodwork. Italy ahead 2-1. Pellè misses, Draxler scores. 2-2. Bonucci sees Neuer save his penalty, underlining why the German keeper is considered the best in the world. Schweinsteiger fails. Giaccherini scores, Hummels scores (3-3). Parolo, Kimmich (4-4). De Sciglio, Boateng (5-5). Neuer saved Darmian's shot, Jonas Hector fired into the net. Germany wins on penalties, 6-5.
To note, Italy played a fantastic game of football against a German side which would have blown away any opposition on the day. To note, the Italian captain Buffon congratulating the Germans after the game. Sportsmanship supreme. Let us spare a thought for France or Iceland, the next to face the Mannschaft.
Neuer (Captain 1), Hector, Höwedes, Hummels, Khedira (Schweinsteiger, Captain 2), Özil, Müller, Boateng, Kroos, Kimmich, Gomez (Draxler)
Buffon (Captain), De Sciglio, Chiellini (Zaza), Florenzi (Darmian), Pellè, Sturaro, Barzagli, Éder (Insigne), Parolo, Bonucci, Giaccherini
Belgium 1 Wales 3
A.Williams (31), Robson-Kanu (55), Vokes (86)
A balanced game, with Wales ahead in terms of emotional intelligence and organization. Practically the same number of shots, practically the same stats in ball control. Chris Coleman can write his cheques for as long as he decides to stay with Wales.
Courteois, Alderweireld, Nainggolan, Witsel, De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku (Batshuayi), Hazard (Captain), Carrasco (Fellaini), Denayer, Meunier, Jordan Lukaku (Mertens)
Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Fellaini, (Origi), Ciman ()
Hennessey, Gunter, Taylor, Davies, Chester, A. Williams (Captain), Allen, Hal Robson-Kanu (Vokes), Ramsey (Collins), Bale, Ledley (King)
Poland 1 Portugal 1
Renato Sanches (33)
Portugal. Ronaldo, Nani, Quaresma, Renato Sanches, João Moutinho. The architects of Portugal's progression through to the semi-finals and the goalscorers in the penalty shoot-out in Marseille against a brave and talented Poland. 1-1 after extra time, Portugal wins 5-3 in penalties.
Portugal had more of the first half after Lewandowski's shock opening goal for Poland on 2 minutes, having ten shots against Poland's five, 6 shots saved (against 2) while ball possession was shared (53/47 to Poland). Apart from the goals (Renato Sanches' equalizer on 33' was a brilliant effort, turning and shooting getting a deflection) and on the half-hour Cristiano Ronaldo deserved to get a penalty after being pushed over in the area by Pazdan.
After the break, Portugal continued to press with seven shots against three, two of them saved, with the same ball possession. But the 90 minutes showed the same result, a 1-1 draw. Fernando Santos had switched two players, the impressive Ricardo Quaresma entering for João Mário after João Moutinho had substituted Adrien Silva, while Adam Nawalka had sent on the 19-year-old Kapusta for Grosicki, trying to stem the Portuguese tide, maintaining attacking capacity but reinforcing a holding midfield.
Extra time. A cautious game, some half-chances for both sides but the risk of conceding and not having time to score weighs heavily on both sides.
Penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo 1-0. Lewandowski 1-1. Renato Sanches 2-1. Milik 2-2. João Moutinho 3-2. Glik 3-3. Nani 4-3. Blaszczykowski fails. Quaresma scores 5-3. Portugal is in the semi-finals
Szczesny, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Maczynski (Jodlowiec), Milik, Lewandowski (Captain), Krychowiak, Grosicki (Kapusta), Glik, Blaszczykowski, Piszczek,
Patrício, Pepe, Fonte, Ronaldo (Captain), João Mário (Quaresma), William Carvalho (Danilo), Renato Sanches, Nani, Eliseu, Cédric, Adrien Silva (João Moutinho)
The Russian Defence Ministry acknowledged that the Americans treat Russian military men in Syria with respect. The Americans always warn Russia accordingly, but not Israel
After the incident with the shootdown of the Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, Russia will supply an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria
Indeed, how dare they run US-independent policy? They should have followed the example of the European Union that turned independent states of the Old World into US-ditto entities