EURO 2016: Russia re-writes its soccer history
In the age of globalized information, there are no secrets. Mighty Brazil was humiliated at home by Germany, playing tiki-taka, two years ago. Today, Albania, Wales and Iceland are participating as equals in the final phase of major championships. We saw why today. Wales got three points, Albania lost but was not outclassed.
Russia faced a young England team fired up by the cultured coach, Roy Hodgson. England today can pass the ball, can close the gaps at the back, can score and park the bus. Russia until today could not compete on equal terms with the world's best, except on rare occasions. Passes went astray, shots went wide...many Russians said "Soccer and Russia do not mix". Today, Russia re-wrote its footballing history.
Leonid Slutski's team fought on equal terms with an excellent and young England squad. Did Russia deserve to win the game? Frankly, no. But it would not have been a scandal if Russia did. Did Russia deserve to lose the game? Frankly, no. Conclusion: the result was fair.
England attacked more but the Russian defense was resolute throughout. And more, the Russian team respected England but was never over-awed.
England 1 Russia 1
Dier (73) Berezutski (90+2)
Hart, Walker, Rose, Cahill, Smalling, Sterling (Milner), Lallana, Kane, Rooney (Captain), (Wilshere), Dier, Alli
Akinfeev, Smolnikov, Ignashevich, Neustädter (Glushakov), Kokorin, Smolov (Mamaev), Golovin (Shirokov), V. Berezutski (Captain), Shatov, Schennikov, Dzyuba
Switzerland 1 Albania 0
A goal on five minutes from Schär was enough to seal the win for the Swiss but Albania showed why they have reached the finals stage with some impressive football and great organization. Albania's captain Lorik Cana was sent off for getting second yellow card on 36'.
Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Seferovic, Xhaka, Behrami, Rodríguez, Dzemaili (Frei), Mehmedi (Embolo), Djourou, Schär, Shaqiri (Gelson Fernandes)
Berisha, Lenjani, Hysaj, Cana, Agolli, Sadiku (Gashi), Kukeli, Khaka (Kaçe), Mavraj, Roshi (Çikalleshi), Abrashi
Wales 2 Slovakia 1
Bale (10) Duda (61)
Slovakia saw one come back off the woodwork, saw 4 magnificent saves, had more ball possession, but Wales weathered the storm, held on and came back to clinch the winner. A magnificent team effort, proof that Wales is more than Gareth Bale. Chris Coleman substituted Williams for the goal-scorer: for Ján Kozák's side, Duda came on after 60 minutes and scored almost immediately.
Ward, Gunter, Taylor, Davies, Chester, A. Williams (Captain), Allen, Ramsey (J. Richards), Bale, Edwards (Ledley), J. Williams (Hal Robson-Kanu)
Kozacik, Pekarik, Skrtel (Captain), Durica, Weiss, Hrosovsky (Duda), Hamsik, Svento, Kucka (Stoch), Mak, Duris (Nemec)
France 2 Romania 1
Giroud (58) Stanciu (pen.) (65)
At the Stade de France, in Paris, Didier Deschamps' France, the hosts, faced Anghel Iordanescu's Romania. The teams had drawn four of their last five competitive matches and at the EURO, the last two encounters ended in a 1-0 win for Framce in 1996 and a 0-0 draw in 2008.
Iordanescu had said before the match started that he aimed to qualify for the next round and also to show quality football. And he delivered. At half-time, Romania had had an equal chance of a goal and had been denied a clear penalty.
The first situation of danger came on 4' after a corner to Romania, the ball was cleared off the French line by goalkeeper Lloris. On 10', Griezmann came back for France, getting a corner from which Giroud headed just wide. Giroud took advantage of a rebound on 14', firing against the post. On 36', Griezmann fired just wide as once again France created danger.
38 minutes, PENALTY TO ROMANIA!!
But not given by the referee Viktor Kassai. And one was clearly fouled in the penalty area, receiving a treacherous and dangerous kick to his knee.
The first half ended with Giroud heading over from a corner. Chances for both sides, France ahead in terms of attack, but Romania resolute.
After the break, Stanciu fired wide after gaining a good position on 48' but France came back. Tatarusanu saved on the line on 52', and again on 57' denied Pogba. On 58', Giroud back-headed the first French goal from outside the area.
Romania did not give up and on 64', Stanciu was fouled in the area, and scored (65') from the resulting penalty. 1-1. End-to-end stuff until right at the end of the game, when Payet pulled off perhaps the goal of the tournament in the first match, firing into the top right-hand corner from outside the area. Space given by the Romanian defence, but a spectacular piece of timely individual skill.
Сute baby elephant - football player