Day 6 of Euro 2016 gave us the first team to qualify from the group stage (France), a super performance from Marek Hamsik, and a wonderfully jumbled up match between Romania and Switzerland, which was a fantastic clash of styles and organization.
France are the first team to win two for two in the tournament, clinching their spot in the round of 16. Albania, with 0 points, can still qualify, but only from the third place, and it means hoping others do miserably too. Even if they beat Romania, it doesn’t look good. The same can be said for Russia due to ability as much as results, while Romania probably feel slightly better about themselves despite just one point from the fir
Russia 1 Slovakia 2: The first ever win for Slovakia in this competition, coming from two spectacular goals in the first half. First it was Vladimir Weiss off of a Marek Hamsik assist, and just before half time, Hamsik turned a short corner into one of the best goals of the tournament. Despite looking clueless for most of the match, Russia made things interesting through Denis Glushakov, but never looked like a side that deserves a point.
Romania 1 Switzerland 1: An interesting match, with Romania taking the lead thanks to another penalty kick, once again converted by Bogdan Stancu after a foul on the elusive Alexandru Chipciu, and Switzerland equalizing in the second half as the disappointing Admir Mehmedi finally got something right. Switzerland were the more dangerous team the more disorganized the match became, but the first half belonged to Romania, as a draw seemed like the right way to leave things.
France 2 Albania 0: France became the first side to secure qualification with two late goals from Antoine Griezmann (coming off the bench) and Dimitri Payet, the first player in the tournament to score twice and not from the penalty spot. Albania’s structure and pressure made them look dangerous in the first half, but they couldn’t keep up with France’s ambition to score, making it a very one-sided affair in the second half, with the French getting the goals they deserve – first with Griezmann in the 90th minute and then with Payet in stoppage time.
Group A Table
|1||France (H, A)||2||2||0||0||4||1||+3||6||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Romania||2||0||1||1||2||3||−1||1||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
Group B Table
|1||Wales||1||1||0||0||2||1||+1||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||England||1||0||1||0||1||1||0||1||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
What did we learn
- Russia look like a team that has players without any connection to each other. No midfield, zero creativity up front but without any defensive cohesion to make up for it. Their point in the first match gives them hope for their final match, but they don’t seem like a team capable of getting the job done
- Slovakia can’t put on a 90-minute show of dominance, but Marek Hamsik established himself with the best individual performance of the tournament, showing Slovakia, once again, can play some wonderful football when they’re given the freedom to do it
- Romania played the same way as they did against France: Aggressive, high press, and then falling back, hoping to remain ahead. They couldn’t, but their point puts them in a pretty decent position, assuming they can beat Albania on the final group match
- Switzerland have a lot of talent, a striker that can’t score, and a problem against organized teams, just like they showed that flaw against Albania. They still have bad memories from their encounter with France in the World Cup
- France looked bad in the first half and attacked with fury in the second half. Didier Deschamp learned his lesson about sitting out Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, while Dimitri Payet is simply sublime. They can now be completely relaxed when they face Switzerland
- Albania are a tough nut to crack, but in the end, it’s extremely difficult for them to score or apply pressure on opposition goal for too long. They ran out of gas in the second half, and now need to beat Romania and do a little bit of crossing their fingers for the results to go their way, although it does look bleak for them
- Dimitri Payet (France), Bogdan Stancu (Romania) – 2 goals
- 24 different players with one goal each