A day that brings back the faith in big teams and goals, as France made an impressive comeback vs Ireland (Antoine Griezmann scoring twice), Germany finally finding some rhythm against Slovakia, and Belgium romping through a blindsided Hungary team.
France 2 Ireland 1: France, and not for the first time, struggled early on. Robbie Brady scored from the penalty spot after Shane Long got spot kick for the Irish after only three minutes. High pressure landed Ireland with more opportunities in the first half, but like in other matches for France in this tournament, they completely took over in the second half. Antoine Griezmann scored twice within three minutes, and after Shane Duffy was sent off for fouling Griezmann, it was never close for Ireland, incapable of creating minutes of dominance once France got going.
Germany 3 Slovakia 0: An entire tournament of frustration and struggling to score changed against what should have been a much more difficult Slovakian side. Jerome Boateng opened the scoring in the 8th minute with a rebound off a corner, and things were a lot easier from there. Wonderful work from Julian Draxler on the wing set up Mario Gomez for the second goal just before half time, giving us a lot of garbage time in the next 45 minutes, interrupted with Draxler scoring himself in the 63rd minute.
Hungary 0 Belgium 4: A fun match that went back and forth during its better moments, that turned into a one sided affair, with Belgium having the opportunity to show the full extent of its talent. Toby Alderweireld put the Belgians in front in the 10th minute, but it wasn’t until the 78th minute, through Michy Batshuayi, that Belgium finally planted their flag in the quarter final, struggling with Hungary’s counter attacks. Two minutes later Eden Hazard finished the job, and Yannick Carrasco added a bonus goal in stoppage time.
What did we learn
- France have a deep team, with fantastic talent up front, but their road to the quarter final hasn’t been too difficult in terms of their strength of schedule. Falling behind early against better teams, or having another lethargic first half, won’t be so easy to bounce back from again
- Germany still have a Joachim Low problem in terms of him embarrassing themselves. But as long as teams don’t make it uncomfortable for them physically, especially on the back four, they’ll have all the time in the world to utilize the talents of Draxler, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller
- Another explosion from Belgium, who seem to be either great or awful. Eden Hazard finally showed up in his best performance in over a year, although a side with better attackers would have made them pay for their defensive lapses and lenient midfield
Who’ll play who
- France will face the winner of the match between England and Iceland. That quarter final will take place in the Stade de France on July 3
- Germany will face the winner of Italy & Spain. The quarter final will be played on July 2 in Bordeaux
- Belgium have a showdown with Wales in the quarter final. The two teams will play in Lille on July 1
- Antoine Griezmann (France), Alvaro Morata (Spain), Gareth Bale (Wales): 3 goals
- Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Dimitri Payet (France), Balázs Dzsudzsák (Hungary), Jakub Błaszczykowski (Poland), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Nani (Portugal), Bogdan Stancu (Romania), Mario Gomez (Germany), Robbie Brady (Ireland): 2 goals
- 51 different players with one goal each