Poland Euro 2016

Switzerland 1  Poland 1 (4-5 after a penalty shootout)A story of two halves, as the Polish side completely dominated the first, while Switzerland took advantage of Poland moving backwards and not making any substitutions to take over. Jakub Błaszczykowski scored the opening goal in the 39th minute after some fine passing that delivered the ball into the box to the wide open Kuba. Xherdan Shaqiri equalized in the 82nd minute. After heavy pressure from the Swiss, Shaqiri scored the best goal of the tournament so far – a beautiful bicycle kick from the edge of the box. Only after landing and turning around did Shaqiri see he scored. In extra time both teams didn’t do much. In the penalty shootout, it was the miss by Granit Xhaka that doomed Switzerland, while Poland hit all five of their shots.

Wales 1  Norther Ireland 0As expected, the match didn’t really turn out into a 90-minute feast of football. Crosses, aggressive midfield, and a lot of pressing the gas pedal all the way while the stick was in neutral. It came down to Gareth Bale delivering a fantastic cross and Gareth McAuley, trying to prevent a Welsh player from reaching the ball, scored an own goal from close range, ending the tournament for the weakest side in the Euro, somehow making it this far.

Croatia 0  Portugal 1: A bad match, without any real chances until the second half of extra time. Turned out that when Croatia got as close as possible to scoring, Portugal got their opening. Ivan Strinic getting mixed up in the wing and not clearing the ball led to a Portuguese counter attack, led by Renato Sanches. He moved the ball left to Nani, whose failed shot turned into a pass, putting Cristiano Ronaldo five meters from goal, unmarked. His shot was parried by Danijel Subašić, but Ricardo Quaresma was there to score the winning goal, and hang on for the final five minutes.

Who faces who next?

  • Poland will play Portugal in the quarter final, which will be played on June 30 at Marseille
  • Wales will the winner between Hungary and Belgium. The quarter final will take place on July 1 at Lille

What did we learn

  • Poland start out strong and wither away, partially because their head coach, Adam Nawałka, squeezes out too much from his strating XI. Robert Lewandowski remains a frustrated figure, and Poland need him badly to realize their full potential
  • Wales struggle when they’re not given space, but they have Aaron Ramsey given freedom because teams focus too much on Gareth Bale. Bale, especially when he escapes the jammed up middle, is almost impossible to keep in check for an entire match
  • Portugal aren’t playing well. Cristiano Ronaldo is easy to mark. And yet, despite not winning a single match within 90 minutes, they’re in the quarter final. Go figure

Top Scorers

  1. Alvaro Morata (Spain), Gareth Bale (Wales): 3 goals
  2. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Dimitri Payet (France), Balázs Dzsudzsák (Hungary), Jakub Błaszczykowski (Poland), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Nani (Portugal), Bogdan Stancu (Romania): 2 goals
  3. 47 different players with one goal

 

Image: Source