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Euro 2016: The story of Days 4-6

Friday 17th June 2016
Euro 2016 is now in full swing, at the end of day 6 - each team had played their first game, six of the teams had also completed their second game. It's been a fabulous tournament so far, full of tension and excitement, and as the competition reaches its climax - the drama will only increase. Here's a recap of the events from days 4-6 of Euro 2016.

Spain 1-0 Czech Republic

Spain dominated the game at the Stadium Municipal against a well drilled Czech Republic, although it took until the 87th for the breakthrough to finally come, Andres Iniesta produced a magical cross to find Gerard Pique, who headed in to secure the win for Vicente Del Bosque's side.

Spain controlled the first-half, they had the majority of possession and chances, but couldn't find a way past Petr Cech. Spain continued to press for the opening goal in the second-half, David Silva saw his effort flash wide, the Czech defence now had to work overtime. With just three minutes left to play, Andres Iniesta picked out Gerard Pique in the box with a sublime cross, Pique directed his header past the keeper to win the game for Spain.

Spain will feel relieved to have scored the late goal that their play deserved, once again the Spanish have a side capable of going far in a major competition. The Czech Republic defended well and almost held on for a point. They will have to improve going forward if they are to progress from the group.

Star Players : Andres Iniesta delivered a virtuoso performance in midfield for Spain, his fantastic cross set up the only goal of the game. Gerard Pique was solid at the back, he also scored the winning goal. Petr Cech was a commanding presence in goal for the Czech Republic.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Sweden

Both sides had to settle for a point in an evenly matched contest at the Stade De France. Ireland took the lead through a Wes Hoolahan effort, but Sweden pegged them back when Ciaran Clark was forced to put through his own goal.

Ireland dominated the early exchanges, missing numerous chances to open the scoring. At the start of the second-half, Ireland found the breakthrough, Wes Hoolahan expertly dispatching Seamus Coleman's cross. Sweden improved after going a goal behind and found their equaliser with 20 minutes remaining, after good work by Ibrahimovic - Clark was left in an impossible situation, and headed into his own goal.

TheRepublic of Ireland will feel unfortunate not to have won their opening game, it could prove costly. Although they will still feel optimistic about their chances of reaching the last 16. Sweden did just about enough to earn a draw, the point gained has kept their hopes alive of progressing from the group.

Star Players : Wes Hoolahan stood out for Ireland, he was superb on the ball and his half-volley opened the scoring. Jeff Hendrick was also impressive in midfield for Ireland. Sweden's best performance came from full-back Marcus Olsson who looked dangerous going forward.

Italy 2-0 Belgium

Italy produced a masterclass to defeat Belgium at the Stade des Lumieres. Goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle were enough to see off a lacklustre Belgian side, with the Italians showing once again why they are so dangerous in major competitions.

Italy took a deserved lead on the half-hour mark, centre-back Leonardo Bonucci produced a stunning long pass which found the feet of Emanuele Giaccherini, who calmly slotted the ball home. Belgium had chances to equalise in the second half; Romelu Lukaku wasted a glorious opportunity when he fired over, it wasn't to be Belgium's night. Pelle sealed the victory for Italy in added on time when he smashed home from close range.

Italy proved that they are a dangerous side, on their day they can beat anyone. It was a fantastic performance from Antonio Conte's side, one which should see them make the last 16. Belgium were hugely disappointing however, they should still progress from the group with the talent they possess.

Star Players : Leonardo Bonucci was fantastic at the back for Italy, his pass to set-up the opening goal was superb. Emanuele Giaccherini worked tirelessly for his team and was rewarded by scoring the opening goal. Thibaut Courtois made some impressive saves for Belgium.

Austria 0-2 Hungary

Hungary produced the biggest shock of the competition so far by defeating Austria at the Nouveau Stade Bordeaux. The highly fancied Austrian team failed to perform, Hungary took full advantage, with goals from Adam Szalai and Zoltan Stieber.

David Alaba saw his shot hit the inside of the post in the opening minute. Hungary took control of the game in the second half, Laszlo Kleinheisler set-up Szalai who calmly slotted the ball under the advancing keeper. Aleksandar Dragovic was then dismissed for Austria, the Hungarians took full advantage of their extra man, Stieber doubled his side's lead with just minutes remaining, expertly lifting the ball over the keeper to seal the game for his side.

Austria failed to live up to expectations in their opening game, the players will be disappointed, but they have a chance to put things right in their remaining two fixtures. Hungary produced a solid team performance to overcome all the odds, they now have an excellent chance of making it out of the group.

Star Players : Zoltan Gera produced a fine display, the 37-year-old was instrumental in midfield for Hungary. Zoltan Stieber sealed the victory with his magnificent finish to round off a counter-attack. David Alaba was the best player for Austria on a disappointing night.

Portugal 1-1 Iceland

Portugal were held to a draw by a determined performance by Iceland at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Nani opened the scoring for Fernando Santos' side, but it proved not to be enough as Birkir Bjarnason equalised for Iceland to rescue a point.

Nani should have opened the scoring early on, but instead, he saw his header well saved, not long after, Nani redeemed himself by slotting home a pass from Andre Gomes. Iceland refused to take a backwards step, at the beginning of the second half they found their equaliser, Bjarnason found himself with space in the box and swept the ball into the bottom corner. Portugal created numerous chances to win the game but failed to convert.

Portugal will feel they should have won this game, they had the better chances, failing to capitalise could come back to haunt them. Although they will still expect to qualify from the group. Iceland played fantastic all game, every player gave it everything they had, capping it off by scoring a superb equaliser, progress to the last 16 is still possible.

Star Players : Andre Gomes was superb in midfield for Portugal, he created the opening goal for his side and his all-round play was faultless. Nani looked dangerous at times, he also scored Portugal's only goal. Birkir Bjarnason impressed for Iceland, he never stopped running and was rewarded with his goal.

Russia 1-2 Slovakia

Slovakia controlled large parts of their game against Russia, first-half goals from Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik was enough to ensure Slovakia claimed all three points at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Denis Glushakov's strike for Russia proved to be in vain.

Slovakia opened the scoring after a pinpoint long-range pass from Hamsik found Weiss in a dangerous position, Weiss cut-back inside to place the ball into the far corner. Hamsik then doubled his side's lead with one of the goals of the tournament, his stunning strike deflecting in off the post. Russia rallied late on, pulling a goal back courtesy of a Glushakov header, it wasn't enough as Slovakia held on for the win.

Russia started the game badly for the second consecutive time, however, they failed to peg back their opposition on this occasion. Their next game against Wales is a must win if they are to progress. Slovakia looked dangerous throughout the game, it was a well-deserved victory, one that gives them a great chance of making it into the last 16.

Star Players : Marek Hamsik showed his undoubted talent, his pass for the first goal, and the goal he scored himself were both out of this world. Vladimir Weiss also played his part, he showed great composure to open the scoring. Denis Glushakov gave some hope to Russia with his headed effort.

Switzerland 1-1 Romania

Both sides had to settle for a draw in an evenly matched contest played at the Parc des Princes. Romania took the lead early on courtesy of a Bogdan Stancu penalty, Switzerland found their equaliser when Admir Mehmedi found the net with an expertly taken half-volley.

In the 18th minute of the game, Stephan Lichtsteiner gave away a penalty for shirt pulling - Bogdan Stancu stepped up to convert his second penalty in as many games. Both sides then had chances to add to the score, Cristian Sapunaru almost doubled his side's lead, but he saw his effort clip the post. In the second-half Mehmedi did put his chance away, burying a half-volley into the net, rescuing a point for Switzerland in the process.

Switzerland have played two games and remain unbeaten, we are yet to see the best of them in this competition; however, they are now almost certain to be in the last 16. Romania played with more attacking intent than in their previous game, a win in their final group game could still see them go through.

Star Players : Admir Mehmedi was impressive in midfield, his wonderful strike earned his side a valuable point. The experienced Valon Behrami also had a good game for the Swiss. Bogdan Stancu looked dangerous for Romania, his successful penalty taking his goal tally to two in the tournament.

France 2-0 Albania

Didier Deschamps left Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann on the bench for this game. Both came on as France left it late to claim victory, goals from Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet ensured France would leave the Stade Velodrome with all three points.

Albania were brilliant for most of the game, limiting France's opportunities to score. Olivier Giroud then missed numerous chances to open the scoring with his head. However, in the final minute of the game Albania's resistance was broken when Griezmann latched onto a cross from Adil Rami, and coolly headed it into the corner of the net. Payet sealed the victory for France in added on time, showing his usual composure to finish in the bottom corner.

France sealed their place in the last 16 with their victory, although there are still questions to answer, they have failed to reach their full potential in their first two games. Albania have delivered two good performances, but come away with nothing, victory in their final group game could still see them make the last 16

Star Players : Dimitri Payet was sensational for the second game running, his well-executed goal takes him to two for the tournament. Patrice Evra was outstanding for France at left-back, he rarely put a foot wrong all game.  Arlind Ajeti was good for Albania in the centre of defence.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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