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Euro 2016: The story of Days 7 and 8

Monday 20th June 2016
We take a look back over events at Euro 2016 from days seven and eight of the competition, 12 nations competed - each playing their second game of the tournament. The groups have now started to take shape, by Wednesday evening we will know the identity of the 16 teams to have made it through to the next round.

England 2-1 Wales

England had to come from a goal behind to see off Wales, Gareth Bale gave Wales the lead, scoring directly from a free-kick for the second successive game. But England fought back to claim all three points at the Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, courtesy of goals from Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.

Wales scored the opening goal of the game in the first-half, Gareth Bale's free-kick proving too much to handle for Joe Hart. England manager Roy Hodgson made changes for the second-half, Vardy had an instant impact, as he found himself in the right place to fire home the equaliser from close range. In added on time Sturridge won the game when he fired low past the feet of the keeper, a goal that will live long in the memory of England supporters.

England outplayed their opponents for the second game in succession, but this time, England were awarded the victory their play deserved. A point in their final game will guarantee a place in the last 16. Wales will feel unfortunate to lose the game so late, although Chris Coleman's side are still in a strong position to progress.

Star Players : Daniel Sturridge looked lively when he came on, he produced the moment of the game with his late winner. Wayne Rooney had an exceptional second-half for England, driving the team forward from midfield. Gareth Bale produced another spectacular moment for Wales.

Ukraine 0-2 Northern Ireland

It was a special day for Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland as they defeated Ukraine at the Stade de Lumieres to claim their first ever win at a European Championship, goals from Gareth McAuley, and a late strike from Niall McGinn ensured Northern Ireland picked up all three points.

After an uneventful first 45 minutes, Northern Ireland took the lead after the break, McAuley produced an excellent header to guide the ball into the far corner of the net. Ukraine pushed for an equaliser, Viktor Kovalenko saw his low effort flash wide and an Andriy Yarmolenko shot was easily saved. Northern Ireland sealed the game in the 96th minute, a shot was parried by the Ukrainian goalkeeper, and McGinn slotted the ball in from close range.

Ukraine have played some good football in their two games, but they have nothing to show for it after two defeats, it's now impossible for them to make the last 16. Northern Ireland were superb, a vast improvement on their first performance, this win could see them make it past the group stages.

Star Players : Gareth McAuley was solid in the middle of the defence, his goal was well taken and it proved to be crucial. Oliver Norwood had a good game in Northern Ireland's midfield. Andriy Yarmolenko was the most dangerous player for Ukraine.

Germany 0-0 Poland

It proved to be an uninspiring game between these two sides at the Stade De France. Both teams failed to create any meaningful chances in the first-half, the second-half improved slightly, but neither team could find the breakthrough, resulting in the first goalless draw of the competition.

The first 45 minutes were the dullest in the tournament up until that point. Arkadiusz Milik had the first real opportunity of the game when a cross glanced off his head and went harmlessly wide. Milik then had another great chance, but he miscued his shot - if only one of the openings at goal had fallen to Robert Lewandowski things may have been different. The final chance fell to Germany and Mesut Ozil, but his effort was saved by the goalkeeper.

Germany were far from their best, Joachim Low has to address the situation up front or his side may find goals hard to come by. Although they have still been good enough to make the last 16. Poland will be pleased with the point, they have played well so far in the competition, and should progress from the group.

Star Players : Grzegorz Krychowiak was efficient for Poland in the middle of the pitch, as was Michal Pazdan in the centre of defence. Mats Hummels was Germany's best player, it was a solid performance on his return from injury.

Italy 1-0 Sweden

It was an evenly matched contest between these two sides, with few clear-cut chances. But late in the game, Eder made space for himself to shoot, and dispatched it out of the goalkeeper's reach, ensuring Italy left the Stadium Municipal with maximum points.

Neither side looked like scoring in the first-half, with both sets of defences on top. Italy came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second-half, a cross from Emanuele Giaccherini found the head of Marco Parolo in the box, but his effort cannoned off the crossbar. With just two minutes left to play, Eder picked up the ball and headed towards goal, cutting across the Swedish defence, he then powered his shot into the bottom corner to win the game for Italy.

Italy will be disappointed with their performance, it was poor compared with their recent exploits against Belgium, however, the win booked their place in the last 16. Sweden were unfortunate not to get a point, but only one point from two games played has left the Swedes in a precarious position going into their final game.

Star Players : Eder produced the moment of the game with his fine solo effort to earn his side all three points. Giorgio Chiellini was solid at the back as usual for the Italians. Kim Kallstrom was Sweden's best player.

Croatia 2-2 Czech Republic

Goals from Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic looked to have secured the game for Croatia at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard , but Milan Skoda's header and a last-gasp penalty from Tomas Necid rescued an unlikely point for the Czechs. Croatia will wonder how they failed to win the game.

Perisic opened the scoring before half-time, his perfectly executed finish finding the bottom corner of the net. It was 2-0 on the hour mark, Rakitic pounced on some sloppy defending by the Czechs, and lifted the ball over Petr Cech to double Croatia's lead. Skoda then brought his side back into the game with a fantastic header. In added on time, Domagoj Vida gave away a needless penalty for handball, and up-stepped Necid to fire home the equaliser.

Croatia were brilliant for most of this game, and nobody could have predicted their sudden collapse. Although they let two points slip, Croatia are still in the driving seat to qualify. Czech Republic created little until they sprang into life towards the end, a point keeps alive their hopes of making the last 16.

Star Players : Ivan Rakitic was outstanding for Croatia, he showed great composure for his goal. Ivan Perisic produced an exceptional finish to open the scoring. Milan Skoda scored Czech Republic's first goal of the competition with a fine header.

Spain 3-0 Turkey

Spain produced an accomplished performance to overcome Turkey at the Allianz Riviera. Alvaro Morata delivered his first goals of the tournament by striking twice, while Nolito also found the net to help Spain cruise to victory, in what was the most one-sided result we had seen so far.

Spain took command of the game from the beginning, the breakthrough finally came ten minutes before half-time, Nolito picked out his teammate with a pinpoint cross, Morata dispatched his header past the goalkeeper to give Spain the lead. Nolito turned from provider to scorer just three minutes later when he coolly rolled the ball into the bottom corner. Spain then found a third goal to wrap up their victory, Jordi Alba picked out Morata in the box, and he tapped in from close range.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque will be delighted with how his side has started the competition, booking their place in the last 16 after their opening two games. Turkey were simply outclassed, their player's lost all of their fighting spirit. They could still make the last 16, but need to improve drastically for their final game.

Star Players : Nolito was brilliant all game and looked dangerous whenever he was on the ball, scoring one goal and creating another. Alvaro Morata delivered a complete performance for Spain, scoring two goals in the process. Andres Iniesta was also superb once again.
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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