Saturday , November 26 2022

Euro 2016 – PQF: Italy upset holders Spain, Iceland shock England!

UEFA EURO 2016The 2016 UEFA European Championships is being played across France from June 10 to July 10 for the first time with 24 nations across 10 venues in nine cities with the French capital Paris being the only city with two venues in the Stade de France and the Park de Prince.

The defending double champions are Spain, who are three time record champions along with Germany.

PRE-QUARTERFINALS

ITALY 2-0 (1-0) SPAIN
Goal(s): 1-0 Giorgio Chiellini (33′), 2-0 Graziano Pelle (90+1′)

In a rematch of the Euro 2012 final, Italy upset the double defending champions Spain with an unconventional game to stop the masters of tiki-taka and mark the end of a golden era for Spain.

Italy surprised Spain by not playing a wait and watch game with deep defending, but they rather started upfront in attack with Spain having their problems as Italy had more ball possession than Spain, but the Squadra Azzurra had to wait until the 33rd minute to go ahead. An Eder free kick can’t be cleared properly by David de Gea, Giaccherini gets first the rebound and Chiellini is there to score.

Spain were shocked and lucky that just before the break they didn’t concede a second one as Giaccherini’s shot was saved by de Gea. At the break it was a surprise, but deserving 1-0 for Italy.

Spain came into the second session with more purpose, but Alvaro Morata’s header in the 49th minute was saved by his club mate Gigi Buffon and they had to risk more and Italy could have gone 2-0 ahead but Eder’s strike was saved by de Gea.

In the last quarter Spain increased the pressure with Italy tiring, which gave the Spaniards a number of chances but chances from Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique were wasted or Buffon was like a rock in goal and then in added time Graziano Pelle finished off a counterattack to seal Italy’s win.

Carlsberg Man of the Match: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy) #ITAESP

ENGLAND 1-2 (1-2) ICELAND
Goal(s): 1-0 Wayne Rooney (4′, penalty), 1-1 Ragnar Sigurdsson (6′), 1-2 Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (18′)

Iceland scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of the UEFA Euros by scoring a deserving 2-1 win over an out of sorts England in Nice to reach the quarterfinals, where they now face the hosts France.

But Iceland had the worst possible start as referee Skomina gave a penalty as keeper Halldorsson brought Sterling in the box and captain Wayne Rooney gave England a 4th minute lead, which only lasted 80 seconds as a Gunnarsson long throw-in was headed on by Arnason for Ragnar Sigurdsson to equalise.

Iceland were now in the game and they sat back to allow England to attack, but in the 18th minute a lovely Icelandic combination was finished off by Kolbeinn Sigthorsson as Joe Hart committed a typical English goalkeeper blunder to allow the minnows to go ahead. England had more of the ball, but except a good attempt by Harry Kane and two shots by Rooney was all that the Three Lions created in the first half.

England looked uninspiring without any ideas on how to break down the Icelandic defence, who even had the better chances to score a third be it through a spectacular Ragnar Sigurdsson bicycle kick and further Saevarsson (73rd) and Gunnarsson (84th) on counterattacks.

In the end when the referee blew the final whistle, Iceland and its fans started their celebrations while a dejected England could not believe what had hit them.

Carlsberg Man of the Match: Ragnar Sigurdsson (Iceland) #ENGISL

About Arunava Chaudhuri

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