UEFA 2020 Euro Championship – Day 6
Group E: Hungary (0) 0 – 3 (0) Portugal
Goal-scorers: Guerreiro (84′), Ronaldo (87’ pen, 90+2’)
Puskas Arena, Budapest
Well as the clock wound and six minutes on the clock I was thinking that my pre-match prediction of a draw was looking pretty good. Portugal had been the better side and throw in a Ronaldo sitter of a miss before the break and you thought Hungary had earned a bit of luck to grab a point. And then it all changed. Eighty-fourth minute. A deflected ball into the box and Guerreiro’s less that convincing shot also took a deflection to wrongfoot ‘keeper Gulacasi and the ball bobbled in. 1-0 Portugal. Three minutes later Rafa Silva bursts into the box he is fouled by Willi Orban – penalty Portugal, Ronaldo steps up, thank you very much. 2-0 Portugal. Then for good measure in time added on, some magic from the Portuguese skipper, a lovely set of wall-passes, and Ronaldo dummies Gulacasi and slots home. From nowhere the reigning champions win 3-0. Love him or hate him, Ronaldo is one of the world’s best players of all time and the goals in this game made him the European Championship Finals leading scorer. His penalty took him to 10 goals equal with Platini and his 11th puts him clear. Who would bet against Ronaldo scoring even more before the competition ends?
Group E: France (0) 1 – 0 (0) Germany
Goal-scorer: Hummels (20’og)
Allianz Arena, Munich
Not sure why but found the game all a bit comedic. Whether it be the Greenpeace protestor who dropped into the stadium or Antonio Rudiger’s nuzzle into the back of Paul Pogba and subsequent grab of the Frenchman’s moobs, to the own-goal from Hummels who wonderfully shinned it into the top corner. There were also two goals to France which were chalked off by VAR in the second-half and then seemingly every effort on goal by Germany kicked into the ground in some form of weird skill competition. Germany weren’t though laughing at the whistle and have Portugal and Ronaldo next up. This is one interesting group.
So we hit the start of the Second round of group fixtures. Back to three games today.
The opener in the Krestovsky Stadium sees Russia with home advantage over Finland and hoping to get their first points on the board after their 3-0 loss to Belgium. The Finns won in Denmark 1-0, and it will be interesting to see how they approach this game. Do they look to take a point or go all out for a win, knowing that group favourites Belgium await them in their final fixture. Historically these neighbours have a troubled past, with Russia invading Finland during the Second World War so there could be a bit of spice in the encounter. In football terms, Russia hold the upper hand winning all four games between the countries. I thought Finland would be the weak link in this group but could instead turn out to be one of the surprise packages. I’ll stick my neck out and sat Finland to nick another 1-0 win.
Game two of the day sees Wales play Turkey in Baku, with the media suggesting this will be like a ‘home’ game for the Turks with a large following attending. Wales have that point from the encounter with the Swiss, whilst Turkey lost 3-0 in the opening game of the competition 3-0. I felt the Welsh looked tired for large parts of the match with Switzerland and worry that if they got behind today they could struggle. However, the Red Dragons are not a side to roll-over, and I think this one could end as a draw. Don’t expect a 6-4 game that occurred when these teams last met in a World Cup Qualifier!
Wednesday closes in Rome with Switzerland travelling to take on Italy who were quietly impressive in their win over Turkey. On that basis and the evidence of the Swiss in their draw with Wales, I can’t see anything other than an Italy win.