Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro: Round 2: Top 5 Team Performances

Euro: Round 2: Top 5 Team Performances

By LAXMI NEGI
June 21, 2021 07:46 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

With the completion of the second round of matches, we are past the halfway stage of the group phase of Euro 2020 with all teams vying for precious qualification spots into the knock-out rounds.

Laxmi Negi/Rediff.com picks the five best team performances from this round as the tournament heads into its business end.

 

Italy vs Switzerland

Italy

IMAGE: Manuel Locatelli bagged a brace of goals for the first time in his career as imperious Italy defeated Switzerland 3-0. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Italy became the first team to book a place in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 following a comprehensive win over Switzerland in Rome.

Switzerland found themselves on the back foot early on as Italy surged forward and the deadlock was broken in the 19th minute -- only for the referee to disallow it on account of an infraction.

The Italians seemed unfazed and opened the scoring sin the 26th minute through Manuel Locatelli's finish from close range.

The striker was at hand to double the lead in the second half, unleashing a low drive from outside the penalty area to make it 2-0.

The Italians were rarely tested and capped off the rout in a sweeping move in the closing minutes of the game when Ciro Immobile sealed a memorable win for his team.

 

Turkey vs Wales

Aaron Ramsey

IMAGE: Aaron Ramsey scores the first goal as Wales defeat Turkey 3-0. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Following their escapades at Euro 2016 where they made it all the way to the semi-finals, Wales put in a spirited performance in a 2-0 win against Turkey to move into second place in Group A.

Wales Captain Gareth Bale inspired the scintillating victory. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey missed two early chances, but made no mistake just before half-time when he chested down Bale's perfect ball over the defence to slot past the goalkeeper.

On the hour mark, Wales were awarded a penalty, but Bale blasted his effort over the bar. In the end, Wales defended gallantly and put the result beyond any doubt deep into injury time when Bale's cut-back inside the penalty area was met by Connor Robert and duly dispatched to the back of the net.

 

Denmark vs Belgium

Belgium

IMAGE: Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Denmark's Christian Norgaard. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Denmark could not have asked for a better start, having scored the second-fastest goal in Euro history only to have an inspired Belgium bounce back in the second half to turn the tie around and register a famous 2-1 win in Copenhagen.

Belgium looked shaky in the opening exchanges and were duly punished when a defensive slip-up led to a quick breakaway and Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen was quick to capitalise on the mistake.

To their credit, Belgium looked calm despite being in the rare situation. The turnaround occurred in the second half following the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne, who turns 30 next Monday, June 28.

The midfield maverick was on hand to release Thorgan Hazard in the 55th minute for the equaliser before scoring the all-important winner in the 70th minute.

The win cemented Belgium;s place in the second round, further confirming their status as one of the favourites to win the title.

 

Holland vs Austria

IMAGE: Denzel Dumfries celebrates after scoring for the Dutch. Photograph: Piroshka van de Wouw/Getty Images

Holland booked their place in the second round following a comprehensive 2-0 win over Austria in Amsterdam.

The deadlock was broken early on when Denzel Dumfries was brought down inside the penalty area and Memphis Depay buried the resultant spot-kick to make it 1-0 for Holland.

On to the second half and Holland substitute Donyell Malen found himself in a one-on-one situation and opted to selflessly square the ball across to Dumfires to make it 2-0 on the night.

 

Portugal vs Germany

Germany

IMAGE: Serge Gnabry celebrates Germany's second goal as Portugal's Raphael Guerreiro (not pictured) deflects the ball into his own net. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Germany bounced back from their loss to World Champions France in the previous round with a spectacular come-from-behind 4-2 victory against Portugal.

Portugal got off to a great start, taking the lead when Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from close range in the 15th minute.

Germany, who had adopted a rather attacking approach to the tie, responded with a double blow to the Portuguese within a space of a few minutes past the half-hour mark.

In the second half, any chance of a Portuguese comeback was put to rest when Kai Havertz tapped in from close range in the 51st minute before Robin Gosens headed in a cross from Joshua Kimmich to put the scoreline at 4-1.

Diogo Jota pulled one back to make it 4-2, but it was all to little too late as Germany ran out as deserved winners.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
LAXMI NEGI / Rediff.com

Tokyo Olympics

. Tokyo Olympics
. India's tour of England