Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro: Round 3: Top 5 Team Performances

Euro: Round 3: Top 5 Team Performances

By LAXMI NEGI
June 25, 2021 07:58 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The final round of games of the UEFA Euro 2020 Group Phase concluded across the continent on Wednesday, June 23, and with crucial qualification spots on the line and all the pressure surrounding the ties, there were some outstanding team performances across the board.

Laxmi Negi/Rediff.com picks the five best matches of the final round. Take a look:

 

Slovakia vs Spain

Spain

IMAGE: Aymeric Laporte celebrates scoring Spain's second goal during the match against Slovakia at Estadio La Cartuja in Seville, June 23, 2021. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Spain have been largely underwhelming in this tournament with a string of misses in their opening two games, but to their credit, duly delivered when it mattered the most. Spain's 5-0 win equalled the record margin of victory in Euro history.

After Alvaro Morata's early penalty miss, Spain took the lead thanks to a goalkeeping error at the half-hour mark when Slovakia's Martin Dubravka misjudged a looping ball and ended up clearing into his own net.

The lead was doubled at the stroke of halftime when Aymeric Laporte headed home from close rage to make it 2-0.

Spain continued to attack in the second half and Pablo Sarabia made it 3-0 after converting off David Alaba's low cross from the wing.

Substitute Ferran Torres added the fourth minutes after coming on and Slovakia's misery was rounded off with yet another own goal, this time from Juraj Kucka to make it 5-0 at full-time.

 

Portugal vs France

Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo steps up to score from the penalty spot and put Portugal ahead during the match against France at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, June 23, 2021. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

It was the clash of the heavyweights. Defending European Champions Portugal versus World Champions France in a Group F tie where everything was up for grabs.

Portugal started strong with a couple of half-chances early on before they were awarded a penalty in the 31st minute and Ronaldo dispatched the resultant spot-kick with ease to make it 1-0.

France were awarded a penalty when Kylian Mbappe was fouled inside the box on the verge of half time and and Karim Benzema drew them level with a cool finish to make it 1-1.

Barely had the second half kicked off that Benzema ran on to a through ball from Paul Pogba and found the net with a well-placed shot to give France the lead for the first time in the tie.

It seemed as if Portugal were on the verge of exit from the tournament before they were awarded yet another penalty in the 60th minute and once again it was Ronaldo who scored off a low shot to the 'keeper's left to make it 2-2 and send Portugal through to the Round of 16.

 

Italy vs Wales

Italy

IMAGE: Matteo Pessina connects a cross into goal to put Italy ahead during the match against Wales at the Olimpico stadium in Rome. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Italy finished atop Group A with a perfect nine points to qualify as Group Winners.

Wales, who had a good showing in the opening two games, were undone after going behind in the first half and were unable to claw themselves back into the game after going down to ten men in the second half.

Matteo Pessina scored the all-important winner after side-footing Marco Verratti's free-kick from close range.

Italy now head to London to take on Austria in the Round of 16 while Wales will play Denmark in Amsterdam.

Holland vs North Macedonia

IMAGE: Memphis Depay celebrates after scoring the first goal against North Macedonia during their match at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. Photograph: Piroshka van de Wouw - Pool/Getty Images

Holland finished their group phase with a strong 3-0 performance against bottom placed North Macedonia in what was a farewell match for the latter's legendary midfielder Goran Pandev.

As in the previous fixture, Holland attacked from the opening minute, creating a flurry of chances early on.

The breakthrough came in spectacular fashion in the 24th minute following a sweeping move that ended with Memphis Depay tapping-in from close range to make it 1-0.

Onto the second half and the Oranje scored two goals in quick succession thanks to Captain Georginio Wijnaldum. After running on to Depay's assist inside the area for an easy finish in the 51st minute, Wijnaldum was on hand to pounce on a rebound off the 'keeper to make it 3-0.

The win confirmed Holland as winners of the group with a similar perfect record to Italy with three wins. The Dutchmen now travel to Budapest where they take on the Czech Republic in the Round of 16.

 

Croatia 3-1 Scotland

Luka Modric

IMAGE: Luka Modric scores Croatia's second goal during the match against Scotland in Glasgow. Photograph: Andy Buchanan - Pool/Getty Images

Hampden Park has hosted several remarkable ties in football history and this particular do-or-die contest between Scotland and Croatia will go down in the record books as yet another classic.

With the game evenly poised and Scotland seemingly through, Croatian Skipper Luca Modric was involved in two sublime goals of the highest goals quality to take his side through to the Round of 16.

Croatia were off to a good start, breaking the deadlock in the 17th minute after Bruno Petkovic made it 1-0 only for Scotland to respond with an equaliser close to half-time through Connor McGregor.

Croatia pressed forward in the second half and were finally rewarded in the 62nd minute when Modric unleashed a spectacular outside-of-the-boot effort from twenty yards out that curled its way into the top corner to make it 2-1.

Ivan Perisic made it 3-1 in the night with a glancing header in the 77th minute, confirming a second place finish for Croatia at the final whistle.

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

https://www.rediff.com/cricket/ipl-2021