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Euros 7: Earning the right to be there

Popularity 2Viewed 5740 times 2016-6-15 08:52 |Personal category:Sport|System category:News| Euros 2016, competitive, Iceland, Portugal

After the two matches overnight, all teams have played exactly one game in the group stages - it starts again at 9 pm Wednesday night China time zone with Russia v Slovakia. The games just completed illustrated the standout memory so far - How competitive all the matches have been.

Over the twelve games to date, no team has scored more than two goals, and where a few teams have, they have all only secured the second goal with a few minutes left to play - in every game, we have to keep watching until the end to know the result - nobody was leaving early!  This is exactly what the fans and the media want. It has been a great tournament so far.

The fighting spirit could not be better illustrated than by Iceland's heroic draw versus fancied Portugal. When Nani put the Portuguese ahead after a third of the game, many must have thought that this talented team would go on to hit more goals and that Ronaldo would open his account. Well, the statistics tell that goal attempt effort - Portugal had 26 shots against Iceland's humble four shots - but in the second half, they made one of those shots count for an equalizing goal. Incredibly it took a great save by the Portuguese keeper late on to stop Iceland winning the match!

Hungary also shocked the well-backed Austria with a win - though I personally thought it would be a much tighter game than the bookies did. The Republic of Ireland's earlier draw with Sweden was another gallant effort. Yes, every team has showed that they earned the right to be there. None is just making up the numbers. Every team has something to play for as we start the next twelve games. 

Will the prospects be clearer after 24 games? I suspect it will in terms of who are likely to top some groups - but not so clear as to who will reach the final 16 places. Not only the runners-up in each group but also the best 4 third placed teams will go through. That is going to keep it exciting right through until the 36 group games have been played. Let's kick on!

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report parcher 2016-6-15 18:23
The usual teams have impressed like Germany and my tip Italy. England face a massive game against Wales, but at least they will know the result of the Russia game. The media have been kind to them so far, but they need a result or roy will be slaughtered like the wolly with the brolly. I still have faith and believe our best is yet to come...
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-6-15 21:54
Ronaldo's 'sour grapes' at the Iceland performance is both hilarious and unprofessional considering some players in other matches applauded when their opponents scored.

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