… As Lukaku’s Belgium sing war song against Republic of Ireland
BY PAUL EREWUBA
FOOTBALL is indeed living up to its cliche – there are no more minors in the game. And expectedly though, Euro 2016 being hosted by France is experiencing a mix grill. While minnors are riding high so far, violence is gradually creeping into the beautiful game.
Euro 2016 outsiders, Iceland fought back to salvage a memorable 1-1 draw with Portugal as the Country made her major tournament debut at Euro 2016 Tuesday night to herald the arrival of minors.
Earlier, Hungary had stunned favourites Austria 2-0.
The Euro 2016 is Hungary’s major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup and they triumphed by virtue of superior work-rate, organisation and quality.
They might not have as many household names as their rivals, they have more of a team ethic and were rewarded when Szalai – having been involved in the build-up twice – put them in front. In the closing moments Steiber coolly lifted the ball over the keeper to seal the win.
It was also a memorable day for Hungary keeper Gabor Kiraly, 40, who overtook Lothar Matthaus’ record to become the oldest player to appear at a European Championship finals.
He defied his years when he dived low to his left to save Junuzovic’s deflected shot but, overall, he had little to do.
Former West Brom and Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera, 37, was an influential presence for Hungary in midfield as he made the most tackles of any player on the way to a famous win for his country.
Austria had high hopes at Euro 2016 after they won nine out of 10 matches in an unbeaten qualifying campaign.
However, Alaba’s early effort aside, they struggled to live up to the expectation as key forwards Zlatko Junuzovic, Marko Arnautovic and Marc Janko were comfortably marshalled by the Hungary defence.
Euro 2016 was not only of shock, the competition is trailed by violence occasioned by ‘beer’ drinking England fans.
Two Russian fans were reportedly arrested in France city centre and the country, according to report, was facing possible expulsion from the tournament.
English and Welsh supporters were reportedly confronted by a group of Russians at a bar, with fans chanting: “F*** off Russia, we’re England and Wales.” A glass object, thrown from the bar, smashed after landing near the Russian group.
But the teams will today take the centre stage again as the final group stage matches are played.
Most of the strong teams at the tournament had been a little unconvincing, but Belgium were flat-out rubbish against Italy.
This, then, is the chance to find out exactly how much of that was down to the Italians being excellent — which they were — and how much was down to Marc Wilmots’ inability to make the most of the talent available to him.
On their showing so far, this team simply didn’t work: Romelu Lukaku didn’t get enough chances, and so snatched at those he did get; Eden Hazard and Kevin du Bruyne seem to contradict rather than complement one another; and there’s always a hole in defense no matter how his players get shuffled.
They need a win, and they need a performance. As for the Irish, they were the better team until they took the lead against Sweden, but then they shrank back into themselves to an alarming degree. That draw, plus Italy’s ominous form, meant that this looked a lot like a must-win for the Irish too.
Source : SunOnline