The 2016 European Football Championships goes on. We have enjoyed some mixed action in the round of 16 and look forward to the quarterfinals. In this post you can read about the dates for the quarterfinals as well as summaries from the round of 16. If you want to read more Iceland’s success against England, scroll down!
Euro 2016 quarterfinals
June 30: Poland – Portugal
Poland had not let in a single goal during the group stage. They got the early lead against Switzerland in the first round of the knockout stage. However, The Swiss came back with an equalized and the game had to be decided by penalties were Poland came out on top.
Portugal played a tight defensive battle without many scoring chances against Croatia. This game could have gone to penalties as well, but Ricardo Quaresma blessed Cristiano Ronaldo and his team mates with a goal in the 117th minute.
July 1: Wales – Belgium
Wales did their duty against Northern Ireland. They managed to win 1-0 in what afterwards was described as the most boring game in the Euro 2016. Well, a victory is a victory, no matter how the entertainment was.
Belgium showed class late in the knockout game against Hungary, finally winning 3-0. They have a lot of talent in their squad but so far Belgium has delivered mixed performances.
July 2: Germany – Italy
Germany easily dismissed a pale Slovakian team 3-0. They are one of the favorites for winning the gold in the Euro 2016. The biggest obstacle might actually come already in the quarter final: Italy.
Italy managed to beat the current champions, Spain, 2-0. They keep playing a disciplined defensive game with lots of counterattacks. This match-up might actually be the “real” final between the two best teams among the eight that is still left in the tournament.
July 3: France – Iceland
France trailed for a long time against Ireland who got the early 1-0 lead in the first knockout round. However, Antoine Griezzmann once again stepped up when France needed him and scored two goals in the second half, sending the host nation to the next round.
The Fairy tale of this tournament is about an island. Not the British one though. Iceland is a small nation with 330 000 inhabitants. They have about 20 000 football players. In the round of 16 they were drawn against another island, with 53 million inhabitants, and over 40 000 registered football clubs: England, who claims they invented the sport! England got the best possible start of the game, with Wayne Rooney scoring on the penalty kick after just a few minutes of play. Now, many of us thought that Iceland’s journey in the Euro 2016 was over. After all, the small island managed to both qualify to the tournament and go through from the preliminary round.
The game was not more than 5 minutes old when Gylfi Sigurðsson scored the equalizer. But Iceland was not yet content. In the 18th minute of the first half, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson gave them the lead. 2-1 and England was clearly shaken. However, the game was still young. Surely, England would come back from this? Iceland played as they have done the whole time under Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck: A tight defensive game, and lots of running. They wore their opponents out, sometimes by playing rough. England failed to create any clear chances and the time went on. First half went into the second. Thirty minutes left became twenty. The Lions, although desperate looked more scared than fierce. The last minute of overtime was dramatic, with a last English corner kick for the tie. But they did not convert on it. Iceland won the game fair, 2-1, which has to be said to be one of the most sensational results of the European Championships ever.
English coach Roy Hodgson resigned immediately after the game. As a British newspaper stated, he should become the new prime minister since apparently he is an expert of guiding England out of Europe.