Euro 2016 is underway in France! For the first time ever, the Euros are being contested by 24 countries, having been expanded from the 16-team format used since 1996. Here’s how the first few days have unfolded…
France 2-1 Romania
Despite being far from their best, France claimed all three points against Romania in the opening game of the European Championship. City man Bacary Sagna started and played the whole game, with the French star putting in a good showing at right-back. Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud scored the opener for France, before Romania hit back courtesy of a Stancu penalty. As the game looked set to end in a score draw, West Ham’s Dimitri Payet scored the winner, hammering a superb shot in from twenty-five yards.
Albania 0-1 Switzerland
Switzerland claimed a win against a battling Albania with Fabian Schar’s header enough to claim all three points. Albania had a man sent off after what can only be described as a farcical handball, but despite being a man-down for much of they game they did squander a hat full of chances to equalise.
Wales 2-1 Slovakia
Gareth Bale inspired Wales to a victory over Marek Hamsik’s Slovakia. Bale scored a sumptuous free kick, before Slovakia hit back in the second half. The eastern European side had two former City players in the starting eleven, Vladimir Weiss and Robert Mak, though neither could do anything to stop Hal Robson-Kanu winning it for Chris Coleman’s side with ten minutes to go.
England 1-1 Russia
Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart both started in England’s draw in Marseille. Eric Dier opened the scoring for Roy Hodgson’s side, thumping in a superb free kick from the edge of the box. England looked certain to claim a rare opening day tournament win, only for Vasili Berezutski to loop a header over Joe Hart and claim a share of the points.
Croatia 1-0 Turkey
A Luka Modric screamer gave Croatia all three points against a battling Turkey side in the opening game of Group D. The Croatia side also accommodated Vedran Corluka at the heart of the defence, with the former City man putting in an excellent performance against the tricky Burak Yilmaz.
Northern Ireland 0-1 Poland
Northern Ireland’s stubborness was finally overcome in the second half as Arkadiusz Milik’s strike gave Poland all three points. The Ajax star, who is attracting interest across Europe, collected Kuba Blaszczykowski’s pass before drilling the ball home.
Germany 2-0 Ukraine
World Champions Germany got off to the perfect start as goals from Mustafi and Schweinsteiger gave them all three points in their opening game. Former City star Jerome Boateng played the full ninety minutes, and saved a goal for his side with a simply sensational block. Joachim Low’s side claimed all three points and look like one of the favourites to lift the trophy.