Euro 2016 Day 2 - England v Russia and More

Let's have a look at the second day of play in Euro 2016 and how the action unfolded.

 

euro ball stadiumThe second game of Group A was a rather low-key affair, as Switzerland dispatched 10-man Albania 1-0 in Lens on Saturday. The only goal of the game came after just five minutes through a header from centre-back Fabian Schar, after a mistake by Albanian ‘keeper Etrit Berisha.

Things got worse for Albania on 37 minutes though. Captain and former-Celtic star Lorik Cana was shown given his marches orders following two bookable offences. Vladimir Petkovic’s side did not really make the most of their advantage though, but in the end picked-up the all-important three points.

As expected it was Group B that provided the drama for the day, as Wales and England endured mixed fortunes. Wales produced an impressive display to see off Slovakia 2-1 in Bordeaux.

Slovakia came flying out the blocks and Wales had Ben Davies to thank for keeping their clean sheet in the opening minutes, after the Tottenham defender got back to clear Marek Hamsik’s effort off his own goal line. However, Wales then had the better of the opening exchanges.

The Dragons will no doubt look to star man Gareth Bale for inspiration throughout this tournament and he wasted no time in having an impact in France. In fact he opened his scoring account for the tournament after just ten minutes, curling a free-kick past the Slovakian ‘keeper Matus Kozacik.

Slovakia started to come into the game slightly more in the second half and equalised just beyond the hour mark. The goal was scored by substitute Ondrej Duda, who scored with his first touch, having come on to the pitch less than a minute earlier.

However it was another substitute who made a winning contribution and it was for Chris Coleman’s side. Reading forward Hal Robson-Kanu scuffed effort in the 81st minute was enough to give Wales a historic first European Championship victory.

England had never won an opening game at a European Championships and that record continued on Saturday night, as Roy Hodgson’s side somehow contrived to draw 1-1 with Russia. In truth the Three Lions controlled the game and Russia offered very little attacking threat.

England missed chances through Adam Lallana, Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli, but finally took the lead with just 17 minutes remaining and through an unlikely source in defensive midfielder Eric Dier.

The Tottenham midfielder curled a superb free-kick over the wall and beyond the despairing dive of Russia ‘keeper Igor Akinfeev. The game looked to be petering out, as Russia’s tactic of aiming high balls at giant striker Artem Dzyuba was failing to break down the Three Lions defence.

In stoppage-time though Russia did manage to make an unlikely breakthrough and again it was from an unlikely source. A ball was play into the England penalty area and centre-back Vasili Berezutski looped a header over Joe Hart in the England goal.

The two results in Group B mean that Wales top the group, with England and Russia behind Chris Coleman’s side and Slovakia propping up the rest.

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