Famous Victory for Ireland and other Euro 2016 recaps

Day 13, and the last of the league stages at Euro 2016 produced a dramatic finish in Group F, as Hungary and Portugal drew in a thrilling contest and Iceland grabbed a last-gasp win over Austria, while Group E saw a famous victory for Republic of Ireland and a win for Belgium against Sweden.

 

Iceland grabbed a stoppage-time winner to defeat Austria 2-1 and finish second in the group behind group winners Hungary to spark wild celebrations from the terraces.

The Nordic team took the lead on 18 minutes, after previous hitting the woodwork on two occasions. Aron Gunnarsson’s long-throw was flicked-on to Jon Bodvarsson who beat his marker and poked past Robert Almer from inside the Austria penalty area.

Austria had a golden opportunity to equalise on 38 minutes. David Alaba was brought down in the area by Olafur Skulason and the referee pointed to the spot. Centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic stepped-up and hit the spot-kick against the base of the post.

It turned out to be a nightmare tournament for the highly-rated defender, as he was dismissed in the opening game as well.

Austria did equalise on the hour mark though having come into the game slightly more in the second half. Substitute Alessandro Schopf picked-up the ball from Alaba, avoided a challenge from Arnason and kept his cool to slot a low effort past Halldorsson in the Iceland goal.

Austria dominated possession as they pushed for a winner, but failed to create much in terms of chances on goal and were hit on the break deep into stoppage-time.

Four men broke forward on the counter-attack with the ball falling for Arnor Ingvi Traustason, who slotted home to cause mass celebration from the Icelandic fans. The win meant that Lars Lagerback’s side finished the group as runners-up and will face England in the last 16.

Hungary and Portugal produced one of the games of the tournament so far, as the pair drew 3-3 in a game that saw Hungary top the group and Portugal finish third. Hungary took the lead on 19 minutes.

The ball fell to veteran midfielder Zoltan Gera on the edge of the area, the former-West Brom chested the ball down and produced a superb half-volley that beat Rui Patricio down low at his far post.

With the half drawing to a close Portugal equalised. Cristiano Ronaldo produced a superb through-ball to Nani and the Fenerbahce winger fired low past Gabor Kiraly.

Hungary were back in the lead just two minutes into the second half, as Balazs Dzsudzsak deflected a free-kick past Kiraly. Three minutes later and Portugal were level, as from ten yards out Cristiano Ronaldo produced a fantastic flicked effort that went into the bottom corner of the net.

Unbelievably Hungary were ahead again five minutes later. Dzsudzsak was the scorer yet again, as his effort from just outside the area took a deflection off Nani and ended up in the top corner. Parity was restored on 62 minutes in what was an incredible 17 minutes of football.

Joao Mario’s cross from the left was glanced home by Ronaldo for his second goal of the game. Both teams had chances to win it, but in the end the game finished all-square. The draw means Portugal qualify for the knockout stages in third-place and face Hungary in the last-16.

Group E was also decided on Wednesday night. Italy topped the group, but a much-changed Azzurri team suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Republic of Ireland.

The game was a relatively open game, but it took 85 minutes for the only goal of the game to go in. Substitute Wes Hoolahan sent in a cross from the left-flank and Robbie Brady glanced a header past Salvatore Sirigu in the Italy goal.

Italy never really looked like equalising and the win was enough for Ireland to finish in third place and book their place in the knockout stages of the competition, much to the delight of their green and white travelling army.

Belgium clinched second-place in the group with a 1-0 victory over Sweden in Nice. Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic both had goals disallowed, while Swedish ‘keeper Andreas Isaksson pulled-off a number of saves to keep his side in the game.

Belgium eventually sealed their place in the last-16 on 84 minutes. Eden Hazard crossed to find Radja Nainggolan on the edge of the area and the midfielder produced a powerful that that deflected of Erkan Zengin and beat Isaksson.

The win saw Sweden finish both of the group with just one point to show for their three group games. The game also marked the end of mercurial Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s international career.

The outspoken striker will also move on to pastures new in his club career, with his contract at French champions PSG set to expire this summer.

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