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England and Wales met in Group B in the early kick-off on Thursday afternoon in a game that could go a long way to deciding the shape of the group.
England will feel highly-deflated after having the better of their 1-1 draw with a poor Russia team. The Three Lions had chances and at times looked good, but at times lacked a cutting edge in front of goal.
For all their attacking talent it was defensive midfielder Eric Dier who scored their only goal against Russia. A number of players under-performed, but according to reports England are set to line-up with the same eleven that started the Russia game.
England will need to perform far better against a strong Wales side, which seems to be determined to inflict misery on their neighbours. For the Three Lions this is a must not lose game and a win would put them in a strong position in the group.
Wales kicked-off their first ever European Championships appearance with a 2-1 win over Slovakia, courtesy of a Gareth Bale free-kick and a Hal-Robson Kanu effort that was sandwiched by an equaliser from by substitute Ondrej Duda.
The Dragons dominated the first half, but Slovakia had their moments and the game could have gone either way. The winner from Robson-Kanu may just have earned the Reading forward a starting place against England.
Wales star player Bale enjoyed a relatively quiet game against Slovakia, but will be the one that England has to stop if they are to stop the Dragons. This could be a very tight game and result in a draw.
In the evening the action switches to Group C, as Ukraine face Northern Ireland with both sides looking to pick-up their first wins of the competition.
Ukraine were defeated 2-0 by world champions Germany in their first game of Euro 2016, with Shkodran Mustafi and Bastian Schweinsteiger scoring the goals for Die Mannschaft. In truth it was not an awful display and Ukraine had their moments, but were maybe slightly cautious.
Mykhaylo Fomenko’s team are likely to be more adventurous in this clash. The likes of wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka will be hoping to see more of the ball.
Northern Ireland suffered a 1-0 defeat against Poland, with Arkadiusz Milik scoring the only goal of the game. Michael O’Neill’s side defended for much of the game and struggled to make an attacking impact.
They are likely to start with caution again in this clash, as Ukraine have shown in qualifying they are beatable. The Ukrainians will fancy their chances of a win, especially if Northern Ireland sits back and attempt to soak up the pressure.
The late kick-off sees world champions Germany and Poland go head-to-head in a game that could play a big part in deciding the winners of group.
Germany kicked-off their campaign with a 2-0 win over Ukraine courtesy of goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Die Mannschaft were not at their best, but there is sure to be more to come from Joachim Low’s team. A win in this clash will put Germany into the knockout stages.
Poland’s 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the opening group game means that Adam Nawalka’s side are in a good position to qualify for the knockout stages. The Poles have beaten their neighbours just once in 20 meetings, but that win came in qualifying for Euro 2016.
Germany will be confident of recording a win in this clash, but this could be a free swing for Poland, as their last game is against Ukraine, which could decide who qualifies for the knockout stages.
Day six of Euro 2016 was another of excitement in France, as Slovakia defeated Russia and Romania and Switzerland drew, while France grabbed another late win in Marseille.
The first game of the day came in Group B, as Slovakia saw off Russia 2-1 in Lille. The first goal arrived on 32 minutes for the Slovaks. Marek Hamsik produced a sublime 60-yard pass to pick out Vladimir Weiss in the area, the winger dummied Smolnikov before firing home a powerful effort into the far corner.
Weiss returned the favour on the stroke of half-time finding Hamsik on the edge and the Napoli found the top corner via the post with a fantastic powerfully struck effort. Neither teams produced many chances until ten minutes from time when Russia reduced the deficit.
Oleg Shatov’s cross from the left was headed home powerfully by Russia substitute Denis Glushakov. Leonid Slutskiy’s team pressed for a win, but Slovakia held on to the win and moved up to second in the group.
Attention then switched to Group A, as Romania and Switzerland drew 1-1 at the Parc des Princes. Romania took the lead on 18 minutes. Stephan Lichtsteiner pulled down Alexandru Chipciu in the area and for a second consecutive game Bogdan Stancu scored from the penalty spot.
However Switzerland equalised on 57 minutes. Ricardo Rodriguez’s cross was cleared and Admir Mehmedi smashed an effort past Ciprian Tatarusanu in the Romania goal.
There was very few efforts on goal following the goal, as both teams looked to settle for a point. The draw means that Switzerland sits second in the group with just a game remaining. They now need just a draw from their last game against France to confirm their place in the knockout stages.
Euro 2016 hosts France left it late to record a victory for a second consecutive game, as Les Bleus recorded a 2-0 win over a resilient Albania team in Marseille.
Underdogs Albania defended doggedly against French pressure, but the hosts finally found a breakthrough on 90 minutes. Defender Adil Rami produced a pin-point cross to Antoine Griezmann in the area and the Atletico Madrid forward headed home.
Les Bleus extended their win five minutes into stoppage-time. Substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac battled for the ball in the area and found Dmitri Payet, who advanced towards goal and curled the ball home.
The victory means that France were the first team to make it through to the knockout stages of the competition.
Day five of Euro 2016 produced the first real shock, as Hungary got the better of neighbours Austria, while Portugal where frustrated against surprise package Iceland.
Austria had a poor record against Hungary and surprisingly that record was extended as underdogs Hungary recorded a 2-0 win over their neighbours on Tuesday evening in Group F.
Marcel Koller’s side were seen as dark horses in the competition, but Hungary surprisingly took the lead just after the hour mark. Adam Szalai played a one-two with Laszlo Kleinheisler, before the striker scored his first goal in international football since October 2014.
Things got even worse for Austria on 66 minutes, as centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic was sent-off for a second bookable offence. As Austria pushed for an equaliser Hungary hit them on the break and doubled their lead on 87 minutes. Zoltan Stieber broke through the Austrian defensive line and chipped Robert Almer.
The result was a major surprise and means that Hungary now has a fantastic chance of making the last 16, while Austria’s hopes of making the knockout stages are now hanging by a thread.
The other game in Group A also produced a slight surprise, as Portugal were held by debutants Iceland 1-1 in Saint-Etienne.
Portugal took the lead on 31 minutes. Joao Moutinho found Andre Gomes and the Valencia midfielder found Nani in the six-yard box, the Fenerbahce winger then slotted home calmly.
The Scandinavians equalised on 50 minutes. A ball into the box was missed by Vieirinha and Birkir Bjarnason volleyed home with a powerful effort. The Portuguese had the better of the second period, but could not find a winner.
Portugal will see this as two points dropped, but Iceland will regard the draw as a very good start to their debut European Championship campaign.
Day six preview
On day six of Euro 2016, Russia and Slovakia kick-off off the action in Group B. The game could be a vital one in the hopes of both team’s qualification hopes.
Russia were fortunate to get a 1-1 draw in their opening game against England. The Russians struggled to make an impact in attack and their tactic of using giant striker Artem Dzyuba as a focal point failed to pay-off.
They will need to produce better going forward in this clash to record their first win of the campaign, as they looked toothless when going attacking.
Slovakia were second best for much of the first half against Wales, but enjoyed a better second period, which is when they scored the vital equalising goal for Ondrej Duda. However slackness in defence meant they failed to take anything from their opener.
Star player Marek Hamsik needs to be more involved in this clash if Slovakia are to pull-off a win against, in a game that the Slovakia simply cannot afford to lose.
The nine meetings between these two teams have been relatively even, with Russia winning three times, Slovakia winning twice and four games finishing in draws.
Attention then turns to Group A for the evening clash, as Romania and Switzerland go head-to-head in Parc de Princes.
Romania were unfortunate to lose their opening game 2-1 against hosts France, as they produced a typically solid defensive display to keep the French at bay in the first half. Olivier Giroud broke their stubborn resistance in the second half, but Bogdan Stancu equalised just eight minutes later.
Romania had the best defensive record in qualifying, but there was little they could do to prevent a wonder strike from Dimitri Payet winning the game on 89 minutes.
With their defence so well-drilled, Romania will always have a chance and no doubt they will be slightly more ambitious going forward against Switzerland. Romania cannot afford another defeat.
Switzerland kicked-off their campaign with an underwhelming 1-0 win over ten-man Albania, who had captain and centre-back Lorik Cana sent-off on 37 minutes after Florin Schar had given the Swiss the lead.
Vladimir Petrovic’s side were criticised for not extending their lead, but in truth Albania parked the bus for much of the game and the three points were the most important thing in the opening game. This could be a slightly more open game, with the Romanians needing to pick-up a result, the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri could have more of an effect on the game.
Switzerland will be looking to secure maximum points with a game against favourites in the last group game.
The two teams have met on 12 occasions, with both teams recording five wins each and two games have been drawn.
The evening kick-off sees hosts France facing group underdogs Albania in Marseille, as Les Bleus look to move one step closer to making it to the last 16 of the competition.
France eventually overcame a very stubborn Romania 2-1 on Saturday night, but they were nowhere near their best against the eastern Europeans. The highlight of the performance was West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet’s performance.
The game give French boss Didier Deschamps more questions than answers and he may well rotate his squad, with the likes of Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial chomping at the bit for a starting place after coming on as substitutes against the Romanians.
The French like major favourites and the host nation will be disappointed if they do not claim a convincing win in this clash.
Albania are major underdogs in this clash and the opening game 1-0 loss to Switzerland was not a big surprised, especially after captain Lorik Cana was dismissed in the first half. In fact The Albanians did little to expel their status of underdogs.
They defended relatively well, but the sending-off restricted their attempts at attacking. It would be a major surprise if they attack Les Bleus, as they are likely to set their stall out to defend and hit the French on the counter-attack.
It seems highly-unlikely that Albania will avoid defeat and their chances of making it out of the group would then be ended.