Euro Cup 2016: Predictions, Results, and Summaries
The 2016 UEFA Euro Cup is in full swing. Groups A, B, and C have already begun their quest for the gold as a few of the tournaments favorites suffered in close defeats. The Group stages continue to play today and tomorrow as the first round of games come to a close. Group D and E kicked off the start of their competitions today, with a few matches that highlight some of the best teams and players that are featured in this year’s competition.
Euro Cup 2016 Recent Matches
The first match of the morning took place between Spain and the Czech Republic. Spain was the heavy favorite by those betting on football going into this Group D match as their roster bolsters the likes of Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, and many others who frequent mainstays across the many professional leagues in Europe and across the nation. The most popular name featured on the Czech Republic team was their veteran keeper, Petr Cech.
The match itself was rather nerve-wracking for the Spaniards. The game left many of close opportunities for both sides, but the time of possessing and passing heavily-favored Spain. Spain had plenty of chances to score early and late, but the Czech Republic countered most of their attacks or held on for dear life at times to prevent scoring attempts or penetration from strategic placements and passing. The Czech Republic had a few chances, albeit only a few, to score as well. Their shots were either saved or blocked, but they were right on point. The game went into the half with a score of 0-0 for both sides. It wasn’t until the 87th minute in the second half until the breakthrough for Spain came in the form of one Gerard Pique. His header snuck by Mr. Cech to give Spain the lead and ultimately the match in this statistically lopsided, yet close match.
2016 Euro Cup Results
The second match of the day featured an introduction into the power group that is Group E. Ireland took on Sweden in a match-up between Ireland’s seasoned veterans and Sweden’s superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović. All eyes were on Zlatan early which opened up a few opportunities for Sweden’s Forsberg and other forwards/midfielders to take their early licks on goal. Their attempts either fell short or were saved in incredible fashion by Irish keeper Darren Randolph. Randolph was spectacular in the first have and throughout the course of the match. He saved some rather close attempts and had a few diving efforts as well.
The Irish struck first with a goal from Wes Hoolahan early into the second period. It was looking rather bleak for Sweden as their pushes and efforts continued to come up short or were foiled via Irish defending and stellar goalkeeping. The 71st minute rolled around, and the tides changed. Forsberg crossed a pass in towards Zlatan and by virtue of an Irish player failing to clear the ball out of play (rather, clearing it into their own net), the match became tied at 1. The focus on Zlatan helped create a panic by the Irish players at a critical point in the game and would ultimately lead to a draw between these two countries.
The last match of the day continued in Group E and featured two of the tournament’s favorites to win it all: Italy and Belgium. Italy went into this year’s tournament lacking some of the star power they’ve featured in recent years, but that did not deter them from their individual aspirations. Belgium featured a lineup that stacked top named players like Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, and a few others. Their star power was lacking due to some injuries that kept some key players off the pitch and the tournament all together this go around. The match itself had its ups and downs throughout, featuring moments where each team seemed close to the stat sheet on numerous occasions.
Emanuele Giaccherini would be the one to break the ice in the 32nd minute of the match. Once this goal was scored and halftime followed, one could tell that the Belgium players had their heads hung and their spirits sunk. Any football fan could have realized that this match seemed as if it were over at the half the way the players carried themselves at that point in the match. The second half provided some close opportunities for the Belgium side, but Italy remained consistent on defense and with their crisp passing and execution. The Italians would add a second goal in extra time for good measure.
Euro Cup 2016 Upcoming Games
Tomorrow’s games will feature the four teams in Group F: Austria vs. Hungary and Portugal vs. Iceland. The second game offering the most intrigue as it’s not every day that one can view Christiano Ronaldo take the pitch in competitive play. Ronaldo has always done well in competitions in which he plays for his home country and tomorrow will prove to be no different from the past. It may get ugly for Iceland tomorrow as it also marks their first major tournament debut. The first match between Austria and Hungary will prove to be the fist fight that it’s been over the course of many meetings between these two. It is always a treat to see these two go at it and tomorrow will be yet another interesting meeting.
Looking down the road in the tournament there are a few matches that will be interesting to see take place: In Group B England will square off with Wales in the second round of group play. Will England’s bolstered roster be enough to fend off a defeat from Bale and Co.? We’ll have an answer to that on the 16th. Italy will face Sweden in the second round of play in Group E, which will also be one to tune into. Predictions upon completion of the group stages will leave these four teams atop their respective Group: Switzerland (A), England (B), Germany (C), Spain (D), Italy (E), and Portugal (F).
Euro Cup 2016 Champions Prediction
Germany’s attack and defense will ultimately outlast the competition and will lead to them being crowned the 2016 Euro Cup champions. There are a lot of matches yet to be played out and fought for, and the 2016 Euro Cup tournament still holds all the intrigue it rightfully deserves.