EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2016 - FRANCE
Bosnia vs. Belgium
Paris Community Arena, Paris: Bosnia had been an offensive force going into this match, led by Edin Dzeko’s 6 goals, but they were stopped short by an impressive Belgian side that had conceded only three goals. They controlled the match, and kept Bosnia’s strikers under control, winning the game 1-0 and advancing to the Semi-Finals. Bosnia’s head coach, the 61 year Safet Susic, was hailed for the progress his small nation had made, and for the style of football they displayed in the tournament.
Belgium: 1 (Lukaku) – Yoni Buyens, Standard Leige (1 Assist, 8.4)
Spain vs. France
Stade de Lumieres, Lyon: This was the match of the Quarter-Finals, as two of Europe’s heavyweights went toe to toe. The two time defending champions were able to come out on top against the hosts, beating them 3-1, with Fernando Llorente scoring a brace that took his tally to 7 goals in the competition, just one goal off of France’s Michele Platini’s 8 goals. In truth, it was a very even match, but Spain took their chances while France had to wait until the 84th minute to finally score a consolation goal. Spain advanced to the Semi-Finals for the third straight time.
Spain: 3 (Llorente (2), Mata) – Santi Cazorla, Arsenal (2 Assists, 8.8)
France: 1 (Bocaly)
Russia vs. Portugal
Stade de France, Paris: A match that could possibly be the contender for most boring game of the tournament, there was very little happening from beginning to end. The Portuguese again looked uninspired and unimpressive, but this time, they were not gifted anything – the Russians scored in the 74th minute and never looked back, beating their opponents 1-0. Although the match itself was dire, nothing could be taken away from the Russians’ achievement, who made the Semi-Finals for the first time as the country of Russia (and not the Soviet Union.)
Russia: 1 (Berezutskiy) – Vasily Berezutskiy, CSKA Moscow (1 Goal, 8.4)
Wales vs. Italy
Stade de le Borne de l’Espoir, Villeneuve-d’Ascq: One of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition, Wales were able to hold the Italians to a goalless draw and finally won the game on penalties, advancing to the Semi-Finals in glorious fashion. The Italians dominated the match, and Wales did not have single shot on goal to threaten Italian GK Salvatore Sirigu, but at the other end, their defense held strong and kept the Italian offense at bay. Wales, who are coached by former Chelsea manager Tony Pulis, are ranked 40th in the world, but that meant nothing as they advanced to the next stage for the first time in their history.
Wales: 0 – Won on Penalties 6-5 – Adam Matthews, Villareal (7.8)