Monday, 11 June 2012

Euro 2012 Day 4 Review

Day four of the tournament saw the introduction of the final four teams to play.

First up was France against England, the French were big favorites for this match after a great run of form under Laurent Blanc, England had problems with both injury and selection concerns. Both sides are tipped to qualify for the quarter finals with this game going a long way to deciding the top two places.

The match started slowly with England perhaps edging it, the first chance of any note came curtsy of a through ball to James Milner, the Man City midfield rounded the keeper but failed to guide the ball into the open net. It didn't take long for the English to make up for the miss, as on the half hour mark, Steven Gerrard's free kick was met by Joleaon Lescott who scored his first international goal.

After the goal, England began to sit back which allowed France more possession and they soon punished the English as Samir Nasri fired a shot past club team mate Joe Hart, to level the game up nine minutes later. The second half was pretty much all French possession but les bleus were reduced to long range shots as England kept them at bay.

England will be satisfied at gaining a point against a good French side, the performance of Danny Welbeck was particularly pleasing as he led the line well. France won't be too disappointed and will expect to win their next two games.  

The final match in the first round of games, featured co hosts Ukraine, taking on Sweden. The is the host's first European Championships since gaining their independence, they are the underdogs coming into this group and were dreaming of causing some surprises in order to at least reach the quarter finals. The Swedes are along with Ukraine, much fancied to not make the quarters so had a point to prove.

The less said about the first half the better to be honest, aside from the chances for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andriy Shevchenko, the lack of quality prevented any real cutting edge chances as both sides went into half time level. The second half was a different story as the deadlock was broken by an Ibrahimovic tap in on 52 minutes, following some sloppy defending from the hosts.

After falling behind, Ukraine looked to their talisman to rescue them and boy did he deliver, golden boy Shevchenko scored two goals in the following ten minutes, to give his side a surprising lead. Sweden looked stunned and were on the ropes for a good period of time, they began to create chances themselves towards the end but former Bolton man Johan Elmander, squandered their best opportunity.

Ukraine will be rocking after this result and their dream of qualify just got a lot more real, as for Sweden, they know that defeat against England would surely seals their fate.

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