Category Archives: Euro 2016

Wales move ahead of England in FIFA world rankings

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Wales has moved up to the 11th in FIFA men’s world rankings after their successful Euro 2016 campaign.

Their venture into the semi-finals of the European Championship earns them a 15-place jump and 291 ranking points; the latter was the highest gained by any nation following the summer’s international tournaments.

As for England, the three lions fell two spaces to 13th after their humiliating defeat at the hands of Iceland in the last 16. They are now one place below Uruguay after just one win in four games in their entire European Championship campaign.

Iceland themselves climbed 12 places to 22nd ahead of Holland, the 2014 World-cup semi-finalists having fell to 26th after failing to qualify for the Euros

Northern Ireland, who also made it into the last 16 before defeat at the hands of Wales, also dropped to places to 28th.

Meanwhile, the top five teams remain unchanged on top of the table. Argentina ranks first ahead of Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Chile despite their third consecutive major tournament final defeat in as many years, the most recent one at the hands of Chile in Copa America Centenario.

On the other hand, Euro 2016 winners Portugal and defeated finalists France moved up two and 10 places respectively to sit sixth and seventh, with Spain, Brazil and Italy rounding off the top 10.

 

Portugal wins first ever European Championship trophy

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European Championship Final 2016, Stade de France

Portugal vs France (1–0, aet)

Portugal is Champions of Euro 2016.

Eder scored the winning goal against France at extra time to win Portugal’s first ever major international trophy.

Les Blues were firm favourites coming into the match but, despite numerous challenges on Portugal’s defense they were unable to score. They came close right before the end of normal time as substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac turned to fire an attempt, only to hit the inside of the post.

Uninspired play soon led to the inevitable conceding, and after 109 minutes Eder struck a low, 25-yard drive past French keeper Hugo Lloris for the match winning goal.

In the very least, the victory proved that Portugal could finally overcome disappointment and years of pain after journeying far into major international tournaments.

It was a vindication for a squad often branded as a one-man team under their superstar captain, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid forward started alongside his national team but was dealt an immediate injury just after eight minutes. A speeding Dimitri Payet followed through into the side of Ronaldo’s left leg and, from that point onwards, there was not a single moment from that Ronaldo looked pain-free.

He fought through agony to continue, but conceded defeat after he went down twice more. Knowing well that the final was over for him, the three-time world player of the year broke into hushed tears as the emergency medical staff carried him off the pitch in a stretcher.

Recognizing the greatness, the entire stadium stood in ovation.

But instead of being dealt a fatal blow, the Portuguese galvanized, and gave everything they had to keep France out as the host nation kept them under constant pressure.

On the sidelines, their captain gave animated encouragement, offering as much tactical advice as coach Fernando Santos in chaotic closing moments – and was reduced to tears once more at the final whistle.

 

 

 

Ronaldo and Nani combines to end Welsh adventure

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European championship 2016 semi-final

Wales vs Portugal (0-2)

Portugal advances into the tournament final.

Wales’s inspiring adventure in the European Championship is brought to an end in the semi-final after they were defeated without a reply against Portugal in Lyon.

Chris Coleman’s side was carried by fervent and delighted supporters, who witnessed their team enter their biggest game and seemed, for a time, prepared to go the distance.

However, with defender Ben Davies and midfielder Aaron Ramsey missing through suspension, they entered their first ever tournament semi-final thoroughly disadvantaged.

Their biggest threat had always been Cristiano Ronaldo, which this game proved. The Portuguese captain leapt into the air and seemed to hang there as he heads in the game’s opening goal from a corner.

Wales were stunned, their defence dazed after goal. But Portugal has no qualms about taking opportunities. Ronaldo, 25 yards from out to the right of centre, mishit a low cross-shot but it finds Nani, who stretched to slide it past Wayne Hennessey from close-range.

Portugal themselves had endured plenty of pain in major tournaments too. They had lost five of their six semi-finals across this tournament and the World Cup, but this time Cristiano Ronaldo put in a world-class performance to say otherwise.

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Welsh players thank their supporters in both French and Welsh.

But even amidst defeat, the Welsh team showed their appreciation for their supporters, who backed them in recent weeks with rousing songs and splashes of red.

The squad from a country that has just 3 million natives had shown great courage, teamwork and positivity to strive forward, and had been able to keep themselves pressure-free even as the stress mounts each time they win.

The moments the players had were memorable (Gareth Bale’s free kicks, Hal Robson-Kanu’s Cruyff turn), and will nourish the ideal start for them as a team as they prepare for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which begins in September.

Euro 2016: Griezmann brace sends Germany packing

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Euro 2016 semi-final
France
vs Germany (2-0)

France advances into the grand final of the European Championship.

Euro 2016 hosts France has won their first victory against Germany in a major tournament since 1958 to send Die Mannaschaft packing their bags.

Antoine Griezmann’s goals on both sides of the break were enough for Les Blues to set up a final meet against Portugal, who had eliminated Wales with a similar scoreline.

In a night of feverish emotions, the Atletico Madrid striker scored from the spot right on half-time. The penalty was conceded to France when Bastian Schweinsteiger was penalised for handball by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli as he engaged Patrice Evra in an aerial battle.

Germany started to pressure France but Griezmann won his team the two goal-cushion with 18 minutes left, as he turned in from close range after keeper Manuel Neuer could only half-clear Paul Pogba’s cross.

His two goals bring his goal tally in the tournament up to six, three ahead of his countrymen Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.

He had made the difference when France trailed 1-0 against the Republic of Ireland in the Round of 16, scoring a separate brace that pushes him closer to the bracket of the world’s top players.

On the other hand, Germany’s defeat denies them the double of holding the European Championship and World Cup at the same time, an honour only held by France and Spain.

To add insult to injury, Germany had always been a nemesis of major tournament hosts. Their team had defeated six hosts before this, including the memorable 7-1 demolishing of Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.

But with their strength in going forward and staving off pressure, France proved that they were capable enough to escape this curse, and now has been rewarded for a potentially easy final against Portugal.