Euro 2020 (Group Stages – Part One)
The flagship UEFA competition finally got underway in Rome, albeit a year later than originally planned due to the pandemic, but Italy could only manage a 1-1 draw with Finland in a disappointing curtain raiser on Friday evening at the Stadio Olimpico. Brentford striker Marcus Forss gave the visitors a shock lead inside the opening 20 minutes, before Nicolò Barella hit back just a minute later in what proved to be the last action of note.
There were at least more goals in the opening game the following day, as Denmark secured a 3-1 victory against the Ukraine in their opening fixture in Group B, with Daniel Wass having a solid game and claiming an assist before being replaced with 10 minutes to go. Elsewhere, Austria overtook Finland and Italy to take top spot in Group A following a 1-0 win over Turkey, Xavier Schlager with the only goal, while a double from Daniil Lesovoy gave Russia a 2-1 win over Poland in their opening Group B game, with Denis Cheryshev an unused substitute.
Group C also began with a draw, as France were held 1-1 by Bosnia Herzegovina, Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann giving the former champions the lead in Romania, before former Manchester City star Edin Džeko pulled Bosnia level. England thought they had done enough to get their campaign off to a win as another Manchester City man, Raheem Sterling gave them the lead at Wembley, but Mainz striker Robin Quaison scored deep in stoppage time to give Sweden a valuable point. It was a better start for Sterling’s former team-mate Divock Origi, as he scored the only goal as Belgium handed the Netherlands a 1-0 defeat at the Amsterdam ArenA, with Jasper Cillessen once again having to make do with a place on the bench.
If there was any disappointment about a failed move to PSG, it didn’t show as José Gayà put in an outstanding man of the match performance in the opening game for his country at the Euros on Monday evening, during a 2-0 win over Switzerland. Team mate Carlos Soler was on the bench, but not needed in the comfortable Group E victory. The other group game saw Czech Republic run out comfortable 2-0 winners against shock qualifiers Kosovo, while back in Group D holders Portugal were rampant as they brushed aside Scotland 4-1 at Hampden Park, with Valencia star Gonçalo Guedes coming off the bench to score twice in stoppage time to complete the rout.
The final games off the opening round of fixtures kicked of in the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening, with Germany registering a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hungary. Later that evening, over in Hungary, the Puskás Aréna played host as Croatia matched Germany with a 2-0 victory of their own against Wales, to take them joint level at the top of the table, Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic with the goals.Share this: