UEFA Euro 2024 Matchday 2 Roundup: Germany, Portugal, and Spain seal Round of 16 qualification

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Ilkay Gundogan scored one and created one to take his team to the Round of 16

The Euro 2024 has been shaping into a cracker with almost every team dropping a scorching performance on Day 2.  As expected, Germany, Spain, and Portugal progressed to the Round of 16 while France and England were slightly underwhelming.

However, the comparatively unfancied teams like Albania, Austria, and Ukraine took the cake as they lit up the Euros with outstanding football and electrifying support.

Group A

The second match day for Group A began with a clash between Germany and Hungary on Wednesday at the Stuttgart Arena where Julian Nagelsmann’s team delivered an efficient performance to bag the game 2-0.

After a slow start, Jamal Musiala opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a sensational shot inside the box after Ilkay Gundogan won the possession by exerting pressure on Willi Orban and made a straightforward assist.

Hungary created a few chances, most notably Roland Sallai in the first minute. But their hopes were dampened as Gundogan ran from deep to put Maximilian Mittelstadt’s perfect low cross inside the goal.

The game between Scotland and Switzerland in Cologne ended in a 1-1 draw, but it was one hell of a game for neutrals. 

The Scots, hellbent on bouncing back after their humiliation at Germany’s hands, were at it right from the start and got their reward in the 13th minute when Scott McTominay’s shot from the edge of the box flew off Fabian Schar’s back beyond the goalkeeper. 

But the jubilation of the Tartan Army and the team did not last long as the evergreen Xherdan Shaqiri pounced on Anthony Ralston’s backpass with a curler from outside the box. Steve Clarke’s team must beat Hungary in the final group game to keep their chances alive.

Group B

One of the best games in the tournament so far was the 2-2 draw between Croatia and Albania in Hamburg. Both teams created chances for fun but Albania scored first through Qazim Laci’s header in the 11th minute.

The Croatians maintained constant pressure and got rewarded in the second half. First, Andrej Kramaric netted an easy chance off Ante Budimir’s flick, and it was followed by an own goal by Albania’s Klaus Gjasula. However, Albania had the last laugh as Gjasula evened it out in the 95th minute to score from inside the box from Mario Mitaj’s deflected cross. 

Nico Williams produced one of the tournament’s best individual performances

The other game from Group B was a battle between Spain and Italy in Gelsenkirchen on the 20th, but Spain’s young guns led by Nico Williams’ excellence proved too much for the Italians.

Williams razzled and dazzled as he turned the right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo inside out and produced one of the tournament’s best individual performances. But despite Spain’s 20 shots, it was an own goal by Riccardo Calafiori that gave them the lead as Alvaro Morata’s header landed inside the box after getting deflected off the defender’s knee.

Group C

The game between the minnows Slovenia and Serbia was held on Thursday in Munich but it turned out to be the best game in their group with some close chances and brilliant goalkeeping by one Jan Oblak.

The Slovenians took the lead in the 69th minute when Timi Max Elsnik’s pinpoint cross was met with Zan Karnicnik’s brilliant positioning. However, just as is the case in the Euros, the comeback was on the cards. With just 2 seconds to go in the extra time, Luka Jovic glanced an equaliser from Ivan Ilic’s corner. The game ended 1-1.

But if your spirits were lifted by the game in Munich, the game at Frankfurt got them down as Denmark and England drew 1-1.

After Harry Kane scored the opener in the 18th minute, England sat back and let an organised Denmark have the ball. As Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg bossed the England midfield of Declan Rice and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Morten Hjulmand scored an absolute worldie in the 34th minute. 

Phil Foden hit the bar in the second half, but Denmark must be kicking themselves for not taking advantage of England’s sloppy play.

Group D

Gernot Trauner fired Austria ahead with a header in the 9th minute as his team took on Poland in Berlin but it was soon evened out by Krzysztof Piatek’s well-taken shot from 6 yards out.

But the Austrians played like a perfectly oiled machine and as a result, Christoph Baumgartner scored the second in the 66th minute. To top it off, Marko Arnautovic scored a penalty won by Marcel Sabitzer to make the final score 3-1.

However, the clash touted as one of the games of the tournament was the first 0-0 draw at the Euro 2024 The Netherlands held on France for 90 minutes in Leipzig.

Xavi Simons’ goal was ruled offside against France

The Dutch were also a bit unlucky as they had Xavi Simons’ goal ruled out due to Denzel Dumfries’ interference in the play. Despite playing without Kylian Mbappe, France created better chances but Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot’s wastefulness in front of the goal cost them two points.

Group E

Things were getting edgy in Group E as all four teams were on 3 points. As Slovakia took on Ukraine in the Dusseldorf Arena, they would have expected to repeat their heroics from the 1st game week. They started brilliantly as they took the lead in the 17th minute as Ivan Schranz converted Lukas Haraslin’s cross into the goal. 

But the Ukrainians were having none of that. Oleksandr Zinchenko stepped up his game from the left-back position and assisted Mykola Shaparenko with a low cross for Ukraine’s equaliser. It soon followed Roman Yaremchuk’s winner which was a fine finish after a lovely touch inside the box in the 80th minute. The final score remained 2-1.

In the other clash at Cologne, the normal service resumed for Belgium as they ripped Romania apart 2-0 in a game they dominated right from the start. 

In the 2nd minute of the game, Romelu Lukaku laid off one pass to Youri Tielemans, and the Aston Villa midfielder smashed one in from just outside the 18-yard box. The Belgians came close again at an hour mark but another Lukaku goal was deemed offside. Soon after, Kevin de Bruyne extended Belgium’s lead in the 80th minute with a sharp finish.

Group F

Another day, and another banger for Georgia, this time in Hamburg against the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Willy Sagnol’s side continued their gung-ho open approach again and went ahead through Georges Mikautadze’s penalty, his second goal at the Euros. However, the more organised Czechs imposed themselves on the game and levelled as Patrik Schick found the net with his chest in the 59th minute.

Georgia came very close in the dying seconds but Saba Lobzhanidze overhit it from 10 yards out. The first win remained a dream for Georgia as the game ended 1-1.

The match between Turkey and Portugal at Dortmund warranted eye-catching football with Portugal’s talent and Turkey’s open game but it was more than that.

First, Bernardo Silva gave Portugal a lead with his first goal at the major tournament by slotting Nuno Mendes’ deflected shot home from a close range. Then, a moment of madness occurred as Samet Akaydin scored an extraordinary ‘no look’ own goal as he failed to spot Altay Bayindir’s position in the box.

Lastly, Cristiano Ronaldo scripted history as he uncharacteristically squared it to Bruno Fernandes for an easy finish to make the final score 3-0.