Round One Comes To A Close In Poland And Ukraine
|Ukrainian striker Shevchenko was nearly left out|
of the starting lineup but struck twice for the
co-hosts against Sweden
The action of the tournament kicked off on Friday with the other co-host Poland hosting Greece in Warsaw and closed today with the other co-host Ukraine securing themselves a surprising three points against Sweden. In between, hated rivals faced off, stunning goals were scored and powerful shots were saved. Two red cards have been shown so far, both coming from the same ref in the opening game between Poland and Greece. As the first round of group play comes to a close, some teams sit on top unsurprisingly while other nations are having fairytale starts to their EURO 2012 campaigns.
Russia, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic
Russia take the top of Group A with a full three points after they defeated the Czech Republic 4-1 on match day one. Poland and Greece faced off in the opening fixture of the tournament and held each other to a 1-1 stalemate. Greece were the comeback heroes on the opening day after they managed to equalize in the second half despite being a man down. Their defender Sokratis was shown a controversial red card in the closing minutes of the first half. They sit in the middle of the four team table while the Czech Republic sits at the bottom with zero points.
Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal
Germany and Denmark are level at the top of the Group of Death after the Germans defeated Portugal and Denmark had a surprising victory over Holland. Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal were unable to convert several promising chances against Mario Gomez and the Germans. Gomez scored the only goal of the game; a powerful header over the top of the Portuguese defense. Holland, despite bombarding the Danish goal with shot after shot, were unable to produce any points from the fixture. Their start studded roster of Robin van Persie, Ibrahim Affaley and Arjen Robben were unable to get a goal against the Danes and they are now under serious pressure to produce in the next round.
Croatia, Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland
Croatia take the surprising lead at the top of Group C after they defeated the Irish 3-1 on Sunday. Thanks to a draw in the other fixture of the group, Croatia is sitting pretty at the top of the group with +2 goal difference. The two big dogs of the group, Spain and Italy, battled it out earlier in the evening, holding each other to a surprising 1-1 draw. The Spanish passing style met the Italian catenaccio and neither side were able to score the vital winning goal that would have secured them the three points and a partial lead at the top of the group. All eyes will be on the defending champions, Spain, for the remainder of group play.
Ukraine, England, France, Sweden
The first round of group play finished off with the battle of the English Channel as France and England faced off in the first fixture of the last match day in round one. Despite some dominant play from England in the second half and two fantastic goals one from England’s Joleon Lescott and one from Manchester City’s French frontman Samir Nasri, neither side were able to take all three points. Surprisingly, co-hosts Ukraine go top of the group after they defeated Sweden 2-1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his side on the scoreline first, but Andriy Shevchenko, the oldest striker in the tournament, struck twice to defeat the Swedes and put his side at the top as the first round of the tournament.