The final of EURO 2016 is upon us. The hosts, France, are met by Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s Portugal after they overcame Germany and Wales respectively in the final four.
In stark contrast to the previous nightâ€™s tight affair, France made their way to the semi-finals with ease as they breezed past a disappointing Iceland side. Deschamps opted for an interesting asymmetrical 4-4-2 formation with Pogba at the 6 whilst Iceland went for the same 4-4-2 which knocked England out in the last round.
England crashed out of the EUROs in typically-English fashion as they lost 1-2 to an underestimated Icelandic team. Despite starting the game well, with a goal and some decent play in possession, the team were held back by some inappropriate mid-game changes from Hodgson.
After failing to convert their chances against Northern Ireland, we saw a much more clinical performance from Germany as they eased passed Slovakia in the first knockout game with a dominant performance.
Although the grace of Luka Modric was not to be pitted against that of Busquets and Iniesta, we were still given one of the better games of EURO2016 in one of the first matches between two competent sides.
Whilst England made an impressive performance in their final group-match, they were unable to mark against a deeply-set Slovakia defence. Despite the efforts of Hodgson’s side, Wales finished top of the group after a dominant victory over Russia though England’s poor conversion rate was the decisive factor in the standings.
Whilst the majority of the world is fixated on the early developments made in EURO 2016, the MLS returnedÂ with the New York Red Bulls hosting Seattle Sounders.
Portugal made another dominant performanceÂ as they were clearly superior to their Austrian opposition. Despite having a clearÂ shot dominance and multiple good chances, Robert Almer was in the way to prevent the Iberian side from capitalising on a strong offensive display.
It took a moment of individual class from Eder to separate the two teams after a stale match in which both teams displayed similarÂ issues in possession of the ball.
After promotion to the Serie A in the summer of 2014, Maurizio Sarriâ€™s side were considered one of the favourites for relegation straight back into the second division. However, through a fighting spirit and pure grit intelligent football and a particularly strong attacking gameÂ they were able to comfortably retain their top-flight status quite comfortably.Â The odds were further against their favour after a disastrous off-season in which they lost multiple key players and worst of all, the manager who was central to their success in the first place. Whilst Sarri would go on to instil a stark turnaround in playing style at Napoli, Empoli found theirÂ replacement in Serie C1â€™s with Cremonese’s Marco Giampaolo.