In what was a fantastic showing of world-class football in Day 2 of the European Championship, sadly the headlines belonged to the violence in Bordeaux. We take a look at the beautiful game, and the ugly side of it with hooliganism running rampant in France in what was Day 2 of Euro 2016.
1) Biggest Winner: Wales
Cymru am byth! Wales certainly put in a performance to remember in their first ever trip to the Euros as they went in and beat Slovakia by a score of 2-1. Gareth Bale started off the scoring with a fantastic shot from a free kick that knuckled its way in for the 1-0. After giving up a goal in the second half, it was Hal Robson-Kanu who was on the receiving end of a Aaron Ramsey cross to finish off what was an exhilarating 2-1 Wales win. It was a momentous occasion for the Welsh as Bale’s goal was their first goal in a major tournament since 1958. Certainly bigger things lie on the horizon for the scrappy Welsh, as this is only the beginning for them.
2) Standout Performer: Gareth Bale (Wales)
Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player, really proved why he carries that title in what was a fantastic performance by the Welshman to power Wales to a victory. Not only did he net a fantastic goal, he also provided a lot of key passes and created his own chances almost getting two goals on the day. He was looking like the player everyone expected of him, and he did not disappoint after talking a big game before the match was to start. Look for Bale to carry Wales past the group stage and into the knockout rounds as he was certainly the performer of the day in that match.
3) Biggest Loser: The City of Marseille
Even though the city of Marseille is one of the most beautiful French cities and had a shiny, recently renovated stadium to show off, it became a war zone between hooligan factions and the police. For three days, the city was under siege as both Russian and English ultras made the police around the region very busy with antics that are from the dark ages of football when hooliganism was the norm. The city square was littered with alcohol, broken glass, debris and blood as a fight broke out between hooligans and police before the match, and it continued in the stadium after the game as well. Truly a pathetic sight in what was supposed to be a beautiful day in Marseille.
4) Best Tweet:
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) June 11, 2016
5) Biggest Surprise: Albania’s Resilience
Wales was not the only debutant in this tournament as Albania came in trying to knockoff the heavily favored Swiss squad. And they almost did, despite only having 10 men on the field! Even though Albania lost their captain due to a silly handball, which earned him his second yellow, they still fought hard and almost got an equalizer when Shkelzen Gashi went one-on-one with the Swiss keeper but could not power it in. They seemed to play better with 10 men and, even though they lost 1-0, it was truly a sight to see as Albania really played their hearts out. It will be interesting to see if Albania will play with the same resolve they did against the Swiss, because if they do, other teams in the group better watch out.
6) Worst Moment: Hooliganism Running Rampant
Hooligan thugs fighting each other in France for EURO 2016 pic.twitter.com/UjO4zzJrXq
— The Progressive Wave (@TheProWave) June 11, 2016
— ian herbert (@ianherbs) June 11, 2016
Just pitiful. The beautiful game tarnished by a select few that can only be described as hooligans, not supporters.
7) Best Goal: Gareth Bale (Wales) & Eric Dier (England)
ICYMI: Gareth Bale’s goal pic.twitter.com/BLjcdqBQXf
— Footy Vines (@FootyVlNES) June 11, 2016
— Borak Bola (@borakbola) June 11, 2016
Two beautiful free kick goals by two men from Great Britain. One from Wales and one represents England. Funny how borders work eh? Nevertheless, couldn’t bring myself to pick one over the other, so why not both?
8) Extra Time:
Again, what should have been a glorious day of soccer was tarnished by extremism by the hands of these so-called “supporters.” The security and police have been on high alert for terrorism in France and the only terrorists the world are seeing are clad in England and Russian flags. A disgusting sight that has no place in the world’s game. Hopefully, this trend won’t continue further on in the tournament from any supporters, English, Russian, French or otherwise.
9) Sunday’s Games:
A full slate of soccer in the morning to late afternoon for everyone as Turkey and Croatia kick things off at 9 a.m. ET from the Parc des Princes, then it is Poland and Northern Ireland at noon ET from Nice and the last game of the day is a great one in Germany against the Ukraine at 3 p.m. ET from the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.