Day three of Euro 2016 saw the world champions take the field for their first game, as well as history for a Polish side who won their very first match at the European Championships. It also saw a world class goal and performance from Croatia who took a big step forward in a tough group. Take a look back at the days events now.
1)Biggest Winner: Croatia
In a difficult group, getting points early for Croatia was important. Croatia showed today how good of a team they have when their best players are on form. Croatia’s biggest rival in this group is probably Turkey, and to come out and hold them scoreless for 90 minutes is a big deal. Luka Modric’s stunner just underscored how important of a win that was for the Croatian team.
2) Standout Performer: Jerome Boateng
The talented centre-back was everywhere he needed to be for the Germans today. He frequently broke up Ukraine passes and distributed the ball very well from the back. The highlight of his day, however, was is acrobatic goal-line clearance in the first half. Only inches away from crossing the line, the German defender fell backward into his own net but the ball did not follow. Germany’s defense was shaky today, apart from Boateng. Germany’s favorite neighbor will look forward to playing alongside Hummels again, and so will Jogi Löw.
Acrobatic (stumbling?) clearance from Boateng to preserve #GER’s lead. #Euros2016 #GERUKR https://t.co/5VYrENpESw
— Howler Magazine (@whatahowler) June 12, 2016
3) Biggest Loser: Turkey
Getting off to an early victory was vital for a Turkish side in a group with Croatia, The Czech Republic, and Spain. Unfortunately, their loss puts them in a real tough spot moving forward. Their next match will be against Spain, a side looking to forget about the events of 2 years ago. Picking up no points in the first two matches would put the 2008 semi-finalists in a precarious position. 4 years ago that would have meant certain elimination, but considering the expanded field Turkey can still advance to the knockout stages with a 3rd place finish. They’ll want to avoid that, however, and a win against Spain would make life easier.
4) Best Tweet:
Schweinsteiger scores. Manchester United should sign him.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 12, 2016
5) Biggest Surprise: Slawomir Peszko has four kidneys
So, there wasn’t too much on the pitch that surprised today. No big upsets or shocking comebacks. So the most shocking bit of news today came from ESPN commentator Derek Rae who reported that the Polish midfielder recently discovered he has four(yes four) kidneys.
6) Worst Moment: More off the pitch trouble
While nothing in the terms of the violence that took place yesterday, there were more incidents today in Lille ahead of the Germany vs Ukraine match according to reports from ESPN. While today’s problems were minor, it still leaves a dark cloud over the proceedings in France. Tournament organizers have taken some steps like limiting the sale of alcohol around host stadiums. UEFA has also threatened both Russia and England with a tournament ban if any further acts of violence occur, which hopefully underscores the importance of keeping things peaceful.
Germany and Ukraine fans clash in Lille ahead of tonight’s match at #EURO2016
[via @Rafanelli] #GER #UKRpic.twitter.com/9cg7Gm3c9Z
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) June 12, 2016
7) Best Goal:
Modric’s stunning volley was enough to lift Croatia over Turkey in the early match today. It was a big goal that gave his side an important advantage in a very tough group.
8) Extra Time:
It wasn’t a day for many goals, but it was a great day for defense. All three victors in today’s action kept clean sheets. Even the losing sides still put in great defensive efforts keeping the games low-scoring. Northern Ireland was very well organized and frustrated Poland as best they could. Germany, who had some difficulty at the back still kept Ukraine off the score sheet thanks largely to Boateng and Manuel Neuer. It hasn’t been a very high scoring tournament so far as teams are still trying to feel each other out. We’ll see if that keeps up.
9) Monday’s Games:
Spain will take on the Czech Republic in the early morning match at 9am eastern to round out the opening matches in Group D. In a pair of group E matches, Sweden, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will take on Ireland at noon eastern. Meanwhile, at 3 eastern two of Europe’s biggest teams Italy and Belgium square-off. All matches are on ESPN.