Greetings and welcome to Day 8 of Euro 2097. After today, everybody will have played twice and we’ll move to four games a day for the remaining group matches. I can feel your excitement through the screen. We’ll start with Spain hosting Poland in Group E before heading back to the group of death, headlined by Portugal vs Germany.
Spain can secure qualification today and they’ll be heavy favourites to do so against Poland.
Spain vs Poland
Rob Tait’s Spain side made hard work of that opening win over Sweden. 21 shots is good, only 4 on target…less so. Still, they scored three goals are will look for more attacking returns here against the unfancied Poles. Alfonso is fit enough for the bench.
Ash (CM_Hints) has stuck with 4-5-1. Damage limitation. It’s probably wise with three points already on the board, the way other groups are going 4 points might be enough for a third place team to advance.
Hang about, what’s this? Poland take the lead as Jozwiak gets on the end of a Warzycha set piece. Incredible scenes. All of this after star man Andrzej Rudy departs with a nasty looking injury. 20 minutes of huffing and puffing eventually leads to Kiko equalising at the third attempt. Matysek earning his crust in the Polish goal. They’re holding their own in Barcelona but then, as is often the way, it all goes awry. Goalscorer Jozwiak is sent off for a last man foul and Sanchez Fernando converts the penalty. With pretty much the whole team in defence, Ash tries to limit the damage but Kiko adds a third to wrap up the points and Spain’s place in the last 16.
Spain move to 6 points and are through. Sweden meet Poland in the final game and of course they can’t both win, so happy days for Rob. Ireland will have to beat Spain by a couple of goals, most likely, whilst hoping Poland and Sweden don’t draw.
Let’s move on to Group F.
Scotland vs France
Zak Brockman managed to stun the world (or at least Europe) with their win over Portugal. The margin of victory means that even a few narrow losses will likely keep them in the mix but they’ll be thinking more positively than that, despite what history says. He’s sticking with 4-3-3 here as Booth and McCoist remain injured.
S4ooter and France were a little unlucky to end up drawing with Germany but with his crazy bishop-like wingbacks who knows what will happen. The squad numbers remain a bone of contention.
Crikey, quite the opening to this one as Trezeguet gives France an early lead. 10 minutes later they are behind and Duncan Ferguson is in an ambulance. Paul Lambert and David Hopkin profiting from France’s lack of central midfielders for their goals. Craig Burley is operating as an unlikely third striker now and Thierry Henry equalises before half time. The expected second half onslaught doesn’t transpire and it finishes a draw. Great for Scotland, France stuck in neutral.
Not an awful lot in it. All eyes turn to Lisbon.
Portugal vs Germany
Matt Wills needs to find a way to get Portugal back on track after that heavy opening defeat. A home game with Germany isn’t the ideal setting for that. Here’s how they lineup:
Andrew Walker has brought in Pflipsen for Basler. Klinsmann is fit enough for the bench in case he’s needed.
Things can only get Beto. Christian Worns gets sent off after just three minutes but Beto’s own goal after 5 minutes is not a good start for Matt. Paulo Sousa departs injured and Sean Dundee doubles the lead for the 10 men. Moller makes it 3. What? Matt’s half time changes have a terrible effect, Sean Dundee getting goals 5 and 6 of his tournament and his second consecutive hat-trick. Madness. Conceicao pulls one back but there’s no major comeback. Portugal’s hopes are hanging by a thread.
Really impressive stuff from Germany who are now top of the group. Scotland will never have a better chance of progressing than this, just don’t mention Morocco. Germany scoring 5 of their 7 shots on target will mean more scrutiny for Vitor Baia.
It’s a strange looking group. Portugal are now relying on a third place finish at best but with a -7 goal difference to try and overturn, it’s a huge ask.
Speaking of third places, seeing as all the groups have one game to play let’s take a look at the third place rankings at the moment. Only the best four will advance:
It puts thing in perspective heading in the final round of games, especially for Norway and Switzerland who know respective draws will not be enough for them.
Join me tomorrow for the finale’s to groups A and B. Bye for now!