- Germany made to battle hard against Ukraine
- Modric wonder strike sees off Turkey
- Northern Ireland unable to trouble Poland
Reigning world champions Germany battled to a 2-0 win over Ukraine in their Euro 2016 opener in Lille on Sunday.
The Mannschaft drew first blood courtesy of Everton reject Shkodran Mustafi.
The 24-year-old centre back, released on a free transfer by then Everton boss David Moyes in 2012 after making just one substitute appearance during his time at Goodison Park, headed the ball past Andriy Pyatov to open the scoring after 19 minutes.
Ukraine then stepped it up a gear but were unable to find the back of the net as Manuel Neuer lived up to his billing as the world’s best goalkeeper.
Germany weathered the storm before securing the win in injury time thanks to Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Modric wonder goal helps Croatia edge out Turkey
Croatia got their Euro 2016 campaign off to the perfect start with a 1-0 win over Turkey at the Parc des Princes.
Mario Mandžukić‘s team-mates got off to a strong start and took the lead in the 31st minute thanks to Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modrić.
The 30-year-old, who missed his penalty when Turkey beat Croatia at Euro 2008, fired home a sensational volley from 25 yards.
Ante Čačić‘s men pushed in the second half and came close to adding a second but eventually had to settle for a 1-0 win.
Four things we learned:
- Croatia passed up too many chances
- Turkey dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge
- An intense Real Madrid season hasn’t affected match-winner Luka Modric
- Turkey have now lost all four of their opening games at European Championships
lm19official</a> scored the winner as Croatia beat Turkey 1-0 at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Euro2016?src=hash">#Euro2016</a><br><br>👉 <a href="https://t.co/hFMBDLTjJU">https://t.co/hFMBDLTjJU</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CRO?src=hash">#CRO</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TUR?src=hash">#TUR</a> <a href="https://t.co/66ekTLnahf">pic.twitter.com/66ekTLnahf</a></p>— Real Madrid C.F. (realmadriden) 12 June 2016
Poland hold on against Northern Ireland
Poland produced a solid display to outclass Northern Ireland 1-0 in Nice in their European Championship opener.
Robert Lewandowski’s team-mates put their opponents under immediate pressure and dominated possession throughout the game while creating several clear-cut chances.
Arkadiusz Milik struck in the 51st minute after some good work from team-mate Jakub Błaszczykowski, earning his side a well deserved win ahead of their next game against Germany.
UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) 12 June 2016
Person of the day: Arkadiusz Milik
For becoming the youngest Poland goalscorer in European Championship history
Looking forward to tomorrow
Spain’s hopes of recreating the atmosphere that led to European success four years ago has been tested ahead of their Euro 2016 opener with Czech Republic.
Goalkeeper David De Gea has been dragged into an off-pitch sex scandal while la Roja have also had a troubled build-up on the pitch as they have endured some mediocre results ahead of the tournament.
De Gea’s situation may prompt national team coach Vicente Del Bosque to stick with Iker Casillas in goal, while Alvaro Morata leads the race to start in attack after overcoming a thigh injury.
The Czech Republic qualified ahead of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands and Pavel Vrba has every member of his squad — including captain Tomas Rosicky — fit for the game.
Italy facing midfield injury crisis
Plagued by injuries to his creative midfielders and without a world class striker, Italy coach Antonio Conte is banking on an experienced team to outfox Belgium’s exciting young forwards when they meet at the Stade des Lumières.
Without the magic of Andrea Pirlo, pulling strings in the heart of midfield, veterans Daniele de Rossi and Thiago Motta will try to stop the supply lines to creative Belgium attackers Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Atlético Madrid’s Yannick Carrasco, who impressed against Real during the Champions League final.
Looking to bounce back
The Republic of Ireland and Sweden will meet at the Stade de France where a win would go a long way to redeeming their past failures in the championship.
The Republic of Ireland conceded nine goals to become the first team eliminated from Euro 2012, while the Swedes were also dumped out of the competition after losing their first two games.
Sweden will rely on their experienced captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 34-year-old’s partnership with winger Emil Forsberg is likely to cause problems down Ireland’s right flank, where full back Seamus Coleman should be partnered by combative Jon Walters who has reportedly overcome an Achilles problem.
The day in photos
The day in social
UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) June 12, 2016
Corluka’s many different bandages
Recreation of Modric goal
Heat maps of the first 26 minutes of N Ireland Poland