EURO 2016: Sunday round up
Bastian Schweinsteiger delighted after ending German goal drought
GERMANY captain Bastian Schweinsteiger was thrilled after he scored his first international goal since 2011 to lead his country to a 2-0 win over Ukraine in their Euro 2016 opener in Lille on Sunday.
Despite coming off the bench, Schweinsteiger had an impact almost immediately as he only needed two minutes to put his name on the scoresheet and double Germany’s lead.
There had been concerns about the 31-year-old heading into the tournament as he had just recovered from an injury, but Schweinsteiger made it clear that he was fully fit.
“Everything’s fine. My injury has healed, I feel good,” he told reporters.
“It was a long way for a celebration, I am a little bit out of breath.
“It was incredible. You could have only wished for such a thing to happen.”
Germany coach Joachim Low heaped praise on the midfielder for scoring in stoppage time and giving his side some much-needed breathing space.
“I’m very happy for Bastian Schweinsteiger — after all the work he’s done in recent months, he scored the decisive goal,” Low said. “It will help him and the team a lot.”
Even though Germany held a one-goal lead for a majority of the game and ran the risk of Ukraine finding an equaliser, Low was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“We ran a lot in the first half but we seemed to have some problems in the transition, we lost a lot of balls,” Low said. “We improved that in the second half, passed the ball quickly and dominated the game. But it was not easy against a strong defence and dangerous counter-attacks. But we found a solution in the second half and that’s why I’m quite satisfied.
“I was not surprised by Ukraine, because I’ve seen them over the last two years. It’s a better squad than in 2012. They’re very strong physically and in the air, and very fast on the wings. They can be dangerous to any opposition.
“[Mats] Hummels and [Antonio] Rudiger were injured so we had to change our defence, but I thought they got stronger during the game, we were more compact and could press against the strikers.
“It was not too easy in the beginning but it got better throughout the game. It’s good to have Jerome Boateng as your neighbour in defence.”
Poland Northern Ireland Euro 2016 report
Poland got their 2016 European Championships campaign off to a winning start following a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland on Sunday night.
Arkadiusz Milik netted the only goal of a game which the Poles dominated – his left-footed strike on 51 minutes completely wrong-footing Michael McGovern.
Northern Ireland looked nervous in their first ever European Championships outing and failed to create any clear-cut chances.
However, they did manage to keep Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski quiet throughout, which will give them some confidence heading into Thursday’s game against Ukraine.
Poland next face tournament favourites Germany, also on Thursday.
Croatia over Turkey in Euro 2016 Group D opener
A solitary goal from Luka Modric was enough to help Croatia to a 1-0 victory over Turkey in their Euro 2016 Group D opener on Sunday.
A well-struck volley in the first half from the Real Madrid midfielder was enough to send The Blazers to the top of Group D in a tightly contested fixture at Parc des Princes in Paris.
The first chance fell in the way of Croatia after just two minutes, however, Ivan Rakitic scuffed his effort wide of the target.
11 minutes later, Turkey had their first shy at goal through Ozan Tufan, but the Fenerbahce midfielder failed to test Danijel Subasic in goal for Croatia.
Croatia came close just before the half-hour mark when Milan Badelj sent his effort straight into the arms of Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Babacan.
Back-to-back corners fro Croatia finally awarded them the opener when Modric picked up a losse ball outside the Turkey box before volleying home into the bottom-left conrner in the 41st minute.
Boosted by the first half goal, Croatia upped the anti in the second stanza but were foiled by the Turkish defence, with Darijo Srna coming closest in the 52nd minute as his free-kick struck the wordwork.
In the 79th minute, Babacan pulled of a fine save to deny a looping header from on-loan Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic and keep the scoreline unchanged.
A late resurgence from the Turkish was well-handled by the Croatians as the latter walked away victors, and await the result between Spain and Czech Republic on Monday evening to see if they’ve done enough to retain top spot in Group D. Kickoff.com