EURO 2017: Match-day 2 Review

Group A:

Unsurprisingly match-day two started with the teams in Group A kicking things off. The two losing teams from match day one, Norway and Belgium, went up against one another under immense pressure. The losing team would not be eliminated, but they knew that losing would make it increasingly harder to advance from the group.

There were no goals in the first half, but after 59 minutes Elke Van Gorp scored a goal from close range. Images later showed that the goal was offside, but nonetheless Belgium took the lead. Just 8 minutes later Janice Cayman headed home a second to make it 2-0. There were no more goals in the game, and after their second loss, Norway now find themselves needing various results to go their way for them to advance. Belgium on the other hand got their first ever tournament win and goal.

There were many bright spots for Belgium in the game, but their big start Tessa Wullaert deservedly got woman of the match. Davina Philtjens as well followed up on her good start in the game against Denmark and delivered another solid performance.

Holland edge out Denmark

In the other game of the round, the two winning sides from the first game squared off against one another as tournament hosts the Netherlands played Denmark. The game was very much a tale of two halves with Netherlands dominating the first, and Denmark the second. The Netherlands were everywhere in the opening 25 minutes of the game, not letting Denmark get much rest. Their efforts paid off after 20 minutes when Danielle van de Donk was brought down in the penalty area and Sherida Spitse scored from the following penalty. Denmark got a better grip on it in the second half, especially because of Pernille Harder, who showed her class and created a number of good chances for her teammates. However, none were converted and after 90 minutes, it was the Netherlands who were victorious.

The Netherlands now top group A with six points, Denmark and Belgium both have three, while Norway have zero. In the final group games, Denmark face Norway, while Netherlands play Belgium.

Group B

Sweden-Russia kicked match-day 2 off in Group B. Sweden started brightly and clearly looked like a side on a mission to find their first goal of the tournament after playing 0-0 with Germany in their opening match.

Manchester City’s Kosovare Asllani looked like a woman on a mission. Sweden had to wait until the 22nd minute when a freekick from Magdalena Eriksson near the halfway line found the head of Lotta Schelin after Russia’s 19-year-old keeper Tatyana Shcherbak miss-timed the ball. Sweden were in control, but Russia's Elena Danilove was a constant threat to the Swedish defence. Sweden would eventually find their second goal, when Stina Blackstenius scored six minuted into the second half. There were no more goals from either side and the match finished 2-0 to the Scandinavians.

In the other game, Germany had their issues with Italy. Italy were stunned in their first group game when they were beaten by Russia, but they looked like a side that had put that disappointment behind them and were up for challenging the reigning champions.

Despite starting well it was Germany who took the lead in the 19th minute when Italy’s keeper Laura Giuliani mishandled a ball and dropped it right to Josephine Henning who could easily find the back of the net.

Giuliani later redeemed herself several times, but that one will haunt her for some time. Italy, however, struck back ten minutes later, when Barbara Bonansea attacked down the left and found Ilaria Mauro in the box. The Italian forward hit the ball perfectly and Almuth Schult in the German goal could do little to prevent the equaliser. Despite Italy’s valiant effort, Germany found the back of the net once more, when Babett Peter capitalised when Germany were awarded a penalty in the 67th minute. As there were no more goals in the game, it ended 2-1.

Germany and Sweden now top the group with four points, while Russia have three. Italy stand on zero points and became the first team to be eliminated from the competition. Sweden play Italy next, while Germany and Russia faces each other.

Group C

Switzerland and Iceland were the first two teams to battle it out in the second match-day in Group C.

Both teams had lost their opening game of the tournament, with Switzerland losing 1-0 to Austria, while Iceland had to suffer the agony of losing 1-0 on a late penalty against France.

The game was incredibly physical with several challenges that disrupted the rhythm. Iceland threw the first punch, when a brilliant ball from Portland Thorn's Dagný Brynjarsdóttir found Fanndís Fridriksdóttir, who accelerated with the ball at her feet and put it in behind Gaëlle Thalmann in the Swizz goal. However, Switzerland struck back right before half time when Lara Dickenmann capitalised on some great groundwork by Ramona Bachmann. Shortly into the second half, it was Bachmann herself who scored the winning goal, when she scored a header to make it 2-1.

In the second game, one of the tournament favourites, France, were up against match day one's positive surprise, Austria. France dominated both possession and chances created, but it was Austria who got on the score-sheet first.

27 minutes into the game Lisa Makas took her chance just inside the edge of the area, and rattled the back of the net to make it 1-0. The lead lasted until the 51st minute, when French midfielder Amandine Henry scored a powerful header. France kept applying pressure, but Austria handled it well and held onto the 1-1 result. Austria holding France to a draw was the round's biggest upset, but Austria once again showed that perhaps it is time for pundits and fans alike to stop underestimating them.

With two games played, France and Austria top the group with four points, while Switzerland have three. Iceland have yet to get a point, and became the second team to be eliminated from the tournament.

France and Switzerland go head to head in the final group game, while Austria and Iceland meet each other.

Group D

Group D rounded up match-day 2. First up it was the two losing teams from match day one, Portugal and Scotland, who were up against one another.

Scotland ran into a heavy 6-0 defeat against England in the first game, while Portugal was played out of the park by Spain, but in the end “only” lost 2-0. It was an even match where Portugal went ahead thanks to a Caroline Mendes goal in the 27th minute. Scotland got back into the game midway through the second half when substitute Erin Cuthbert finished of a lovely Scotland move. The first two goals of the game where also historic as they represented the first ever goal at the European Championships for both sides.

Scotland’s joy was short-lived as Portugal’s Ana Leite scored the winning goal just four minutes later, and ensured Portugal’s first ever win at the European Championships.

In the second game of the day, England were set to play Spain in a game many had looked forward to.

It did not take long for England to continue their goal scoring form from the first game. Fran Kirby found the back of the net after just two minutes and got England off to the perfect start. The start rattled Spain, but they found their rhythm and, as expected, took charge of possession. The final stats show that Spain had 74 % of the possession, but despite this, they only had one shot on target.

England. on the other hand, showed that they are contempt with and masters sitting back and letting the opposition have the ball. With five minutes to go of the game Spain were pushing for an equaliser, but it was England who cemented their victory when Jodie Taylor, who now has four goals in two games, scored to make it 2-0.

England top the group with six points, Spain and Portugal both have three points, while Scotland are last with zero points. The final group games are Portugal-England and Scotland-Spain.