Red Quarter Finalists
More Liverpool players are continuing through the tournament as Euro 2016 reaches the Quarter Finals stage now.
Wales V Northern Ireland
Wales did enough to beat Northern Ireland without even needing to score (there was only an own goal), pushing themselves further and further in the competition with determination alone almost.
The final result and the own goal by Gareth McAuley doesn’t really reflect how well Northern Ireland did. They deserve some credit for their efforts. Wales had been scoring three times against Russia in their last fixture and many fans expected the same again or perhaps even more to be scored in this fixture, but the Northern Irish defence stopped many of the Welsh attacks. By the end of the game, Wales had only managed to break through into a position where they could shoot on target from inside the penalty area once, though that one shot resulted in a defensive error and the only goal of the game, which decided the winner and qualifier. Other shots from outside the penalty area had happened – the Northern Ireland goalkeeper had saved direct free kicks that came his way and one time, Aaron Ramsey had put the ball in the net, BUT he was very clearly offside and it would not count.
It was Gareth Bale’s cross that was being attempted to be cleared by McAuley when the central defenders worst nightmare happened and it was put past his own goalkeeper as he’d stretched a foot out to stop the Welsh striker just behind him from scoring.
Joe Allen and Danny Ward will be a part of the next round for Wales, where they will face Belgium.
Germany V Slovakia
Germany out played and out scored Slovakia, managing to get three goals against the side who with the help of Martin Skrtel, succeeded in stopping England’s attempts at scoring in the group stage.
Germany finally started to look like World Champions again in this game after their most recent previous fixtures had seen them getting a goalless draw and a close 1-0 victory.
It took the Germans only 8 minutes to score a goal, with Jerome Boateng hitting home a sweet volley from the edge of the box to give his country an early lead.
It would not be the only goal of the half either as with only two minutes left until half time, Mario Gomez would strike a close range effort past the goalkeeper and into the net.
It could have been more than 2-0 at half time with a penalty by Mesut Ozil being saved by Matus Kozacik.
The Slovakians would do their best to defend as well as they had in the tournament so far but goalscoring hasn’t been their best quality and coming back from two goals conceded was too much for them. In the second half, the Germans would only need to take advantage of the Slovakian’s pushing further forward as they searched for goals and Julian Draxler would hit home the third goal after a corner provided him with a goalscoring opportunity, which he would not waste.
The Germans will now go on to face Italy who beat Spain in the next fixture coming up for them.
The only thing I am unhappy to report about them is that their manager Joachim Low has brought Emre Can along to this tournament only to keep him on the substitute bench and not use him for even a single minute yet. Can and his country will progress in the competition but I know players love to play and it’s got to be frustrating just sitting on the sidelines, doing nothing.
You might think you’d have chosen well if you’d watched the Germany game and seen three goals, but in another part of France an even more high scoring game happened as Belgium scored four goals against Hungary without conceding to progress to the next round confidently.
Belgium V Hungary
Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld would be the first to score and in only ten minutes as an early free kick from Kevin De Bruyne saw him get a chance to strike a perfectly placed header past the Hungary goalkeeper and make it Belgium 1-0 Hungary
Hungary then had a long time to make a comeback with up until the 78th minute before Belgium would score a second goal. Hungary really should have found themselves an equalizer by then, it could have been enough to knock Belgium’s confidence and a draw would have been more possible. The Hungarians wouldn’t find any goal unfortunately for them and late in the second half, a hat trick of Belgian goals would be seen by fans in France.
Eden Hazard was on point to both assist and score goals in this game. He’d set up Michy Batshuayi who’d make it Belgium 2-0 Hungary and less than two minutes later, Hazard made it Belgium 3-0 Hungary himself.
Hazard was undoubtedly Man Of The Match for the Belgians, working hard and producing results that matter and helped his country qualify for the Quarter Finals, where they will play Wales.
Belgium had all but sealed their victory with a third goal but they would seal it in extra time and ensured the biggest victory margin in the tournament so far as Yannick Carrasco scored the fourth goal from just 12 yards for his first ever international goal.
Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, none of Benteke, Origi or Mignolet were seen in this fixture, though hopefully we will see them in the fixture against Wales coming up. At least they’re still in the competition.
England V Iceland
England have gone as far as they can go in the competition now. The Liverpool players who are a part of the England squad share the same fate that Martin Skrtel and Slovakia did… being knocked out of the tournament. They all did well to get out of the group stage, credit to these teams and players for that. There were some teams that never made it out of their group, but England and Slovakia both had the quality that was needed to qualify at least. Well done for that.
I don’t think fans will make any major issue of the lineup that England manager Roy Hodgson chose to use. Succesful Premier League strikers Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane were both starters and for anyone who has wanted to see Premier League Champion Jamie Vardy in action for his country, they got to see that in the second half. There was potential for goalscoring within the team, without a doubt. That this didn’t turn out to be a high scoring game says more about the defensive capabilities of both teams than it does about any concerns of attacking players who fail to score.
England’s fixture against Iceland started well enough. Early on, attacks were made and Raheem Sterling was the one making an attack when he was brought down to the ground in the penalty area by an Iceland defender.
The referee would award the penalty to England and Wayne Rooney would take it. Rooney stepped up coolly and calmly placed it to the left of the goalkeeper. England 1-0 Iceland
Well done Rooney, for scoring what would be the only goal of the game. However, the celebrations were short-lived as a response from Iceland came about 90 seconds later.
Gunnarsson put in one of his trademark long throw ins towards Iceland defender Arnasson. Arnasson saw and took his chance to assist Sigurdsson for his shot which became a goal and now it was England 1-1 Iceland. The England fans had barely stopped celebrations their goal before Iceland fans were celebrating one of their own also. A two minute lead at most was all England ever had before the game was level once again. All of this in less than the first ten minutes of the game.
The rest of the game was mostly about seeing who would refuse to concede another while perhaps scoring one of their own goals, to make the score 2-1. We know now of course that Iceland would be the ones to achieve this.
Plenty of chances were taken, but not seized to increase the score line. At least, not anybody but Sigthorsson when he got his goal in the 18th minute.
It all started (of course) from a long throw by Gunnarsson. He did what he does best and threw that ball as far as he could, right to a teammate. It’s cleared by England’s defence at first but then the ball ends up with Sigthorsson, who is on the edge of the penalty area. He takes one touch to the side, shoots it towards goal and although Hart makes a dive to his left to stop it, it somehow powers past Hart’s hand and rolls into the net. I fear fans will point their fingers directly at Hart for this, it seemed to be a shot that could well have been saved but was not. Goalkeepers face a lot of criticism when goals are conceded, but is it deserved this time? It could well be.
After this, England kept possession more and attempted to get an equalising goal for the rest of the game. It was all to no avail unfortunately, the Icelandic defence was never broken through again, our attempts on goal were all denied and the final score would be England 1-2 Iceland. We’re still proud of you, lads. There really wasn’t much more you could have done to qualify (except score more goals?). Credit where it’s due, to have come this far deserves mentioning that fans were happy to even be where we got to and getting there was no easy task. Time to come home, you’ll still get a warm welcome from us once you’re back. Nobody can say you didn’t try hard for your country. We all saw you out there, doing your best.
Well, that’s about it for the Quarter Final qualifier news. We’ll have more news once those Quarter Finals have actually been played and we can tell you who has made it to the Semi Finals. You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.