We witnessed the first big surprises of Euro 2016 yesterday as Hungary, who qualified by scraping through via the play offs, totally outplayed favourites Austria and were more than deserving of their 2-0 win. The evening kick off between Portugal and Iceland, who were appearing in their first ever major championship, also through up a big shock as minnows Iceland came from a goal down to grab a point. Portugal dominated possession throughout and attempts on goal, but they failed to make their superiority count and could not find the elusive winner even with 40 minutes remaining on the clock.
Today’s matches between Russia and Slovakia in Group B and Romania and Switzerland and France and Albania in group A, are the first set of second group stage matches and all are of significant importance with group qualification still possible for all the teams involved.
Russia were outplayed for the majority of their encounter against England and after the disgraceful behaviour of their fans after that game, they also have the pressure of suspended disqualification hanging over them, which will be carried out if their fans cause any further disturbances within the stadium.
Slovakia came close to getting a result against Wales on Saturday and were impressive going forward with star man Hamsik posing a particular threat. If they can shore things up at the back for this game they have the talent and understanding in attack to cause Russia plenty of problems. With Russia under pressure both on and off the pitch for this one I can see it getting to them and I expect this to be a tight low scoring affair. I suggest either laying Russia on the exchanges or backing Slovakia on the Handicap.
Romania will attempt to pick up their first points of the tournament against Switzerland, after putting up a spirited performance against France in the opening match of Euro 2016. Romania were outplayed for big parts of that game, but played to their strengths and did well to frustrate France and it took a wonder strike from Payet to settle the match.
Switzerland had to work hard for their 1-0 win against an undisciplined Albania, in what was an ill-tempered affair throughout, which produced eight yellow cards and Cana for Albania being sent off. This will no doubt be a close encounter and with both teams being well organised in defence goals will most likely be at a premium.
The final match of the day between hosts France and Albania should be a more straight forward affair with France emerging victors and securing Group qualification.