Player of the day- Jordi Alba

Spain and Italy are the next two teams to qualify for the knockout stages and eliminated Croatia and Ireland in the process.

Ireland were already out of the competition but they were still looking to win their final game however they were beaten 2-0 by Italy which put a lot on the other game as both Spain and Croatia could have went out. Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli scored the goals and sent them through in second place.

Spain as expected had most of the ball in their game but Croatia easily had the best chances and should have had a penalty. Ivan Rakitic should have scored with a header from a wonderful cross from Luka Modric but he sent it straight at Iker Casillas in the Spain goal. The Spanish did not look confident when defending crosses and Vedran Corluka was clearly being fouled as he jumped up for a header late on but the referee missed. However, Corluka should have scored anyway but it hit his shoulder and went agonisingly over the bar. In the last few minutes substitute Cesc Fabregas chipped a lovely ball through to Andres Iniesta who squared for Jesus Navas to tap in. But, this wasn’t the end of Croatia because if they had scored they would have went through knocking out Spain in the process but they couldn’t really create a clear chance.

Man of the match- Jordi Alba- It was difficult to choose a man of the match because of how well Croatia played and if they had managed to find an equaliser then Luka Modric and Gordon Schildenfeld would have been in contention. But I am giving it to the Spain left back who made countless attacking runs and looked more like a winger than a fullback. Spain weren’t at their best with their main players such as David Silva and Andres Iniesta only being on the edge of the game for the most part and with Xabi Alonso and Xavi not being able to find a killer pass. For me the left back looked most likely from the players that started the game to create something and even though his defending at times wasn’t the best, he managed to make a few important interceptions. As said, it was his attacking intent that impressed me and it just shows in the stats, he made 19 successful passes in the attacking third.

Alba has been linked with a number of clubs this summer including Barcelona and Manchester United

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Players of the day- Petr Jiracek and Eugen Polanski

Czech Republic took on Greece in their second group game and had to avoid defeat if they wanted to stay in contention of qualifying for the knockout stages.

After the first 10 minutes it seemed as though it would be a stroll in the park as they raced into a two goal lead with goals from Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar. They had numerous chances to extend their lead further but their final ball kept on letting them down and the Greeks were doing themselves no favours by defending terribly and looking all over the place at the back. Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky was pulling the strings and when he went off at halftime, that is what changed the game in my opinion because they could not control the possession as well as they had done in the first half. Still, the Greeks didn’t look like scoring until a horrific error from Petr Cech allowed substitute Theofanis Gekas to score. Greece couldn’t get an equaliser and to be honest it never looked likely as they were just throwing balls into the box aimlessly. After seeing all the teams now, Greece are by far the worst in the competition but they do still have a chance of progressing if results go their way in the final game.

Man of the match- Petr Jiracek- The wide man stuck out for me in the game as he was constantly running away from defenders with the ball and his goal was a very good finish after a very clever run from him. No other players stuck out for the full 90 minutes, Tomas Rosicky was good while on the pitch, Vaclac Pilar looked good while on the ball, but he couldn’t get it as often as he would have liked and right back Theodor Gebre Selassie was a threat going forward but didn’t deal with Georgios Samaras that well when he was defending. Jiracek covered every blade of grass and created several chances for his teammates.

Jiracek currently plays for Wolfsburg

Co-hosts Poland have a massive rivalry with Russia and it is more to do with politics than the actual football and at times on the pitch it was a blood and thunder game with a lot of passion. Thankfully it didn’t spill over and it was a very exciting game. Alan Dzagoev who now looks favourite to be top scorer in the whole tournament opened the scoring with a header from a free kick and most neutrals must have thought that was curtains for Poland but they stuck in there and looked the better team in the second half and deserved their equaliser. The goal came from a very quick counter attack and it was finished off brilliantly by Jakub Blaszczykowski who unleashed a rocket of a shot with his left foot. Poland looked more likely to win the game in the end but a lack of quality let them down at teams, however this result will give them confidence going into their must win game against Czech Republic.

Man of the match- Eugen Polanski- This may seem like a strange choice as he didn’t stand out as much as other players but in my mind he was the most important player on the pitch as he broke up countless attacks from Russia and his tackling was near perfect. Plus nearly every pass he made, went forward and started his own teammates counter attacks and his own players recognised this and the Polish defenders after winning the ball gave him it as quickly as possible. It was a shame that he had to go off and he is irreplaceable in the Poland side so hopefully they can get him fit for the last game.

Polanski has 10 caps for Poland

Players of the day- Yohan Cabaye and Andriy Shevchenko

England kicked off their European Championship campaign against France and co-hosts Ukraine took on Sweden in Group D.

The England fans were not the most optimistic before the game but afterwards they should be quietly confident they can beat both Ukraine and Sweden to qualify for the knockout stages. France had more of the ball and looked the more threatening but on the counter attack Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck caused problems for the French defence. Joleon Lescott scored the opening goal from a fantastic Steven Gerrard free kick and this capped off an impressive first 30 minutes for the team. James Milner had went close after rounding the keeper but he could not finish but after the goal France took control. Samir Nasri grabbed an equaliser with a long range effort which Joe Hart arguably could have done better with. The second half was all France and Karim Benzema had two efforts from distance that needed saving.

Man of the match- Yohan Cabaye- The Newcastle midfielder ran the show and has added another couple of million pound to his price tag after such an impressive performance. He may not have stood out to some people as he didn’t take players on or get into really threatening positions but he kept the ball for his team and stopped countless counter attacks. He completed 43 of his 46 passes which is impressive by anyone’s standards and he certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Spain side with his intelligent passes. He was unlucky not to score when his volley was just deflected wide but he was also lucky to escape without a booking as he did commit quite a few fouls.

Cabaye scored four goals in his first season in England

Co-hosts Ukraine are now top of the group after beating Sweden 2-1 and looking very impressive, they kept the ball brilliantly and very imaginative in some of their play. Wingers Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko were impressive and they tried to take on their fullbacks and put crosses into the box. But it was Sweden who opened the scoring with a goal from the inconsistent Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He finished off a move he started, and it looked as though they would go on and win the game comfortably but Ukraine had other ideas. Two headers from Andriy Shevchenko changed the game around and it left Sweden desperate to find equaliser towards the end with Olof Mellberg and Johan Elmander missing very good chances.

Man of the match- Andriy Shevchenko- He was already a national hero and now he will be considered a god in his homeland. The striker showed his fantastic ability and his movement was second to none in the tournament so far, the way he got away from Mellberg for his first was wonderful and getting in at the near post was genius from the former Chelsea man. His best days may be past him but he showed that if he is given a chance he will put it away, so France and England need to make sure they don’t give him a sniff.

Shevchenko has scored 48 goals for Ukraine