BORDEAUX, France, Sporting Alert – Wales and Switzerland started their Euro 2016 campaign on a winning note, but England gave away a late goal and were held 1-1 by Russia on day 2 of the tournament on Saturday (11).
WELSH ON TOP
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale scored from a classic free kick to help Wales beat Slovakia 2-1 in their Euro 2016 opening Group B match.
After midfielder Jonathan Williams was fouled close to the 18-yard box, Bale, like he’s done during the qualifying campaign, stepped up to curl home a free-kick past Slovakia goalkeeper Matus Kozacik in the 10th minute to give his team the lead.
Slovakia hit back in the second half to tie the score at 1-1 in the 61st minute when substitute Ondrej Duda fired past Wales second string goalkeeper Danny Ward with a low shot.
However, Wales were never going to be denied in their Euro tournament debut and it was Hal Robson-Kanu, who found the winner with a scuffed shot from 12 meters, which was setup by an Aaron Ramsey stumbled pass inside the area in the 81st minute.
“It’s a memorial moment and an historic moment for our country,” Bale said during a post game on field interview.
“It doesn’t matter about the goals, all that mattered is that we got the three points.”
Meanwhile, in the day’s opening fixture at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, a first half strike by Fabian Schaer gave Switzerland a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Albania in the second Group A match of the 2016 tournament.
Schaer headed home a Xherdan Shaqiri corner kick for the game’s only goal in the fifth minute – punishing a mistake by Albania goalkeeper Etrit Berisha, who was too late in his decision to leave his line to intercept the ball.
“The key moments of the game were the goal from Fabian Schaer, the dismissal of Lorik Cana and our three misses from close range that could have changed the game,” Albania coach Giovanni De Biasi said.
You can even check it out for yourself in the video highlight below.
Albania was then reduced to 10 players, after captain and leading defender Lorik Cana was sent off for a second yellow card in the 37th minute for handling the ball while on the ground in order to stop a Swiss attacker from breaking away at goal.
Blerim Dzemaili struck the left post from the resulting free kick shortly before halftime.
Switzerland held the upper hand in the contest, but both teams missed quite a number of opportunities to add to the scoreline.
In fact, Berisha came up big for his team on several occasions, after denying Swiss forward Haris Seferovic four times.
Albania missed a great chance to tie the game late in the contest.
“I was not afraid of losing our lead, but we should have scored more,” Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said.
“We will be mentally stronger after coming through this.”
With the win on Saturday, Switzerland joined France on three points in Group A after the hosts defeated Romania 2-1 on a Dimitri Payet late strike in Friday’s Euro 2016 tournament opener.
ENGLAND GAVE IT AWAY AGAIN
A late goal from Denis Glushakov earned Russia a 1-1 draw with England and a share of the points in their Group B opener at the Euro 2016 in Marseille on Saturday.
England took the lead in the 73rd minute when Tottenham defensive midfielder blasted home a free kick past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and the Three Lions, who dominated for most of the contest were marching towards three points from their first game.
However, some poor defending in the closing moments resulted in Glushakov leaping high over Joe Hart to head home an injury time equaliser for Russia, as England’s run without a win in opening matches at European Championships stretched to nine games.