Euro 2016: Group B Final Matches… Live!

by | Jun 20, 2016

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Good evening everybody, and welcome to our coverage of this evening’s matches in Group B of Euro 2016. It’s tight at the top of this group. England lead by a single point from Wales and Slovakia and they play Slovakia in Saint Etienne with it already being reported that manager Roy Hodgson has made widespread changes from the team that squeaked a stoppage-time win against Wales last week. Well, there’s no way that can go wrong now, is there?

Wales, meanwhile, play a Russian team that can still qualify for the next round in spite of being absolutely chaotic in every respect apart from the hooliganism of their supporters. Wales may have been partly deflated by a bout of hubris prior to the England match and all has been quiet in from their squad ahead of this match. Russia, meanwhile, put on a decent show for the last ten or fifteen minutes of their defeat to Slovakia, but will this be anywhere near enough to stop their involvement in the tournament continuing to collapse in on itself?

We’ll be back shortly before kick-off with at the very least the absolute latest from the England match as well as updates concerning what’s going on elsewhere.

Ian June 20, 20167:37 pm

England: Hart: Clyne, Cahill, Smalling, Bertrand; Wilshere, Dier, Henderson; Lallana, Sturridge, Vardy.

Slovakia: Kozacik, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Hubocan, Kucka, Pecovsky, Hamsik, Mak, Duda, Weiss.

Ian June 20, 20167:38 pm

So, there’s your teams for the Slovakia vs England match, then.

Ian June 20, 20167:40 pm

And here they are for Wales vs Russia:

Russia: Akinfeev; Smolnikov, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Kombarov; Smolov, Mamaev, Glushakov, Kokorin; Shirokov; Dzyuba.

Wales: Hennessy; Gunter, Chester, A Williams, Davies, N Taylor; Allen, Ledley, Ramsey; Bale, Vokes.

Edward June 20, 20167:41 pm

OPEN WIDE FOR SOME SOCCER

Edward June 20, 20167:42 pm

We are currently playing the matches through on Rocket League to figure out what tonight’s scores will be. First up, Wales versus Russia.

Ian June 20, 20167:43 pm

So, on the subject of all the changes to the England team, then, there are probably two schools of thought on this. On the one hand, this could be the most monumental act of hubris that an England manager has ever committed. England aren’t home and dry yet, and winning the group is vital for a comfortable sequence of events in the knockout stages, should that come to pass.

Ian June 20, 20167:45 pm

On the other, after a long season it’s just possible that a rest will do some players good, and it makes a change to see a tournament as an event in itself through holistic eyes rather than just a sequence of events that just kind of happen. If players need to be rested, then they need to be rested.

Mark June 20, 20167:46 pm

I wonder if there’s ANYONE outside Russia who wants Russia to win tonight. Everything about Russian sport in recent weeks/months has stunk to Fifa levels. AND the team are “ponderous, slow and beatable” according to SKY’S Paul Kelso. As a Russian fan told him “they (Russia) play like you (England) fight.”

dewch ymlaen Cymru! Apparently. Profuse and genuine apologies if that is NOT Welsh for Come on Wales

Edward June 20, 20167:47 pm

Our first Rocket League score is in. Tonight’s match will be Russia 2-0 Wales. Get thee to the bookmakers. Now, England.

Ian June 20, 20167:47 pm

I don’t know where I sit on those points of view, but I’ll say this much – Roy Hodgson will see his reputation either completely destroyed or slightly enhanced by what happens in Saint Etienne tonight. Hindsight haa twenty twenty vision, though.

Ian June 20, 20167:48 pm

(Note to readers – whilst Rocket League is an excellent, excellent game, it should not be used for the purposes of predicting anything whatsoever.)

Ian June 20, 20167:49 pm

Jesus. Just watch these results come in and Edward be absolutely unbearable for the rest of the evening.

Ian June 20, 20167:53 pm

Agreed on Russia, by the way, Mark. Regardless of opinion on the merits or otherwise of England and Wales, I think we can safely agree that this Russia team at this time progressing to the next round would be travesty on more levels than I have the time or energy to count.

Edward June 20, 20167:55 pm

Rocket League match result the second, Slovakia 4-0 England. Brutal.

Ian June 20, 20167:56 pm

You absolute blithering idiot.

Edward June 20, 20167:58 pm

Slovakia, yes that’s where we are, Slovakia /national anthem lyrics

Mark June 20, 20167:59 pm

The idea of “BBC analyst” and “ITV analyst” is increasingly a thing of the past. Craig Bellamy in the studio and Tony Pulis in the ITV4 com-box at Toulouse, both recently on the Beeb. Not complaining, mind. Neither of them are Robbie Savage.

Sounds like the “Rocket League” isn’t exactly “rocket science”… (hey, someone had to say it, and given the quality of 200% pundits tonight, it HAD to be me.

Edward June 20, 20168:00 pm

Red shirts, fifty years of hurt.
Blue socks, fifty years of cocks.

Football folklore.

Edward June 20, 20168:01 pm

Eric Dier, the sky-er is the limit for that young man.

Mark June 20, 20168:02 pm

Bale strikes the keepers’ palms on 60 seconds. Three offside Welsh players in Akinfeev’s eyeline so it may not have counted anyway.

Mark June 20, 20168:04 pm

Bellamy has already said Russia “lack fight…on the pitch, anyway.” Joined in the studio by a bearded Mark Hughes, about which I have yet to form a coherent opinion (about the beard, that is. Hughes is a ****)

Edward June 20, 20168:06 pm

Jamie Vardy fires over the bar with his knee. He thinks outside the box. He’s got some interesting opinions.

Mark June 20, 20168:06 pm

Pulis’s early analysis of the Russians is informative (“they are going for it” being the gist) but nameless. I suspect “the lad” might be seeing a lot of the ball for them tonight.

Edward June 20, 20168:07 pm

Alright, Beckensmalling, just get rid of it.

Ian June 20, 20168:09 pm

Chance! Chance? Lallana and Vardy, the ball flicked into the penalty area, but some excellent defending keeps the ball from Daniel Sturridge.

Edward June 20, 20168:10 pm

We didn’t get to see his little dance. Small mercies.

Mark June 20, 20168:11 pm

Ramsay!!! Cymru 1-0!

Mark June 20, 20168:12 pm

Just writing about the redundancy of the phrase “defences are on top” when Joe Allen’s pinpoint pass proves the point and Ramsay dinks the ball right-footed over the on-rushing but exposed Akinfeev.

Ian June 20, 20168:12 pm

They just broke away from this match to show the goal from the Wales match. Russia are so terrible that’s it’s probably a good thing that no-one in their right mind will be going there in two years.

Mark June 20, 20168:14 pm

The game has been getting “stretched” since minute one. Russia are marking Bale like they’ve never heard of him.

Wales top the group. “Call it off now,” says an audibly beaming Pulis.

Edward June 20, 20168:15 pm

England have started with two known smokers on the field tonight. I could not be more proud. Recapturing the spirit of 1966.

Mark June 20, 20168:15 pm

Everyone but Russia qualifying at the moment. Best-case scenario, that.

Ian June 20, 20168:17 pm

England have had the best of the first fifteen minutes, then Vardy chases through on the left but sees his shot smothered by the goalkeeper.

Mark June 20, 20168:19 pm

Sam Vokes booked for an elbow on Beretzutski which has left the Russian in need of a bandage. Replays show that Vokes only had eyes for the ball and it isn’t initially clear how Beretzutski’s head got cut. Still, the prospect of another water-polo hat appearing in the second half will keep me going..

Ian June 20, 20168:20 pm

That’s a bad foul by Bertrand, there, on Pekerik, whose nose is now gushing blood like the world’s worst Mannekin Pis tribute.

Mark June 20, 20168:20 pm

2-0 Cymru. Neil Taylor. Neil bloody TAYLOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edward June 20, 20168:20 pm

Slovakia’s approach to defending against Vardy is similar to Mark’s assessment of Russia’s preparations for Bale. Is Vardy just unplayable? I don’t know, or care.

Ian June 20, 20168:20 pm

I don’t think Putin is going to be happy about this.

Mark June 20, 20168:24 pm

Pulis happier than Putin. Taylor’s first goal for Wales. “Bale in space” says Joe Speight. Bale’s pass is cut out but side-footed beautifully into Taylor’s path by Shirokov. Taylor’s first finish is very that of a full-back. Akinfeev saves but the rebound is on a plate stuff for “the man from Ian Rush’s home town.” Pulis says Wales are playing “smashingly” and believes he willl get stick for that “new” word. I suspect he won’t care in the long run.

Edward June 20, 20168:24 pm

Russia have been atrocious. At Euro 2016, as well.

Edward June 20, 20168:24 pm

STILL NIL NIL COME ON ENGLAND FOR FUCK’S

Ian June 20, 20168:24 pm

Yellow card for Pecovsky, for a late, trailing leg.

Edward June 20, 20168:25 pm

Ahem. Still 0-0 in Saint-Etienne.

Mark June 20, 20168:27 pm

Matter of time, Edward. Slovakia only beat Russia 2-1 and Russia are hopeless. Who couldn’t beat them by more than one go….oh…

No. Seriously, matter of time.

Mark June 20, 20168:29 pm

Meanwhile, Russia have a moment. Wayne Hennessy saving from a nearly clean-through Dzyuba. Careful now.

Mark June 20, 20168:31 pm

Whatever the Welsh is for ****!!!! Bale runs from box to box unruffled, sets up Vokes, who hits Akinfeev’s legs. Should…have…scored. Rue missed chances? etc…

Ian June 20, 20168:32 pm

I am absolutely convinced that Slovakia will win this, and this is based on on nothing I’ve seen over the last half hour. Its muscle memory of the brain.

Edward June 20, 20168:34 pm

32 minutes played, and time for us to announce our official Twohundredpercent Gran of the Matchâ„¢ award. It is Adam Lallana’s nana, pictured here with a portrait of him she painted.

Mark June 20, 20168:34 pm

Bale “goes down under a challenge” in the box. But its one of those where the forward “leaves his leg in.” No penalty.

“I’d be screaming my head off if it was 0-0,” says Pulis. “But as its 2-0 I’ll let them have that.” Over-over confidence perhaps?

But then Ramsey pings another shot against Aknfeev’s mittens.

Mark June 20, 20168:35 pm

That’s not the one who kisses him in that ad… (please, PLEASE know which ad I’m talking about…PLEASE!!!)

Edward June 20, 20168:36 pm

England are not scoring. Which is irksome for me. But I am willing to take the broader view. This is why I am voting remain.

Mark June 20, 20168:39 pm

Bale hits Akinfeev’s gloved palms again. If the gloves were made of the same material as those Swiss shirts, they would no longer be gloves.

Wales have had SEVEN shots on target in 38 minutes. Seven more than Sweden in 180 minutes.

Mark June 20, 20168:41 pm

Bale again. Against two defenders but gets another shot away. At Aknfeev again, alas. But if Russia aren’t keeping an eye on the pony-tailed one NOW, why would they decide to do so after half-time?

Ian June 20, 20168:41 pm

I’ll tell you what this feels like. It feels like the England vs Russia match.

Edward June 20, 20168:42 pm

I’m going to blow your mind here, but we’re probably going to need Harry Kane.

Ian June 20, 20168:43 pm

England’s delivery on set pieces has been dogshit, so far. They’re much better looking in open play.

Edward June 20, 20168:44 pm

Duda’s gone so so deep, do doo doo da day.

Mark June 20, 20168:45 pm

Bet my money on the pony-tailed Bale…somebody bet on Sam Vokes…

Mark June 20, 20168:46 pm

The drugs don’t work, eh?

Bale gives Ramsay an easy chance, which the Arsenal man spurns.

Ian June 20, 20168:47 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have considerable admiration for Jamie Vardy. He’s achieved a tremendous amount. But I wouldn’t having him mind my pets while I was on holiday.

Edward June 20, 20168:47 pm

Future pub quiz teams will one day answer questions about who England were playing the day Rarcus Mashford scored his famous Euro 2016 hat trick, on the day in history we are currently living through.

Mark June 20, 20168:49 pm

Bale sets up Ramsay again in stoppo. But Ramsay does the Arsenal thing…cuts inside and spurns the chance. The half could not have gone much better, though. Should be more than 2-0 but 2-0 SHOULD be enough, unless Russia’s half-time tea is heavily doped…oh…wait…

Mark June 20, 20169:04 pm

Russia swap Beretzutski twins at half-time. But they need another ten, much better, twins to get back into this. The one on now is Russia’s goalscoere in their first match.

Meanwhile…47 minutes…Bale…run…shot…at Akinfeev. He’ll get one right soon, surely?

Edward June 20, 20169:04 pm

FOOTBALL IS BACK HAPPENING, all up in my grill. Can England do it? Asked England for the next 45 minutes. And then probably forgot about fairly quickly.

Ian June 20, 20169:05 pm

Back under way in Saint Etienne, by the way. England’s away kit is bullsheeeee, isn’t it?

Edward June 20, 20169:06 pm

Of course, were Slovakia to nick a goal here, England will be relying on 4 points being enough to get through in third place. No pressure.

Mark June 20, 20169:08 pm

Four points will be enough. Above Albania already.

Chris Gunter has SEVENTY Welsh caps. Blimey. His cross is nearly turned in by a Russian defender – the tall, immobile one…which doesn’t narrow it down much…

Mark June 20, 20169:10 pm

Russia substitute captain Shirokov…and take a full minute to find someone else to wear it. Akinfeev gets the “honour.” Well, he’s been their busiest player…in possession most often…

Edward June 20, 20169:10 pm

Mother fuck, that was close by Slovakia. Smalling decides to chest it back to Hart with Mak lurking off his shoulder. Only divine intervention could save us.

Ian June 20, 20169:11 pm

Meanwhile at the other end, Clyne cuts into the penalty area, six yards out, and shoots – a brilliant save.

Mark June 20, 20169:12 pm

Ramsay to Bale, out comes the new Russian captain to make a 94th save…

Mark June 20, 20169:13 pm

More Russian possession this half but only one half-decent cross to show for six minutes of it. And Wales are creating chances at will on the break.

Edward June 20, 20169:13 pm

Vladimir Weiss finds himself in space, miles of space, on England’s right. Joe Hart does well to keep his head, making a smart save at turf level.

Ian June 20, 20169:14 pm

“At turf level” isn’t a thing. Stop trying to make “at turf level” a thing.

Edward June 20, 20169:14 pm

Wayne Rooney replaces Smokin’ Jack Wilshere. He’s been very poor today, in an England midfield that has been seriously lacking.

Mark June 20, 20169:15 pm

First free-kick in Bale territory…and Ashley Williams takes it…ha, no… Bale fires wide. Akinfeev had it covered and had no chance to make a Joe Hart of it.

Edward June 20, 20169:16 pm

If Glenn Hoddle doesn’t shut his face soon, I’m going to lose my mind.

Mark June 20, 20169:16 pm

You’re going to lose your mind, then…

Edward June 20, 20169:16 pm

Adam “Jack Hargreaves” Lallana is now withdrawn, Delle Alli replacing him.

Edward June 20, 20169:18 pm

This is killing me, this

Ian June 20, 20169:18 pm

Henderson crosses to the far post and Delle Alli, with his first touch, has a brilliant low shot blocked on the line by Skrtel.

Mark June 20, 20169:18 pm

Citing “Out of Town”? (which none of us would ever have watched if it wasn’t on next to the football highlights in the Sunday schedule). Mind lost…

Edward June 20, 20169:19 pm

Chuck in a floater. If you chuck in a floater, we’ll win the games. Don’t you want us to win the games?

Mark June 20, 20169:20 pm

Russia…have a shot but Glushakov is a good review of it, as well as the shooter’s name.

Ian June 20, 20169:20 pm

I don’t think am England team with this defence can afford to go games without scoring.

Edward June 20, 20169:22 pm

Roy’s made two too many changes, hasn’t he? Not enough substitutions to amend his mistake now.

Mark June 20, 20169:22 pm

Mamaev booked for a “third-man tackle” on the, admittedly combative, Joe Allen. (Would have been a “black card” in Gaelic Football). And Joe Ledley nearly converts Ashley Williams’ knock-down from the resultant free-kick

Edward June 20, 20169:23 pm

Imagine sending a substitute on, with a live, furious adult swan stuffed up his jersey. Flailing about, breaking arms left, right and centre. Honking.

Mark June 20, 20169:23 pm

Bale. 3-0 At long bloody last

Mark June 20, 20169:26 pm

Should actually be disallowed. Ramsay plays the ball through the statuesque Russian “defence” to Bale, who times his run perfectly. But Vokes, a foot offside, waves a leg at the pass as it…er…passes him. Just as Pulis commends him for “not getting involved with the pass.” Ooops. But ha-ha…

Edward June 20, 20169:27 pm

Wayne Rooney as a midfielder has been a revelation. Good positionally, great vision and distribution, strong on the ball. Plus all the old instincts around the penalty box. Could he be the next Bobby Charlton? If so, he’s going to need to grow some more hair.

Edward June 20, 20169:30 pm

Eric Dier chucked in a floater. Daniel Sturridge nearly wins the game. What more proof do you need?

Mark June 20, 20169:31 pm

Mamaev pulls Ramsay’s shirt half off his back. A Swiss shirt would not have survived. “Must be a booking” says Pulis, correctly, before suggesting the referee is “feeling sorry for them.” But, of course, Mamaev was already on a yellow. So…

Still, he won’t be missing Russia’s next match in the tournament. Because there WON’T BE ONE. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA etc…

Edward June 20, 20169:31 pm

Daniel Sturridge is replaced by Harry Kane. Roy’s last throw of the dice.

Mark June 20, 20169:33 pm

Pulis is seeing injuries all over the place. But Ledley does limp off. Looks like cramp, though. Not surprising, given his recent lack of football…or shaving…

Pulis even suggested subbing Bale and Ramsay “in case” of injury. Wales are making him THAT confident. They’ve been THAT good.

Edward June 20, 20169:33 pm

Harry Kane, he’s one of our own
A statement which loses impact
Due to the tautological nature of the statement

/chant

Mark June 20, 20169:34 pm

It almost scans…if you ignore the line structure…

Edward June 20, 20169:36 pm

Fucking Jordan Henderson, he’s no sodding use, is he? What the hell is going on? Is there some sort of mass delusion that I’m somehow immune to? He is painfully average, yes? Yes?!

Mark June 20, 20169:36 pm

Ignasevich has a free-kick in Bale territory…and hits hit halfway to Madrid… Being a Wales fan right now must be SOOOOOOOOOOOO good…

Edward June 20, 20169:38 pm

Nathaniel Clyne went paddling, everyone called him Nathaniel Brine.

Edward June 20, 20169:40 pm

England are going to have one really good chance tonight in the last ten minutes. But only one. And if they don’t take it, they better hope their defence can hold on.

Mark June 20, 20169:40 pm

Possession stats show 50-50. Which bears no relation to any conceivable reality…especially as Wales then string together about 30 individually cheered passes. So comfortable are they know that they HAVE subbed Bale. Six minutes left.

Edward June 20, 20169:41 pm

Chuck it in the mixer. Get a floater up.

Mark June 20, 20169:42 pm

“We are top of the group, I said we are top of the group” sing some of the Welsh. Tempt that fate.

Meanwhile Dzyuba misses a sitter from seven yards…by five yards…and no-one seemed in the least bit surprised…

Ian June 20, 20169:44 pm

England have been frustrating more than anything else tonight. Slovakia have done virtually nothing all evening, and could yet snatch a goal.

Mark June 20, 20169:45 pm

Pulis confused by Russia. “I know people will say Russia were poor but they shouldn’t take away from Wales like that.” He then says “Russia have been poor” before talking up their “great league.” He then adds “they drew with England didn’t they?”, although that MIGHT be making a slightly different point.

Mark June 20, 20169:45 pm

Meanwhile, Ramsay has another good chance deflected wide. 88 minutes.

Ian June 20, 20169:46 pm

One theory I read was that second place might suit in that players get an extra twenty-four hours rest. But that’s an irrelevance, tonight. This has been Wales’s night, mos def.

Ian June 20, 20169:48 pm

I’m calling Bald Man of the Match as Martin Skrtel, by the way. He’s been immense.

Edward June 20, 20169:48 pm

England, you shower of fannies.

Mark June 20, 20169:48 pm

48 hours, Speight said earlier (Saturday to Monday).

Two minutes stoppo, the ref having mercy on Russia souls, as Dzubya fires over.

Edward June 20, 20169:49 pm

They’re having a Wales of a time in Toulouse, eh? EH? EH?

Edward June 20, 20169:50 pm

Crack pipe is coming out tonight.

Mark June 20, 20169:50 pm

Another big screen shot of a Welsh fan crying but the context could scarcely be more different.

Full-time. 3-0. “A special night to be a Welsh fan” says Speight. And boy is he right…

Ian June 20, 20169:51 pm

But anyways, well done Wales on winning the group. They’ve been behind for, what, ninety seconds in their three games?

Edward June 20, 20169:51 pm

Martin Skrtel’s wife is called Myrtle.

Mark June 20, 20169:53 pm

Wales win the group..and they know it, the crowd letting out a gutteral roar as the final whistle goes at St Etienne.

Slovakia to go through too, I’d suggest. Smiles all round, then. Come on England fans…even you…

Ian June 20, 20169:59 pm

Full Time: England 0-0 Slovakia. A frustrating night for England rather than am outright bad one. Slovakia had two chances all night, and England gifted them one of those. At the other end, a quite outstanding goal line clearance from Martin Skrtel from Delle Alli’s first touch was as near as England came, but they have a couple of positives to take. They controlled the game and kept a clean sheet. It wasn’t as apocalyptic as it will undoubtedly be spun, but it wasn’t… good.