There were so many eye catching goals scored in the group stages of the Euros so far and with 69 scored, it was a tough task picking the best of the bunch. Each goal was unique in its own right but here are a few of the top quality ones.
Dimitri Payet (France Vs Romania) – Being the host nation comes with its own added pressure especially when you are expected to win the tournament. France were on the brink of drawing their opening encounter with minnows Romania and were in dire need of a hero. Up stepped Payet with a thunderbolt of a shot to send a nation into delirium, clinching it for France in the dying embers of the game. That he scored with his supposed weaker foot makes the goal all the more special.
Luka Modric (Turkey vs Croatia) – Luka Modric is a man of many talents. His intricate passing ability sometimes makes you marvel. But one thing he rarely does is shoot the ball with such venom as he did against Turkey in their opener. The goal was from a clearance made by a Turkish defender which Modric latched onto perfectly to unleash a volley of such power that there was nothing the keeper could do.
Emmanuelle Giaccherini (Belgium vs Italy) – Antonio Conte’s men went into this game as the underdogs against the much talented Belgium outfit heralded as the “Golden Generation”. Maybe that was what helped Giaccherini go under the radar unnoticed by Alderweireld for Italy’s opener. A Pirlo-esqe pass from Leonardo Bonucci set up Giaccherini for the first goal and his touch and composure was exquisite. Italy won the match 2-0 and went on to top the group.
Marek Hamsik (Russia vs Slovakia) – After an opening day loss to Wales, Slovakia were in need of a good result against the Russians. Hamsik put in a man of the match performance. After setting up Weiss for the first goal, he helped himself to a goal from a short corner, unleashing a shot from the edge of the box giving the keeper no chance.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Hungary vs Portugal) – When your team is on the verge of elimination from a major tournament it takes a player of great ability and confidence to try a back flick. After enduring a nightmare in Paris against Austria, one would think Ronaldo was low on confidence. He added another goal – making him the first player to score in 4 different Euros.
Zoltan Gera (Hungary vs Portugal) – With his team on the back foot early on in the game, Gera put Hungary ahead in the clash against the run of play. He shot the ball from the edge of the box after a corner was cleared. With the Portuguese keeper’s view obscured, the left footed half volley went into the back of the net setting the stage for an enthralling encounter.
Notable mentions: Eric Dier vs Russia, Alvaro Moratta vs Croatia, Payet vs Albania, Lukaku vs Rep. Of Ireland, Gareth Bale vs Slovakia, Gareth Bale vs England.
So there you have it. The Euros have been entertaining thus far with no consistent performance from any team. The less fancied teams are making their voices heard.
As we prepare for the knockout phases, we hope for more of the same. Switzerland and Poland kick off at 13:00 GMT on 25th June as the first match of the round of 16 gets underway. Enjoy it.