It is being said that if one turns on a Euro 2016 match after the 80th minute that they would be highly rewarded. Whoever said that isn't wrong. Just look at what happened Friday (17 June).
In the first match of the day, Italy took on Sweden. A match between equals. It could have been Zlatan Ibrahimovic's day, or it could have been Thiago Motta's. The Italians knew that a win would have sent them through, and a draw would suffice. The Italians being Italians dropped down and reduced any Swedish threat.
Ibrahmiovic missed for a yard out in the 72nd minute, but was narrowly flagged for offside. Marco Parolo struck the bar for Italy near the end of the match. It was Eder then who scored the late winner for Italy. As ESPN FC puts it, "the game was settled with less than two minutes of normal time remaining when Eder weaved in from the left to create space on the edge of the box and curl a shot into the bottom corner".
After the late drama there, Czech Republic took on Croatia. Croatia took the lead in the first half through Ivan Perisic and doubled it shortly after the half with a goal from Ivan Rakitic. A win for Croatia would have sent them through and that's what it seemed like until a 76th-minute header from Milan Skoda threw life into the Czechs. The match was then halted in the 86th minute, when Croatia fans threw flares on the Saint-Etienne pitch. Several minutes later the game started and the Czechs got a penalty in the 89th-minute from which Tomas Necid converted to give them an unlikely point.
In the day's last match, Spain romped to a 3-0 win against Turkey in a game that lacked drama. Alvaro Morata scored a double as Vicente del Bosque's men qualified for the knockout stage of the European Championships. The third goal was also a first international competitive goal from Nolito.
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings over crowd trouble in the Croatia vs Czech Republic match. Turkey could also face sanctions from UEFA after some of their supporters lit flares and threw firecrackets onto the pitch after the full-time whistle was blown.
Fixture for Sat'day (18 June):
- Belgium vs Ireland (6:30 PM IST)
- Iceland vs Hungary (9:30 PM IST)
- Portugal vs Austria (12:30 AM IST)