Euro 2016 Review

France and Wales Top Groups A & B; Switzerland & England Qualify as Runners-Up

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France and Wales have the luxury of competing against a third place qualifier after topping Groups A & B respectively. Switzerland and England go through as the runner-ups. Albania and Slovakia face a sweat to see if they can sneak through in third.

France and Switzerland epitomised the Euro 2016 vibe with a goalless draw in Lille. The hosts came into their final group game knowing their 100% record had guaranteed them a berth in the Round of 16 but were eager to finish as Group A leaders.

Paul Pogba, left out against Albania, returned to the side and looked as hungry as ever. The Juventus midfielder coming closest to scoring hitting the woodwork on two occasions, and having a smart shot saved by Yann Sommer in the Swiss goal. Dmitri Payet came on in the second half and also hit the bar.

It was a good point for the Swiss, who go through to the Round of 16 in second place. The French will face a third place qualifier in their Round of 16 match; Switzerland are likely to face Germany or Poland, and neither of them will be particularly quaking in their boots at the thought.

Albania finished third after a historic win over Romania who head home after a disappointing tournament. Armando Sadiku’s 43rd-minute header was the first goal Albania had scored in a major sporting final, and they will have to wait until the rest of the group stage matches before they know if their three points are enough to book a place in the qualifying round.

Group A Results

France 2 v 1 Romania
Switzerland 1 v 0 Albania
France 2 v 0 Albania
Romania 1 v 1 Switzerland
France 0 v 0 Switzerland
Albania 1 v 0 Romania

Group A Final Table

1. France 7 pts.
2. Switzerland 5 pts.
3. Albania – 3 pts.
4. Romania – 1 pt.

Group B: Wales Top Group; England Second

Assessing England’s prospects in this competition has been difficult. They have turned up to compete on three occasions. The bus has been parked in front of them every single time.

The Russians did it, the Welsh followed suit, and the Slovakians have finished things off. Three sides who knew they were second best before kick off and settled for nothing but a sturdy defence and fingers crossed for a breakaway goal.

The Slovakians intent was clear from the first kick in St. Etienne. A draw would likely be good for third, and a place in the knockout stages, and it would have heartened them to see how difficult both Russia and Wales made it for England to break them down.

The England manager surprised everyone by making six changes to the side that beat Wales. Hodgson rewarded Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge for their strikes against the team from Gods country; Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson came into midfield, and he rested both full backs with Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne given the task of patrolling the flanks.

Of the six changes, it was Clyne who gave the manager the biggest headache going into their Round of 16 game against the runners-up of Group F. The Liverpool full-back carried on where Kyle Walker left off and was the main attacking threat of a frustrating 90-minutes for the English. Their next match could be against the Portuguese, if Cristiano Ronaldo’s side fail to win their group and finish as runners-up.

It was a different story over in Toulouse where the Welsh destroyed Russia to finish as group leaders. Aaron Ramsay put the Welsh ahead with a smart dink over the keeper; a rare goal from full-back Neil Taylor made it two, and Gareth Bale has now scored in all three of Wales matches as his second-half strike gave the Welsh a comfortable 3-0 lead. Bale is now the tournament’s top scorer with three goals.

Group B Results

Wales 2 v 1 Slovakia
England 1 v 1 Russia
Slovakia 2 v 1 Russia
England 2 v 1 Wales
Wales 3 v 0 Russia
England 0 v 0 Slovakia

Group B Final Table

1. Wales 6 pts.
2. England 5 pts.
3. Slovakia 4 pts.
4. Russia 0 pts.

The Welsh will take on the third-place finishers in either Group A/C/D, England take on the runner-up of Group F, and Slovakia will have to wait until the rest of the group matches have been completed to learn their fate.


Cleveland Cavaliers win first NBA title

cavaliers-win-first-cleveland-nba-title

LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers made a history on Sunday as they bring home their city’s first pro sports championship win since 1964 and its first NBA title in franchise history.

The Cavs also become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3–1 deficit in the seven-game series, after defeating Golden State Warriors 93-89 on Sunday at Oracle Arena.

The Golden State Warriors couldn’t take advantage while playing Game 7 on their home court. Stephen Curry hit some early shots and Draymond Green flirted with a triple double. But neither were enough to stop LeBron James, who finished with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds to join Jerry West and James Worthy as the only players to record a triple double in the NBA Finals. James delivered on his promise of two years ago to deliver an NBA Championship and end Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought.

“I set out a goal two years ago when I came back to bring a championship to this city. I gave everything I had. I gave my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears to this game,” James said.

James took home the Finals MVP for the third time after making a triple double performance in Game 7, which was followed up by an amazing outbursts in Games 5 and 6, when he went off for 82 points, 24 rebounds and 18 assists combined.

James led all players on both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in series. He is the first player in NBA history to lead all players in all five categories for an entire playoff series. He becomes the 5th player to win three Finals MVPs; the others are Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’ Neal, Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson.

The King, once again, reminded the whole world that he is still if not the best NBA player of all time, the best player of this generation.

James wasn’t the only catalyst behind Cavs remarkable performance, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points including that game-winning three pointer that was heavily defended by Steph Curry. J.R Smith chipped in 12 points while Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson both made 9 points.

Green carried the Warriors with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists. Curry, who promised the best game of his career, only scored 17 points on 6-19 shooting , while Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes added 14 and 10 points respectively.

The Warriors won the 73 regular-season wins to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark, but the record rings hollow after failing to win the ultimate prize. Indeed, 73-9 does not mean a thing without that championship ring.

For now, the history that matters the most is the Cleveland are the champion and they can now pop bottles for a well-deserved title, one that will be remembered for the ages, at last.


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