One of the reasons why millions of people love soccer so much is the unpredictability of the game. In fact, the probability for an upset is greater in soccer than any other ball game -as research has it. So! Write -off the minnows at the Euros at your own peril.
The recent success of Leicester City still writs large. Iceland holding Portugal to a famous 1-1 draw and Austria’s blinding 2-0 defeat to Hungary, again shows that the beautiful game can sometimes fall under the sway of the underdog.
Indeed Tuesday, June 14 was the day of the underdog- better still, the day of the ‘unlikely winners’. And the tussle for maximum points in group (F) was staged at the Stade Geoffroy- Guichard in Saint-Etienne and the Stade de Bordeaux (Matmut Atlantique).
The Seleccao of Portugal was the most fancied side in Saint Etienne. And they desperately at the blast of the whistle tried to cut Iceland down to size. But most of them, save Cristiano Ronaldo were rather wasteful against the Strakarnir Okkar or Our boys of Iceland. The Seleccao skipper, Cristiano had run-ins with match officials and his visage was the picture of disappointment; clearly, spooked by thoughts of his side making a false start in their opening game against the less fancied Iceland.
Gylfi Sigurdsson nearly scored when the game was still fledging with an angle shot which he re-directed, but Portugal’s goalie denied him the opportunity. Later a cross homing in from the right side of the field by Andre Gomes, fell in Nani’s way. He side footed it and it was there-goal! The Seleccao fans yelled to a man.
Then five minutes into the second half, the Portuguese were shushed. Certainly, Birkir Bjarnason has equalized for Iceland. Portugal got another opportunity at goal in the last minute of stoppage time. A free -kick just outside the penalty box; to be taken by Cristiano. He drove a powerful shot that bounced of the defensive wall. Immediately the referee brought the match to an end. And the unlikely happened- Iceland was on equal footing with the more superior Portugal side to the amazement of everybody.
Furthermore, the world witnessed the unpredictable nature of football again at the Stade de Bordeaux where Hungary shocked Austria with a 2-0 win. Adam Szalai got the opening goal for the Hungarians. And substitute, Zoltan Stieber added the second goal when the Austrians were down to 10 men, because defender Aleksander Dragovic had attracted two yellow cards.
On the other hand, Austria’s David Alaba failed to control the midfield. Frustration got the better of Marklo Arnautovic as a result of the several pushing and shoving he was subjected to. He couldn’t take his chances and failed to save Austria’s bacon. The game finally came to an end and the minnows: Iceland and Hungary became tabloid sensations around the world.
Source: Dela Ahiawor/sports24gh.com