MATCHDAY 13: Hungary Top Group F After A 3-3 Draw With Portugal, Ibrahimovic And Co. Knocked Out, And More

Match day 13 featured the final matches of the group stage, with games involving the eight teams from Group E and Group  F.

Teams from Group F locked horns first, with Iceland beating Austria 2-1 in one of the two opening matches of the day.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson opened the scoring for Iceland in the 18th minute with a low finish from eight yards out. Austria were then awarded a penalty in the 35th minute after Ari Skulason held back David Alaba inside the box, but they failed to equalise after Aleksandar Dragovic hit the post from the spot, thereby missing the third successive penalty of the tournament (after Ronaldo and Ramos).

The equalizer did come in the 60th minute, as substitute Alessandro Schopf scored a delightful finish following an impressive run. Iceland replied by scoring a dramatic winner in injury time, as Arnór Ingvi Traustason capped off a quick counter with a goal.

But it was Austrian defender Kari Arnason who was named the man of the match for his solid defensive display.

His performance, however, was not enough to save Austria from facing defeat and getting eliminated from the Euro 2016 tournament.

Iceland, meanwhile, have finished Group F as runners-up behind Hungary – who have the same points as the Icelanders, but a superior goal difference by 1. They will now face England in the round of 16 this upcoming Monday.

The other match contested between Group F teams Hungary and Portugal was an absolute thriller, and ended in a 3-3 draw.

The game followed a similar routine for all the six goals, with Hungary scoring first and Portugal replying to that goal with an equalizer. Hungary’s Zoltan Gera opened the scoring in the 19th minute, and Nani equalized just 3 minutes before half time, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo assist.

Only two players – one from each side – scored the four goals that came in the second half, as Balazs Dzsudzsák’s deflected strike gave Hungary the lead again two minutes after the break. Cristiano Ronaldo quickly replied with a geniusly flicked finish in the 50th minute. Five minutes later, Dzsudzsák scored again, making the score 3-2, and Ronaldo finally made it 3-3 with a headed goal in the 62nd minute.

With one assist and two goals, Cristiano Ronaldo was named the man of the match. The Real Madrid star has now scored 8 goals in the European Championships – only Michel Platini (9) has more. But the Portugal captain did break one record on the night, by making his 17th appearance in the European Championship finals, more than any other player.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos described the Portuguese sensation accurately in the post-match interview: “This is what Cristiano is all about. He has to score because he’s a winner. He plays up front and feeds on goals. This game increased his confidence levels.”

Hungary coach Bernd Storck was ecstatic following their progression to the round of 16: “I think it’s a dream for the whole of Hungary – I’m speechless. The fans really supported us in the two previous games, but today it was even better.”

Hungary midfielder Zoltan Gera – scorer of the opening goal – also had his say: “We’re on a fantastic journey. It means a lot to the team. The best wine is the oldest one, and the oldest wine is getting better and better, and I’m happy about that.”

Hungary have capped off their group campaign by finishing at the top of Group F, and they will next face Belgium on Sunday in Toulouse. Portugal, on the other hand, will go head-to-head against Group D toppers Croatia on Saturday.

The first of the two matches featuring teams from Group E was played between Sweden and Belgium, which the Belgians won 1-0.

Radja Nainggolan scored the only goal of the game in the 84th minute, and it was an absolute belter from 25 yards out. Belgian star man Kevin de Bruyne was named the man of the match for an impressive display.

Sweden not only lost the game on the night, but also lost two of their most important players, as star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson both welcome international retirement.

Sweden have been knocked out of the competition after securing just one point from their three group games, and the victory has helped Belgium finish the group stage as runners-up of Group E.

In the round of 16, the Belgians will take on Group F leaders Hungary in the Stadium Municipal, on Sunday.

The last game of match day 13 provided a shock result, as Republic of Ireland beat Italy 1-0.

Republic of Ireland scored a dramatic late winner via Robbie Brady, who headed Wes Hoolahan’s cross from the right wing into goal in the 85th minute. Brady was also named the match of the match for scoring the only goal of the game, as well as for his terrific set-piece deliveries.

In his post-match interview, the 24-year-old revealed that he was living the dream: “I grew up dreaming about this stage and to go and do it in front of my family is the best feeling in the world. We need to regroup and go again but I am absolutely flabbergasted by it all. Every single one of the lads were unbelievable tonight.”

Republic of Ireland coach Martin O’Neill was thoroughly delighted with the win as well: “We deserved to win it. We dominated for periods of the game and played some phenomenal stuff. It is a very special evening. To come out of the group that we were in is a great achievement.”

Italy manager Antonio Conte was clearly unhappy with the loss, but congratulated the winners nevertheless: “[We played] against a side that played a lot of long balls, there were a lot of powerful tackles. The pitch definitely helped them more than us but they put a lot of grit into this game because it was life and death for them. Congratulations to the Republic of Ireland because they really wanted to go through and they were rewarded, perhaps more than they deserved, but they were rewarded nonetheless.”

Third-placed Republic of Ireland will next play against the hosts France in Lyon on Sunday. Italy, who ended Group E as toppers despite the loss, will take on the mighty Spaniards on Monday in what will be a mouth-watering replay of the Euro 2012 final.

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