It was time for the World Champions Germany to kick-start their Euro 2016 journey and look to become another team to win back-to-back World Cup and European Championship titles. Last team to do that were Spain back in 2010 and 2012.
Elsewhere, Croatia, Turkey, Poland, Northern Ireland and Ukraine also opened their campaign on Day 3 of Euro 2016. Following the events from Sunday night, here are the key things which stood out and made a real impact.
- Wonder goal from Luka Modric
Easily one of the goals of this summer’s Euro 2016 and what a strike too. When the ball went up, all I could think of was who would clear the ball with a powerful header, instead it was Modric with a thumping strike on the volley.
The connection had to be absolutely pure and inch perfect and there aren’t many better than Luka Modric to execute a difficult technique like that. The goal was enough for Croatia to put 3 points on table and put pressure on other teams in Group D.
- Germany’s counter attack was breathless
If Modric’s goal came from individual brilliance then Germany’s second goal left every one in awe of the speed of their counter attacking brilliance. From Ukraine’s set play, Germany broke quickly finding Mesut Ozil in space and from there on it was all about Ozil’s inch-perfect cross and Bastian Schweinsteiger breaking his neck to put his foot through and complete a sensational move.
- Poland were efficient and effective
Robert Lewandowski was always bound to be the most talked about striker after his sensational season with Bayern Munich, however, Arkadiusz Milik was equally effective for Poland during the qualifiers.
Milik was on target last night after Poland wasted several chances to take the lead. Northern Ireland for their part, hung in without any great input going forward. In the end, Milik found space and let go a sweet strike to hand Poland a good start to their Euro 2016 campaign.
- Dark horses have started to have their say
Croatia, Poland and Wales were always tipped to create an upset or two at this summer’s Euro Championship and all of them have got to a winning start. It will definitely increase their confidence in coming weeks and other teams need to keep a close eye on them as on their day, these so-called dark horses can beat any team in the competition.