Patrik Schick, join the immortals
Patrik Schick, join the immortals. The Czech Republic striker’s second goal in his side’s 2-0 win over Scotland is destined to go down as one of the greatest ever scored at the European Championships.
Let’s set the scene. With Scotland on the attack, Jack Hendry gets brave and tries to shoot from 40-yards. The ball deflects into the path of Schick, who looks up and sees David Marshall scrambling.
Schick strolls onto it and shoots with his left foot. It’s not laces, it’s not just instep. He starts it high and wide, the ball shaping from left to right - like a left-handed golfer trying to draw the ball round the corner on a dog leg right.
It curls and dips and lands perfectly in the goal. It doesn’t bounce, using the net to break its fall as Marshall collapses over the goal line. The Derby County ‘keeper gets tangled in the net as Schick makes for the corner, with a stunned silence enveloping Hampden Park.
Even if Schick never scores another goal in his life, he has his place in the highlight reels forever.
Slovakia show Ireland what might have been
The eyes of the continent should have been on Dublin on Monday afternoon, with the Aviva Stadium scheduled to host its first game at 5pm. As it was, the fixture was moved to St Petersburg, and the crowd in Russia witnessed the first real upset of the competition.
In a different universe, it would have been Ireland lining out against Poland for their opening group fixture - last October’s penalty shootout defeat in the playoffs meant the privilege belonged to Slovakia instead.
And the underdogs did themselves proud, with a Wojciech Szczesny own goal and a Milan Skriniar strike securing a 2-1 victory. Poland saw Grzegorz Krychowiak sent off on the hour mark while Robert Lewandowski, on the back of another sensational season, was left frustrated - he now has just two goals in 12 major tournament appearances.
By the numbers
49.7 - Metres Patrik Schick scored his second from at Hampden Park.
Quote of the day
"It was damn nice to see him smile and laugh and be himself and just feel that he is there." - Kasper Schmeichel, after visiting his Denmark teammate Christian Eriksen.
Leighton shows the length of Scotland’s wait
Scotland had to wait 8,393 days between their appearances at major international tournaments. Prior to Monday’s 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic at Hampden Park, their last appearance came in a 3-0 loss to Morocco on June 23rd, 1998.
To put that 23-year gap into perspective, let’s talk about Jim Leighton. Leighton was the ‘keeper who shipped the three goals against Morocco in Saint-Etienne - at grand old the age of 39.
He was approaching the end of a career which had started all the way back in 1977 with Aberdeen, and saw him travel south to join Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 1988. A long wait indeed.
Word of mouth
"It's a nice record but I'm not thinking about it too much, winning the competition for a second consecutive time is a more beautiful objective." - Cristiano Ronaldo trying to kid us he doesn't have Ali Daei's all-time international record of 109 in his crosshairs. He's currently on 104.
"High performance, low maintenance - we like that a lot." - Gareth Southgate gives a glowing review of Kalvin Phillips - not his new car.
"I saw him (off his line), I checked in the first half when this situation would come. I was checking where he was standing." - Patrik Schick insists lobbing David Marshall from the halfway line was all part of the plan.
No chip on Lingard’s shoulder
Despite being reinvigorated by his loan move from Manchester United to West Ham in January, Jesse Lingard missed out on a place in Gareth Southgate's Euro 2020 squad. But has he got a chip on his shoulder?
Nope - just a parrot. The 28-year-old was pictured in a bar in Altrincham on Sunday with a stuffed bird on his shoulder and Declan Rice’s name on the back of his England shirt. No hard feelings, just positive vibes from J-Lingz.
More word of mouth
"We've got to two games to fix what we need to fix and it's important we don't sulk too much." - John McGinn says Scotland will dust themselves down.
"That's when I think it could get difficult for England - when you come up against a France, Portugal or Belgium - one of those top teams." - Wayne Rooney, after England's win over Croatia. He's not wrong.
"And he is the first name that a coach, a national team manager, notes down when he is deciding his starting XI." - Didier Deschamps, reportedly telling El País that N'Golo Kante is the first name on his teamsheet.
The Dutch are back with a bang
With first round nerves, scorching temperatures and heavy legs after a long season, it took a while for Euro 2020 to get going. But you can always rely on the Dutch.
Back at a major tournament for the first time since 2014, they beat the Ukraine 3-2 on Sunday night thanks to Denzel Dumfries’ late header. This might not be a vintage Netherlands side - but they’re never boring.
Joachim Löw’s last stand gets underway
June 12th, 2006. That was the date Joachim Löw was announced as manager of Germany. 15 years later he is about to embark on his final major tournament as boss, with Hansi Flick in line to take over post Euro 2020.
The Germans are largely unfancied, but a positive result in their opening clash with world champions France could see momentum build.