Belgium prove too good for Hungary

Belgium produced a breath-taking display on Sunday as they beat Hungary 4-0 at Stadium Municipal to advance to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

  • Hungary 0 Belgium 4
  • Alderweireld heads home opener
  • Batshuayi extends lead late on
  • Hazard scores quick-fire third
  • Carrasco seals convincing win

Match Summary

The Red Devils took the lead after just 10 minutes when Toby Alderweireld headed home a free-kick, although they had to wait until the closing stages of second half to seal victory.

The Hungarians put up a good fight but three goals in the final 12 minutes killed them off. Michy Batshuayi tapped home from close range after super work from Eden Hazard to set him up before the Chelsea winger scored a brilliant individual effort and Yannick Carrasco gave the scoreline some gloss in stoppage time.

Full Report

Belgium provided most of the attacking impetus in an entertaining encounter in Toulouse, although Hungary were by no means quiet.

Marc Wilmots' side created their first chance after just four minutes when Kevin De Bruyne lashed a shot over the crossbar from just outside the area.

Two minutes later Gabor Kiraly had his first save to make as he denied Romelu Lukaku from point-blank range after the striker got a second bite at the cherry from De Bruyne's cross.

The Manchester City attacker was next to test Kiraly with a strike from 18 yards out on seven minutes, but there was nothing the veteran goalkeeper could do to prevent Belgium from taking the lead three minutes later.

A pin-point free-kick from De Bruyne found Alderweireld at the back post and the defender powered his header beyond Kiraly from a few yards out.

Kiraly was given more work to do on 15 minutes as he pulled off a sharp save to keep out De Bruyne from inside the area after he was played through on goal by Lukaku.

The Hungarians had been playing some good football themselves without threatening much, but they did manage to carve out an opportunity on 24 minutes when Balazs Dzsudzsak got past his marker before forcing a save out of Thibaut Courtois from 20 yards out.

But Kiraly was by far the busier of the two keepers and he had to be alert to tip De Bruyne's excellent free-kick onto the crossbar on 35 minutes, with Lukaku heading over on the follow-up.

Bernd Storck's men finished the half strongly and they went close to equalising twice in the space of two minutes as Gergo Lovrencsics flashed a shot inches over the crossbar from range before Dzsudzsak saw his effort from 20 yards out go past Courtois' left post by the narrowest of margins.

Dries Mertens nearly doubled his team's lead just before half-time as he created space for a shot inside the area on the left, but Kiraly stood firm and parried the ball away to safety.

The action continued in the second half as Hazard produced a fine save out of Kiraly with his strike from a narrow angle on the left just seconds after the restart.

Adam Szalai then threatened on two occasions in quick succession for Hungary, firing narrowly wide of the target from inside the area on the right before his header was deflected inches past the post from Dzsudzsak's left-wing cross.

They soaked up more pressure from the Belgians before Adam Pinter caused Courtois problems with a shot from outside the area that took a deflection off a defender and forced a fingertip save from the Chelsea keeper on 66 minutes.

Roland Juhasz went close again two minutes later, drilling a low shot fractionally wide of the far post after a free-kick on the left found him inside the area on the right.

But the Hungary defence switched off with 12 minutes remaining and they were punished as Hazard broke away down the left flank before squaring a delightful ball for Batshuayi. who had the simple task of tapping home from a few yards out.

Hazard capped off a superb performance moments later when he cut in from the left and ran across the 18-yard area before curling the ball beyond Kiraly into the bottom corner of the net.

Courtois seemed determined to keep a clean sheet as he tipped Szalai's 12-yard strike over the crossbar on 83 minutes, before denying Akos Elek with a super save from a few yards out at the death.

However, the Red Devils still had more in the tank as they scored a fourth goal soon afterwards as Hungary gave the ball away on the halfway line. Radja Nainggolan collected the ball and played in Carrasco, who beat Kiraly from inside the area to wrap up a fine win.

Hungary 0 Belgium 1 HOLDING

Sono denies Mashumba-Chiefs link

Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono has denied reports that Charlton Mashumba will be presented as a Kaizer Chiefs player on Monday.

The Zimbabwean striker has impressed since his arrival at Ezenkosi during the 2013/14 season,  scoring 28 goals over the past two seasons for the club.

Sono confirmed that Chiefs enquired about Mashumba's availability but insists they never tabled an official offer for his services.

"Bobby [Motaung] did approach me to ask about Mashumba three weeks ago. But he never came back," Sono told the Sunday Times.

"It is not only Chiefs. Sundowns, Wits and the new Cape Town club of John Comitis are also interested." 

After revealing the interested parties, the Cosmos owner and head coach admitted Mashumba will be allowed to move back to the Premiership.

"We want to release the player. He has been very loyal to us. We won't stand in his way," Sono said.

Malaga complete double signing

Malaga have strengthened their attack significantly ahead of the 2016/17 La Liga season with the signings of Spanish duo Jony Menandez and Keko.

Jony joins Los Boquerones on a free transfer, with his contract at Sporting Gijon having expired. The 24-year-old winger played all 36 of Gijon's league matches last season, scoring five goals and providing nine assists.

"Every player is ambitious and aspires to new heights," he told reporters at his unveiling. "The confidence they have shown in me was what made me opt for them.

"The project is about young players with the desire of showing [their quality] and Malaga being in European competition.

Keko signed for Javi Gracia's side from Eibar for a fee of €3.7 million. The 24-year-old winger played 29 of Armeros' league matches last term, scoring three goals and providing five assists.

"It's an ambitious project, with important players, but the field is where we'll be judged," he told reporters. "The squad that is being put together has a lot of potential, and each game will tell us where we can finish.

Malaga sporting director Francesc Arnau added: "They are full of enthusiasm and will transmit [their enthusiasm] to us. They're young but prepared. They have the foundations and will help us succeed."

Swans agree fee for Van der Hoorn

Swansea are close to completing their first off-season signing after agreeing a fee for Ajax defender Mike van der Hoorn.

According to reports in England, the 23-year-old Netherlands youth international is delighted to be moving to the Premier League and claims that "Swansea are a great club."

With nine goals and three assists in 77 Eredivisie appearances, Van der Hoorn comes with experience and will provide cover for first-choice pairing Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez.

He joined Ajax for £3.2 million from Utrecht three years ago and looks set to be the first new arrival at the Liberty Stadium since the takeover by an American consortium last month.

Witsel's agent talks up Napoli move

Axel Witsel's agent has confirmed that the midfielder is seeking a move from Zenit St Petersburg and that Napoli holds much interest for him.

The Belgium international looks set to end a four-year stay in Russia and his representative, Emanuele Cammaroto, has hinted that a move to Naples would suit Witsel.

"I've heard a lot of things about Witsel recently, but few people know the truth," Cammaroto told Napoli Magazine. "We aren't interested in running around denying every rumour, as silence is worth a thousand words.

"Many Napoli fans are asking us about Witsel, so I can tell people one thing: Axel likes Naples and Napoli. For him it's the team of Diego Armando Maradona.

"He is a good lad who, unlike others, would have no prejudice against the city, in fact he considers it beautiful.

"He wants to play in the Champions League and after four years in Russia with Zenit he'd like to play somewhere hot. I think you can work out where it's sunny and where it isn't.

"These are important moments for Witsel and we'll see what happens over the next few days. The fans should stay calm and have faith, President Aurelio De Laurentiis and (Napoli director of sport Cristiano) Giuntoli are working day and night for them."

Ajax and PSV keen on Lombaerts

PSV and Ajax are set to battle it out for Zenit St Petersburg defender Nicolas Lombaerts, according to the Russian club's technical director.

The Belgium international has two years left on his contract with the Russian Premier League side, but indicated he wants to move closer to home to support his pregnant wife.

Neither of the Eredivisie rivals have made an official bid but are on the lookout for defensive reinforcements as Jeffrey Bruma and Mike van der Hoorn are set to depart their respective teams during the upcoming transfer window.

However, Zenit chief Henk van Stee has warned that Lombaerts won't leave on a cut-price deal, despite him wanting an exit.

"He still has a two-year contract and is a fantastic player. Only if a club shows concrete interest, and comes with a serious offer, we'll talk," Van Stee told his club's official website.

Since joining Zenit from Belgian side Genk in 2009, Lombaerts has made 273 appearances, scoring 11 goals and contributing seven assists.

Germany cruise past Slovakia

Germany strolled into the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 with a convincing 3-0 win over Slovakia in their last-16 clash at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday.

  • Germany 3 Slovakia 0
  • Boateng opens scoring early on
  • Ozil penalty saved by Kozacik
  • Gomez doubles lead before HT
  • Draxler seals comfortable win

Match Summary

Die Mannschaft controlled the match from start to finish and they didn't look back after taking the lead through Jerome Boateng on eight minutes.

They were cruising when Mario Gomez added a second goal on the stroke of half-time and Julian Draxler sealed the victory just after the hour mark to ensure a place in the last eight.  

Full Report

The world champions were quickly into their stride in a dominant display as the Falcons barely saw the ball.

Sami Khedira had the first chance on seven minutes as he tested Matus Kozacik with a header from Toni Kroos' cross and the Germans took the lead from their next attack moments later.

A corner from the left was half-cleared to Boateng, who hit a first-time volley from 20 yards out that took a touch off Milan Skriniar and beat Kozacik inside his right post.

Joachim Low's side should have been two goals up on 13 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for Martin Skrtel's push on Mario Gomez as the striker jumped to meet Thomas Muller's cross from the right.

But Kozacik kept his team in the contest with a superb diving save at full stretch to his left to deny Mesut Ozil from the spot.

Kroos and Ozil had half-chances before the Arsenal playmaker lashed the ball fractionally wide from 16 yards out as Gomez's header dropped into his path.

Germany continued to ask all the questions as Muller headed over at the near post from Ozil's left-wing cross before the Bayern Munich forward blazed over the crossbar from just inside the area and Gomez then sent a shot wide of the target on the turn.

Slovakia finally created their first chance on 41 minutes as Juraj Kucka saw his back-post header kept out by a fine one-handed save from  Manuel Neuer following a cross on the right from Peter Pekarik.

Jan Kozak's men threatened again moments later when Skriniar saw his shot drift wide of the far post as he looked for the top corner from just inside the area on the left.

Instead it was Germany who scored again, Julian Draxler carrying the ball to the byline on the left before picking Gomez out at the near post with his cut-back and the striker had the easy task of tapping home from a few yards out.

The Slovakians made a better start in the second half and Kucka tested Neuer with a rasping effort from just outside the area on 49 minutes, before Marek Hamsik saw his free-kick deflected wide of the target and Jan Durica went even closer from another set-piece soon afterwards.

But the Germans put the game to bed on 63 minutes from a corner which was headed by Mads Hummels towards the back post, where Draxler coolly volleyed home from inside the six-yard box.

The three-time European Championship winners continued to control proceedings, but were unable to score a fourth as Slovakia had to defend for all they were worth in the closing stages.

Kroos went the closest in stoppage time as he got on the end of a low cross from the right, but Kozacik made a sharp save to keep him out.

Griezmann brace breaks Irish hearts

France provided Euro 2016 with a memorable comeback as they beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 in the last 16 Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday.

  • France 2-1 Republic of Ireland
  • Pogba concedes 1st-min penalty
  • Brady slots home from the spot
  • Griezmann scores second-half brace
  • Duffy receives marching orders 

Match Summary

Paul Pogba's foul on Shane Long barely two minutes into the fixture gave Robbie Brady the perfect opportunity to give Ireland an early lead and he responded accordingly by thumping the ball in off the post to beat Hugo Lloris.

Ireland held the lead until the 58th minute when Antoine Griezmann's two goals in the space of three minutes turned the game on its head for Les Bleus.

Shane Duffy then received his marching orders shortly after when he hacked down the Atletico Madrid forward as he was set through on goal to possibly secure his hat-trick.

Full Report

With the tournament hosts only having three touches of the ball in the fixture they found themselves with a mountain to climb after Pogba gave away a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Long.

Brady subsequently smashed home the resulting spot-kick against the inside of the post and past an outstretched Lloris.

France looked shell-shocked after the early goal but gathered momentum as the game wore on; Dimitri Payet almost provided the spark with an inch-perfect free-kick that found Griezmann, but Darren Randolph was equal to the effort, holding onto the header comfortably.

The physicality of the Irish seemed too much for Pogba at times as he walked off for treatment 20 minutes into the half looking battered and bruised.

Didier Deschamps' side threw everything at the Boys in Green in the opening half but they looked comfortable at keeping the French out and nearly doubled their advantage 10 minutes after the break.

A Jeff Hendrick-led counter-attack was kept out by a finger tip save from Lloris after his neat build-up play with Brady on the edge of the penalty box.

Moments later the game swung into the favour of the hosts when Blaise Matuidi forced an excellent reflex save from Randolph with a stinging drive from 25 yards out which signaled a period of domination from France. Griezmann found the equaliser with a thumping header after a pin-point Bacary Sagna cross from the right flank.

Stephan Ward and Payet then went close in quick succession with long-range strikes as the tie opened up with half-chances, but it was Griezmann that struck next.

A Long ball found Olivier Giroud, who knocked the ball down for the forward to grab his second and put Deschamps' men ahead.

Things went from bad to worse for Martin O'Neill's side when Duffy hacked down Griezmann as he was played clean through on goal.

Substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac nearly gave Les Bleus a two-goal lead after cutting inside and smashing the ball against the crossbar with Randolph well beaten.

With 10 men in the final stages, Ireland rarely looked like finding the equaliser while Randolph kept the scoreline respectable at the other end as the tie ended 2-1.

Low: Kroos vital in Slovakia clash

Germany manager Joachim Low says that Tony Kroos' performance in the upcoming match against Slovakia is crucial to their progress in Euro 2016.

The Real Madrid playmaker has been superb for his country thus far in the tournament and Low is well aware that their final-16 opponents will pose a more potent threat than Northern Ireland did in the group stages.

"Toni has now only been performing at a very high level at this tournament, but also after Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup," the World Cup winning coach said at a press conference.

"He always does well for us. He is very economical in his way of playing. He does not make many mistakes.

"He brings balance to the team and is always available to receive the ball. His team-mates trust in him. That's why he is a decisive player for us."

Low added: "I think Slovakia are a lot stronger than Northern Ireland. They gave us a wake-up call in that friendly in May.

"They have a lot of quality and are defensively strong. We will not get a lot of chances. We will find ways to cope with their defensive strength.

"I was not satisfied with our finishing against Northern Ireland and neither were our players. We will not get that many chances against Slovakia. We must take our chances. We have worked on it in training.

"They are very dangerous on the counter-attack, similar to Poland. Hamsik is a player we have to keep an eye on."