Monday 26 September 2016

Italy pummelled as all of Ireland's Euro opponents fail to win

Jamie Holland

Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30

Goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Jonas Hector in the first hour had the Italians down and out before Mesut Ozil then converted a 75th-minute penalty (Photo: AFP/Getty)
Goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Jonas Hector in the first hour had the Italians down and out before Mesut Ozil then converted a 75th-minute penalty (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Ireland failed to register a win last night and that was an unwelcome achievement matched by their three Group E opponents in Euro 2016 this summer.

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Italy were on the receiving end as Germany bounced back from their defeat by England with a crushing 4-1 win.

Goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Jonas Hector in the first hour had the Italians down and out before Mesut Ozil then converted a 75th-minute penalty.

Stephan El Shaarawy pulled a goal back in the 84th minute to deny Germany their biggest victory over the Azzurri.

Belgium, the world's top-ranked side, also fell to defeat last night, going down 2-1 to Portugal.

Belgium were due to have hosted the match in Brussels, but it was switched to Leiria in Portugal after the bombings at Brussels Airport and the city's metro last week.

First-half goals from Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo ultimately secured the win for the hosts with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku pulling one back for the visitors in the second period.

Sweden, buoyed by the return of captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, were held to a 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic in Stockholm.

The home side, looking to rebound after losing 2-1 to Turkey last Thursday, took the lead in the 14th minute when Marcus Berg converted a cross.

The Czechs, who lost to Scotland 1-0 at home last week, levelled in the 26th minute through Matej Vydra's header.

Elsewhere, Matt Ritchie's intuitive early goal gave Scotland a hard-fought 1-0 win over Denmark in their friendly encounter at a rain-drenched Hampden Park.

The Bournemouth wide-man nipped in front of hesitant Danish skipper Daniel Agger in the eighth minute to confidently knock the ball past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Denmark got stronger after their poor start but Gordon Strachan's men held on.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has left the club by mutual consent, with the club bottom of the Premier League, 12 points from safety, with seven games remaining. Eric Black will take over as acting manager until Garde's replacement is appointed.

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