Euro 2020: Five scintillating strikes of Round 1

The European Football Championship kicked off on Friday, June 11, and with the first round of matches in the league stage of Euro 2020 done and dusted, here’s a look at the five best goals thus far.

Patrik Schick

Patrik Schick’s ‘out-of-this world’ long-range strike against Scotland was easily the best goal of the first round of matches in Euro 2020.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward opened the scoring in the Czech Republic’s 2-0 victory in the first half with a header and then despatched a precision strike from 47.9 yards in 52nd minute. It was the furthest distance from which a goal had ever been scored at a European Championship.

Having intercepted the ball in his own half, Schick spotted Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall far off his line and curled a looping shot from just inside the rival half into the goal to the astonhisment of the the Scotland defence and Glasgow crowd.

Marshall, who was scampering to get back into his goal, could only watch as the ball dipped just beneath the bar.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo became the all-time leading scorer at European Championship finals with a late double that helped holders Portugal get off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory over Hungary.

After being frustrated by the Hungarians, Raphael Guerreiro broke the deadlock for Portugal with a deflected effort in the 84th minute.

Ronald then held centrestage after having frittered away two sitters earlier in the match.

The Juventus strike made it 2-0 for the defending champions by scoring from the penalty spot in the 87th to move ahead of Michel Platini as the all-time top scorer at the finals on 10 goals.

That figure quickly turned to 11 goals after he dribbbled the ball past three laden-footed defenders, rounded goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi and bulged the net in added time.

Ciro Immobile

 

If Italy was able to kick off its campaign with a convincing 3-0 victory over Turkey in Group A, at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, it was mainly due to the predatory instincts of Ciro Immobile.

Having nodded a cross wide as the hosts stretched the Turkish defence, Immobile doubled the Azzurri’s lead, after Turkey conceded an own goal, in the 66th. The Lazio striker reacted well to slot home the loose ball after Leonardo Spinazzola’s drive was parried by goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir.

Immobile had a hand in the third goal too, when Lorenzo Insigne made it 3-0 in the 79th minute. He threaded a pass to Insigne, who placed a precise finish into the bottom corner with 11 minutes remaining as the Azzurri’s dominance was rewarded.

Rahim Sterling

Raheem Sterling finally found his tournament touch to earn England a deserved 1-0 victory over Croatia at Wembley, as they began a European Championship on a winning note for the first time in nine attempts.

A surprise starter after a flat end to the domestic season, the Manchester City striker, had looked lively right through the match, slid home a 61st-minute shot after excellent work by Kalvin Phillips to end an individual drought that had run through England’s three previous major tournaments.

Phillips made his way through the Croatia defence, riding two tackles and played the ball expertly into the path of the darting Sterling who, under pressure, just got enough on it to steer it home. He had the chance to add to his tally 13 minutes later but blazed wildly over the bar.

Romelu Lukaku

 

Romelu Lukaku confired his status as a premier striker as Belgium ran roughshod over Russia with a 3-0 victory.

The Inter Milan striker gave the visitors the lead in the 10th minute, capitalising on a lapse by defender Andrei Semyonov, who failed to clear a ball into the box from Leander Dendoncker, by intercepting it, turning and firing into the bottom corner of the net.

Lukaku then wrapped up the victory with a well-taken effort after racing on to a through ball and scoring his second goal.

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