The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: England, Holland and Montenegro vs Russia

In this week’s football review section we look back at the recent 2016 European Championship qualifiers and congratulate England, wonder about the Dutch’s chances of qualification and are surprised at the events of Montenegro vs Russia. To help with understanding you can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.
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This week’s football review (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly): England, Holland and Montenegro vs Russia

Good

Congratulations should go to European minnow Gibraltar for their first ever competitive international goal – though they did concede six to Scotland. Well done also to Iceland, Wales, Portugal, Northern Ireland, Belgium and Croatia for important victories against direct rivals that saw them move into contention for the top spots in their respective groups. However, the plaudits this week go to England who crushed Lithuania 4-0 at home to maintain their 100% record during the qualification process. The ‘Three Lions’ are one of only two sides (Slovakia is the other) to have won all of their qualifying matches which has gone some way to soften the disappointment of their World Cup 2014 performances in Brazil.

Bad

It was not a good weekend for Serbia as they fell to a 1-2 defeat away in Portugal and they now find themselves 6 points behind Denmark and Albania who are in joint second place in Group I. Not too good either for Norway who were thrashed 1-5 by Croatia in Group H or for Greece whose 0-0 draw with Hungary ensured they remained bottom of Group F, ten points adrift of Northern Ireland in second place. However, it was a bad weekend for the Netherlands who were held to a draw by visiting Turkey in Group A which leaves Guus Hiddink’s side a lot to do to make it to the finals in France. They needed a last-gasp equaliser to stay two points clear of Turkey but are still five behind surprise package Iceland.

Ugly

The Group G game between Montenegro and Russia was abandoned after 67 minutes when first the Russian keeper, Igor Akinfeev, was hit by a flare in the opening minute of the game and then when a brawl broke out midway through the second half between players and staff of both teams the referee halted the game again. UEFA have yet to decide on the punishment but they could award the victory to Russia which would almost certainly affect Montenegro’s chances of making it to the finals in the summer of 2016.

Vocabulary

minnow: Team with little or no chance of winning; low-ranked side

concede six: They let 6 goals in (lost 1-6)

into contention: To have a strong chance

the plaudits: The congratulations

‘Three Lions’: Nickname for the England football team

they fell to a 1-2 defeat: They lost 1-2

in joint second place: Two teams are together in second place

were thrashed: Heavily defeated

ten points adrift of: Ten points behind

a flare: Similar to a firework

a brawl broke out: A fight started

making it: Progressing

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The Good, The Bad, The UglyEpisode 259