Continental Tyres UEFA EURO 2016™ Group Stage Review

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UEFA EURO 2016™ Group Stage Review

  • Gap between top teams and the rest has reduced dramatically
  • Last gasp shock results leave UEFA seeding out of expected order
  • Unbalanced knockout round gives smaller nations a chance

With the final whistle now blown in the last of the UEFA EURO 2016™ group stage matches, Continental review the action so far and look forward to the ‘Last 16’ knockout round.

With all the qualifiers now known, the next knockout games they’ll play have been decided. Many countries will play their game in a city they’ve already visited, but for others they’ll be arriving at their next venue for the very first time. Either way, all sixteen remaining countries will be travelling in a team coach supplied with Continental’s specially developed Conti Goal HA3 bus tyres, ensuring that everything and everyone gets everywhere safely.

As an Official Sponsor of UEFA EURO 2016™, Continental are at the heart of European football’s biggest event. Our original equipment has exclusively featured on all official UEFA transportation throughout the tournament. 

Group A

As expected, tournament hosts France finished top of their group, with second seeded Switzerland finishing as runner-up. While the host nation haven’t exactly played at their best, they have displayed a never-say-die attitude that's rewarded them with late, match-winning goals. Switzerland provided neat, organised displays that suggest they will be no pushover in the knockout stage.

The surprise package of the group was Albania, competing at their first major tournament and finishing third. The three points they earned against fourth placed Romania were admirable, but unfortunately not enough to see them qualify for the knockout stages.

As Group A winners, France will now face Group E third placed team the Republic of Ireland in the city of Lyon on Sunday 26 June. Kick-off is scheduled for 14:00 BST.

Group A runner-up, Switzerland, will now travel to Saint-Étienne where they will face Group C runner-up, Poland. The game takes place on Saturday 25 June and begins at 14:00 BST.

Group B

The group England were expected to romp provided one of the surprises of the round, with Gareth Bale-inspired Wales finishing top with a whopping six points. Wales were the joint highest goal scorers of the group stage (along with Hungary) netting six, including three from Bale. England, following draws against both Russia and Slovakia, had to settle for second place. Despite this set-back, the general consensus has been that the team have played well so far, with the promise of even better performances to come.

Slovakia, who finished their group games with four points, delighted their travelling supporters by defending resolutely against England and qualifying as one of the best third place teams. Russia, with just one point earned, head home after finishing bottom of the group.

As Group B winners, Wales will now face Group C third place team and local international rivals Northern Ireland in Paris on Saturday 25 June. Kick-off is scheduled for 17:00 BST.

Group B runner-up, England, must now travel to Nice where they will face surprise Group F runner-up, Iceland. The game is on Monday 27 June and begins at 20:00 BST.

Slovakia, as one of the best third place teams, travel to Lille where they will face Group C winners, Germany. The game is on Sunday 26 June and kicks off at 17:00 BST. 

Group C

Football powerhouse Germany met expectations and won their group, but only just as second place Poland matched them with seven points. A better goal difference saw them edge their European neighbour, despite not playing as well as football fans have come to expect. With a long tradition of winning major tournaments, Germany are likely to get better as the knockout stage progresses. The Poles, who along with Germany are yet to concede a goal, have proved to be very difficult to break down, and are a dark horse contender to win the tournament.

The surprise of the group was Northern Ireland qualifying in third place. Having secured three points, the Ulstermen, competing in their first ever European Championships, qualified for the knockout stage thanks to a better goal difference against other third place teams. Ukraine return home knowing they are the only country at UEFA EURO 2016™ not to earn a single point.

As Group C winners, Germany will now face Group B third place team Slovakia in the city of Lille on Sunday 26 June. Kick-off is scheduled for 17:00 BST.

Group B runner-up, Poland, now travel to Saint-Étienne where they’ll meet Group B runner-up, Switzerland. The game is on Saturday 25 June and kicks off at 14:00 BST.

As one of the best third place teams, Northern Ireland now travel to Paris for the tournament’s second British derby, where they will face surprise Group B winners, Wales. The game is on Saturday 25 June and kicks off at 17:00 BST.

Group D

Arguably the shock of the UEFA EURO 2016™ group stage was the defeat of Spain by a weakened Croatia team, resulting in the Balkan’s topping their group and consigning the defending European champions to a tougher knockout tie against a group winner. The Croats, who boast some of the most technically gifted players in football, surprised their Iberian counterparts with a composed display that left the Spanish reeling in defeat.

Going into their final game with no points, an impressive young Turkey side defeated the Czech Republic, gaining the three points they required to finish in third place. As a result the Czech’s were consigned to last place in the group, finishing with just a single point. Unfortunately this result wasn’t enough to qualify for the knockout stages, and Turkey will be returning home.

As unexpected Group D winners, Croatia now face surprise Group F third placed team Portugal in the city of Lens on Saturday 25 June. Kick-off starts at 20:00 BST.

Surprise Group D runner-up Spain must now travel to Paris where they will have to face Group A winner Italy. The highly anticipated game takes place on Monday 27 June and kicks off at 17:00 BST. 

Group E

The final day of group matches saw the tournament trend for late, significant goals continue. Having already qualified as group winners, Italy began their game with the Republic of Ireland having made eight changes to their team. While the Republic dominated the match, they struggled to make a breakthrough or take their chances – that is until the 85th minute when a match winning goal secured their spot as a best third place team in the knockout round.

The same is true of Belgium, whose 84th minute winner was enough to secure second spot in the group, and consign Sweden to last place. This match proved to be the last for one of the game’s icons, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who now retires from international football.

As Group E winners, Italy will now face surprise Group D runner-up Spain in Paris on Monday 27 June. This battle of the giants takes place at 17:00 BST

Group E runner-up Belgium Will now travel to Toulouse where they will face surprise Group F winners, Hungary. The game is on Sunday 26 June and kicks off at 20:00 BST.

Qualifying as a best third place team, the Republic of Ireland now travel to Lyon where they’ll face host nation and tournament favourites, France. This match is on Sunday 26 June and begins at 14:00 BST.

Group F

As with Group E, the two concluding games of Group F were played on the final day of group matches, producing just as dramatic an outcome. Billed as the group decider, Hungary vs Portugal lived up to expectations, producing six goals - the highest scoring game of the tournament so far – and now acknowledged as the best game of UEFA EURO 2016™ so far. The 3-3 final score ensured that Hungary (joint highest goalscorers with Wales) surprisingly won the group ahead of their Iberian opponents, who at the time of the final whistle appeared to have finished as group runner-up – or so everyone thought.

Keeping with the tradition of the tournament so far, a significant, dramatic late goal for newcomers Iceland against an unlucky Austria meant that they – not Portugal – finished the group in second place. The jubilant Icelanders remain undefeated in their very first major tournament and will hold no fear against their next opponents in the knockout phase – England.

As unexpected winners of Group F, Hungary will now play Group E runner-up Belgium. The match will be played in Toulouse and kick-off is scheduled for 20:00 BST on Sunday 26 June.

Shock Group F runner-up Iceland now travel to Nice where they will face Group B runner-up, England. The game will be the final one played in the Last 16 round and takes place on Monday 27 June. Kick-off is at 20:00 BST.

Surprise third place team Portugal now face unexpected Group D winners Croatia in Lens on Saturday 25 June. The match starts at 20:00 BST. 

About the Conti Goal HA3 premium bus tyre

As an official sponsor of UEFA EURO 2016™, Continental has provided original equipment for all official tournament vehicles, including the team coaches and VIP transfer buses that the competing 24 countries have used to travel between the ten host cities in France.

Equipped with our Conti Goal HA3 bus tyre – exclusively developed for UEFA EURO 2016™ - every country’s team coach is assured of getting to the game safely.

The Conti Goal HA3 comprises a high-tech rubber compound that ensures a very high degree of safety, and also offers low rolling resistance and a modern tread design which provides a very comfortable ride. Based on our popular, tried and trusted Conti CityPlus HA3 tyre, our exclusive UEFA EURO 2016™ original equipment was developed by the Continental engineers in Hanover, Germany, especially for this occasion.

The tyre’s exclusive tread features well-defined longitudinal grooves, which provide optimum handling and wet weather performance. This, combined with deep 3D sipes, results in extra grip and consistently reliable braking characteristics throughout the tyre's service life. These characteristics, coupled with the closed side flanks, ensure exceptionally pleasant low-noise rolling properties. Stronger side wall construction also reduces the flexing energy of the tyre, resulting in significantly lower fuel consumption.

Available in size 295/80 R 22.5, the Conti Goal HA3 can be fitted to any bus or coach axle.

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