Euro 2016 friendlies round-up: Poland lose to youthful Holland; Czech Republic rally to beat Russia
A strong Poland side lost 2-1 to the Netherlands in a Euro 2016 warm-up friendly on Wednesday as Vincent Janssen and Georginio Wijnaldum secured victory for a young Dutch team.
Group C team Poland missed a chance to take an early lead when forward Arkadiusz Milik hit the crossbar following a pass by striker Robert Lewandowski.
Cheered on by a capacity crowd of 41,000 in Gdansk, the Polish defence failed to stop Steven Berghuis’s pass finding the head of the Dutch league’s leading scorer Janssen who opened the scoring in the 33rd minute.
The Netherlands, who failed to qualify for Euro 2016, dominated the first half with Jetro Willems and Quincy Promes causing problems for the hosts.
Poland started the second half more brightly, despite a lacklustre performance by Bundesliga leading scorer Lewandowski, but they needed a set piece to level the scores, with left-back Artur Jedrzejczyk heading in Milik’s corner in the 60th minute.
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With Dutch fans waving a conciliatory banner reading “Good luck in France, we stay at home”, Wijnaldum chipped the ball into the net from a Luciano Narsingh pass in the 76th minute.
“We played against a very good team. We expected a specific way of playing from our rivals with many passes, a physical game and that’s what we got,” Poland coach Adam Nawalka said.
“We know what phase we are in. I didn’t want to take too many risks to avoid any injuries.”
Poland are in Group C along with traditional rivals Germany, Ukraine and Northern Ireland.
Knocked out in the pool stage when they co-hosted the tournament four years ago with Ukraine, Poland play Lithuania in their last warm-up friendly on Monday before their opening group game against Northern Ireland on June 12.
Iceland looked nothing like the side that powered their way to the finals of a major tournament for the first time as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat by Norway in their final friendly ahead of Euro 2016.
With Iceland coach Lars Lagerback fielding a makeshift defence, Norway stunned the visitors with a goal in the first minute when Stefan Johansen rifled home the rebound after Vegard Forren’s header was parried.
Always a threat from set pieces, Iceland equalised 10 minutes before half-time when Sverrir Ingi Ingason headed home a well-worked short corner, but five minutes later they were behind again after Pal Andre Helland fired home a superb free kick.
The introduction of veteran striker Eidur Gudjohnsen as a half-time substitute did little to improve Iceland’s fortunes and they conceded again in the 67th minute when Alexander Soerloth lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Lagerback has plenty to do before Iceland kick off their Euro 2016 Group F campaign against Portugal on June 14 before meeting Hungary and Austria.
CZECHS RALLY TO BEAT RUSSIA
The Czech Republic came from behind through goals by Tomas Rosicky and Tomas Necid to beat Russia 2-1 in a lively friendly between two teams fine-tuning their preparations for Euro 2016.
An early goal from Alexander Kokorin put Russia ahead but captain Rosicky and substitute Necid struck back for the Czechs in the second half of the game played in Innsbruck, Austria.
Kokorin gave Russia the lead after six minutes with a long-distance strike which deceived Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The Czechs equalised soon after half-time when Necid laid the ball into the path of Rosicky and the 35-year-old midfielder produced a fine finish to beat Russia’s substitute keeper Guilherme.
Ukrainian-born Roman Neustadter was brought on to make his debut for the hosts after receiving his Russian passport on Monday, partnering Sergei Ignashevich in the centre of defence.
But he was at fault for the Czech winner in the final minute.
Necid nipped in front of the Schalke player and deflected the ball past Guilherme from close range to give his team a deserved victory.
Russia play their final Euro 2016 warm-up match against Serbia on June 5 in Monaco.
Their first game in Group B is against England on June 11 in Marseille. The Czechs start their Group D campaign against holders Spain on June 13.
Spain 6 (Silva 30, Fabregas 32, Nolito 38, 54, Morata 50, 88)
South Korea 1 (Ju 83)
Czech Republic 2 (Rosicky 49, Necid 90)
Russia 1 (Kokorin 6)
Estonia 2 (Kruglov 24, Liivak 90)
Latvia 2 (Zjuzins 50, Rudnevs 70)
Lithuania 1 (Cernych 83)
Norway 3 (Johansen 1, Helland 41, Sorloth 67)
Iceland 2 (Ingason 36, Sigurdsson 81-pen)
Poland 1 (Jedrzejczyk 60)
Netherlands 2 (Janssen 33, Wijnaldum 76)
Belgium 1 (Lukaku 89)
Finland 1 (Hamalainen 53)
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Updated: June 2, 2016 04:00 AM