FC Daily: Portugal desperate for a win, Messi breaks goals record in U.S. rout
Tuesday, June 21, is a veritable football feast! Four final group games at Euro 2016 are followed by Argentina and the U.S. facing off in the Copa America semifinal. FC Daily has all you need to know to follow today's action.
Matches of the day
- Hungary vs. Portugal (6 p.m. CEST/noon ET on ESPN): Losing isn't an option for Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal if they want to prolong their Euro 2016 campaign. They come up against surprise Group F package Hungary, who have guaranteed a third-placed finish and will top the group with a win and perhaps even a draw. It's been another underwhelming international tournament for Ronaldo, whose former Real Madrid teammate Rafael van der Vaart called him "boring" as a person recently.
- Iceland vs. Austria (6 p.m. CEST/noon ET on ESPN2): The smallest nation at the Euro has a great shot to make the round of 16, with a draw against Austria being enough to ensure a top-three group finish and a win guaranteeing a top-two finish and perhaps a group win depending on the outcome of Portugal-Hungary. Chris Jones explains how Ronaldo's struggles at the Euro have turned Group F into one of the tournament's most exciting and confounding.
- Italy vs. Republic of Ireland (9 p.m. CEST/3 p.m. ET on ESPN): Italy head into their final game in the unique position of not only knowing that they will win their group, but also who their opponents will be (Spain) in the next round. Gab Marcotti says that it is almost certain that Antonio Conte will rest players, which leaves the door open for Ireland. Martin O'Neill's men know that only a win will do to ensure that they stay alive in the tournament, so expect assistant manager Roy Keane to light a fire underneath the squad before kickoff.
- Sweden vs. Belgium (9 p.m. CEST/3 p.m. ET on ESPN2): Wednesday's match will be the last one that Zlatan Ibrahimovic ever plays for Sweden if they don't beat Belgium. That's the situation facing them. Swedes can take comfort in the fact that the future looks bright without their talisman, according to Nick Ames, but -- for now -- it's all eyes on Zlatan as they take on a Belgium side who need a point to claim second.
- Colombia vs. Chile (8 p.m. ET on FS1): A rematch of the 2015 Copa America final could be on offer if Chile can beat Colombia in their half of the semifinal draw. Argentina, who lost to Chile in the 2015 final in Santiago, await the winner of the Wednesday match after beating the U.S. soundly on Tuesday night. Colombia manager Jose Pekerman believes there is no favourite in the match, a notion that ESPN's Soccer Power Index agrees with, calling the match basically a coin flip.
Three key points
1. Lionel Messi and Argentina made short work of the U.S. in the their semifinal matchup at the Copa America. The Barcelona striker's inch-perfect free kick put his team up 2-0, effectively ending the match, and also made him his country's top scorer at the international level. The 4-0 win was somewhat tainted by the loss of Ezequiel Lavezzi for the rest of the Copa due to a broken arm sustained in an awkward fall over an advertising barrier in the second half.
2. Spain boss Vicente del Bosque admitted a round of 16 clash against Italy is not the fixture they wanted after a late defeat to Croatia saw the defending European champions finish second in Group D. The bracket is looking pretty lopsided now, but Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic said his team's hard work meant they deserved to finish top. Nobody could answer why Sergio Ramos was the one to step up to take that missed penalty though.
3. Germany coach Joachim Low is positive that Thomas Muller will end his goal drought in the round of 16 after he was again denied in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland. Take a bow, Michael McGovern, for your heroic display in goal at Euro 2016, writes Chris Jones. Poland also made it through but they need Robert Lewandowski to convert chances if they're to make deep run, says Iain Macintosh.
Player of the Day
Leo Messi's record-breaking night has firmly lobbed the ball back into Cristiano Ronaldo's court when it comes to the greatest player in the world debate. While Argentina's No. 10 has been racking up the goals and assists with Barcelona-like regularity at the Copa, CR7 has been drawing a blank in France. Why can't he score? Wednesday's crunch match against Hungary presents a chance for Ronaldo to silence the doubters once again. Iain Macintosh thinks Hungary better watch out.
Tweet of the day
Stat of the Day
Argentina advances to its 4th Copa América final in past 5 tournaments. A look at how convincing tonight's win was pic.twitter.com/Y7oNZkiHpZ- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 22, 2016
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