EURO 2020

EURO 2020: Half-time: Croatia 0-1 Czech Republic

Peep! A fairly dire 45 minutes of football ends with the Czech Republic leading by the only goal of the game, a controversial penalty scored by Patrick Schick following a VAR consultation and peek at the pitchside monitor from our Spanish referee.

Mateo Kovacic fouls Schick on the edge of his own penalty area. Free-kick for the Czech Republic a little to the left of goal. Schick blasts the ball over the bar.

Dion Dublin is on co-comms for the BBC and is adamant that Dejan Lovren was very hard done by in conceding a penalty for playing fast and loose with his elbow, whether he meant to or not.

As much a gentleman as he is and as good a player as he was, I’m not sure Dion is ideally placed to pass definitive judgement on this one. There are professional fiddle players out there who haven’t swung their elbows as often and with as much gusto as both him and Dejan Lovren.

That looked a harsh decision against Croatia. Schick and Lovren were contesting a high ball in the Croatian penalty area. Lovren had eyes only for the ball but caught Schick in the face with his elbow. It was a complete accident but upon being referred to his pitchside monitor by his Video Assistant Referee, the referee decided to award a penalty.

Patrik Schick loses the ball on the edge of the Croatia penalty area. A game that started promisingly has gone quickly downhill and could really do with a spark of quality to re-ignite proceedings.

One suspects the lack of jeopardy that comes with various third-placed teams in each group going through is going to lead to no end of tedious matches in this second round of group games. With a win under their belts already, the Czech Republic have no incentive to attack. With a defeat to their name, Croatia are happy to bide their time.

The second half waiting.

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