It's hard to talk about Poland's opening game, mainly because it's physically straining to type their players' names. Kudos to Wojciech Szczęsny, who trended on Twitter despite having a name that no-one can spell. I Googled that and I'm still not sure if it's correct. Poland were excellent in the first half, Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski looking particularly lively, but really faded in the second. Georgios Samaras reminded us he really is a rubbish footballer and epitomised Greece's lack of creativity. Only when super-sub and scorer Dimitris Salpingidis arrived did they look at all potent.
Denmark pulled off the shock of the round by beating the Dutch, partly thanks to some brilliant defensive work from Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger. The Netherlands' finishing was pretty woeful. Even Robin van Persie, who scored over six million goals for Arsenal last season, couldn't find the back of the net.
ITV described the Spain vs. Italy game as "the first heavyweight clash of the tournament"; seemingly forgetting that less than 24 hours earlier Germany had faced Portugal. Raul Meireles continued to flummox all football fans. Does anyone know what he actually does? Nice to see he finally had his haircut finished though. It was a shame not to see Mario Gotze but the other German Mario (Gomez) was on hand to spank a great header in for the winner.
Andrés Iniesta continued to defy the laws of physics by beating defenders through gaps that didn't seem to exist. The child in charge of Mario Balotelli obviously decided to put down their PlayStation controller when he was through on goal. The enigmatic striker elected to stop moving rather than go on and, you know, score. Daniele De Rossi had an excellent game at the heart of a hard-working Italian performance against Spain. The man even has a 'tackle warning' tattoo on his calf. Ireland beware, this man's calf will tackle you.
Shay Given's brilliant finish into his own net summed up his luck for the evening as the Irish were defeated by Croatia. They were the architects of their own demise as they gave their opponents far too much space at the back. Luka Modric was excellent in the middle for the Croats. The Irish fans were excellent as always, none better than these chaps, taking peacekeeping into their own hands.
England surprised nobody by scoring first and then conceding in their opening game against France. Joleon Lescott grabbed the opener after burying a fantastic Steven Gerrard cross. Samir Nasri disproved the theory that Joe Hart is an indestructible wall of defiance by beating him at his near post. A draw seemed a fair result as both sides tired after an hour in the Donetsk heat.
Andriy Shevchenko showed he still has the magic after bagging a brace against Sweden in Kiev, sending his country into raptures. Two excellent headers were enough after the increasingly weird-looking Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring. Olof Mellberg proved he can still maintain an envy inducing beard. That thing is perfect.
Goal of the round has to go to Roman Pavlyuchenko, whose mazy run and belting finish capped a brilliant performance by Russia against Czech Republic.
It's been an enjoyable, if not overwhelmingly fantastic start to the tournament, the only downside being ITV's often laughable coverage and Mexican waves in every game. Mexico isn't even in Europe.
Round 2 Predictions
Here's what I think will happen in the next round of games, feel free to enjoy how wrong I am.
Greece 1-1 Czech Republic
Poland 1-3 Russia
Denmark 1-2 Portugal
Netherlands 0-1 Germany
Italy 3-1 Croatia
Spain 2-0 Republic of Ireland
Sweden 0-2 England
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