Euro 2020: A review of the Group Stage
EURO 2020: A Review
The last 2 weeks of European Football have been thrilling and exciting, to say the least. In between the battle for qualification into the next round, there have been moments on and off the pitch that has provided entertainment and talking points that have reverberated around the world of football. Think Eriksen collapsing on the pitch, thank goodness he is fine; Ronaldo and the CocaCola Bottles, Pogba following suit with Heineken, Joachim Low with his hands in his pants, a bunch of French fans heading to Bucharest instead of Budapest for Hungary vs France game, and not forgetting Ronaldo equaling the tally for the highest number of international goals scored, Messi is shaking in his boots.
If you have followed the tournament closely, you would be pleasantly surprised by Italy and Netherland’s performances, shocked by Germany’s, laughed at the display of the English team after all the hype from media and fans (it is not coming home guys), and left wondering where it went wrong for Spain who dominated the world of football for a decade, winning the World Cup and 2 European Championship titles in that time. You would have also felt sorry for Hungary, who come within minutes of pulling a shocker and qualifying from the infamous Group of Death.
Several stars have failed to impress in the tournament so far. Mbappe being chief among them. Harry Kane has had fewer touches on the ball than the pitch stewards, Ruben Dias the questionable English Premier League Player of the Year has been turned more times than a bowl of eba, Lewandowski’s goals were not enough to see Poland through, and Morata has been, well, Morata.
The defending all round has been comical. 8 players have turned the ball into their own net, before now the highest number of own goals at a European Championship tournament has been 3. And it is only the group stages. The refereeing too as has been peachy for the most part, except for questionable penalties awarded by Spanish referee Antonio Lahoz, in France vs Germany game. Let’s not forget the penalty misses. 6 in total from Hojbjerg, Bale, Alioski, Malinovski, Moreno and Morata.
During the competition, some players have moved clubs: Depay to Barcelona, Wijnaldum to PSG, Hakan Calhanoglu moved from Milan to Inter, simply swapping sides in the same stadium.
No doubt, several players will be putting up displays worthy of an audition to earn moves away from their current clubs. Or to earn more lucrative deals, show their coaches what they could do and earn a place in the team away from the bench. Impressive performances by Yarmalenko, Spinnozolla, Locatelli, and Dumfries might be enough to prise them away from their current clubs.
The Group of Death was not called the Group of Death for nothing. 20 goals in total more than any other group in the competition. The next group in terms of goals scored being Group C with 18 goals, Netherlands, producing 8 of those goals.
Ronaldo will be glad to have equaled the International goals record and will be looking to surpass it against Belgium, and there is a feeling that even though he’ll be gutted if Portugal doesn’t make it past the Round of 16, he’ll be more than happy at achieving that personal record. However, all things being equal, the gunman of the side he will be facing in the next round, and with whom he has wrested for the highest goal tally in the Serie A last season, might well surpass his record barring a short career with the National team. Romelu Lukaku has 63 goals in 93 International matches for Belgium and he is still only 28 years old.
If anything, we love the matchups in the round of 16. Maybe we would get to see some proper football when England plays Germany, would England get revenge for the 2010 disallowed goal from Frank Lampard? Portugal vs Belgium should be a firecracker, there is the danger of the 0-0 draw when Ukraine faces Sweden, but the prospect of a penalty shootout is exciting enough.
Our group of experts made predictions for the round of 16 but we would not advise you to listen to them, they have been ridiculous at Euro Fantasy League, so what do they know?
WAL v DEN: Under 3.5
ITA v AUT: Italy to win and over 1.5
NED v CZE: Over 2.5
BEL v POR: Belgium to win or draw
CRO v SPA: Spain to win or draw
FRA v SWI: France to win
ENG v GER: Over 2.5
SWE v UKR: Sweden to win
WAL v DEN: GG or over 1.5 goals | DEN to progress
ITA v AUT: ITA to win
NED v CZE: NED to score 2 goals and win the game
BEL v POR: Ronaldo to score and Portugal to qualify, under 2.5 goals
CRO v SPA: Under 2.5 goals
FRA v SWI: Mbappe to score and FRA to win
ENG v GER: Over 3.5 yellow cards, draw, and penalties
SWE v UKR: UKR to win
WAL v DEN: Wales to win, OV 1.5 goals
ITA v AST: Italy to win both halves
NED v CZE: GG 2.5 goals
BEL v POR: GG or Ov 2.5 goals
CRO v SPA: Croatia to win
FRA v SWI: France Over 1.5 goals
ENG v GER: Germany to win either half
SWE v UKR: Sweden to win Ov 1.5