Fans and pundits have finally adapted to saying Euro 2020 after a few weeks. The unavoidable delay before the competition has proven to be a minor setback. The name, thrill and utopian football remain untouched. Euro 2020 has a sprinkling of everything, from health emergencies to late goals, upsets and entertaining displays. The tournament’s first week saw the relevance of medical personnel and equipment in stadiums, while the other weeks have been more on-field drama.
Every competition has projected favorites on paper, but we always witness the rise of one or two underdogs. An essential aspect of international men’s football is the passion with which players defend their nation’s pride. Passion and determination are magical when put to use on the field of play, causing an unmotivated or lackluster team to crumble despite the quality of its players.
In this piece, we bring to the fore the drama and unforetold action of Euro 2020 so far. Our team has taken time to bring you some of the memorable happenings at the tournament so far.
Although Christian Eriksen is well and out of the hospital now, Match day 1 of Euro 2020 was tough for the footballing world. The Danish midfielder had collapsed while jogging in the early minutes of their group stage game against Finland. Unfortunately, Eriksen was alone and, per reports, suffered a heart attack during play.
The match had to be paused for several minutes as medics battled to revive him. The scene brought back memories of Fabrice Muamba, who was ‘dead’ for 78 minutes after a heart attack in an FA Cup match. Luckily, Eriksen was revived on the pitch, stabilized and now discharged from the hospital. The Danes have also been strong and are now into the quarterfinal.
Due to the pedigree of the teams, this group stage match was always going to be a spectacle. Both sides have some history in the tournament, with France winning twice and Germany thrice - making them the joint-most successful team at the Euros. The cagey affair was the opener for the group of death, which also featured Portugal and Hungary. The game ended 1-0 in favor of the French. However, both sides qualified for the round of 16, though the French got knocked out by Switzerland, breaking the hearts of punters at Boku bookies.
This match was the second of the four biggest games of Group F. Nicknamed the group of death, featuring three past winners, including the defending champions, Portugal. This game saw the most successful team in European Championship history face off against the current holders of the competition. The match ended 4-2, a score line that reflects the immense attacking power on display.
The Germans were helped by two own goals but deserved credits for their attacking pressure. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 107th international goal, but his team was overrun in midfield and unable to hold the forte. As a result, they both qualified for the next round, where Portugal lost out to Belgium and England defeated Germany.
Portugal and France went head to head on the final match day of Group F to determine who qualified for the next round. Portugal defeated France in 2016 to lift the title in Paris. However, there was nothing to separate them this time. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, with France progressing as group winners. Portugal also secured a place in the Round of 16 as the best third-placed team, just like they did in title-winning Euro 2016.
Portuguese captain Ronaldo scored two penalties on the night, equaling Ali Daei’s record. Karim Benzema finally silenced his critics with a brace to earn France a point. Unfortunately, both teams are out of the tournament, losing out to Switzerland and Belgium. This leaves only three former winners in the competition, with the world champions and the last Euro winners out of the contest.
Being the first and only team to win back to back titles and the most successful side in the country elevates the Spanish team onto the list of favourites. However, they poorly began their Euro 2020 campaign. Spain drew their first two matches before thumping Slovakia 5-0 en route to the round of 16. In Croatia, they faced a talented crop of players who only won one game in the group stage.
The match hit the running from the first half, with the Spanish goalkeeper adding to the sizeable list of own goals. Spain pulled one back before halftime and went 3-1 up. While it looked like they were coasting to victory, Croatia pulled level in the dying moments of the game. This forced the match into extra time, with the Spanish winning 5-3 after 120 minutes of football. The eight-goal thriller is the second-highest scoring game in the history of the Euros, behind France (4-5) loss to Yougoslavia in 1960.
Though Switzerland showed class to qualify in their 3-1 win over Turkey, they were far from their best going into Monday’s clash against France. The Swiss had one win in three games, losing 3-0 to Italy and playing a draw against Wales. Thus, France’s status as the reigning world champion and finalist at Euro 2016 made them favourites.
The French also had one win in three, which was quite understandable in the group of death. Switzerland took the lead early on but failed to capitalize on it as Lloris saved a second-half penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez. Karim Benzema once again stepped up for France with a ten-minute brace. A superb goal by Pogba helped cushion the lead at 3-1. However, Switzerland wasn’t done, scoring a late winner to take the game to extra time. The game finished level after extra time and required penalties. Disappointedly, the world champions tasted their first defeat of the tournament as Mbappe missed his spot-kick.
Goals have rained plenty in the round of 16, and punters should take advantage of our Boku bookies reviews. These moments rank as some of the most memorable at Euro 2020 so far. We’d like to hear what Euro 2020 moments top your list in the comment section. More recaps and exposes on football competitions can be found on this page.