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Euro 2024 Reaction: Days 1-3

Euro 2024 reaction
Photo courtesy of UEFA

Euro 2024 Reaction: Days 1-3

Euro 2024 is underway, and I will be giving my reaction every few days to the recent matches in a Euro 2024 reaction post and video.

Germany vs Scotland

Well, the hosts took care of business in a big way. The 5-1 win is the biggest win by a host nation in their first game ever. It took just 10 minutes for Florian Wirtz to open the scoring before Jamal Musiala made it 2-0 in the 19th minute. Things went from bad to worse for Scotland as Ryan Porteous was shown a red card for a terrible tackle. His foul gave Germany a penalty that Kai Havertz buried. 

The second half was very similar with Germany dominating. They moved to 4-0, and almost 5-0, but Niclas Füllkrug had a goal ruled out by VAR. Scotland did get on the scoresheet through an own goal by Antonio Rüdiger. What a header it was from Rüdiger. No goalkeeper was stopping that, especially your own. Either way, Germany looked outstanding in every aspect and could be the team to beat at home. Scotland looked terrible and will need some major luck to do anything but finish bottom of Group A. 

Hungary vs Switzerland

The second game in Group A was rather straightforward. Switzerland dominated the first half, going up 2-0 thanks to goals from Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer. The second half was a bit better for Hungary as the Swiss sat back to defend their lead. Barnabás Varga got one back for the Hungarians, but Breel Embolo put the game away with a goal in the 90+3rd minute. Switzerland showed why they are the second-best team in the group and have a chance to secure a place in the knockout round with a win against Scotland on June 19. Hungary meanwhile has a tough match vs Germany but can still advance as a third-place team.

Spain vs Croatia

Yeah, so Croatia’s age has caught up. The 2018 World Cup runners-up looked atrocious. Spain had their way with them and won 3-0. It could have very well ended 4 or 5-0. Álvaro Morata opened the scoring before Fabián Ruiz and Dani Carvajal made it 3-0 before the half. The second half was uneven until the 78th minute when Rodri gave away a penalty. Honestly, it probably shouldn’t have been a penalty since Bruno Petković looked like he tripped on the grass instead of being touched by Rodri. On the penalty, Petković had his shot saved before a cross saw him put it in the back of the net. However, Ivan Perisić stepped in the box too early, so the goal was ruled out. Spain has their biggest match next against Italy, while Croatia takes on Albania and needs three points for any chance at advancing to the knockout stage.

Italy vs Albania

What a start it was for Albania. They set the record for the fastest goal in Euro history. It took Nedim Bajrami just 23 seconds to put the ball in the back of the net. However, Italy showed their strength by scoring twice in five minutes shortly after. Alessandro Bastoni headed one home off a corner before Nicolò Barella made it 2-1 Italy minutes later. Italy controlled the rest of the match and held on to the 2-1 lead to take three points in their first game of Euro 2024. My immediate Euro 2024 reaction was that Italy looked great after the first goal. They are the defending Euro champions for a reason and showed that against Albania.

Poland vs Netherlands

Without Robert Lewandowski, Poland managed to take the lead through Adam Buksa. Unfortunately for them, Cody Gakpo leveled the match 13 minutes later. It was a really tough game for the majority of the way. The tide switched when the Netherlands brought on Wout Weghorst in the 81st minute. It took just two minutes for the super sub to make an impact when he scored to give the Netherlands a 2-1 lead. The Ricky Dicky Dutch held on from there to win 2-1. It was a pretty dominant performance from the Netherlands from then on. They held on to get the 2-1 win and get a massive three points in a tough Group D. This was a big win for the Dutch as they play France next on June 21 while Poland takes on Austria.

Slovenia vs Denmark

One of the worst stories of Euro 2020 turned into a great story in 2024. Christian Eriksen took a cross off his chest before blasting it past Jan Oblak to give Denmark a 1-0 lead. During Euro 2020, Eriksen collapsed on the field, and his career nearly came to an end. It was amazing to see him open up the scoring for Denmark. A minute before the goal, Benjamin Šeško nearly rifled home a shot that went just past the outside of the post. Despite many attempts, Denmark could not extend their lead. Unable to score, the Danes allowed a goal from Erik Janža shortly after Šeško hit a shot off the post. Janža’s goal came off a strike from outside the 18-yard box that deflected off of Denmark’s Morten Hjulmand before hitting the back of the net. It was a great strike that was worthy of a goal. That made it 1-1, and that is how the match ended. 

Serbia vs England

Now, that was very ugly for England. Jude Bellingham scored the winner 13 minutes in. His goal came off a cross from Bukayo Saka. The Real Madrid midfielder rose like a salmon in the river to head the ball home. England continued to dominate the remainder of the first half. The second half was a complete difference. Serbia had the better chances with Aleksandar Mitrović nearly leveling it up. Harry Kane had a header that he smashed off the bar that would have given England a 2-0 lead. That was about all he did. The Bayern Munich was nearly useless along with Phil Foden for England. From there, England did what they had to do to take all three points. If they play like this on Thursday against Denmark, then the Danes may pull through as victors. I do want to see Cole Palmer make an appearance in place of Foden at some point in the next few matches. My Euro 2024 reaction is that England needs to step it up if they have any chance at winning this tournament.

***

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