Winners and Losers: Euro 2020 Group Stage
The 2020 Euro group stage has completed and with the knockout stage just a few days away, some winners and losers from the group stage matches have been established.
I highlight everything you need to know about Denmark here, so give that a read if you want a more in-depth explanation of my thoughts surrounding the Danes. In short, they saw their teammate Christian Eriksen go into cardiac arrest on the pitch and lost their first two group matches, putting them on the brink of elimination, before scoring four goals against Russia to guarantee qualification into the Round of 16.
Loser: Alvaro Morata
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Enjoy this compilation of Morata’s misses thus far. If you want the full effect, play the pre-chorus/third stanza of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” as you watch.
Italy ran through Group A in their fine powder blue suits. The team netted seven goals and conceded none, and they looked like the most complete team amongst the top dogs of a tournament in which they were seen as a dark horse rather than a favorite. It is safe to say that the Italian players have all raised their transfer values, and a possible semifinal matchup between France and Italy would be amazing.
Loser: Unoriginal Picks for Italy as the Dark Horse or Surprise Team
You can go back and look at our Vendetta Euro 2020 roundtable and you will see that Italy was frequently highlighted as a dark horse. It happened at a lot of other media companies as well, including ESPN, so rather than discounting my fellow writers’ correct predictions about Italy, this consistency illustrates that everybody and their mother was picking the Italians to go far in the tournament. In the end, I am simply kicking myself for not going with my gut originally.
Winner: Paul Pogba
If only Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjær could use him correctly. Anytime Pogba puts on a France jersey, the world gets to see his true quality. Similar to my Morata section, we’ll let the videos speak for themselves.
Winner: Last Day Group Chaos
Well, today was crazy. Goals on goals on goals. Sweden scored twice to put Poland away, but Robert Lewandowski came back and put two in the net to equalize and keep his country’s hopes alive before Sweden scored again and eliminated the Poles. In the meantime, Spain put five goals past Slovakia.
Group F was in absolute chaos for close to 100 minutes. In a game that twice saw Germany on the cusp of group stage elimination, Joachim Löw’s side equalized both times to send them through to the Round of 16.
Then we have the France and Portugal game. Cristiano Ronaldo was given a penalty in the 30th minute and converted. The French were then blessed with a penalty and Karim Benzema brought France level just before the halftime whistle. A fabulous through ball from Pogba saw Benzema put France up a goal, with Portugal being eliminated if all results held at that moment, but Ronaldo, Euros’ all-time leading scorer, netted another penalty to equalize. Both ‘Group of Death’ games ended 2-2 and we saw France, Germany, and Portugal advance to the Round of 16.
This hurts to write but it needs to be said – I reached a bit on some of these picks.
1) France Will Disappoint [in the group stage]
I did clarify in my original point that I thought France would disappoint in the group stage, and I think I was not too far off. The French were underwhelming at points in their performances, especially in their game against Germany and their depressing draw against Hungary. That being said, they won their group and Pogba was brilliant, so my prediction does not hold.
2) Sleeper Team: Turkey
This looks really bad and my affinity for good center-back pairings clearly came back to haunt me on this one. Turkey could not get anything going forward and their defense was pretty abysmal too. The Turkish squad scored once and conceded eight goals, ’nuff said.
3) My Predictions About England: Best Player, Best Young Player and Top Goal Scorer
I did think that Kane was going to get more touches on the ball and not have to drift to the wings to get touches as Raheem Sterling gradually came inside, but alas, here we are. I am hoping Kane scores at least once so my prediction is not totally inaccurate, but he remains without a goal to this point.
I made a joke about Sterling and I want to apologize. He still runs like a tiny T-Rex, but he has been England’s only goal scorer. Please, Harry, help me out here. I also need some help from Phil Foden. I forecasted three goals and two assists for him, but besides a great cut inside against Croatia, he has not shown enough.
They get Germany in the Round of 16 but if they win that game, I think it is unlikely that they fail to reach the final, as they should not face any additional major obstacles. Quite frankly, it is Wembley or bust for England.
There were a lot of other Euro winners and losers that I did not list and we can expect the list to grow when the knockout stages begin on Saturday. In the meantime, however, I plan to approach my predictions a bit more cautiously.
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