If any team deserved to progress to the next round then it has to be Denmark after all they had gone through in the last couple of weeks. They were dubbed as one of the tough contenders but when Christian Eriksen collapsed at Copenhagen in the match against Finland, the scenario changed and they lost two consecutive matches.
After that epic encounter at the Johan Cruyff Arena against the Dutch, it was expected that Ukraine would go a long way in the EURO 2020 – their fighting spirit and the coordination between the players showed a lot of promise, but as the tournament progressed they lost their firepower and right now, they are out of the mega-event.
At Rome, Italy maintained their unbeaten run whereas in Baku Switzerland kept the hope alive for the progress to the next round. Wales breathe a sigh of relief despite the defeat at Rome because of the goal difference as they finished second in Group A.
For the second match in a row, Luis Enrique’s Spanish unit without players from Real Madrid failed to impress and dropped points again. The night at Seville was similar to the match against Sweden where nothing clicked and the missed penalty added enough frustrations, whereas Robert Lewandowski stepped up and rescued Poland.
Hungary are not the force to be reckoned with in world football these days but still that passion fighting spirit exists and they helped to rock the people present in Budapest during the clash against the World Champions and hot favourites France – the Hungarians stopped the French and shared points in the Group of Death!
The atmosphere was like Italia 90. The evening was warm but comfortable and the gentle breeze blowing carried the emotions of the fans present at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Rome embraced its favourite sons delightfully – the noise was like the joyous expression of an Azzuri fan, who has been waiting for many years to witness the Italians in such a good form and no venue other than the Stadio Olimpico at Rome would be ideal for the fans to enjoy the Azzuri show, who are showing a lot of promise in a major event since 2012.
The Germans have enough depth and variety under their belt which the French can only match. You cannot find a team in this showpiece event that can match the quality of France and Germany – the teams can set the tempo and attack like a bunch of wolves and when needed, they can change the tempo by being resilient. Yes, the other teams do such as well, but not with the kind of perfection that the Germans and French do.
Football can be very cruel and at Budapest, it was Hungary who had to swallow the cruel pill in a match where they did not deserve to lose by 3-0. They had been compact and kept the defending Euro Champions – Portugal at bay for the major part of the contest but in the last ten minutes, the complexion of the game changed and yet another match and yet another triumph for Cristiano Ronaldo.
While the Czech republic were featuring in their seventh consecutive Euro event, Scotland were playing in a major soccer event since the FIFA World Cup 1998 and the last time they played in a Euro event, was way back in 1996. Their presence was welcomed by the fans at Hampden Park, Glasgow – sadly it ended in a disappointment because of Patrik Schick’s double strike – the second goal is already part of Euro folklore.
The Day 3 of the Euro witnessed England registering their first win in the opening game of the event and Austria hold the nerves to bag a victory for the first time in a major event since Italia 90 and in Euro. England had been good and hinted of becoming better while Austria showed that they could be a threat and when the evening got darker, at Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Ukraine dished out an absolute classic.
But during this COVID-19 Pandemic, the mantra has been all about moving on – life has taken a blow, but it never stopped from facing new challenges – rather life has always fought against adversity and stood up smiling and prepared itself for the next challenge. Life must win to keep the hope alive – life must smile so that the world does not stop. At Copenhagen, perhaps, this was the motivation
Italy deliver the best opening ceremonies in the football showpiece events – we witnessed it back in the San Siro in the 1990 World Cup and after 30 years, we witnessed yet another masterpiece in Rome. It was colourful, well organized and the immortal song Nessun Dorma made millions cry – a decade after decade this song just touches everyone deeply – Italian football and Nessun Dorma seem connected so deeply. Then came Bono to inject a soothing effect and the festival commenced where Italy produced a vivid display of attacking football.
Sergio Ramos has been left out of Spain's European Championship 2020 squad by Coach Luis Enrique.