Italy appointed the right man and the result could be seen at Wembley last night – a venue where Mancini and Sampdoria lost against Barcelona in 1992 – as the Azzurri lifted their second Euro title by beating England on penalties. The days of doom and gloom are over and finally, Italy are back on the stage where they belong – one of the powerhouses of world football
The whole nation waited for 55 years – more than five decades to watch their team feature in the finals of a major footballing event, but what they received, in the end, was nothing but heartbreaks during the knockout rounds and whenever they featured in the semifinals, the outcome always left the nation stunned. But this time around, Gareth Southgate’s English boys have broken the jinx of 55 years. They would meet Italy in the finals.
As they say, when the final is knocking at the door, the Italians don’t usually miss it but always hold their nerves and find a way to feature in the final. In the knockout rounds of the mega-events, the Azzurri are a different kettle of fish – new crowd favourites may emerge but in the end, the torchbearers of the great predecessors always show their true colours when it matters the most.
Judging by the recent form the clash against the Czech Republic was Denmark’s game to lose. Baku is one of the most impressive stadiums used in this showpiece event and the passionate Danish fans present at the stadium enjoyed the match till the end as dazzling Denmark advanced to the semifinals of Euro 2020 since 1992.
Belgium are the number 1 team in the world according to the FIFA Ranking and one cannot doubt their abilities. In each and every position they possess great players. This Belgium unit is considered as the Golden Generation after that era of Enzo Scifo and was expected to win the title, but as usual, they ended up being the underachievers. It was Italy who stormed through to the semifinals in style.
His contributions to Germany have been immense and at the age of 31 years, e was expected to deliver more and contribute to the development of next-generation of German players. But Toni Kroos decided to retire from international football.
Since he took charge in 2008, Low has consistently looked to the future, both tactically and in terms of the personnel he called up. Thanks to his forward-thinking – Germany enjoyed a great decade of success, even though there had been heartbreaks, but when one just looks at the number of successes Germany achieved under Low, those become irrelevant.
Sweden does not boast a very impressive record against Ukraine. Apart from the international friendly played in 2011, Sweden have not been able to beat them. The last time they met in Euros was way back in 2012 at Kyiv, where Andriy Shevchenko led Ukraine to a great victory. This time around, Sheva is the coach of this team and again, he would lead his boys to register a thrilling win.
Since that heartbreak at Turin in 1990, the Germans always had the edge over their fiercest enemy England in the showpiece events. Even if the matches came close, the Germans always smiled – agony had been the best friend for England whenever they faced Germany; but every domination and agony has an end and at Wembley today, finally, England beat Germany in a major event.
Your talents determine what you intend to do whereas motivation determines you, but it is the attitude that determines how well you do it. Pressure is something when you don’t know what to do, but you don’t feel it all when you soak it up and go for the kill till the last breath – Switzerland never gave up!
What a match it was! It was frenetic and justice would have been done if both the teams qualified but that could not happen. Spain advance to the quarterfinals, but Croatia deserve the accolades for providing a match that had every element of a thrilling story that would inspire every football fans for eternity.
Belgium are the favourites to win this year’s Euro, but tonight at Seville in the Round of 16 clash against Portugal they were below-par and clearly, Portugal were unlucky. Portugal dominated the game and had been denied several times – so close, yet so far. Portugal, the defending champions, are out of the tournament and perhaps, this might be the last time we witnessed the great Cristiano Ronaldo in this event.
Budapest was a sea of orange – the Dutch fans travelled to Hungary with a festive mood thinking that Holland would progress and fulfil the expectations, but they, perhaps, undermined the patience and fighting qualities of the Czech Republic, who stunned Holland and their passionate fans in a high voltage contest.
The scenario was similar at Wembley where the Azzurri were pushed to the limits by Austria yet again in the Round of 16 encounters of the Euro 2020. Federico Chiesa walked out onto the Wembley pitch with six minutes of normal time remaining and this tight, fretful encounter still goalless – like Totto, he broke the deadlock and this time, it was during the extra-time.
The defeat against Finland was understandable. After the tragic incident of Christian Eriksen, it was never possible for Denmark to focus, still, they came out to play and showed that despite the tragedy they are strong and passionate enough to carry on the show. Belgium defeated them, still, there was hope as a victory against Russia would help them to progress and they did earn full points – right now, they dashed the dreams of Wales and advanced to the next round.
Whether it is the greatest volley in the history of football in a final or the volley of Zinedine Zidane in 2002 is the greatest – the debate would go on, but it seems, Van Basten might just beat Zidane.
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