EUROS 2020 ; European Giants at wars of feet.

The European Championship (Euros 2020) started some few weeks back, and it was not without its own drama, excitements, and surprises.

There have been great goals, smashed records, health hazard issues, outstanding performances, and plenty of other talking points.

The group stage, which lasted 13 days has ended already and below is a quick glance at how each team fared in their respective group stages.

In Group A

Italy made itself a force to reckon with. A comprehensive 3-0 & 2-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland respectively followed by a lone goal win over Wales meant they ensured a 100% win record and they’ve now won their last 10 games without conceding in a single game.

Meanwhile, Wales & Switzerland who played a 1-1 draw in their opening game both finished 2nd & 3rd respectively, after they both got the upper hand over Turkey.

Turkey, on the other hand, was the chief philanthropist of the group, gifting each of their opponents the maximum 3 points and ending as the worst-performing side of Euro2020.

In Group B

It was a rough start for the Danish national team as their key player, Christian Eriksen suffered a heart attack and had it not been for the quick intervention of the medical team, it would have been a different story altogether. Controversially, the Danes had to resume their match against Finland that same evening & ended up losing 1-0.
Nevertheless, a comprehensive victory against Russia ensured they eventually finished second in the group and subsequently qualify for the next round.

Belgium tipped by many to win the group also didn’t let the pundits down. Romelu Lukaku starred for the team again scoring three goals. They won their 3 matches and also conceded just a single goal

Denmark, Finland & Russia all won a game each meaning the three were separated by goal difference. And although Finland pipped Russia to 3rd place, it wasn’t enough for them to finish as one of the best third-place teams.

Group C

The Netherlands also lived up to their expectations as one of the competition’s favourites. They join Italy and Belgium as the only teams with a 100% win ratio in the group stages. Captain Wijnaldum was fantastic again as he has already scored 3 goals for the team.

Austria finished second in the group, hence reaching the European Championships knock out stages for the first time in their history. They finished ahead of Ukraine who squeezed out of the group as the fourth-best 3rd-placed team.

Despite losing their 3 matches & finishing bottom of their group. North Macedonia would be proud of themselves for participating in their first-ever major tournament, and would especially be memorable for their now-retired captain Goran Pandev who also grabbed a goal against Austria, finishing as the country’s leading goalscorer.

Group D

Even though they might not have done it in style, England managed to top their group and the right back-filled team also kept a clean sheet throughout but merely capped out just lone goal victories over Croatia & the Czech Republic thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling.

Croatia who looked like a shadow of their world cup final side were back to their best against the Czech Republic finishing in the second position.

The Czech Republic also progressed as a third-placed side thanks to their win over Scotland. A game that featured the longest ever goal in Euros history, courtesy of Patrick Schick.

Scotland on the other hand participating in their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, finished disappointedly as the bottom-placed team in the group.

Group E

The group was expected to be something of a walk in the park for Spain but it ended up being far from that. The former European champions struggled against Sweden & Poland drawing both games and looked bereft of attacking quality. However, they were revitalized against Slovakia scoring five in the biggest win of Euro 2020 so far.

Sweden who was without Ibrahimovic proved to be the biggest overachievers in the Euros group stage. They were the only team not considered favourites to win the group to do just that, courtesy of a draw against Spain and victories over both Slovakia & Poland.

A decent performance from the goalscoring machine — Lewandowski wasn’t enough for the Poles as they endured another frustrating outing in an international tournament again.

Group F

The popular acclaimed group of death lived up to its billings. France topped the group after winning 1-0 against Germany and drawing both Hungary & Portugal. An invincible group stage performance means Paul Pogba & Ngolo Kante’s partnership in midfield has yielded a total of 30 games without losing any.

Germany avoided consecutive tournament humiliations by the skin of their teeth. After losing to France, they reminded the world how scary they can be by putting 4 past Portugal and managed to only carve out a draw against Hungary.

Hungary would consider themselves unlucky as they succumbed to Portugal in the 84th minute of their match and also drew twice from winning positions in their final two matches against France and Germany. The results meant they finished bottom of the group with just 2 points.

Portugal qualified in third place, just like they did in 2016. Unsurprisingly, Christiano Ronaldo is still their main threat. He’s torn & broken many records again as usual. His five goals in the group stages meant he now has more than anyone in the competition’s history — 14 and still counting. He now also has equalled Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to wait and see if the defending champions can repeat their 2016 heroics this time around.

This means that of the 24 of the teams who gained initial qualification into the tournament, 8 of them has been sent packing while the remaining 16 teams face off in some round of knockout matches which started over the weekend.

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