The Euro 2020 group stages are finally over, and what an emotional ride it has been! Firstly, Christian Eriksen is fine. After he fell down in Denmark’s game against Finland, I feared the worst, but the incredible health workers resuscitated him and evacuated him to hospital in Copenhagen. He has been discharged, and will hopefully enjoy a full recovery. Football pales in significance to life, and I am glad Eriksen made it through a near death experience that was transmitted live to millions of viewers around the world.
The group stages of Euro 2020, which I have been enjoying on DStv’s dedicated Euro Channel 224, have been mostly gripping games, tight contests with competitive games and few blowouts. Check out all the matches’ results on this amazing interactive chart.
The most impressive sides have been France, who have emerged from the “group of death” with Germany, France and Hungary unbeaten, with Karim Benzema showing why many consider him the best striker in the world with two goals against Portugal.
Italy, who won their three group games against wales, Switzerland and Turkey without conceding a single goal.
Hungary, who managed to draw with France and Germany in the group of death, and Sweden, who won a tricky group unbeaten against Spain, Poland and Slovakia have also impressed me.
Denmark qualifying for the last 16 despite the traumatic events that happened is the story of the tournament so far.
The last 16 begins on Saturday, and these are the games schedule to be played over the weekend and early next week:
|Game (East African Time)||Venue|
|Wales v Denmark (7:00 pm, Saturday 26 June)||Amsterdam arena, Netherlands|
|Italy vs. Austria (10:00 pm, Saturday 26 June)||Wembley stadium, England|
|Netherlands vs. Czech republic (7:00 pm, Sunday 27 June)||Budapest stadium, Hungary|
|Belgium vs. Portugal (10:00 pm, Sunday 27 June)||Seville, Spain|
|Croatia vs. Spain (7:00 pm, Monday, 28 June)||Copenhagen, Denmark|
|France vs. Switzerland (10:00 pm, Monday, 28 June)||Bucharest Stadium, Romania|
|England vs. Germany (7:00 pm, Tuesday 29 June)||Wembley Stadium, England|
|Sweden vs. Ukraine (10:00 pm, Tuesday 29 June)||Glasgow, Scotland|
The two standout games in the last 16 are Belgium vs. Portugal and England vs. Germany.
In the first game, Belgium, who are the world’s number one ranked side, take on Portugal, a team with some of the greatest of all time players, and are the defending European champions.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, Bernado Silva and Renato Sanchez have been magnificent, while Bruno Fernandes can only get better. In terms of individual and team quality, this is the best match in the last 16.
The second blockbuster game is England vs. Germany, and in terms of potential to trend worldwide, throw up memes and banter, no game will attract as much opprobrium, internet meltdowns and attention as this one.
England has been quietly very efficient, yet to concede a goal in the tournament and advancing to the last 16 as group winners. However, they have only scored two goals so far, both by Raheem Sterling. They fade away in the second half of games; their fans are easily disgruntled and the team is vastly inexperienced.
Germany squeaked to the last 16 with only one win, although it was an impressive one against Portugal.
The Germans are very experienced with players such as Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich having won everything there is to win in professional football.
Yet, they struggled against Hungary, and look beatable, especially with a leaking defense. England winning this game will be a massive statement of intent and achievement, and I think they might do it.
The next tournament takes a two-day break on Thursday and Friday for teams to travel to their respective venues, and then kicks off from Saturday to Tuesday.
Find me here on euro fantasy game, on the maudhui league, as we see who can predict the upcoming games with the highest accuracy. So far, I am leading the league, barely, four points ahead of FC Machiavelli. I hope to maintain this lead going forward!