The EURO 2020 Group stage came to an end on Wednesday night after thirteen straight days of non stop action. It has lived up to its expectation as the pinnacle of European football with a few surprises, own goals, wonderful saves, stunning individual and team performances, missed penalties and beautiful moments. Here is a quick review on the group stage action and what to expect as we progress into the knockout stage.
GROUP A :
Group A consisted of Italy, Wales , Switzerland and Turkey. Italy were on top of their game earning maximum points while keeping clean sheets all through, scoring a total of seven ( 7 ) goals in the process. Wales narrowly beat out Switzerland to second place after being tied on four points being separated by goal difference. The Welsh team were organized at the back while breaking on the counter with Ramsey, Bale and Daniel James in attack. Switzerland were able to qualify for the next round of EURO 2020 through the best loser route. Turkey were disappointing, losing all three matches while conceding a total of eight goals. With Italy, Wales and Switzerland progressing into the next round, You would have to keep an eye on Manuel Locatelli, Ciro Immobile, Gareth Bale and Xherdan Shaqiri as they all produced stunning individual performances.
GROUP B :
Unsurprisingly, Belgium were Group B winners with maximum points, scoring a total of seven goals and conceding one. They blew away Russia with a 3-0 win in their opening match, while also defeating Denmark 2-1 in Copenhagen after trailing 1-0 and ended their group stage match with a 2-0 win over Finland. Denmark’s EURO 2020 campaign was blighted by the Cardiac arrest suffered by talisman Christian Eriksen. An excusable 1-0 loss against Finland followed by a 2-1 loss at the hands of Belgium kept qualification hopes on a slim thread but were able to qualify on goal difference after a 4-1 thrashing of Russia. Finland were the underdogs going into Group B, lacking the cutting edge to grind out results and were eliminated. Russia were not able to replicate their 2018 world cup performance. They started their EURO 2020 campaign with a 3-0 loss to Belgium, followed by a narrow 1-0 win over group underdogs Finland and could have sealed qualification with a draw against Denmark, but lost out after a 4-1 thumping. Keep an eye on Belgium’s Kevin De Bryune and Romelu Lukaku.
GROUP C :
Netherlands were unstoppable in the group stage, with three wins from three. They began their EURO 2020 campaign with a dramatic 3-2 win over Ukraine and built momentum with a 2-0 win over Austria before ending their group stage with a 3-0 win over North Macedonia. They were the tournament highest scoring team with a total of eight goals. Austria were able to seal qualification by winning Ukraine and North Macedonia. Ukraine qualified through the best loser route edging out Finland with a better goal difference. North Macedonia were an exciting team to watch but their lack of tournament experience was clearly visible on the pitch as they were eliminated without a single point conceding a total of eight goals. ONES TO WATCH : Georginio Wijnaldum, Memphis Depay , Denzel Dumfries, David Alaba, Roman Yaremchuk, and Andriy Yarmolenko.
GROUP D :
England were group Group D winners winning Croatia and Czech Republic while seeing out a goalless draw with Scotland. However, they have been unconvincing, finding it hard to create chances while their transitional play has been questionable. Defensively, they have been solid, yet to concede in EURO 2020. Croatia had to qualify on the last day after a 3-1 win over Scotland. Czech Republic sealed qualification as Group D third placed team. Scotland were bottom finishers with two losses and a goalless draw against England. ONE TO WATCH : Patrick Schick , Raheem Sterling, were Group D stand out performers and look to continue their form in front of goal.
GROUP E :
Spain were under performers and were beaten to top spot by a very resolute Sweden. Spain struggled to create clear cut chances against Sweden and Poland, but came to live in the final group stage match of EURO 2020 with a 5-0 thrashing of Slovakia. Sweden were Group E winners with seven points after impressive wins against Slovakia and Poland while seeing playing out a goalless draw with Spain. Poland were Group E bottom finishers with two losses and a 1-1 draw with Spain. Slovakia needed a draw against Spain but were unable to keep things compact at the back as Luiz Enrique team blasted through the Slovakian defense. ONES TO WATCH : Emil Forsberg scored three ( 3 ) goals in the group stage for Sweden and remains a threat going forward for the Swedish team.
GROUP F :
Euro 2020 group of death lived up to its expectation as the most difficult group of the first stage with Hungary, Germany , Portugal and world champions France looking to progress into the next round. World Champions France came out top with one win and two draws, Germany were able to survive a late scare against Hungary after squeezing out a 2-2 draw. Defending champions were the highest scoring team in Group F with seven goals. Hungary were under dogs but were able to see out impressive wins against France and Germany. ONES TO WATCH : Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Kai Havertz were stand out performers and should continue their impressive form heading to the knockout round.
EURO Group Stats :
|P. Schick||Czech Republic||3|