The Euros arrived. Every team played their 1st game of the tournament. Some delivered, some disappointed. There were masterclasses and a disaster. Let’s see what Game Week 1 of Euro 2020 brought to us.
Italy – Turkey 3:0
Italy showed a different face to what we’re used to seeing from the Azzurri. They were fast, attacking, and improvising. Turkey had no chance, and it’s the 1st time in the Euros that Italy scores more than two goals. We expected much more resistance from Turkey. They were losing possession too easily, did too many wrong passes, their defensive game was a tragedy. The question is: is Turkey that bad and unorganized, or Italy was that good? If it’s the 2nd, all the other clubs are in danger.
Wales – Switzerland 1:1
This is expected to be one of the most dramatic groups of the tournament with these two teams fighting over the 2nd spot. Both teams showed good football. The keepers really shined in this one. And even though Switzerland was slightly better and had a goal disallowed by VAR, the draw seemed like a reasonable result for the two teams. I’m really curious to see if they can play like this against Italy.
Finland – Denmark 1:0
Sadly this game brought us the worst episode of Euro 2020. The good thing is: it all finished well. There are different reports about the conversations between UEFA and the two teams. Some say that UEFA didn’t give Denmark any chance about postponing the game for the next day.
If this is true, it won’t give UEFA a good reputation, although they have a history of making decisions like this. (Before the European cup final in 1985 between Juventus and Liverpool, 39 fans died on the stands. UEFA made the two teams finish the game, even though everything happened before players’ eyes.)
Except for what happened to Christian Eriksen, the game was good. It looked like a FIFA match. Denmark was attacking, keeping the ball, pushing, and then Finland scored and won the game with their only chance… Denmark will have extra motivation for the rest of the campaign. They will surely play for Eriksen and his family.
Belgium – Russia 3:0
One of the big favorites for the crown showed exactly why there are number one in the FIFA world ranking. Relentless attacking, solid defending. And they didn’t even need Eden Hazard. Imagine if he hits top form… Belgium means business at Euro 2020. This is probably the last chance for this golden generation to shine.
Austria – North Macedonia 3:1
Austria won their first-ever game at a European championship. With the current rules, with the four best 3rd placed teams in every group, three points might be enough for progressing to the round of 16. Except for the mistake their defense made for North Macedonia’s goal, Austria looked solid in both phases of the game.
Netherlands – Ukraine 3:2
The game of the tournament so far. Drama, comebacks, and a dramatic late winner. Everything we love about football was in this game. It was a pleasure to watch.
The Netherlands is considered one of the favorites for the European crown; this game wasn’t their most convincing one. Manager Frank de Boer is under pressure; the fans don’t like him very much. They need to get at least to the quarters for their fans to be satisfied with the team. If they can strengthen their defense, they might do the job.
Hats off to Ukraine. They were trailing 0-2 but managed to come back with two quick goals. A slight moment of distraction failed them at the end. If they can perform like this and be so entertaining to watch, they might become fan favorites, just like their manager was.
England – Croatia 1:0
Raheem Sterling’s strike brought England the win. But except for that, England didn’t convince that they are favorites for the title. Most of the time they were moving the ball around without any idea of what to do with it. If they want to “Bring football home”, they’ll have to up their game.
Croatia showed discipline, tried to counter-attack, but they seem to lack the attacking power to finish what their midfielders create. With the legendary strikers of the past, it’s strange to see that Croatia doesn’t have enough striking power.
Scotland – Czech Republic 0:2
What a goal by Patrik Schick. The goal of the tournament contender. The two teams played a great game. Both keepers had a lot of work to do. The Czechs showed Europe that they have a good team once again. They still suffer over Euro 96’s final defeat. Not very likely to beat that accomplishment, but they can dream about it. They can certainly embitter some favorite’s life.
Poland – Slovakia 1:2
A result that no one expected. Poland was thought to be the 2nd best team in the group after Spain. Their biggest star, Robert Lewandowski, failed to register a single shot on target against Slovakia. Poland looked like a team of strangers that never played together before. This is turning into a very interesting group.
Spain – Sweden 0:0
The first 0-0 draw for the tournament. Another FIFA-like game. Spain had 75% possession, 16 shots, and 0 goals. Sweden had a plan and executed it perfectly. Alvaro Morata helped them a lot; two missed big chances, and Spain fans keep booing him.
Gerard Moreno didn’t have many chances to score after substituting on Morata’s place. Sweden’s Isak Alexander looked really promising. If he can make few more games like this, a lot of the big fishes across Europe will be fighting for his signature.
Hungary – Portugal 0:3
The highlight of this game was definitely the full stands. Budapest is the only host city that allows 100% capacity used. It is so good to hear the full stadium sing and shout. Hungary showed everyone that they won’t be a punching bag in this group. They defended well and stood their ground for 84 minutes before Guerreiro’s goal. After the 1st goal, it was too easy for Portugal.
France – Germany 1:0
The main event of the 1st round. The last two world champions. Sadly for us, the fans the game wasn’t very entertaining in terms of action on the field. Both teams showed a lot of tactical plays, carefully build attacks, and of course, a few glimpses of Kilyan Mbappe’s lightning speed.
France was the better team and deserved the win, but don’t write off the Germans. They showed that have the potential to go far. As we know, Germany starts to play well after the quarters.