Well that’s come and gone quickly! We waited in anticipation for one of the most wide open European Championships to get underway and in the blink of an eye we have had the chance to see every team in action.
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
|Group D||Group E||Group F|
So just who has impressed, disappointed or held their own in the 1st round?
Made an impression
We’ll start with the obvious in Italy and Germany, 2 of the big boys went about their jobs in a professional fashion and will be hoping for a prolonged stay.
Croatia could very well be an outsider worth keeping an eye on, a wonder strike from Luka Modric is going to take some beating for goal of the tournament. Add in a deserved victory against Spain and an “easier” run to the final and you never know.
Additional mentions for Hungary, Poland and Wales. All have impressed with the way they have attempted to play. Lewandowski and Bale are match winners for the Poles and Welsh whereas Hungary who have turned up without anything to lose, currently boast the most goals scored in the competition (6 in 3 games).
Will be disappointed
England will be kicking themselves by not negotiating Group B in the way they should have. A 2nd placed finish has left them in the much tougher half of the latter stages.
Controversially going to say the host nation France, without the resurgence of the talented Payet you have to wonder what might have been. They’ll need to improve to progress past a spirited Rep Ireland.
Sweden, Russia and Austria all came through the same “weak” qualification group and perhaps no major surprise to see them all on the 1st plane home given how they have performed.
Stood their ground
Little Iceland, a country with a population half the size of Glasgow holding the mighty Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to a 1-1 draw and deservedly progressing from the group. Lots of talk about fairy stories this season and the men from Reykjavik need adding to this list.
A strange category for Spain to be mentioned, Iniesta has proved once again to be a maestro. A tough 2nd round match vs. Italy awaits after a Sergio Ramos missed penalty against Croatia. They’ll probably still be there or thereabouts but they are not the all-conquering side of recent years.
We are starting to see Euro 2016 spark to life and knockout football will only aid this even further.
One thing we have certainly been impressed with is that every game has been well contested, played in the right spirit and the general standard of refereeing has been high so far and long may it continue.
It’s been entertaining albeit tense, but hopefully there is more good football to be seen in the next few days.
Certainly make no plans this weekend with 6 games split over Saturday and Sunday!
All the best to your supported nations for the rest of the championship.
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