It’s been a fascinating start to Euro 2016. We’ve had the good (great goals, fantastic atmospheres), the bad (red cards, Germany’s coaching staff dress attire) and the ugly (horrendous fighting, Joachim Löw’s scratch and sniff manoeuvre) – and we are only five days into the tournament!
With Portugal and Iceland (go on the Icemen!) rounding off proceedings last night, we have now seen all the teams show us what they’ve got to offer in the 2016 edition of the European Championships. It hasn’t been too exciting on the pitch with a lot of teams playing it fairly safe and keeping it tight to avoid any catastrophic starts, but we haven’t seen any goalless draws which is always good news.
Low-Down So Far
I thought it’d be a good idea to have a quick, fleeting look at how the teams and players have fared so far. Although I’ve made it my mission to watch as many games as I can, the below my be slightly biased as to the games I’ve watched. If your thoughts differ, let me know in the comments.
Best Team Performance: Italy
Stand Out Player: Bonucci (maybe Iniesta according to reports)
Best Goal: Tough one with a few contenders but going to go with…Luka Modric
Surprise Package (aside from Joachim Löw’s tactical ball skills): Wales (perhaps Schweiny!)
Most Disappointing: Belgium
Movers and Shakers in the Betting Stakes: France are still my faves and Germany are a very good bet but Italy (18/1 pre-tournament) have jumped well ahead of England and Belgium and possible even Spain in my opinion. Write the Italians off at your peril. Austria, somehow 10th in the world, are a rubbish outside bet.
England and Spain
In terms of the teams that most spark my interest, it’s been a mixed start. I thought England looked good and were by far the better team and for this reason I don’t think Roy Hodgson should change his starting line-up at all. The only thing he should change is his tactical substitutions as they made very little sense at all. Why take off Wayne Rooney? Why not bring on Jamie Vardy or even Marcus Rashford against a couple of 30-odd year old Russian defenders?
England were incredibly unlucky to concede a shitty goal with seconds left but a draw is still a half-decent start. They need to dust themselves off and go again against a confident Gareth Bale FC side on Thursday.
Double Euro reigning champions Spain on the other hand were on the opposite end of last gasp goal fortune spectrum. I didn’t get to watch this game as it was a 2pm midweek start, but big Gerard Piqué popped up on the end of an Andrés Iniesta cross to give Spain a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic. Interesting to see that Piqué and Sergio Ramos were the two furthest players forward as the Spaniards were going for the win.
After the utter disaster at World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Spain have many critics to answer and prove wrong. As we know already, 1-0 wins are Vicente Del Bosque’s speciality and if they can get into the groove of this, who knows how far they can go. Special mention has to go to Iniesta who according to all, including Mr Spain himself (Graham Hunter), had a sublime game. Another thing we all know is that Graham’s word on Spain is gospel.
A paragraph must be spared for the violence that was witnessed mostly on the streets of Marseille. It looked horrendous. It goes without saying that these thugs aren’t fans in the slightest! Media reports in recent days has suggested that the trouble was mostly instigated by a couple of hundred Russian brutes whose only aim of travelling to Marseille was ‘to teach the English a lesson’. There is some abhorrent video footage but not one Russian fan has been arrested. I’m sure that English contingent wasn’t without it’s share of idiots but it seems that the vast majority were there to enjoy the football and not embark on their own deluded version of Fight Club with many acting in a retaliatory manner. Really hope the French police can get this under wraps for the second match when fans will be descending upon the city of Lille.
Come back to BlogBetis soon for another updated!