EURO’s Group Stage Review

With the group stage now completed at this year’s Euros now is as good a time as ever to look back on them and see just what went down.

 

Group A

The host nation Germany got off to a flying start demolishing Scotland 5-1 on the opening night whilst the Swiss shocked some peoples dark horse team Hungary by beating them 3-1. Germany would secure their spot in the knockouts by beating Hungary 2-0 whilst Scotland held Switzerland to a 1-1 draw, giving hope to a potential party in the knockouts. The party would be over quickly however for the Scotts as a 90+10 minute winner for Hungary confirmed Scotland’s elimination, and despite the late winner Hungary would be eliminated soon after. In the other game that day both teams played like they knew that the knockouts were confirmed for them, which they were.

 

Group B

Spain are the only team in the tournament to have won all three of their group stage games, starting with a 3-0 trouncing of Croatia’s veteran midfield. Albania shocked everyone by going 1-0 up on Italy in just 20 seconds, although they went on to lose 2-1 to the Italians. Albania would continue to score early goals going 1-0 up against Croatia 11 minutes in before once again falling apart and allowing the score to be 2-1. However this time fighting back in 90+5 Albania would score to secure the point and some hope of progressing. In one the most anticipated matches of the group stage Spain ended up coasting to 1-0 victory against Italy in a somewhat underwhelming match. On the final matchday Croatia needed a hero and up stepped Luka Modric, the veteran midfielder scored against Italy and looked to have recovered Croatia’s spot in the knockouts. This was until the heartbreak in 90+8 minutes where Italy scored the equalizer to send Croatia out. Despite playing with heart Albania couldn’t stop the Spanish losing 1-0 to cruelly finish on just 1 point bottom of the group.

 

Group C

Some people may consider this to be the worst group ever seen in an international football tournament. Combined the teams in this group scored less goals than Germany did and played far worse than them too. It would begin with an unconvincing 1-0 victory for England over Serbia and a forgettable 1-1 draw between Denmark and Slovenia. This level of football would continue with both fixtures, England v Denmark and Serbia v Slovenia, also finishing 1-1 with little quality shown. In particular Denmark and England played like struggling minnows in a group both would’ve called easy before the start of the tournament. Slovenia on the other hand despite not being the most exciting played more like underdogs trying to secure a spot so many had written them off for before the tournament. On the final day of this group once again both fixtures ended the same, 0-0. This meant that England finished top and Serbia bottom, whilst Denmark snuck ahead of Slovenia due to a yellow card given to a Slovenia coach. 

 

Group D

Despite France winning their opening match against Austria 1-0, it was the Austrians who would end up impressing more in the group stages. Poland would feel unlucky to not at least get a point against the Netherlands in their close 2-1 defeat in the other game. Austria would shine against Poland in a 3-1 win which caused Poland to be the first team eliminated from the tournament. An Mbappe-less France would slump to a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands after he broke his nose late on against Austria. A returning Mbappe’s penalty wouldn’t be enough to pass through Poland, with Lewandowski scoring a penalty of his own in a dull 1-1 draw. Excitement however was to be found in the other game in a 3-2 thriller between Austria and the Netherlands, which secured the Austrians first in their group, something many fans wouldn’t have expected before the start of the tournament.

 

Group E

Slovakia started with one of the biggest upsets of the tournament beating Belgium 1-0 in their opening match. Romania equally put on a show shocking Ukraine in a 3-0 win which left group E looking the opposite of what anyone expected. Both Belgium and Ukraine would bounce back however, respectively beating Romania and Slovakia 2-0 and 2-1 to tie up the table. Going into the final matchday of the group it was all to play for so naturally both results ended in draws (1-1 and 0-0) which meant every team ended on four points. Ukraine finished bottom on goal difference whilst Romania finished top in goal scored with Belgium and Slovakia both also qualifying.

 

Group F

Portugal began their games by scrapping a winning goal in the 90+2 minute against Czechia despite their dominance throughout the 2-1 win. Turkey also put in a dominant performance against Georgia in a 3-1 victory. Georgia and Czechia would amass 9 yellow cards between them in a Czechia dominated 1-1 draw. Portugal meanwhile showed their ruthless side demolishing Turkey 3-0, qualifying for the knockouts in the process. On the final matchday Georgia would stun Portugal, winning 2-0 to progress to the knockouts in their first ever EUROs. Tensions would flare between Czechia and Turkey after an early red card for Czechia and a stoppage time winner (90+4 to be precise) for Turkey would lead to passionate full time reactions, causing Czechia to receive a second red card and both sides a litany of yellow cards.

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