Euro 2016 was exceptional. There were so many pleasant surprises. There were moments of excitement created by late goals and unexpected wins. History was made as new teams made their mark. Several of the players that were favorites before the tournament failed to impress, but there were so many players that left good impressions. Let’s discuss some of the highlights.
Wales gives an impressive performance
It is believed that exhibition and results are the keys to success for any football team, but Wales showed the world that cooperation and harmony can take you far as well.
“Together, more grounded” is the slogan of the Wales FA. The performance of Wales against Belgium was nothing short of outstanding. The leadership of Gareth Bale and the impact he has on this team is worth commending. As for the outstanding quality of his play, there is absolutely no doubt.
Wales supervisor Chris Coleman did everything right in the competition. His side looked fit to beat any other team. His game plan and substitutions seemed to be perfect. All of his strategies had very positive effects on the whole game and really helped in the goal scoring of Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes.
The success of Wales in the Euro 2016 is exactly the boost they needed for the World Cup qualifying. They have become more confident and their success boosted their morale overall.
Italy vs Germany
Italy went up against Germany without their star midfielder Daniele de Rossi. This was expected to be a nail-biting contest and it did not disappoint. Anticipation rose as the titans of football came face to face.
The loss of de Rossi was not good for Italy, but they went into the game with confidence. Italy has never been defeated by Germany in a competitive match before, so the confidence was understandable. But Germany negated any claims of pressure and went headlong into the game.
The dazzling Icelandic team
One team that has definitely left a very strong mark is the Icelandic football team. They headed to Paris with the approval of their physician. Their long toss master Aron Gunnarsson was the key to their win against England.
Paul Pogba: the Poster Boy
Paul Pogba went into the competition with a lot of pressure on him. His execution and demeanor were criticized by the French media. He was even dropped by France’s team for their second match against Albania. This was a very surprising move by Deschamps. Despite not playing in the starting lineup, the talented midfielder came in at half time. He created a beautiful long-run to get France another goal.
He was still under the spotlight following the game and there was a lot of discussion going on regarding accusations that he pointed hostile signals at a columnist at Stade Velodrome. He claimed that he was celebrating but things escalated and there was a lot of debate among the fans and the French media about his demeanor.
Belgium: the golden generation
A talented youthful group is an indicator of bright future. Results can be seen as the youth gains experience. But it is important for players to know that there are few chances to grab glory for their country and win big competitions. Belgium is one of the top teams according to the FIFA ranking, and their defeat to Wales came as a great upset. Eden Hazzard has now set his sights on the upcoming 2018 World Cup. He said that they were disillusioned by the results but this is not the end for them and they will keep up the good work.
The Euro 2016 managed to surprise football lovers on every level. It showcased the bright and diverse future of European football. England’s defeat by Iceland, Wales’ venture into the semifinals, and Portugal beating the hosts France in the final without Cristiano Ronaldo are some of the surprises that the football fans were entertained with.
Featured photo credit: Julian Carvajal via flickr.com