… the European Championships has been amazing. The Euro 2016 roller-coaster ride has had it’s fair share of highs and lows but it, on the overall, has been a football fan’s delight!
With games too tight to call, surprising results, the fans invasion, late goals, Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal-less run, Euro 2016 has gotta be the most dramatic Euro I’ve seen.
I’ll take it a notch higher and acclaim this tournament as one of the most dramatic since the history of the competition. I’m sure you’ll agree with me.
In terms of happenings on the pitch and especially off it, Euro 2016 has beaten all others before it hands down as regards drama and surprises.
And after the second round of games in the group stages of the tournament,
– The Surprises/Surprising Results Continue
The first round of games had a lot of surprising results. Portugal’s draw with “lowly” Iceland, Hungary’s win over Austria, Spain’s and France’s late winners, the catastrophic Belgian side and more (the England result wasn’t so surprising. I mean… it’s England, right?)
Most football fans agreed that the teams were just finding their feet, hence the surprises. I agreed. With Round 2, things would return to normal.
By normal, I expected countries like Germany and Portugal would win and not drop points. I expected France to have an easy ride against Albania, etc.
But Euro 2016 had other ideas.
Expectedly, Belgium ran riot against Ireland, waking up from their slumber and scoring three unreplied goals. Spain had it easy too.
Unexpectedly, Germany and Portugal COULDN’T score against their opponents. France needed “80-somethingth” minute goals to finish off Albania and… England beat Wales!
As if England’s win was not enough (yes that win was a BIG DEAL. Don’t believe? Ask Sturridge)…
– Finally! A Four-Goal Game & A Three-Goal Margin
Actually, there were two 3-0 scorelines in the second round of games in France. Before now, the highest goal margin was two goals.
But Spain and Belgium surpassed that mark by scoring 3 unreplied goals past Turkey and Ireland respectively.
Low-scoring games had been the order of the day in France. The highest goals total in any game in the tournament was three. That was before Czech Republic came from 2 goals down to draw their game against Croatia.
But it hasn’t been all goals and positive surprises in Euro 2016…
-More Crowd Troubles and Pitch Invasions
Of course it all started in the first round, infamously between Russian and English fans. The second round had even more crowd trouble.
The Russian fans continued to be so “patriotic and passionate.” They continued supporting their team vigourously, despite threats of deportation from the French government.
Even pleas from the Russian football team to be “less passionate” and “unhooliganistic” fell on deaf ears. Eventually, 20 fans were deported. But… the fever had already spread.
Flares and objects were thrown onto the pitch in the game between Czech Republic and Croatia. The flares came from the Croatian fans who were, at the time, leading 1-2. Talk about “passionate fans!”
Then there was the drama with the Hungarian fans in their game against Iceland.
Icing on the cake?
The random fan, who after an Olympic-like 100m race, left his marker (the security official) for dead, found his way to Cristiano Ronaldo’s side, SUCCESSFULLY took a selfie (or selfies I think?) with CR7 and then burst into tears.
I’m still unsure whether it was tears of finally meeting his hero or tears of the thought of spending the night in police custody instead of at his girlfriend’s.
But can the fans be blamed? I’m not sure. With the next point, you can understand why the fans are now even wilder.
-Now, The Permutations Begin!
It’s that time of a football competition where qualifications and exits become the talking points. Who will make it to the next round? Who will be knocked out of the tourney?
With Round 2 gone, teams are looking over their shoulders, trying to get all necessary points for survival. They’re not alone! Their fans are busy too!
They’re busy calculating possible outcomes and what effects they’ll have on their darling teams. They’re speculating, “What if Team A wins and our team loses? Do we still qualify for the knockout stages? How about goals difference?”
The dilemna of a fan (or fans).
But fans of teams like France, Italy, and Spain don’t have such headaches. Their teams have gained passage to the next round thanks in part to great team play and…
– The “Late Goals” Show
In the first round of games, it was France and Payet, Pique and Spain, Italy and Pelle with all the late goals.
Round 2 hasn’t been any different. In fact, there have been more late goals in the second round of games than in the first.
France need late goals from Payet & Griezmann to get maximum points and break Albanian hearts. England needed a 90th-minute Sturridge goal to make Gareth Bale eat his words.
For Hungary, an Iceland owngoal in the 88th minute was good enough to earn a draw. Italy’s Eder was on hand in the 87th minute to score a late winner against Sweden. The Czechs also left it late against Croatia, waiting until the 90th minute to level the game.
If Modric’s or Payet’s goals were the leave-your-mouth-wide-open-in-amazement goals of the first round, then Marek Hamsik’s goal against Russia is the goal of the second round.
I dunno about you but I’m still unsure about Ronaldo and Portugal. CR7 seems to be suffering from “the lack of good-enough teammates,” most-notably, Quaresma’s abysmal performance against Austria.
And on the overall, they don’t look like they’ll make it far even if they qualify. Not a surprise though. With names like Germany and Spain, the way Italy is playing, it’s already hard to see Portugal winning the trophy.
Now think of the way Portugal are currently playing and imagine them lifting the trophy. Of course it’s totally possible/totally impossible (you choose).
Two rounds down, one to go!
P.S: What has caught your eye so far in the Euro 2016? Add to my list by dropping your comments. Don’t forget to share this great read with your friends. Trust me, they’ll thank you. 😉
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.