The European football championships currently underway in France has been one of the most talked about football tournaments in recent times.
The security concerns before the tournament began overshadowed the glitz and glamour of the beautiful game and there was more bad news in the media than good. Skepticism was the order of the day for most.
Even though the Russian fans lived up to the expectations of some of the “skeptical” ones, beautiful goals, late winners and upsets have reminded me how beautiful football is.
With just the first round of games done with, there’s already so much to talk about. So far, so good,
The Superstars Have Been Quiet
The European Championship is synonymous with top shots like Europe’s top 5 football leagues and the big names that ply their trades there. So, naturally, you’d expect the stars to shine. But the storms seem to have gathered in France, preventing the stars from shining. While big names like Welsh star Gareth Bale and Zlatan and Modric and Payet have contributed to goals, names like C. Ronaldo, Hazard and the whole England team have failed to live up to expectations. Maybe they’re still warming up and will come alive in the second and third round of games. Just maybe. Speaking of stars not shining…
– The “Smaller Teams” Are Shocking The “Big Boys”
Of course before tournaments, there are teams that are picked to win all their group games and have an easy stroll. But with results like the 1 – 1 draw between Portugal and Iceland, Hungary’s 0 – 2 defeat of Austria, it’s not been business as usual for the big boys in France. The smaller teams came prepared this time, with names like Romania forcing France to need a late winner in the tournament’s opening game. So much for the first round of games. Can’t wait for the others.
– The Scarcity of Goals: Poor Goalscorers or Great Defenders?
Tournaments like the Euro Championships are expected to be full of goals (or so I think?) I mean: all those big names must come with goals right? But the first round has had “low-scoring” games, with the highest scoreline so far being 2 – 1 and all games ending in Under 3.5 goals (Hello Bettors!) So far, so good, I’m not sure who has been doing a better job: the shot-stoppers or the goal-getters. On the overall, they’ve all made this competition too tight to call. Round Two!!!
– Late winners (France and Spain, Hungary and Italy)
Maybe with this point, it’s safe to say the defenders have been on top in the Euro 2016 championship. They’ve forced teams to dig deep and earn their full points. France needed an 87th-minute beauty to win all three points against Romania. Hungary scored in the 87th to seal a win. Italy needed a 90+3 min goal by Pelle to finish off the Belgians. The Spaniards needed a late goal too. It has not been a roller-coaster ride so far in France. Makes things more interesting yeah? Good one for us the fans!
As England prepare to take on Wales, it seems the Englishmen are still suffering from the inability to perform on the big stages. With all those names, they could only manage a draw against the Russians. So much for having almost all your players come from the “fiestiest” football league in the world. Some will blame it on history (the English haven’t won any of their opening games in the European Championship). But like Olamide will say, “Sh’oro niyen?”
Some will tell you that the Italians blew away the Belgians thanks to some fantastic tactical display by Antonio Conte. Chelsea fans can’t wait for the Italian. But, in reality? The Belgians FAILED TO GEL. They played individually and not as a team. They simply shot themselves in the foot. And now they’re at the bottom of the table.
After Round 1, let the games begin!
Images credit: Rediff
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.