Tag Archives: euro 2021

Ronny’s Euro 2020 Blog: Day 1

I finally got my Euro 2020 wallchart. It was my first time buying a newspaper in over a year.

The Euros finally kicked off, but before the opening game we had the opening ceremony. There were balloons of every country taking part, and Bono was there to ensure some Irish involvement. The highlight of the pregame antics was a little remote control car taking the ball to the ref.

Image

There must have been some temptation to go rogue and keep reversing away from the ref when he tries to get the ball. If it had crashed that would have been a tragedy, but it got their in one piece.

The game kicked off after that.

Turkey 0-3 Italy

The first half didn’t live up to the hype. Turkey were resolute in defense, but offered nothing going forward. That could be a problem for them in this tournament. While they are likely to go stretches without conceding, Yilmaz, who won the league with Lille this season, was very isolated. It’s a risk you take in a 1-4-1-4-1, they were more set up for defense than attack. They need to get Calhanglu closer to Yilmaz up front. I still think Turkey will have finish 2nd in the group and find themselves in the semi-finals due to the way the draw works out.

Italy were persistent and it paid off. They forced an own goal in the from Demiral (who had to make some kind of contact with the ball), and then went further ahead through Immobile and Insigne. They weren’t tested at the back, Donnaruma had nothing to do. They could have had a couple of penalties in the first half, a case of “we’ve seen them given”.

Italy aren’t dark horses to win the tournament. They are on a 28-game unbeaten run and haven’t conceded in 9 games. They are luminous stallions. My one concern would be for when they come up against the likes of Mbappe of France, potentially in the semifinals, will Bonucci and Chiellini be able to deal with them? Playing of front of Italy suits them, but putting balls in behind them for players with pace to run onto may not. That being said these are two veterans who know how to shithouse their way to a win, but their lack of pace could be an issue.

I see Italy winning the tournament. Mancini (unfortunately sans scarves) has set the team up well to easily transition between defense and attack. They have a goalkeeper who will soon be the best in the world, they have a strong midfield and can stretch teams going forward. This is the first It could be their year I will offer of the tournament. Turkey are a resolute side, who after this game won’t likely play another top side until the semi-finals. They could find their way to the latter stages.

The game wasn’t a great display, and I feel like we may see a lot of poor enough games in what is the end of a very very long campaign, which began after a short break from an extended campaign. That may actually lead to errors at the back and more goals. More mistakes often make for excitement. The gloss of the Euros beginning tends to wear off after the first round of games, which will mean games will be judged more harshly.

Enjoy the tournament, it’s a bit of a miracle we can have an international tournament spanning a continent amidst a pandemic.

Ronny’s Euro 2020 Blog:Twenty-Twenty 1 Twenty-Twenty Nil

A yearly tradition that takes place every four years, the last euros took place 5 years ago. I’m bad with opening lines, it’s hard to break the ice in a blog. I’m glad this opening paragraph is coming to an end.

Euro 2020 is finally upon us. The past year plus spent in lockdown has felt like a decade, and it feels like we have been waiting for this tournament our whole lives. In reality, we have been waiting an extra year. Unfortunately, here in Ireland we won’t be hosting any games. The pan-European competition idea was intriguing, but didn’t fit in to a world living with a global pandemic. It has the potential to descend into a chaotic mess, with potential COVID cases and restrictions disrupting play.

We would argue for chaos in the tournament itself, by allowing all UEFA Nations in in the name of banter and have a frenetic crazy competition with every team being guaranteed at least 4 games. Or at least a wild card team made up of players from countries that didn’t qualify, which we put together here.

Instead we have 24 teams, for the second time. Looking back at 2016, the 24-team format where 4 of the 6 3rd place teams progress to the knockout rounds made up for somewhat diluting the overall quality of teams by ensuring every game had some kind of meaning within the tournament itself. Previously there would be sides with nothing to play for on the final day, that’s not likely to occur this time.

While the last 16 may feature a few unlikely faces, the format of 2/3 of the teams getting through means that any slip-up from the big guns will likely not be too harshly punished. Portugal infamously found their way to Euro glory in 2016 despite finishing 3rd in their group with 3 draws, and even failing to win a game in 90 minutes until the semi-final against Wales. Suitably, they won the final in extra-time, with a winner from Eder, who had only made 3 substitute appearances in the tournament and hadn’t even played the equivalent of a full half.

This year the games may be a test of stamina and luck. It’s been a long season, preceded by a short off season off the back of a stretched out season. Injuries and COVID will play a factor. Games will be played across Munich, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Seville, Saint Petersburg, Baku, Rome, and London. It’s unlikely something won’t go wrong at some stage with different restrictions. We could well see venues hastily rearranged.

Below is 20 or 21 words on each team taking part.

A

Turkey

Looking at their road map in the knockout rounds they could find themselves in a semi-final.  Beat France in Qualifying.

Italy

Convinced they will lift the trophy.  At home for 3 group games, won their last 8 without conceding, unbeaten in 27.

Wales

Could struggle to reach the 2016 heights, and may stumble out in the group.  Head coach chaos won’t have helped preparation.

Switzerland

Always well organised.  Qualified comfortably with only one defeat.  A good bet for at least a best 3rd place finish. 

B

Denmark

No fond memories from an Irish point of view.  Last 16 at least.  Goalkeeper is the son of the 92 legend. 

Finland

A first ever major tournament.  Teemu Puki leads the line.  They’ll be stubborn and will cause problems.  Potential dark horse. 

Belgium

Last chance for a golden generation.  We have been talking about them for a long time.  If not now when?

Russia

Qualified comfortably but have struggled since.  Will hope to channel world cup experience.  Contending for a best 3rd spot, if even. 

C

Netherlands

Young promising stars like De Jong, Depay, and De Ligt can’t solve poor coaching.  Destined for a disastrous exit early on. 

Ukraine

Finished above Portugal in qualifying.  Decent side who may surprise a few.  Good chance of progressing, unlikely to go too far.

Austria

Last time was a disaster, but there is talent in the squad.  Can cause teams problems, but won’t go too far.

North Macedonia

Will be the surprise package of the tournament.  Could find their way to the quarter finals.  Pandev will lead the way. 

D

England

Don’t want to hear anymore about Rice or Grealish.  Good squad, man management will be key with players in similar positions.

Croatia

Post World Cup they’ve suffered their heaviest defeat and struggled in the Nations League.  Still more than capable of getting through. 

Scotland

All about the England game.  They will be laser focused on that game.  A result there and the rest is a bonus. 

Czech Republic

A memorable point against Belgium was followed by loses to Wales and Italy.  Will likely struggle to get too far. 

E

Spain

Hit heavily by COVID already.  Could end up having to pull out.  If they don’t then they could go somewhere. 

Sweden

No Zlatan no party?  Perhaps no party but a decent run of form recently means they will likely get 3rd

Poland

Get the ball to Lewandowski.  Could pull off something special if they can build a solid side around the big man.

Slovakia

Not a particularly good side, were 2nd best against Ireland in the eary days of their winless run.  Early elimination. 

F

Hungary

Odd one out in the group of death.  Must make themselves difficult to break down.  Unlikely to pull off a miracle. 

Portugal

Attacking quality all over.  A much better team than the one that won 5 years ago.  Will light up the tournament.

Germany

Occasionally abysmal recently.  They have an abundance of talent including a returning Muller.  More well-rounded than at the last World Cup. 

France

Most peoples favorites.  A returning Benzema along with Mbappe, Kante, and Pogba means they’ll surely make it to the latter stages.

Sebastien’s Euro 2020 predictions

Winners: France

Top Scorer: Lukaku

Player of the Tournament: Mbappe

Surprise Team: Turkey

Runners up: Spain

We did a preview podcast with football bloggers, which you can listen to here, or search Post to Post Sport on most platforms.

I genuinely hope all football fans enjoy the Euros. We deserve an entertaining football tournament after the difficulty of the past year.