• ronangaine

Euro 2020-Round 1: 5 things we learned

A lot of people say that the first round of group games in a major tournament really don't matter and a number of teams will be hoping to prove that true after the first round of fixtures in the delayed European Championships.

Here's 5 things we learned from Round One:

  • Spain are 'all bark and no bite'

Spanish supporters and media alike will fall back on the fact that their team lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening game of the 2010 World Cup before going on to win the tournament but this is a different squad, a different situation and maybe time to worry...

Spain had 86% possession against Sweden on Monday night, they completed over 750 more passes than their opponent, yet you could argue that Sweden had the best chance to win the game. The home side managed just five shots on target from 17 attempts with Alvaro Morata twice putting wide when it seemed easier to score.

Their 18 year old prodigy, Pedri, was the best player on the pitch and the only one who continued to try and drive the team forward for the 90 minutes but the lack of top level striker was very evident. Morata lacks the clinical edge of the elite and without it the Spaniards will struggle to put the ball in the net. With Poland and Slovakia to come, Spain will still be confident of qualifying for the knockout stages but as they go deeper in the tournament, their weaknesses will become more and more prominent!

  • Cristiano Ronaldo will always get his goal

Hungary frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal for 83 minutes before a lucky break opened the floodgates in the final minutes.

All eyes were on Ronaldo, as is usually the case when he takes to the field, but he offered little as Portugal dominated possession. But, as is now often the case, he saves his energy for attacking runs and when the ball landed at his feet five yards out, it seemed a foregone conclusion that he would find the net but instead he found the stand.

It just wasn't going to be Portugal's day until the ball fell to Raphael Guerreiro on the edge of the box and his deflected shot found the bottom corner, after 84 mins of struggle Portugal had their breakthrough but it didn't come from Ronaldo, he couldn't have that.

Two minutes after Portugal broke the deadlock, Andre Silva was fouled by Willi Orban and Ronaldo had his opportunity to become the record goal scorer at European Championships, which he duly took before rounding the keeper to finish off a wonderful move and extend his newly acquired record. 85 minutes of struggle would not prevent Cristiano Ronaldo from another goal scoring record, an opening game brace & a win for Portugal.

  • Italy primed to challenge

Italy came into the Euros on the back of a 27 game unbeaten which included 22 wins, 20 clean sheets & 74 goals scored and after game one, they appear set to extend that run with a deep run.

Turkey came into the tournament with many thinking they could surprise a few but after their game one demolition, I wouldn't be so sure. Italy dominated every facet of the game, as they put their 64% possession to good use, creating 24 shots on goal & scoring three goals.

While they were not put under any consistent pressure during the game and tougher tests lie ahead, this was a statement win from Italy which showed all the qualities that make this such a good team. Giorgio Chiellini's last minute determination to keep a clean sheet when 3-0 up showing everyone this team has been built in the same mold of the great Italian teams of years gone by.

  • Germany suffering from a lack of creativity

Germany arguably faced the toughest opening game of anyone in the tournament, going up against the reigning World Champions & tournament favorites, France, but for the most part they dominated proceedings though they failed to create any quality openings.

The Germans ultimately managed just one shot on target in the game but were only beaten by an unfortunate own goal from Mats Hummels. Despite having the likes of Kroos, Gundogan, Muller & Havertz on the pitch their was a shocking lack of creative spark, with nobody breaking through the lines of the French team. When their 'so called' creative players did get in position to deliver with crosses & set pieces, the delivery was not up to scratch and this could prove crucial to Germany's hopes in the tournament.

The potential is there for Germany and they will be tough to beat in every game but watching their efforts last night would not fill you with hope if you drew Germany in your Euros sweepstakes. Solid defensively but doesn't appear they have another gear to go to.

  • Football comes second to life

The tournament was close to becoming an after thought on Saturday evening when Denmark star Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

Thanks to the efforts of Simon Kjaer, who made sure Erikesen had not swallowed his tongue and began CPR, and the emergency services, Eriksen is now awake and feeling good in hospital but for 30 minutes the watching world was stunned into shock and silence.

Scenes like this show how united the football world is and how insignificant football really is when it comes to overall health and life

The action continues today with three games:

  • Finland vs Russia 2pm

  • Turkey vs Wales 5pm

  • Italy vs Switzerland 8pm