As we head into the second round of group stage matches in Euro 2016, it’s a good opportunity to look back at what we had in the first five days – from what the standings are right now, to the best & worst teams and putting an end to the worries about the lack of goals, which has nothing to do with how good or bad the tournament is so far.
Quality over quantity?
So far in the tournament, we’ve seen 22 goals, an average of 1.83 goals per match. In a lot of these tournaments, people refer to the goal numbers as a reference to the quality of the tournament. We had 2.45 goals per match in Euro 2012, and 2.67 goals per match. Is Euro 2016 bad? No. We’ve yet to have a 0-0 draw, and even if the goals aren’t coming like the flood (no teams has scored three goals in a match), the football is very good, the pace is infectious most of the time, and even if we complained about the 24 teams tournament before, it looks fine at the moment.
No star breaking out
After 12 matches, we have 21 different players with one goal each and one own goal by Ciaran Clark, who was on the verge of tears at the end of the Ireland-Sweden match. We haven’t seen any fantastic individual performance so far. Yes, Dimitri Payet stood out in the tournament opener, Luka Modric was a scorer and dinamo in Croatia’s win, Andres Iniesta was sublime in Spain’s victory, and Gareth Bale is Wales’ superman. So far, we don’t see any clear-cut candidates for tournament MVP.
Difficult to say after one cycle. Before the tournament began, I personally had my eye on France as my personal favorites to win. After 90 minutes each team has played? I have to say Spain look like the best side to me. Their style remains the same, but they were mostly unlucky to beat the Czechs by just one goal. This wasn’t the boring, killing the game kind of passing. They made chances and were in the penalty box quite a lot. The ball just didn’t go in.
Italy are suddenly the team on everyone’s lips, but buyers beware. It’ll be interesting to see how they fare against a side with greater tactical IQ than Belgium, and in situations when they’re forced to take the initiative for more than 2-3 minutes at a time. Germany look weak defensively, Portugal have a Cristiano Ronaldo problem and although Croatia had a very impressive opener, it’s still hard to see them going all the way.
Seven sides: Albania, Northern Ireland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Turkey, Belgium and Austria lost and didn’t score a goal in their tournament opener. The only side I feel confident saying they might remain that way by the end of the tournament are Northern Ireland. They didn’t have possession of the ball inside Poland’s half during the first 45 minutes, and failed to get one shot at goal in the 1-0 loss. It’s fine relying on headers and set pieces, but at this level, there has to be a little bit more for your team to have any kind of chance.
Dimitri Payet (France) vs Romania
Gareth Bale (Wales) vs Slovakia
Eric Dier (England) vs Russia
Luka Modric (Croatia) vs Turkey
|1||France (H)||1||1||0||0||2||1||+1||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Romania||1||0||0||1||1||2||−1||0||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
|1||Wales||1||1||0||0||2||1||+1||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Russia||1||0||1||0||1||1||0||1||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
|1||Germany||1||1||0||0||2||0||+2||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Northern Ireland||1||0||0||1||0||1||−1||0||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
|1||Spain||1||1||0||0||1||0||+1||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Czech Republic||1||0||0||1||0||1||−1||0||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
|1||Italy||1||1||0||0||2||0||+2||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Republic of Ireland||1||0||1||0||1||1||0||1||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
|1||Hungary||1||1||0||0||2||0||+2||3||Advance to knockout phase|
|3||Iceland||1||0||1||0||1||1||0||1||Possible knockout phase based on ranking|
|1||B||Russia||1||0||1||0||1||1||0||1||Advance to knockout phase|
|2||E||Republic of Ireland||1||0||1||0||1||1||0||1|