EURO 2020: With One League Game Left Each, Here Are The Favourites To Progress
With Gameweek 2 of Euro 2020 coming to an end on Saturday night, the tournament is finally beginning to pick up pace. From the absolute horror show that was Gameweek 1, the competition has been set up nicely going into the last round of group stage matches. Only three teams had officially qualified for the Round of 16 stage, so you can be sure that there’s plenty to play come Gameweek 3.
The Big Boys Power Through
Italy, Belgium and Netherlands all booked their place in the next round with two victories from as many games. All three nations now have the luxury of resting their key players in preparation of the knockout stage. In fact, Italy’s 1-0 win over Wales and the result of the Switzerland-Turkey game, on Sunday, also guaranteed Wales a passage into the last 16.
World Champions Stumble
In front of the only stadium in the entire competition where 100% attendance is allowed, France came from behind to rescue a point in 1-1 draw against Hungary. The Hungarians, buoyed by their 35000 fans, were well worth their early lead. They even had chances to win the game towards the end. More importantly, however, this match will serve as a glimmer of hope to the other nations that the seemingly infallible French can actually be beaten.
It’s Coming Home (Early)
After an unconvincing 1-0 win over Croatia in the first game, England laboured to a goalless draw against old rivals Scotland, at Wembley. Questions have started to be asked of manager Gareth Southgate, especially after he left out star player Jack Grealish for the second game running. England are now in a precarious position – anything less than a victory against the Czechs in Gameweek 3 will mean they finish second in the group and thus might likely have the unenviable task of facing France in the Round of 16.
Resurgent Germans Strike Back
Already drawn in the group of death and having been beaten by France in Gameweek 1, the Germans definitely had their backs against the wall as they took on Portugal in Gameweek 2. Another loss against the defending champions in Munich would have almost-certainly seen them crash out in the group stage in a second consecutive international tournament. However, they dug deep, and held on late for a 4-2 victory. This coupled with the fact that they have to play Hungary next should mean that the Germans will be joining their fellow top countries in the next round.
Spanish Struggles Continue
A 1-1 draw against Poland saw Spain make it two ties from as many games. Unfortunately for the Spaniards, things are not looking good. They play the same insipid, boring and lifeless football which is a shell of their breathtaking Tiki-Taka displays from 2008-2012. Spain need to realize that that team, led by the legendary midfield pair Xavi and Iniesta, comes along once in a generation. It’s time to switch things up or else they are in danger of falling back into mediocrity.
Image: Instagram/@portugal, @equipedefrance