Euro 2016 has finished, with Portugal lifting the trophy after beating France 1-0 with a goal from Eder in stoppage time.
My predicted winners were France, who reached the final. They played some good football at times, although did rely on late goals, particularly during the group stage. There were questions about their defence, but they answered those questions with their semi-final victory over Germany, who dominated possession for long periods of time, but created little of real note. They seemed to struggle to get going in the final and Portugal were able to capitalise, with their gameplan being a success.
I predicted Poland to be the tournament dark horses and they reached the quarter-final before being knocked out by Portugal on penalties. They qualified comfortably from their group, but seemed to struggle in the knockout games, playing well at times, whilst struggling at others in the same match. They got off to an excellent start against Portugal, but once Portugal got a foothold in the game, they seemed to struggle to kick on, resulting in their eventual defeat on penalties.
I predicted England would reach the quarter final, but they were knocked out in the Last 16 by Iceland following a disappointing performance. England started well with a very encouraging performance against Russia, but only managed a draw following a last gasp goal. They didn’t seem to recover from this setback, with performances getting worse, culminating in the loss to Iceland. Unsurprisingly, Hodgson resigned and the search is now on for a new manager, with Sam Allardyce and Jurgen Klinsmann seemingly the favourites.
The tournament was an average one, with few memorable matches. France V Germany in the semi-final was probably the best match of the tournament. There were too many games with teams looking to defend and pinch something from a set-piece or on a counter-attack. I think that this was linked to the change in format and the increase in teams – 4 out of the 6 teams who finished 3rd qualified for the Last 16, meaning there was less necessity to push for victories. There has been criticism that Portugal won the tournament despite only winning one game in 90 minutes (their semi-final against Wales). However, it was known before the tournament that something like this could happen and if England had won playing the same way, I’m sure there would not be the same criticism in the country.
Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts about the tournament.