It’s 12 matches down and 39 to go in Euro 2020 as the first round of group games officially comes to a close.
With every nation now having a chance to show what they can do, join Brig Sport as we go over our winners and losers from the opening stage.
Small disclaimer – As we’ve already taken a more in-depth look at our own issues, we’ll be focusing on other teams here!
Winner – Romelu Lukaku
Punters who backed the big Belgian to finish on top of the goalscoring charts would’ve been delighted with Romelu Lukaku’s man of the match performance against Russia.
Often perhaps unfairly labelled as one to miss big chances, Lukaku proved doubters wrong with a brace of goals to open and close the scoring as his side cruised to a 3-0 win. Demonstrating, that both himself and his team mates are there to be taken seriously as one of the favourites for the tournament.
Of course the argument may be made that Russia aren’t a particularly great opposition – but the Red Devils will be oozing with confidence going into their game against Belgium on Thursday night. A similar performance to that from their first game will certainly provide Lukaku with plenty more chances to add to his tally.
Losers – Turkey
If you’re like me and spent the last few weeks speaking up the Crescent-Stars to anyone who would listen – you’ll know all about just how poor a showing they gave in the opening game.
Almost from the off it was clear to see just how negative Şenol Güneş had set his side up, as much as they defended admirably, Burak Yılmaz was left so incredibly isolated at the top end of the pitch that the Turks attacking play was essentially non-existent.
In fact, it took until 51 minutes for his side to even register an attempted shot – so when Italy eventually breached their back-line there really was little to no way back. Turkey can though still progress, and probably will if they can take four points from Wales and Switzerland in their other two games, another defeat however and it could be curtains for the popular dark horses.
Winners – Sweden
Torn between the Swedes and Slovakia as the group E nomination we opted for Sweden in the end.
A 0-0 draw might not be considered to be an ideal start by some – but given how unexpected it was for anyone to take points from Spain we feel Janne Andersson’s side deserve a mention.
Recording a quite unbelievable 15% possession portrays a more defensive set-up to say the least, but unlike Turkey Sweden might come back from Seville ruing some missed chances of their own. Of course they rode their luck at times, Alvaro Morata in particular missed a great chance, but with now just Poland and Slovakia to play they might just be looking at top spot as a real possibility. Barring a total collapse – we might just have a new team to take the dark horses tag.
Losers – Hungary
It might’ve been poor fortune for Hungary to find themselves in the group of death – but a defensive breakdown against Portugal looks to have ruled out any chance of a surprise run from the underdogs.
80 minutes in and it looked as if the absence of golden boy Dominik Szoboszlai might not have been as dampening as feared. A stubborn Hungarian defence had coped well with the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, but when Raphaël Guerreiro’s half-volley wrong-footed Péter Gulácsi in the home goal it all went wrong for the outsiders.
After a quiet afternoon by his standards Ronaldo turned up to twist the dagger late on – his double means Hungary’s goal difference of minus three has become a bit of a mountain to climb, and with Germany and favourites France still to play, it looks like group F might have been a challenge too hard for Marco Rossi’s side.
Featured image Credit : UEFA