Euro 2020: Top 5 Team Performances from Round Two
The Euros are finally here! Join us as FC Mangalore’s Technical team of Biby Thomas and Shailesh Karkera break down the matches.
With the completion of the second round of matches, we are past the halfway stage of the group phase of Euro 2020 with all teams vying for the precious qualification spots into the knock-out rounds. Let’s look back at the five of the best team performances from this round as the tournament heads into its business end.
FC Mangalore Media asked our very own team of Technical Experts Biby Thomas and Shailesh Karkera to pick the top performers of the opening round of matches and here’s what they had to say.
Italy 3-0 Switzerland
Locatelli 26′, 52′
Italy became the first team to book their place into the last 16 round of the Euro 2020 following a comprehensive 3-0 win over Switzerland in Rome.
Switzerland found themselves on the back foot early on as Italy surged forward and the deadlock was broken in the 19th minute – only for the referee to disallow it on account of an infraction. The Italian’s seemed unfazed and finally opened the scoring in the 26th minute through Locatelli’s finish from close range. The striker was at hand to double the lead in the second half, unleashing a low drive from outside the penalty area to make it 2-0.
The Italians were rarely tested and capped off the rout in a sweeping move in the closing minutes of the game when Ciro Immobile sealed a memorable win for his team. Interestingly, Italy have won their last ten international matches without conceding a goal – they have scored a total of 31 goals without reply across the ten games
BT: “Once again Italy has delivered with a classic performance. Very impressed with the partnership of Immobile and Locatelli upfront as they are extremely reliable as far as goals are concerned and have the full faith of Mancini. The team is growing and let’s see how far they can go this time around”
SK: “Comparing team performances across the board, Italy’s win was probably one of the finest of the round. Historically, good teams tend to grow as the tournament goes along and tend to peak during the final stages. They have multiple options in attack as well as a very stable defence which is growing in confidence.”
Turkey 0-2 Wales
C. Roberts 90’+5
Following their legendary escapades in Euro 2016 where they made it all the way to the semi-finals, Wales put in a spirited performance in a 2-0 win against Turkey to move into second place in Group A.
Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring in the closing stages of the first half following a sweeping counter-attacking move which began on one end of the pitch and ended on the other. A superb lofted pass from Bale was expertly controlled and dispatched past the ‘keeper to take Wales into the break with a 1-0 lead.
On the hour mark, Wales were awarded a penalty however Bale blasted his effort over the bar to give Turkey a life-line, one that they responded by edging forward and committing more players in attack in hunt of the elusive equalizer. In the end, Wales defended gallantly and put the result beyond any doubt deep into injury time when Bale’s cut-back inside the penalty area was met by Connor Robert and duly dispatched into the back of the net.
BT: “Wales have proven that they have what it takes in Euro 2016 and this squad has the determination and drive to make it far. They looked well organised and disciplined in their approach.”
SK: “With the creative prowess of Bale and Ramsey, Wales look like a good side who are deadly on the courter-attack which will definitely be put to the test when they come up against teams in the Last 16. Altogether they seem like a cohesive unit who really work hard on the pitch”
Denmark 1-0 Belgium
T. Hazard 55′
De Bruyne 70′
Denmark could not have asked for a better start, having scored the second-fastest goal in Euros history only to have an inspired Belgium bounce back in the second half to turn the tie around and register a famous 2-1 win in Copenhagen.
Belgium looked shaky in the opening exchanges and were duly punished when a defensive slip-up led to a quick breakaway and Danish striker Poulsen was quick to capitalise on the mistake. The striker latched on to Højbjerg’s through ball to smash home from inside the penalty area.
To their credit, Belgium looked unfazed despite being in the rare situation where they were chasing the game and raked up nine attempts on goal in the first half alone. The turnaround occurred in the second half following the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne. The midfield maverick was on hand to release Thorgan Hazard in the 55th minute for the equalizer before scoring the all-important winner in the 70th minute.
The win cemented Belgium’s place in the second round while further confirming their status as one of the favourites to win the Euro 2020 title.
BT: “Belgium showed that they have the character to comeback and remain calm in adverse situations. That’s the foundation of champion sides and I really fancy their chances going forward”
SK: “De Bruyne showed exactly why he is one of the highest rated midfielders in the game in this tie. His introduction added another layer to the attacking prowess that the team possess and proved to be the key to unlock the Danish defense.”
Netherlands 2-0 Austria
Depay 11′ (p)
Netherlands booked their place in the second round as Group Winners following a comprehensive 2-0 win over Austria in Amsterdam. The Oranje may have been lucky with the tournament draw however the team morale is at an all-time high and is hitting top form at the moment.
De Boer opted for a very attacking approach which saw them rake up 14 shots on goal throughout the tie. The deadlock was broken early on when Dumfries was brought down inside the penalty area and Depay buried the resultant spot-kick to make it 1-0 to the Netherlands.
On to the second half and Netherlands substitute Malen found himself in a one-on-one situation opted to selflessly square the ball across to Dumfires to make it 2-0 on the night. The Dutch dominated throughout and would have won by a bigger margin, had it not been for some poor finishing.
BT: “This Netherlands team is a far cry of its predecessors from Euro 88 although it is slowly coming into top form at the right time. I expect Memphis Depay to gain in confidence as the tournament goes on and hope that the Oranje can really go far”
SK: “De Boer opts for a very flexible and fluid 3-5-2 system which provides a lot of width and given the pace and attacking prowess of the front line, Netherlands can challenge the best teams on their day.”
Portugal 2-4 Germany
Diogo Jota 67′
Rúben Dias 35′ og
Guerreiro 39′ og
Germany bounced back from their loss to World Champions France in the previous round with a spectacular come-from-behind 4-2 victory against Portugal.
Portugal got off to a great start, taking the lead against the run of play when Ronaldo opened the scoring from close range in the 15th minute. Germany, who had adopted a rather attacking approach to the tie, responded with a double blow to the Portugese within a space of a few minutes past the half-hour mark.
First Rúben Dias inadvertently cleared the ball into this own goal in the 35th minute to level the tie before Raphaël Guerreiro committed a similar error in the 39th as Portugal seemingly had no answer for the ruthless German onslaught.
On to the second half and any chance of a Portugese comeback was put to rest when Kai Havertz tapped in from close range in the 51st minute before Gosens headed in a cross from Joshua Kimmich to put the scoreline at 4-1. Diogo Jota pulled one back to make it 4-2 after being setup by Ronaldo in the 67th minute but it was all to little too late as Germany ran out as deserved winners.
BT: “Germany attacked from start to finish and I do not think the scoreline does justice to their efforts in the end. There were long phases in which Portgual seemed to have run out of ideas especially defensively and there was tremendous pressure being put by the German front line which resulted in those own-goals. “
SK: “Germany showed exactly how effective they are in crunch situations and I fully this team to exceed all expectations and go far in this tournament. They were outstanding in this game and outplayed Portugal over the 90 minutes.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.