The Euro 2020 tournament (yes it is 2021) is now in the books. Italy’s resiliency and class securing the Euro 2020 championship. A tournament with many highs and lows. Hawkeye Sidekick reflects on the tournament.
Easy choice. Italy. They sent out the statement of intent with that opening night win against Turkey and never looked back.
Thirty-four games now unbeaten, Roberto Mancini and management staff have assembled a squad who will be a front runner for the 2022 World Cup.
Their celebrations, their unity with the Italian national and dedicated their wins to those impacted by the pandemic struck home. The Italian national team and its support within the country has never being greater.
Best story of the tournament
Denmark. Rewind the tape to that first Saturday of the tournament and Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsing to the ground during the Denmark vs. Finland fixture.
The TV editorial decision making was deplorable but the Danish player, medical staff and people were extraordinary. How they reacted to the situation and now Eriksen is on the road to recovery was heartwarming.
Other teams would have accepted their fate after losing their opening game but Denmark used Eriksen was an inspirational figure and superb performances ensued.
The Denmark vs. Belgium game for me was one of the games of the tournament and then came comprehensive wins over Russia, Wales and Czech Republic.
Damsgaard and Dolberg are now household names. The side are well equipped and will look with confidence to secure qualification to the 2022 World Cup. A superb story.
Worse team of the tournament
Plenty of contenders here but Turkey were an enormous letdown. A team who were vaunted by many pundits but the side never showed up in any of the group games. Only one goal to show for their efforts and they were cut apart defensively.
Underperforming team of the tournament
Belgium. This golden generation stoked debate on my Facebook page. This side lost their chance in the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Roberto Martinez’s side were exposed. Kevin de Bruyne’s influence was more than we anticipated. The defensive side of the team was truly exposed against a rampaging Italian side in the last eight round.
A team who offer so much but deliver so little when it comes down to the crunch. Portugal were a close second given their squad depth. They imploded against Germany and did not recover thereafter.
Emerging player of the tournament
Schick was not on the radar before this tournament but the Czech Republic striker erupted to life with that stunning brace against Scotland in the opening fixture.
His contributions were timely, his accuracy in front of goal sensational. A player who should secure a massive transfer during this summer window.
Deplorable act of the tournament
A few candidates here. UEFA not supporting the Rainbow protest from day one of this tournament. Their diversity and inclusion message is in tatters.
Pavard’s concussion incident left unchecked was another incident that the authorities failed to act. The French full back is a standout performer but his performances were affected by this. No question!
VAR was decent throughout the tournament (EPL take note) but the game winning goal in the England vs. Denmark contest had so much wrong to it.
Where do you start? The two footballs on the pitch. The Sterling ‘challenge’. No one in VAR had the courage to correct the issue.
England fans who continued to boo national anthems, who continued to act the pup outside Wembley and inside Wembley.
The invasion yesterday into Wembley was scandalous but the policing operation was even more shambolic. The social media abuse to the England players who missed penalties last night, sadly expected and precious little will be done once the dust and broken glasses outside Wembley are collected.
Infighting team of the tournament
France. You got to love the French. The infighting within the squad, the exchanges of word between family members of the squad was huge. It was a soap opera within the main event.
Perhaps, it was a blessing that they were knocked out of the tournament early by Switzerland. Deschamps has a massive job to get the squad back on side to have any chance of retaining their World Cup crown next year.
Hawkeye Sidekick Team of the Tournament (5-3-2)
Donnarumma. Spinazzola, Chiellini, Bonucci, Maguire, Walker, Pedri, Jorginho, Verratti, Chiesa, Schick.