LONDON, UK – Thanks to improbable and memorable upsets of three of soccer’s biggest giants, EURO 2020 is quickly becoming a tournament to remember.
It’s not too often in European soccer that powerhouses such as Germany and France are both playing and eliminated in the same tournament, as both Les Bleus and Die Mannschaft have multiple European titles between them, as well as six World Cup trophies, but in this crazy and unpredictable tournament, soccer fans have now seen the defending EURO champion (Portugal), World Cup champion (France), and arguably the most successful nation in European soccer history in Germany all going home.
And boy, did they go out in style!
After being up 3-1 with ten minutes left to play, France was all set to face longtime rival, Spain before Switzerland rallied for two late goals and win 5-3 on penalties, sending the Swiss thru to the quarters to face La Furia Roja instead of Les Bleus.
While the defending World Cup champions finally displayed something of life after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a memorable save on a penalty kick, that led to two goals from Karim Benzema and a strike from Paul Pogba, Les Bleus failed to control and close the game late in allowing goals from Haris Seferovic (81’) and Mario Gavranovic (90’).
However, this game will be more remembered for the missed opportunities by star striker Kylian Mbappe, most notably during the penalty shootout. Which is both sad and tragic considering his youth and burgeoning talent.
In the case of Portugal, you have arguably the biggest soccer star on the planet in Cristian Ronaldo, who just set the EURO record for most goals and games played, being ousted by a red-hot Belgian side—who along with Italy—look like the OTHER team to beat at EURO.
Thanks to having perhaps the best midfielder in the world in Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, and a thunderous strike from Thorgan Hazard—Eden’s little brother—the red Devils are gonna be a problem for the heavily-favored Azzuri of Italy.
England vs. Germany.
Two words, that if you’re a self-loathing and pessimistic English soccer fan, sends chills down your spine and creates a massive knot in your stomach due to the bitter one-sided history between the Three Lions and the big bad bullies from Germany.
Yes! We know. England’s greatest moment of glory vs. Germany, seems like yesterday—actually last century—as the Germans have just owned and dominated England with ease.
However, on a bright and sunny day at Wembley, Raheem Sterling (75’) and Harry Kane (86’) finally helped England break thru against their longtime nemesis in sending the home side thru to the quarters.
Lastly, we have an inspired Danish side playing for their fallen comrade in Christian Eriksen. Fueled by the support of soccer fans around the world, Denmark has the look and sentimental feels of being this year’s Iceland, whom rose to acclaim during their memorable World Cup run in 2018.
In what may be the second biggest win in English soccer history, there is not a dry eye on the island of Britannia in finally vanquishing their German nightmare. From a record number of own goals (8) to most goals ever scored in the tournament’s history (118), EURO 20 may have come a year late due to COVID but is quickly proving to be well worth the wait.