Euro 2016! What a great occasion as 24 teams, descended on 10 cities in France to compete for the top prize in European international football. Euro 2016 will go down as one of the most entertaining tournaments in recent years but what did we learn? Here are 10 things we can take away from Euro 2016.
1. It was all about the underdog.
Whether it was Iceland, Hungary, Wales or even eventual winners Portugal this was a tournament which was full of upsets and drama. The tournament came alive as the “smaller” nations caused upset after upset and did it in style.
2. England were Rubbish.
Oh dear, oh dear. As a long-in-the-tooth England fan I have learned not to expect too much from the three lions. However, the lack of passion, tactics and ability to do the basics right was embarrassing. The quick resignation of Roy Hodgson (England’s former manager) compounded a woeful showing at Euro 2016.
3. Irish fans are the best.
At a tournament where the ugly side of the beautiful game reared its head in the shape of hooliganism, one set of fans took it upon themselves to restore faith and prove that not all football fans are there for a fight. The Irish were largely praised for their impeccable behaviour and sense of fun and even sang lullabies to babies on the Metro!
4. The population of Iceland is 323,000.
Which is nearly the same amount of times this statistic was mentioned by commentators, hosts, players, coaches and then regurgitated by your mates, your parents and the postman the next day.
5. France stood strong.
After the Paris bombings in late 2015 it was thought that this tournament would be marred by security fears. Instead the tournament not only went ahead but France also put on an incredible show which they should be very proud of.
6. Belgium still can’t do it on the big occasions.
Belgium have one of the best international sides of the past 50 years – on paper. With a squad value thought to be worth over 320 million pounds, the Belgians struggled again to prove this on the main stage.
7. Iceland’s celebration is incredible.
The Viking thunderclap, where the players / staff gather in front of their supporters and clap / grunt in unison is one of the most epic celebrations in football history. I’ve started doing it when I don’t burn my toast. Not quite the same when it’s just you alone, clapping and grunting at your toaster in your flat whilst your girlfriend is out.
8. Ibrahimović can’t do it all.
King Zlatan to his fans, which in his mind is everyone, is undoubtedly one of football’s most formidable forces in front of goal, but the Swede couldn’t carry the rest of his team out of the group stages. Sweden failed to win any of their 3 group games and Ibrahimović failed to net at the tournament.
9. Wales are so much more than a one-man team.
The hype around Gareth Bale is merited and he proved that with great aplomb at Euro 2016, where he proved he is one of the world’s best footballers. However, the depth of the Welsh talent pool is not limited to one man as many would have you believe – Aaron Ramsey, Hal Robson-Kanu, Joe Ledley, Joe Allen and Ashley Williams all proved they can mix it up with the world’s elite. Not to mention the world-class stewardship of Manager Chris Coleman. Wales were exciting to watch, fearless and showed incredible team spirit. Why can’t England be more like this?!
10. Italy and Germany- Penalties.
Whilst Euro 2016 was one of the better tournaments in recent years, the shootout between Germany and Italy has to go down as one of the worst in football history.
By Charlie Fox friend and supporter of Living Paintings