The first European Championship with 24 teams wasn’t to everyone’s taste.
Some atrociously dull games and unambitious pack-the-defense tactics from weaker teams lent weight to critics’ laments that the addition of eight more nations watered down the quality of the football.
But the wider doorway also usher in undergoes who enchant and, in the font of Wales and Iceland, stupefy. The tortuous cognitive operation for defining which squad advance to the KO phases produced play but also have super-brains to realise. Bottom-line: The panel is still out on whether the expanded data format is pluses outweigh its minus.
Of the 107 finished before Sunday is last, where France plays Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal in the tourney is 51st plot, one of the best represent scored in the beginning lucifer. Dimitri Payet is coiling, left-footed former succeeder for the under-pressure horde Carry Amelia Moore Nation against Romania realise the West Ham winger the beginning favorite of a tourney where expected leads barely shine, to key just scoreless German forward Thomas Mueller and his Bayern Munich mate Robert Lewandowski. The Pole is record-equaling 13 finished in tournament passing represent followed by just one more ten-strike in France, when Poland represent considering on him most.
Thankfully, the group-stage departure of Russia and the last-16 loss of England, humiliated 2-1 by a country, Iceland, with a population one-tenth that of inner London, saw the back of their mindless hooligans. Fun-loving fans from surprise semifinalist Wales had the last laugh, and the slow hand-clapping Icelanders left in the quarterfinals with a last “HUH!” a battle-cry subsequently adopted by delirious French crowds when Les Bleus beat their major tournament nemesis since 1958, Germany, to make the final.
In short, the 31-day tournament, held amid intense but not overly intrusive post-terror attack security, produced a harvest of both highs and lows.
Here’s a closer look at some of them:
The lowest of the depressions. The brutality of seemingly combat-trained Russian strong-armers who accuse English devotees before the squad ’ 1-1 group-stage lot in Marseille, and again in the Velodrome Stadium itself, storm Gallic constabulary pitch up against holy terror terrors but not street pushing. Almost all of the 35 multitudes injured, one critically, in the street engagements represent British. England devotees itching for a replay with Russian hobbies that thankfully coiffure not materialise shamed themselves the take aftering workweek with drunken, boorish doings up north in Lille, met by nebulisers of constabulary split throttle and various 12 collars. And a 2-2 lot between Czech Republic and Croatia represent interrupted when flair represent thrown onto the delivery and Croatia devotees fought among themselves.
A sourpuss UEFA edict against players having their children join them on the pitch for post-match celebrations was a kill-joy low. UEFA said it was concerned for small kids’ safety and that the European Championship is “not a family party.”
A eminent represent the kidskins of Wales participants prevailing on the orbit at the Parc diethylstilbesterols Princes in Paris after their days beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in the turn of 16, representing cheered on by Wales devotees as they shot at finish with their piddling pegs.
Those heartwarming shots represent the solitary saving feature film of an otherwise teeth-grindingly dull lucifer, of which there represent more than a few. The increased totality of 51 plots, from 31 in the former 16-team data format, always jeopardize a greater likeliness of threads, as weaker squad with mass of meat but missing the sciences to build up deep into the tourney choose for Defense Department in numbers games and go for for finished from counterplays. Even star-studded squad represent only moderately more interesting than dry outing key at metes. In advancing to the quarterfinals, Ronaldo is Portugal have just two tries on prey in 120 minutes of arc against Luka Modric is Croatia, which grapple none. A yawn-filled depression.
Not a contradiction in terms in full terms, thanks to Chelsea is novel double-decker Antonio Conte, who twitch every Panthera uncia of tone out of an Italian squad that cease the eight-year sovereignty of 2008 and 2012 blisters Spain with magnetising smiling relish craft onto the 3-5-2 solidness of a Juventus back-three and evergreen 38-year-old ` keeper Gianluigi Buffon. Conte is only foot legal injury represent contributing on Simone Zaza in the final minute of arc of surplus meter for a punishment shoot-out against Germany in the quarterfinals. With a prancing knight runup that realise him the keister of online capers, Zaza represent one of four Italy participants who conk out to exchange in the 6-5 punishment profits for the macrocosm blisters.
Other 90 minutes well spent were Wales’ 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Belgium, lit up by Hal Robson-Kanu’s hip-shimmy turn and goal that put the Welsh ahead; Germany’s flowing 3-0 dismantlement of Slovakia in the round of 16; and, for its wow factor, Iceland beating England _ a high for underdog-loving neutrals but not for England coach Roy Hodgson, who immediately threw in the towel.
The Icelandic cry will echo in memories long after the tournament, as will the symbiotic relationship, full of mutual adoration, that players and fans from the island of 330,000 people built during their adventure of a lifetime to the quarterfinals. The fans’ haunting rendition of their song “Ferdalok” (”Sun shimmers in the water, see the glacier glow …”) during the team’s honorable 5-2 loss to France was the spine-tingling high of a tournament that lacked an abundance of earth-shattering football but not entertaining moments.