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5 Things We Learned From Euro 2020

The European Championship Trophy
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Euro 2020 has certainly lived up to the hype and has been one of the most captivating international Football tournaments in recent memory. We have seen outstanding individual and team performances, shocking upsets, penalty shootouts and a gripping finale to cap it all off. 

Football almost came home, but eventually, it was Italy who were crowned champions after a dramatic win on penalties at Wembley. There have been plenty of major talking points from the last month of footballing action, so here are the Five things we learned from Euro 2020.

1. Euro 2020 has been the best major tournament this century


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Euro 2020 has been the tournament that delivered. It had everything you could want from a major international event with plenty of emotion, heartbreak and penalty drama.

There were some fears that this tournament would be a dull spectacle with the majority of players running on empty after an arduous club season shortened by Covid. Add to that the continental format with countries made to travel across 11 European cities, and you would expect that teams would play low-energy defensive football.

Nothing could be further from the truth…and boy are we glad!

Yes, teams didn’t really press aggressively, but we were blessed to witness some excellent football across the entire summer. Be it the silk of Pedri and Paul Pogba, the power of Romelu Lukaku or the finesse of Karim Benzema. We saw it all.

2. Roberto Mancini is the real winner of the tournament


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While Euro 2020 was a great tournament, there weren’t any great sides that blasted their way through the competition. This wasn’t like France in 2018, Germany in 2014 or Spain in 2008-12 where they had the best group of players.

Yes, Italy had a wonderful group of midfield technicians and a defence filled with war-horses. But, on the other hand, this team lacked world-class attacking talent and had to rely on penalties to win both the semi-final and the final.

The primary reason for their success in the competition has been Mancini’s coaching and his ability to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Italy were one of the most organised teams defensively this summer, and Mancini continued to make key adjustments in games – like playing Insigne as a false-nine in the final – that gave them a better chance to succeed.

It is no coincidence that the Italian is only one of two managers in the competition to have won a league title in Europe’s top five leagues in the last decade, and along with Luis Enrique, is the only manager from the tournament who would be considered for elite club jobs in the future.

3. England will come back stronger


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While this England side have been exemplary in the way they carry themselves off the pitch, there is also a lot to like about what they do on the field. Gareth Southgate’s team were only a few penalty kicks away from ending their 55-year wait for a major trophy, and considering the talented group of youngsters emerging in the squad, this English side is incredibly well set up for international success for the next decade.

The Three Lions had the youngest squad at Euro 2020, and players such as Mount, Saka, Rice, Foden, Sancho and Shaw will learn from their experience this summer. Winning the European Championships was always going to be a bridge too far for this young group of players, but considering the level of talent waiting in the wings, you can almost guarantee that this will not be their last shot at international glory.

4. Pedri is a future Ballon D’Or winner


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The only real question one can have after watching Spain play this summer is whether Pedri will win two Ballon D’Ors or three. The Barcelona wonder-kid lit up the tournament with his performances and completely controlled the tempo of Spain’s midfield at just 18. Pedri completed every single one of his passes in the 90 minutes against Italy in the semi-final and finished the tournament with the most passes and dribbles into the final third.

5. The 2022 FIFA World Cup could be the most competitive tournament in recent times


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Look, it’s far too early to even think about this, but I can’t help myself. The European Championships were delayed by a year due to the pandemic which means the FIFA World Cup is only 18 months away. Hence, most squads could look very similar to what they are like right now, and for the neutrals, that is an incredibly exciting prospect.

Italy are now the champions of Europe while England and Spain have two of the most talented young squads in the world that will benefit from their experience this summer. Germany will surely turn things around under Hansi Flick, the Netherlands will become better when Van Dijk returns from injury and Portugal, France & Belgium should retain most of their star quality.

Over in South America, Argentina finally have an elite goalkeeper and an exciting squad that could complement Lionel Messi in his final hurrah on the world stage, while Brazil are always littered with top talent.

None of these teams have even qualified for the World Cup yet, but if most of these sides continue on their upward trajectory, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar could be the most competitive tournament in recent times.


[Imaage Credit: UEFA Euro 2020]