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5 Things We Learned In Week 1 Of Euro 2020

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Week 1 of Euro 2020 has lived up to the hype of a major tournament and we have witnessed some outstanding individual and team performances across the six groups. There have been plenty of talking points with the likes of Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands already qualifying for the knockout stages, so here are 5 things we learned from Week 1 of Euro 2020.

1. International Football is as good as it gets


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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. Up until now though, that has not been the case with plenty of exciting matches in week one with teams pressing aggressively and playing some attractive attacking football. 

While the international game might not be as tactically evolved as club football, there is a certain beauty to tournament football that is unrivalled. Be it the extra emotion from the fans and players or the collective unity of a nation’s support, international football is definitely the pinnacle of the beautiful game.

2. France are still the team to beat


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While France did show some chinks in their armour in their 1-0 victory against Germany – giving too much space to opposition full-backs, uncoordinated pressing – they still proved that they are the team to beat. The reigning world champions were in cruise control for most of the match against Germany and could have easily ended the game as 3-0 winners if Kylian Mbappe delayed his runs by a fraction of a second. Les Bleus were incredibly compact and well organised and in Kylian Mbappe, they have football’s biggest get out of jail free card.

France entered as pre-tournament favourites and based on matchday 1, there should be no reason to consider any other outcome.

3. Italy have shown promise, but are yet to be tested


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The most impressive side in week 1 of Euro 2020 has been Italy. After not being able to score more than 2 goals in the history of the European Championships, the Azzurri kicked off Euro 2020 with two 3-0 victories over Switzerland and Turkey. The defence has been as solid as ever, with Donnarumma only having to make 1 save in 180 minutes of football and the likes of Berardi, Locatelli and Immobile have been excellent.

Italy have clearly shown that they are greater than the sum of their parts but the one caveat to their performances so far is that they are yet to be properly tested. Both Switzerland and Turkey were incredibly poor in Rome and Italy are yet to face sustained pressure from one of the top teams in the tournament.

4. Germany’s tournament is still salvageable


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While Germany will be disappointed with their 1-0 defeat to France on matchday 1, there was a lot to like about the performance. Joachim Low’s side won the Expected Goals battle against France (1.3 – 0.3) and had a few chances to equalise throughout the 90 minutes. Germany have been poor since the 2018 World Cup when using the 4-3-3, but the switch to a 3-4-3 system with Kimmich starting at right wing-back has made them a more potent attacking force and they could still surprise a few teams this summer.

5. The standard of refereeing has been incredibly high 


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One of the standout features of Euro 2020 has been the standard of refereeing. Given the high-quality officiating on display, it is no surprise that UEFA fly in the best referees from around the continent for this competition. There have been fewer game-defining controversies, precious little outrage and crucially no VAR delays where they are checking if someone’s arm-pit is off-side. It’s been no-nonsense stuff from the referees with diving and play-acting being punished and the flow of the game has been undisturbed, adding to the spectacle of the tournament.


[Image Credit: UEFA Euro 2020]