The 2016 European championships are behind us and in my living memory it has to be one of the worst Euros I’ve experienced. Exclude the appalling performances by the England side and this still has to be one of the worst championships.
Firstly the idea of expanding the competition from 16 to 24 for teams may have sounded a good idea but when you start to factor in the lesser nations that qualified and the type of football you can only see the negatives. Yes the likes of Iceland made the quarter finals but for the most part the brand of football they played was somewhat negative. A defensive style not looking to be beaten was the way they approached it and for the most part were very successful until they met a top nation. The concept could also be considered a success with the likes of Iceland, Wales and Northern Ireland exceeding their pre tournaments expectations but overall the brand of football at this tournament was down on previous years.
This was shown in the goals per game ratio, the worst since 1996, the tournament saw just over 2 goals a game and the fact that the top 6 of 8 of the 3rd place finishers qualified for the knockout stage which as stated earlier meant lesser nations were looking not to get beat in order to make the knockout stages of the competition meant a lesser quality of nation could make it beyond the group stage unlike the top 2 from each group in previous years.
1 day removed from the month long tournament and already in some sections of the media Portugal are being labelled the worst European champions ever and the facts dont dispute this. Portugal didn’t win a group a game, 3 draws saw Portugal quality as one of top 3rd places sides and the only side they beat in 90 minutes in the whole tournament was Wales in the semi finals. Portugal won’t be to bothered by this as they are currently still celebrating their first major trophy but the fact they only won the one game in 90 minutes dilutes this for a lot of football fans.
Lastly it wouldn’t be right to mention this tournament without mentioning England. A year where 2do much was promised and so little was delivered. A young energetic side who had the potential and ability to go far but game by game player by player they failed to live up to the hype. Harry Kane looked spent, Dele Ali was completely off the pace, Rooney struggled in midfield, Jack Wilshere should never have been there ahead of Danny Drinkwater and Joe Harts performances were somewhat reminiscent of a few years ago when we was dropped by his club side. The only England player than can realistically come away with any credit was Eric Diet and even then he was only good in a lacklustre side.
So all in all even if you exclude England’s abject performances this still has to go down as one worst championships in my living memory and with 24 teams set to qualify for 2020 unless things change we could see an equally poor tournament in 4 years time.