Euro 2020 Grades

Photo from City AM - https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cityam.com/euro-2020-postponed-until-2021/amp/

Photo from City AM – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cityam.com/euro-2020-postponed-until-2021/amp/

George Economides , Staff Writer

Sports content from The Radnorite is back and ready to kick off the new school year with a grading of every team’s performance from the Euro 2020 by George Economides. 

Turkey: D-

Leading up to the tournament, Turkey looked very strong in their WC qualifying matches, making them many people’s dark horse favorites. But one goal and zero points later, many of those hyping up Turkey were left wondering how they got it so wrong. Some group of guys must have gone in disguised as Turkey at Euro 2020, because that team was night and day compared to the group that won those qualifying matches.

 

Finland: D

Although Finland got off to a good start with a win against Denmark, it was all downhill from there. They sputtered out of the group with losses to Russia and Belgium. But it’s hard to expect much else from a Finland team that simply didn’t have much talent to begin with.

 

North Macedonia: D

North Macedonia achieved something very special by qualifying for their first ever Euros, but that was about the only thing they had going for them this summer. Macedonia’s inability to get a single point really shows how they were just happy to even play at Euro 2020. Can you blame them, though? Their lack of talent and prior tournament experience was always going to hold them back, so a D is rather fitting.

 

Poland: D 

It’s hard to say whether there was a lot expected of this Poland team because, aside from mercurial striker Robert Lewandowski, there really wasn’t much talent. But even then, you’d expect them to get more than one point from three matches. A D rating seems pretty fair for an uninspiring performance from the Polish at Euro 2020.

 

Scotland: D

Scotland’s first appearance at an international tournament in 23 years didn’t turn out quite as special as most thought it would. Despite fielding a number of quality players, Scotland was dreadful all tournament long. The Scottish only managed to score a single goal whilst conceding five in three matches. Euro 2020 has definitely left a bad taste in the Scots’s mouths; hopefully they don’t have to wait another 23 years just to be back in a tournament.

 

Hungary: C-

Hungary had their work cut out for them when they were drawn into the group of death with Germany, Spain and France. Despite the great challenge facing them, Hungary put their best foot forward and were able to get two draws from their matches against Germany and France. Although Hungary’s effort is commendable, there’s no award for finishing last in your group.

 

Russia: C- 

Russia put in a decent effort at Euro 2020 but their lack of consistency ultimately did them in. This was on full display when they threw away their spot in the RO16 following a 4-1 loss to Denmark on the final day.

 

Croatia: C

The Croatian golden generation began to lose its shine at Euro 2020. The Croats barely made it out of the group stage as they only managed to score a single point out of their first two group game matches. A win against a very poor Scotland side saw them through to the knockout stage, but this was short lived as they lost in the round of 16 to Spain. It’s time for the Croatian FA to look at their youth teams, considering the stars of their 2018 world cup finalist team have now faded.

 

Slovakia: C

Despite a good start to the group stage with a 2-1 win against Poland, things immediately fell apart for the Slovaks with a 1-0 loss to Sweden and a 5-0 trouncing at the hands of Spain. It wasn’t a great Euros for Slovakia but finishing third in a fairly hard group isn’t cause for shame. It’s better than what most people expected of them.

 

France: C+

It’s very rare that you see a country follow up a World Cup win with a victory at the Euros, and this France team was no exception: they looked sluggish and unfocused all tournament. This ultimately caught up with them in the RO16 when they threw away a two goal lead against Switzerland to eventually lose in penalties. Manager Didier Deschamp has to be disappointed with the lack of effort and ambition his team displayed this summer.

 

Germany: C+

Germany’s major tournament woes continued at Euro 2020. Germany managed to survive the group of death following a dramatic draw against Hungary, but they followed that up with a mostly toothless performance against England in the RO16. Sadly, legendary manager Joachim Low’s tenure came to an end with yet another major tournament disappointment.

 

Netherlands: C+ 

It looked quite bleak for the Dutch when both captain Virgil Van Dijk and star midfielder Donny Van De Beek were ruled out of Euro 2020 due to injury. Somehow, Holland was able to hold it together with a strong showing in the group stage; however, the Dutch fell apart in the RO16 as they lost to an inferior Czech side. C+ seems fitting for a performance that resulted in the firing of manager Frank De Boer.

 

Portugal: C+ 

Although Portugal’s squad greatly improved from the team that won the entire tournament in 2016, their play was quite the opposite. Manager Fernando Santos’ approach of parking the bus and letting Ronaldo just do his thing didn’t quite work this time as Belgium caught on to Portugal’s strategy in their RO16 matchup. It could be time for a tactical shake up in Portugal.

 

Ukraine: C+ 

It’s still hard to believe how Ukraine made it to the knockout phase. Despite losing two and winning only one of their four group games, Ukraine was the tournament’s 4th best 3rd place team, a good enough accomplishment for the RO16. Ukraine upset a strong Swedish side before getting stomped 4-0 by England in the quarterfinals. I’m sure Euro 2020 was a pleasant surprise for the Ukrainians.

 

Wales: C+ 

The Welsh looked to follow up a brilliant Euro 2016 with another strong appearance at Euro 2020. Although Wales didn’t make it to the semi-finals like in 2016, the Welsh did make a return to the knockout stage, but it was one to forget as Denmark smashed them 4-0. It was quite the average performance from Wales: not great but far from terrible.

 

Austria: B- 

Austria entered the competition lacking high expectations. They didn’t have many quality players in their squad, with captain David Alaba and midfielder Marcell Sabitizer the only names worth noting. But Austria impressed, winning two of their three group stage matches and falling only just short in the round of 16 (2-12)to the eventual champions, Italy

 

Sweden: B-

Despite losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, their nation’s best-ever player, before the start of the tournament, the Swedes finished first in their group by a decent margain. Although Swedens would immediately get eliminated by Ukraine, Euro 2020 is still cause for Swedish optimism. Who knows, maybe 41-year-old Zlatan will still be playing when World Cup 2022 rolls around.

 

Switzerland: B- 

It was a solid showing from the Swiss, who made it to the knockouts as the tournament’s best third place team through strong outings against Wales and Turkey. They continued their good form in their thrilling RO16 win against France, but a poor penalty shootout against Spain in the quarterfinal saw them eliminated from Euro 2020. It’s going to be hard for Switzerland to build on this summer’s performance with most of their best players nearing 30.

 

Belgium: B

Belgium were many’s favorites to win the tournament in the months leading up tothe Euros, as they featured a plethora of world class talents such as Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois. Initially, Belgium validated these predictions by flying through the group stage, scoring 8 goals  and not losing a single game. This good form continued with a 1-0 win against Portugal, but the Belgians were outclassed by Italy in the quarter-finals. Although reaching the quarter finals isn’t terrible, it’s hard to give Belgium higher than a B when they were tipped so heavily to win the entire tournament. 

 

Czech Republic: B

The Czech did well to make it out of a tough group and defeat a skilled Dutch side in the round of 16. Their defense was one of the best in the tournament as they only conceded 4 goals in 5 matches, with two of them coming in their quarterfinal exit against Denmark. Striker Patrick Shick also shined during the Euros as his 5 goals proved joint best with Ronaldo. It will be interesting to see what this Czech team can do next winter at the World Cup. 

 

Denmark: B+

The Danish national team had a nightmarish start to Euro 2020. They lost their first two matches and talisman Christian Eriksen was ruled out for the rest of the tournament after suffering a heart attack in the middle of a match. But the Danes rallied, winning their last group and ultimately making it to the semi-finals. Their resolve and mentality shone through as they made the best of some very tough circumstances.

 

Spain: B+ 

Spain had a very shaky start to their Euro campaign, only scoring two points from their first two matches. The Spainards hit their stride, however, in the knockout stage with wins against Croatia in the RO16 and Switzerland in the quarter finals. Their run ultimately came to an end in the semi-finals, but there is reason for optimism in the Spanish camp as many young stars have emerged in this squad.

 

England: A

Expectations started high for this England team heading into Euro 2020, as their squad was one of the most talented and well rounded in Europe. The three lions more than met their expectations as they made it all the way to the final, only conceding a single goal along the way. But they ultimately fell short, losing to Italy on penalties. England more than earned their A- grade with the valiant effort they put in at the Euros.

 

Italy: A+ 

The Azzurri more than made up for their failure to qualify for World Cup 2018 with their triumph at Euro 2020. Italy’s play was fantastic all-around, with their defense halting just about every attack it came across. Italy’s front three scored plenty of goals, but it would be unfair not to mention that their midfield did an amazing job of winning possession and controlling the pace of play,a crucial skill during the final against England. Italy gets the only A+ of the article for their title-winning effort.