So far the UEFA Euro 2021 has gone through many ups and downs. All the teams of Group F comprising big teams like Germany, France, Portugal and Hungary are out of the tournament! People expected a lot from the France National team as it had the best squad with big players like Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane, Ngolo Kante and many more. But for a penalty miss by Mbappe against Switzerland in the Round of 16, they lost.
Germany, which also has amazing players like Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, lost to England by 2 goals. I think they could have scored at least a goal as they got quite a lot of chances. But they were unable to convert them. Muller missed a big chance, which could have equalized the score. Portugal, endowed with the players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Pepe lost against Belgium by 1 goal and could not qualify for the quarters. Hungary got eliminated in the group stage after a draw versus Germany.
Netherlands could not qualify versus the Czech Republic after central defender Matthijs De Ligt got a late red card, which made it easier for the opposing team to score 2 goals. Croatia, the runners-up in the World Cup 2018, lost versus Spain where they scored 3 and conceded 5.
Croatia was leading but Spain came back and scored 3 goals against them. In the 92nd minute, Croatia again equalized, which led to overtime. Spain quickly scored 2 more goals and finally won the match to qualify for the quarter-finals. Denmark won 4 nil versus Wales. Italy won 2-1 versus Austria. And Sweden could not qualify after losing to Ukraine.
Football is really an unpredictable game where you cannot say anything until and unless the match is over. For example, no one expected Switzerland would win versus France, but they did. Most people, including me, thought that Germany would win easily against England, but the opposite happened. Still, the matches till now have been really thrilling.
None were near to boring, even if a few of the matches like the one between Portugal and Belgium where the latter scored one and the only goal of the match. No one is sure who will be the champion, but I think Denmark can go till the semi-finals if they sustain their present strengths. They showed great performance versus Wales and are quite underrated.
I hope they do well. Belgium can surely reach the final if they keep playing like this. England is also great but I am not sure about them. At the end of the day, the one who’ll play well will win, and the others won’t, simple as that.
Whoever finally wins is not the only excitement behind the match. Even, the teams who have been eliminated showed amazing skills and performance. Paul Pogba of the France team, Robin Gosens of Germany, Renato Sanches of Portugal and the captain of Croatia Luka Modric showed their talent and tactics.
And of course, the goalkeepers like Manuel Neuer (Germany), Hugo Lloris (France), Jordan Pickford (England), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium) etc. played a major role in the backline of their respective teams. I can’t wait for the quarter-finals to start! It is a game of expectations, of excitements, of utter joy and despair. Long live the game of football, the game which is so close to the hearts of the millions in nook and corner of the world.
Aranyak Dutta is a student in Class X of Delhi Public School, Guwahati