Euro 2016 had ended with Portugal had become the champion. This is Portugal first major tournament trophy and finally Christiano Ronaldo has a winning medal with his country eclipsing Messi in this as Messi never won anything yet with Argentina. Today we will review on the tournament as per the title .
The first thing that need to be reviewed is the increase of the team from 24 to 16 that led to the format change. UEFA European Nation Cup had increased in the size from 4 team in 70’s to 8 team in the 90’s and in 1996 UEFA had decided to increase to 16 team and now it 24 team. With this increase the format need to be changed as now they is second round due to this and to complete the second round to 16 team 4 best 3rd placed will be choosen to this round. If UEFA had decided to stick on the previous format, then based on Euro 2016 result Portugal will be eliminated in the group stages as they had been in the 3rd place as the based on the previous format only the group winner and the runner up will go through to the next stages. But the good side of it,the last game of the group provided a must see games and entertainment value as the team will battled it out to be best 4 3rd team to qualify. This at least give some meaning to the final game as with the previous tournament the last game of the group can be dull and a meaningless game.
In this tournament there many first time happens. For the first time England had been knocked out by a minnow in major tournaments. England will always be knocked out by known team such as Portugal in 2004, German in 1996, and Italy in 2012 in European knockout stages. This also the first time England had been eliminated in the knockout stages not via a penalty shootout. The next first time happen is Wales whom are playing the first major tournament since 1958 World Cup had progressed to semi-final in a major tournament. Also France had beaten the German for the first time in major tournament since 1958 World Cup. After 1958 World Cup France had never ever beaten the German team in a major tournament either in the World Cup and European. Surprisingly this is the first time the German and France had meet in European Cup tournament. German also made the first as they had beaten Italy in a major tournament. German also made another uncharacteristic first as they had missed a penalty in the shootout. Since Uli Stielike had missed a penalty for the German in 1982 World Cup the German conversation rate of penalty shootout had been 100 percent. They never ever missed a penalty in the shootouts until this tournament but still they had won the penalty shootout.
The tournament also can be defined as the end of an era for the might Spanish team. Since winning the Euro 2008 Spain had conquered the world by winning the World Cup in 2010 and successfully defending the European title in Euro 2012. With this the Spanish had become the first time to successfully defended the European Title and had equalled the German record of 3 wins in the European Cup. First the Spanish team had been eliminated in the World Cup 2014 in the group stages and in this tournament they had been eliminated in the second round. With coach Vincente Del Bosque will resign after this tournament and maybe the new coach will bring a new personnel changes to the team and maybe abandoned the tiki taka possession football style of play that bring them so much of success.
The surprise package of the tournament is the Iceland team. With a population of 500,000 people that is less than maybe Messi and Christiano Ronaldo social media follower the Iceland had made their mark in the tournament when they had progressed to the second round and eliminated England team. This is also one the benefits of the new tournament as maybe with the old format Iceland maybe never played in this tournament. Iceland success can lead for UEFA to stick with this format for a long time to come.
The tournament also saw the return of the park the bus football style. Christiano Ronaldo had slammed the Iceland as a team with small mentaliy when his Portugal had drawn with the Iceland team 1-1 in the group stages. Certainly since they are many smaller team such Norther Ireland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the debutant Albania this team does not have a potent firepower and will play a defensives style to protect the lead or to not lose or to minimize the loses hence this can be the reason for the return of the boring football that had been played in tournament. Another horrible record is with the Sweden team as they had never had any shot on target in 2 games against Republic of Ireland and against Italy and the goal that had been scored by Swedish team in the opening match against Republic of Ireland is an own goal.
They are some promising young player in this tournament such Renato Sanches of Portugal whom will be playing in Bayern Munich next season and Adam Nagy from Hungary whom had been voted as the best young player at Euro 2016. With more exposure and experience both of this players can be key player for their country and club in the years to come. They are some well-known player whom had been disappointing in this tournament such Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eden Hazard, and Wayne Rooney whom expected to leave their mark in this tournament but unfortunately they didn’t.
And finally the winner of this tournaments the Portugal. For once in this Portugal is not all about Christiano Ronaldo as this Portugal had proven in this tournament that they are more than a 1-man team as Eder, Ricardo Quaresma, and Renato Sanchez had proven this. In the final when Christiano Ronaldo had been injured and need to be replaced the Portuguese team instead of disappointed and broken down they stuck together and absorb the French team onslaught to win the tournament. And this tournament Christiano Ronaldo had proven that he is not a selfish player but a team player as he had been supporting the team in the side-lines and taking a role ala an assistant manager in the final. His goal is only 3 in this tournament but it is also crucial goal for the Portugal team as 2 goals against Hungary led the team to progress to the second round and his thunderous header in the semi-final gave Portugal the opening goal against Wales. His role as the captain is undeniable in this tournaments.
Finally, in this tournament the Portugal team had achieved where Eusebio, Luis Figo, Rui Costa, and Victor Baia had failed which is winning a trophy. Christiano Ronaldo had eclipsed Messi by winning a trophy with his country and maybe he is greatest player in modern era. But as mentioned before this Portugal is all about team spirit and not a one man shows.
Overall this a fantastic and unpredictable Euro 2016. Even though the format had been changed but the essence of the European Nation Cup the unpredictability nature of this tournament had shown again in this tournament.