Euro 2021 . . .

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Jun 08, 2021, 13:31

Just 3 more days before Italy take on Turkey in the opening match of Euro 2021.

So who is everyone tipping? I think France have the strongest team but against them is the fact that they're in the group of death along with Germany and Portugal. Quite how those three footballing superpowers ended up in the same group while perennial under-achievers Holland are in a group with the likes of Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia is a bit of a mystery but it does mean that Holland have a cruise to the semifinals while France, Germany and Portugal have a fight just to get out of the group.

Italy, Belgium and Spain also have pretty straightforward groups while England are in a trickier group against Croatia, Czech Republic and Scotland . . . but still nothing like the Group of Death.

I like Belgium. I tipped them for the last World Cup and they were a bit unlucky to lose in the semifinal to eventual winners France but a lot will depend on Kevin de Bruyne getting over his facial injury and Eden Hazard re-discovering his form from 2 years ago. If Belgium have those two players fit and firing then I give them a good chance.

Apart from France and Belgium, teams like Germany, Portugal, Italy, Spain and England have pretty good squads that are capable of winning the tournament if a bit of luck goes their way while Holland don't have a particularly impressive squad but benefit from a very easy draw.

Wales will be among my personal favourites but I can't see them repeating their 2016 heroics where they topped their group and went all the way to the semifinals . . . but I'll be hoping lightning can strike twice.

So who does everyone else think could win?

Jun 29, 2021, 01:02

Two tremendous games today….in both cases the underdog came back, and Switzerland prevailed. Very little in sport beats a soccer shoot out.

Jun 30, 2021, 20:09

Let me just put it out there . . . if England don't at least make the finals of Euro21 then they will officially take the title of sports biggest chokers from the Proteas.

Their draw is reminiscent of the Springboks in 2007.

Granted they had a relatively tough last 16 game against Germany but this is easily the weakest German team I've seen at a major championship . . . and now they play Ukraine in the quarters and should play the winner of Czech Republic and Denmark in the semis. Compare that to Spain, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland fighting out the other half of the draw.

England's defence has been rock solid and they haven't conceded a single goal in the tournament and with Harry Kane finally scoring against Germany and becoming the only England player other than the red hot Raheem Sterling to score, his confidence will be up. Gareth Southgate should now finally see the value of Jack Grealish and I expect him to start ahead of Sakho and provide the midfield creativity like he did against the Germans.

I should have learned my lesson by now after so many years of supporting England's football team only to see them choke but I'm saying it one more time . . . come on England!!!

I really like this current Belgian team but am very worried by the recent injuries to their two stars Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard. If they're both gone then I give them very little chance of beating the very consistent Italians.

I also have a soft spot for Denmark in these Championships. That dreadful incident involving Christian Eriksen has really fired them up and they're playing their hearts out for their stricken teammate.

What a great tournament it's been.

Jun 30, 2021, 20:39

How unbelievable is Jack Grealish?

Probably one of the top 3 in the world right now.

He offers something so different to the rest of the pack.

It’s like when we used to play junior soccer and there was that one bloke who’d dribble the entire team and still score.

Jun 30, 2021, 21:12

Grealish is one of those players who just seems to have extra time on the ball . . . like Zidane and Bergkamp. Don't think Southgate has recognised his value until recently. 

Reminds me a lot of Gazza as well . . . but not sure if you're old enough to remember Gazza as a player, Flash.

Jul 05, 2021, 21:33

England should go all the way and pull it off.

Worth a flutter on the books I think.

Jul 06, 2021, 15:43

I’m guessing Italy, but this is England’s best shot in decades.

Jul 07, 2021, 04:45

Phew that was close….stick with moz.

Jul 07, 2021, 06:52

England are massively overrated. Italy won't miss the multiple chances the Germans blew! 

Jul 08, 2021, 00:05

Well done England. Fantastic scenes at Wembley. They haven't won anything yet but it's the first time they've reached the final of this tournament so well done.

Come on England!

Jul 11, 2021, 19:26

It's coming home. 

Jul 12, 2021, 00:05

Stick with Moz…..the moment Peeper picked England I knew my Italian pick was money. I don’t predict often, it’s a mug’s game….but I just had a feeling about this one. Well done Italy…..Southgate had a horrible line up for the penalties two players cold off the bench and a school kid.

‘Come on England’…..hahaha….the old Rooinek curse does it again.

Jul 12, 2021, 00:09

Penalties are certainly not England's forte. However, Italy was the best team on the day and deserved the win.

After the first goal, England became very defensive. That forced Italy to play an attacking game, and they got better as the match progressed.

England showed a brief comeback during extra time, but they lacked the finishing ability to convert these opportunities. 

Jul 12, 2021, 03:44

If Chiesa wasn’t injured I think Italy would have won in regulation, he was the most dangerous player on the park. You’re right that England defended a lead, it was far too early in the game to do that. And Southgate’s shoot out squad blunder will be talked about every time England is in an important shoot out.

Jul 12, 2021, 16:00

And I hear rumors of poor sportsmanship by the English team and their fans...surely not the Poms, they're all gentlemen!!!

Jul 12, 2021, 16:26

Remember the RWC, their pathetic behaviour after being beaten was never properly outed.

Jul 12, 2021, 20:41

I made sure not to go outside after the game to be sure to avoid any drunk fans  :ermm:

Jul 12, 2021, 20:46

Haven't heard of any reports of poor sportsmanship by the English team, they and Southgate where exemplary throughout the tournament. Unfortunately a notable minority of English fans disgraced themselves with some of their actions through the tournament. Yobbish racist guerrier's.

Jul 13, 2021, 16:22

Jul 15, 2021, 18:46

The last three players to take England's kicks were a complete disaster and the manager must take the blame for his decision to select them for the shoot-out.

Shaw should never have been subbed as he was one of the stars of the England team. Sure he would have scored from the spot.

But I enjoyed the tournament.

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