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Which Teams Have the Most European Championship Trophies?

Italy’s come-from-behind win over England helped ensured the Azzurri would win their second European Championship trophy in the country’s history on Sunday.

With the victory, the Italians became the fourth nation to win two or more Euros titles, joining Germany, Spain and France.

For Italy, their Euro 2020 win snapped a 52-year drought in the competition after Roberto Mancini’s side captured the victory.

Today, we take a look at which countries have won the most European Championship trophies in the history of the competition.

Germany (3) – 1972, 1980, 1996

The Germans have had one of the most historic teams on any global football stage, boasting four World Cups and three Euros titles. Their win at Euro 1996 featured the team’s top scorer Jurgen Klinsmann and defender Matthias Sammer.

Spain (3) – 1964, 2008, 2012

The Spanish went on one of the most impressive runs in international football history between 2007 and 2012, winning two Euros titles and a World Cup crown in between during the 2010 edition of the tournament. La Furia Roja were considered one of the greatest teams of all-time during that run, featuring superstars like Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Torres.

Italy (2) – 1968, 2020

The Azzurri earned their second Euros title after an exciting Euro 2020 win over England on penalty kicks. Roberto Mancini’s side ended a 52-year drought in the competition and also prevented The Three Lions from winning their first Euro title in England’s history.

France (2) – 1984, 2000

The French are still the reigning champions of the world, but many were surprised to not see them reach the Euro final in 2021. It’s been awhile since they’ve had the ultimate success in the competition despite reaching the final in the 2016 edition. Les Bleus are certainly one of the most talented squads in the world though, so the limits that they can achieve are uncapped.

Soviet Union (1) – 1960

Although the Soviet Union has since disbanded, they were a force in the early days of the Euros after reaching four finals between 1960 and 1990 and winning their lone trophy against Yugoslavia.

Portugal (1) – 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo helped deliver his nation’s first and only Euros title in 2016 after a long wait for the Portuguese. After reaching the 2004 final in Ronaldo’s debut season for the national team, it took 12 years for Portugal to put it all together and deliver on the biggest stage in European football.

Czech Republic (1) – 1976

The Czechs won their only tournament during the days of the former Czechoslovakia when the Euros only featured four teams, but it’s something that will never be taken away from them. The Czechs had five different goalscorers during the Euros that year and beat out West Germany in the final, which featured stars Dieter Muller and Franz Beckenbauer.

Netherlands (1) – 1988

The Dutch have had some insanely talented teams over the years, but they finally put it all together in 1988 with Marco Van Basten and Ronald Koeman. 

Denmark (1) – 1992

The Danes achieved the near impossible in 1992 after almost not even making the tournament. Denmark replaced Yugoslavia — who were removed from the competition due to ongoing warfare in the country — and Peter Schmeichel and Co. went on to win the tournament. It’s still considered a massive upset and the 1992 edition of the Euros served as the last time players could utilize back passes to the goalkeeper.

Greece (1) – 2004

Like Denmark, Greece pulled off an epic upset at Euro 2004 by topping Ronaldo and Portugal twice in the competition. The Greek side faced 80-1 odds heading into the tournament, and beat defending champions France and the Czech Republic before facing Portugal in the title match.

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Roberto Mancini Has Restored Italy Among Football’s Elite

For a footballing nation like Italy, missing out on any major tournament is a significant deal, but when it’s the World Cup major red flags are raised. In 2018, the Azzurri had to watch yet another European country win the World Cup in Russia while Italy sat home after missing the competition.

Since former Italian manager Gian Piero Ventura was sacked during Italy’s failed World Cup qualifying run, there’s been a renaissance of sorts happening under current coach Roberto Mancini. 

His presence has led the Azzurri on an astounding run since 2018, putting his side in position to go unbeaten in 34 consecutive matches — one away from tying Spain and Brazil for the all-time record.

In the time that passed after Italy’s 2006 World Cup title over France the Azzurri had struggled to find an attacking identity and for that reason they largely weren’t competitive in the biggest competitions except for Euro 2012 — where they suffered a significant 4-0 beatdown against Spain in the final.

Since Mancini has taken charge of the Italian national team though he’s brought an adjusted attitude and a clear vision for what the Azzurri should be not just at Euro 2020 but moving forward towards the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and beyond.

Mancini hasn’t been afraid to take risks during his tenure, something that Italian teams of the past have sometimes been criticized for. 

Make no mistake, Italy has been a consistent force at the defensive end of the pitch for decades, with Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Fabio Cannavaro among the top players to man the back line for the Azzurri.

That trend of having stellar defensive play was evident throughout the Euros, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci manning the center of the back line.

However, Italian teams previously conceded significant spells of possession and didn’t have the attacking flair that this team currently boasts. Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa are two outstanding talents on the wings with so much creativity between the two of them.

The biggest difference though between the side that missed the World Cup three years ago and now lies in the midfield.

Nico Barella, Marco Verratti and Jorginho have formed an unbreakable partnership in the center of the park, with the Chelsea man serving as the perfect two-way player to help initiate attacks for Italy.

Italy’s epic penalty shootout performance against England, which helped the Azzurri win Sunday’s title match in London, exemplified the spirit of this current Italy team and the reason for excitement with the country’s youth that will mold the squad for many years to come.

Two men that helped solidify a chance for the Azzurri to even reach the shootout were Manuel Locatelli and Domenico Berardi, players that currently ply their trade at Sassuolo in Serie A — a club that very few would’ve expected stars of the tournament to come from.

Once the match reached the shootout though, Gianluigi Donnarumma took over and put himself into another echelon when it comes to the conversation of the world’s best shot stoppers.

Donnarumma made two crucial saves in the shootout on Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, while Marcus Rashford’s penalty miss clattered off the post as well.

With the World Cup less than a year-and-a-half away from being played in Qatar, everyone will be watching Italy’s continued presence and patiently wait to see if they can capture another major trophy in 2022.

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Euro 2020 Breakdown: Denmark Meets England

Everyone in the United Kingdom is wondering if “It’s Coming Home” will become a reality in 2021, and England are primed for a chance at reaching the final as they take on Denmark.

The star-studded Three Lions have all the pieces necessary to capture a title and are the only team left at Euro 2020 that haven’t conceded a goal in the competition.

Meanwhile, the Danes are in a position where they seek their second Euros title after previously winning in 1992.

Here’s a closer look at what the two teams will look like on Wednesday and how the match will turn out.

Leading Goalscorers

England: Raheem Sterling (3)

Denmark: Kasper Dolberg (4)

History

The two sides have a rich history competing against each other, however, England has a sizable advantage in the head-to-head record, boasting 12 wins to Denmark’s four.

In their most recent encounter, the Danes earned a 1-0 win during the UEFA Nations League back in Oct. 2020.

With England and Denmark last having met in the Euros back in 1992 — a 0-0 draw — there’s a direct link between that match and Wednesday’s encounter in the form of the goalkeepers.

Peter Schmeichel helped lead Denmark to Euros glory that year, while his son — Kasper — now serves as the No. 1 in goal for the Danes.

Probable Lineups

England: Jordan Pickford; Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker; Luke Shaw, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, Kieran Trippier; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka

Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel; Jannik Vestergaard, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen; Joakim Maehle, Thomas Delaney, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jens Stryger Larsen; Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Martin Braithwaite

Breakdown

Denmark has reached the semifinals after the traumatic experience they endured in their opening match involving Christian Eriksen, but the Danes are now exceeding expectations.

Since their two opening defeats against Finland and Belgium, the Danes have won three straight and boast a goal difference of plus-8 during that span after scoring 10 goals.

Meanwhile, the Three Lions haven’t allowed a goal to date at Euro 2020 and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been one of the top players in the entire competition.

With so much attacking depth for England, Gareth Southgate has plenty of options off the bench and that could spell trouble for the Danes as the match wears on.

England has utilized players like Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden in substitute roles throughout the Euros, and each of them have offered a different dimension in the English attack.

Prediction: England 2-1 Denmark

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Euro 2020 Breakdown: Italy Faces Spain

Expectations were high for Italy coming into Euro 2020 with Roberto Mancini’s revitalization as the Azzurri manager, while Luis Enrique and Spain have surely exceeded what people thought of La Furia Roja entering this summer.

The two sides will meet in the Euro semi finals on Tuesday with a spot in the title match on the line, and although the Italians enter as a slight betting favorite there’s really not much between the two giants.

The Azzurri have only allowed two goals in five matches, which only trails England in the competition, while Spain have been stout defensively as well with the introduction of Aymeric Laporte after switching his allegiances to La Furia Roja ahead of the Euros.

Here’s a closer look at what the two teams will look like on Tuesday and how the match will turn out.

Leading Goalscorers

Italy: Manuel Locatelli, Matteo Pessina, Lorenzo Insigne (2)

Spain: Alvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia, Ferran Torres (2)

Key Injuries/Suspensions

Italy: Leonardo Spinazzola

Spain: Pablo Sarabia

Head-to-Head History

The all-time meetings between the two nations are tight, but the Italians have been outmatched over the past two decades, only winning two fixtures in their last 14 meetings.

Spain holds a narrow advantage all-time with 12 victories to Italy’s 9 wins, with the two teams drawing on 12 occasions.

Gonzalo Arroyo – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

That includes Spain’s 4-0 beatdown of the Azzurri in 2012 at that year’s final when the Spanish claimed their third major trophy in a span of four years.

Italy’s most recent win came at Euro 2016, while Spain won their most recent meeting against the Azzurri in 2017 during World Cup qualifying.

Probable Lineups

Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne

Spain: Simon; Azpilicueta, Laporte, Torres, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Torres, Morata, Olmo

Breakdown

Since 2000, Spain and/or Italy have reached the final in three of the last five European Championships.

Now, one of these two nations can reach yet another title match on Tuesday with a victory. These two countries have very similar styles of play, and that’s what makes this game especially intriguing with just four teams remaining in the competition.

The Azzurri are very much a possession-based side, with their wing backs getting involved in the play very frequently throughout matches. Leonardo Spinazzola was having an incredible tournament before suffering a torn Achilles against Belgium in the quarter finals, but there’s still enough talent to replace him at right back.

Alex Grimm – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Meanwhile, Spain’s tiki taka style very much resembles Barcelona’s teams that have found tremendous winning ways over the years, and with Pedri, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba all involved in the starting team it’s no surprise to see the Barca influence.

The key for both teams comes down to finishing chances in high positions considering Italy and Spain like to press high up the pitch. When the mistakes come from the opposing team, who will make their opponent pay more frequently?

In this year’s Euros, Italy have scored three goals that have come from forced turnovers in the attacking third, which makes the Azzurri extremely dangerous.

Prediction: Italy 3-1 Spain

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Michel Platini Had the Greatest Euros Performance in 1984

The name Michel Platini doesn’t hold the same weight it once did after the transgressions the former head of UEFA made during his time in charge of the governing body.

Corruption marred his legacy with the European organization and ultimately led to his ban from all football activities back in 2015, but Platini’s time as a player was quite impressive.

The former France international is third all-time for Les Bleus in goals scored with 41 despite only having played in 72 matches. Platini’s biggest feat of all came in the mid-1980s though when France competed in Euro 1984.

France has had decorated players throughout its history, including Thierry Henry, Lillian Thuram, Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira, however, Platini was one of the first key players to deliver a major trophy for Les Bleus.

Prior to 1984, France had never won an international competition, but that would change at Euro 1984 thanks to one of the most incredible individual performances ever seen at a major tournament.

Although the tournament only featured eight teams — one-third of the total at Euro 2020 — Platini and France were largely dominant throughout the group stage and that quality seeped into the knockout phase.

Platini finished the group stage with seven goals in three matches, including hat-tricks against Belgium and Yugoslavia. 

For good measure, Platini scored the winners against Portugal and Spain in the semifinal and final to deliver that elusive trophy for France and capped off an incredible competition for the attacking midfielder.

To put it into perspective, Denmark’s Frank Arnesen finished second in that year’s Golden Boot race with three goals, the largest margin ever at any European Championship. 

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Platini’s playing days though was that he finished his international career with Kuwait after representing France for over a decade.

It’s believed that Platini had received a request from the Emir of Kuwait to appear in a friendly against the former Soviet Union. Platini played less than half the match as Kuwait lost 2-0.

The reason for this request remains unknown, but it’s conceivable that money may have been involved. 

Needless to say, Platini will always have the accolades to back up the claim that he in fact had the greatest Euros performance of all-time.

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Euro 2020 Quarterfinals Power Rankings

We’re down to the final eight at Euro 2020 and the fun is about to begin for the teams remaining in the tournament.

We’ve seen a number of upsets so far this summer, with major title contenders like France, Portugal and Germany all eliminated before the quarterfinals.

Italy and Belgium headline the matchups in the next round, despite the Red Devils potentially missing two of their biggest stars for the encounter. Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are both expected to be sidelined, which means Belgium will have to utilize its bench to knock out a difficult Italy team.

Meanwhile, tournament heartthrobs Denmark remain in the mix for a Euros title after rallying in the midst of a tragedy. The Danes have shown their grit after Christian Eriksen’s collapse on their opening matchday and Denmark is now looking to become more than just a sentimental favorite this summer. 

[ READ MORE: MEET MANUEL LOCATELLI ]

With the quarterfinals getting ready to kick off on Friday, we’re ranking all eight remaining nations at this year’s European Championships.

8. Ukraine
Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Andriy Shevchenko’s side hasn’t been the most impressive team at the tournament, but they play without fear and with several stars in attack Ukraine has potential to make more noise.

Andriy Yarmolenko, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ruslan Malinovskyi boast major European club experience and their next meeting against England will certainly require a disciplined performance against one of the top remaining teams.

7. Denmark
Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

The Danes are the heartfelt story of the competition and we all are rooting for this team to make a run at their first Euros title since 1992. 

There’s no doubt this team has grit and some really good pieces, but given the stakes at this point and quality of teams remaining Denmark are certainly one of the weaker squads left in the competition.

6. Czech Republic
Alex Livesey – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Similar to Denmark, the Czech Republic entered the quarterfinals aiming to build on an already impressive tournament that has seen Tomas Soucek and Co. exceed expectations.

To this point, the Czechs have only conceded two goals while earning positive results against Scotland, Croatia and Netherlands. Their defensive shape will make them hard to break down, while Patrik Schick is having a breakout tournament up front and could finish in the mix for the Golden Boot.

5. Spain
Martin Rose – UEFA / Contributor

trophies in a span of 13 years but this Luis Enrique-led team is different.

There isn’t the same star power as those teams of the past, however, Spain is still performing relatively well in the defensive third and if Alvaro Morata and Co. replicate their form that they had against Croatia then it might be time to take Spain more seriously.

4. Switzerland
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The Swiss have a knack for reaching the knockout round of major competitions, but very few predicted Switzerland could accomplish what they did against France.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Co. knocked out the reigning World Cup winners after trailing 3-1 late in their Round of 16 match, but the Swiss grew stronger as the game wore on. They will be a tough out for Spain and any team they play if they advance past the quarterfinals.

3. Belgium
Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images

It’s fair to say Belgium’s meeting with Italy is the marquee match of the quarterfinals and both sides are very much title favorites given the way the tournament is shaping up.

The Red Devils will have to deal with two significant injuries though, as Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard will likely miss their encounter with the Azzurri. 

Roberto Martinez’s side still has talisman and leading goalscorer Romelu Lukaku, but the challenge of beating a compact Italian team will be significantly greater without two of their attacking stars.

2. England
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With Jordan Pickford in net and England the only team left in the competition not to concede a goal yet, it’s easy to see why the Three Lions check in at No. 2 on this list.

Although Harry Kane and the England attack have looked a bit off through their first four matches, Raheem Sterling is firing with three goals and Kane managed to break his scoreless run against Germany.

Gareth Southgate’s side sit on the more favorable half of the draw, which could allow England to make their first Euros final in the history of the competition.

1. Italy
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With only one goal allowed in their first four matches, Italy are the favorites to win the Euros.

Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri are incredibly difficult to break down defensively and the wealth of options they have in their attack makes it very tricky to strategize as an opposition.

Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile have formed an amazing front three partnership and it’ll be necessary to throw them off their games if Italy are to be defeated.

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Meet Manuel Locatelli, Italy’s Secret Weapon

Italy’s Euro 2020 journey is continuing into the quarterfinals, and with Roberto Mancini’s side making real noise at the tournament people are beginning to take notice of players they hadn’t previously watched.

Manuel Locatelli fits that build and has quickly become one of the most critical players in the Azzurri’s success through their first four matches this month.

He’s quickly been linked to Serie A giants Juventus and could make a move after a major summer performance for Italy at the European Championships.

Let’s take a closer look at Locatelli and his rise to stardom on one of the biggest competition stages in football.

History of Locatelli

Locatelli began his career at AC Milan, so he was never a stranger to the spotlight, however, the San Siro side didn’t view him as a long-term answer in the club’s midfield despite coming up through their academy.

The Azzurri midfielder only played in 48 matches for Milan before moving on loan to Sassuolo, where Locatelli really began to shine in Serie A.

Locatelli had a strong belief in himself and requested a permanent transfer away from Milan, which allowed him to grow even further at Sassuolo. 

In 2020, he received his first call up to the senior Italian national team and has since become a regular for Mancini’s Azzurri.

That included starts in two of Italy’s four Euros matches this summer. Locatelli even scored twice against Switzerland in the group stage.

Style of Play

Locatelli’s holding midfield position doesn’t preclude him from making forward runs, which makes him such a threat going forward.

Although he’s often employed to defend and break up attacks from the opposing side, Locatelli is very smart on the ball and knows when to pick his spots moving forward.

The 23-year-old doesn’t have the most pace in the world, but his vision is especially strong and resembles players of the past that made Italy so great throughout the years.

What the Future Holds

Juventus feels like the next club for Locatelli and it makes all the sense in the world when considering what the Bianconeri need at the moment. 

With Cristiano Ronaldo aging and the club as a whole on the older side, they need more influence from the youth in their squad and adding a versatile player like Locatelli would improve the side on both ends of the pitch.

The Old Lady added Weston McKennie last season and he began to put his own stamp on the team, so a pairing of the American and Locatelli could do wonders in the Juventus midfield.

Even if Locatelli doesn’t complete a move this summer, which would be quite surprising, he’s one of several reasons why Sassuolo is on the Serie A map once again and it would be wise to follow his career moving forward because his improvement is clear.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Latest Record Might Be His Most Impressive

It might be preemptive but Cristiano Ronaldo is on the precipice of breaking yet another massive goal scoring record; this time on the international stage.

For those that may not have tuned in to Portugal’s match against France — arguably one of the biggest games thus far at Euro 2020 — Ronaldo scored twice to equal former Iran striker Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals.

This isn’t a surprise to many given Ronaldo’s goal scoring pedigree, and in many ways we’ve expected this day to come for years now considering the Portuguese’s ability to score at will in the games that matter most.

At this year’s Euros, Ronaldo has five goals in three matches thus far, and with Portugal progressing to the Round of 16 and potentially further there’s more opportunities ahead for him to move into sole possession of first all-time.

The Lionel Messi versus Ronaldo debate would be a long and drawn out one, so we’re not touching that today. Instead, let’s take a look at why Ronaldo’s latest feat is so impressive.

When looking at the current list of the top 10 all-time goal scorers, there will be a few names that casual football fans recognize, but many of the names are obscure and date back to a different era and continent.

Daei and many others inside the top 10 played in AFC — Asian Football Confederation — where the level of play simply is a different animal than that of South America or Europe. That’s not to diminish any player’s accomplishments but instead to help further the narrative of how impressive Ronaldo has been.

He’s played against the best in Europe for over a decade-and-a-half, including regular encounters with the likes of France, Italy, Netherlands and Germany.

His entire career has been played against the best teams in the world, and in fact, Ronaldo’s first-ever international goal came against Greece at Euro 2004 on Portugal’s home soil. Although the Portuguese didn’t win the match, it was clear early on that Ronaldo had the makings of an all-star talent.

To this point, Ronaldo has scored in five consecutive European Championships and four straight World Cups, something that no other player in the history of the sport has managed to accomplish.

Outside of his first year competing internationally (2003) Ronaldo has scored a goal in 18 straight years competing with Portugal, showing the longevity of his career and the fact that he’s always strived to be in the best shape possible to avoid missing time through injuries.

It’s not to say that nobody will ever break Ronaldo’s record once he secures 110 goals, but given the state of the game and ongoing competitiveness that lies with the best players in Europe and South America, it’s hard to imagine it happening any time soon.

Lionel Messi’s 73 international goals has him ranked 13th all-time, while Robert Lewandowski is sitting on 69 goals in his career with Poland. Neymar and Romelu Lukaku aren’t far behind either, with 68 and 63 goals, respectively, but those totals still feel miles away from what Ronaldo has achieved.

For now, Ronaldo is on the brink of not only breaking but probably shattering another record, and for that he deserves the praise that comes with being one of the greatest footballers the game has ever witnessed.

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Biggest Winners and Losers From Euro 2020 Group Stage

Euro 2020 has been full of surprises despite many of the tournament’s top nations flexing their muscles and earning strong results during the group stage.

France, Italy, England and Belgium are just a few of the favorites to open the competition in tremendous form and there’s a reason why many believed before the tournament started that they’d be among the finalists to hoist the trophy.

With the knockout phase around the corner though, it’s time to discuss which players and teams gained or lost the most over the first three matches.

Leading goalscorers like Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo have certainly proven their worth, while Alvaro Morata’s struggles at the club level have carried over to the Spanish national team.

Today, we take a look at some of the biggest winners and losers from the Euro 2020 group stage.

BIGGEST WINNERS
Italy
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The Azzurri entered Euro 2020 as relative dark horse contenders, but Roberto Mancini’s group have since established themselves as one of the favorites.

Manuel Locatelli’s emergence has seen him draw interest from major clubs throughout Europe, while Gianluigi Donnarumma and the Italy defense finished group play as one of just two teams to not allow a single goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo
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At 36 years old, Ronaldo is showing no sign of slowing down and helped Portugal advance to the knockout stage by scoring five of the team’s seven group stage goals.

In the process, Ronaldo tied Iran’s Ali Daei for most international goals of all-time with a mark of 109. It’s hard to say any player is having a better tournament than Ronaldo at this very moment.

Romelu Lukaku
Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images

Lukaku is enjoying his own share of success after continuing his Inter Milan form this summer with Belgium. The Red Devils topped their group with relative ease, and with Lukaku and teammate Kevin De Bruyne firing it’s going to be difficult to stop this team as the tournament progresses.

Gareth Southgate
Robin Jones/Getty Images

It feels like England will always receive criticism despite their form, but Southgate had his side playing much better against Czech Republic in the group stage finale, which saw the Three Lions finish group play unbeaten.

Like Italy, the Three Lions are yet to concede a goal in three matches, so if their attack can find any kind of rhythm against Germany and beyond England may have the opportunity to finally say “It’s coming home!”

Denmark
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The passion and hopefulness that the Danes displayed during group play was enough to unite an entire football world following the scary collapse of Christian Eriksen.

It was never going to be about the results of the matches that followed, but instead having Denmark’s players unite and play for their talisman in an effort to show that they have his back.

Despite everything stacked against them, the Danes find themselves in the last 16 and they have an opportunity to expand on what’s already been an extremely rewarding tournament.

BIGGEST LOSERS
Alvaro Morata
David Ramos/Getty Images

Spain progressed to the knockout phase, but Morata’s performances through three games have been less than stellar after scoring just one goal.

La Furia Roja certainly have talent throughout their squad but it was always going to be up to Morata to carry the goal scoring load for this team given the lack of options at striker. If Morata doesn’t find some sort of form soon though, Spain won’t be competing in the competition for much longer.

Turkey
Marcio Machado/Getty Images

At 5000-1 odds, Turkey was many people’s choices as dark horses for the Euros. They certainly didn’t play like it though after losing all three Group A matches and only scoring one goal.

Burak Yilmaz and the Turkish attack struggled to get any sort of momentum going during the group stage, but defensively Turkey was just as out of sorts despite boasting an experienced back line.

Harry Kane & Jadon Sancho
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When big tournaments like the Euros roll around there’s always a few major names that are in the market for big-money moves away from their current clubs. Count Kane as one of those players, along with England teammate Sancho.

Although they’ll likely both get their moves done and settle up with new clubs for astounding monetary compensation, their play at Euro 2020 has been disappointing, or at least in Kane’s case. 

Sancho’s absence for England outside of a few garbage time minutes at the end of the Czech Republic game is a bit puzzling, and if we don’t see him throughout the rest of the tournament it’ll be a serious question that Southgate will have to answer.

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England’s Defense Will Carry Them Throughout Euro 2020

Gareth Southgate’s England have enormous expectations on their shoulders, which is why after the country’s 0-0 draw against Scotland on Matchday 2 at Euro 2020 many pundits and supporters were skeptical about the team’s outlook for the rest of the tournament.

England went on to secure a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic on the final day of Group D play, locking up the top spot and progressing to the Round of 16.

Southgate and Co. finished the group stage without conceding a goal in their three matches, with Italy the only other nation thus far to accomplish that feat.

It’s very clear that defensively England will be stout, and that’s something that needs to continue if this team wants to make another deep run at a major tournament as they did at the 2018 World Cup.

Although it may not have been the most complete performance from the Three Lions on Tuesday, there was significant progress from Southgate’s side, and more importantly, needed changes to the lineup.

Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka both started in the attack alongside Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, offering a newfound sense of creativity to a side that struggled in the final third over their first two matches.

Although England only scored once against the Czechs, there was clearly better communication and movement on the England front line, especially with Kane being more involved in positive movements.

The Three Lions’ goal involved nearly all of the attacking group as Kane distributed the ball wide to Grealish, who is known for taking players on from the wings. He whipped in a good cross and easily found the head of Sterling, who put England ahead for good.

It remains to be seen how England will line up moving forward, especially with Mason Mount’s status unknown after being quarantined following close contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour. 

Mount figures to be another creative presence in the team, however, with Southgate starting Grealish in the center of the park as an attacking midfielder there doesn’t appear to be room for both players on the pitch.

Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Saka’s status on the right wing could also be in jeopardy with Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho both lurking and eager for consistent starting minutes. 

The biggest difference of all though to come out of Tuesday’s match was consistency and experience at the back. 

This is a team that has recorded a shutout in eight of their last 10 matches, which shows the defensive dominance England has displayed under Southgate.

Although England hadn’t conceded in either of their first two fixtures at the Euros, Harry Maguire and John Stones resumed their partnership at the heart of the defense, which is clearly England’s top center back pairing.

At the wing back spots, Luke Shaw and Kyle Walker were both very diligent in their duties on both ends of the pitch. Shaw and Walker are quality attackers in their own right and managed to get back and forth seamlessly, but their ability to whip crosses in and offer another layer to the team’s attack is what makes them a great addition to the starting XI.

Ultimately Southgate will face scrutiny regardless of which lineup he employs moving forward, but finding consistency in his XI will be crucial in order to give his players the best opportunity to win matches.