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Euro 2024: Shocks, Young Stars, and Drama - The Story So Far!

03:45 PM Jul 09, 2024 IST | NE NOW NEWS
UpdateAt: 03:46 PM Jul 09, 2024 IST
euro 2024  shocks  young stars  and drama   the story so far
England win dramatic penalty shootout to knock out Switzerland at Euro 2024.

Aranyak Dutta

With the current edition of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Euro, football fans around the globe are united once again to witness another series of iconic moments. Just like the previous editions of the tournament, this year has been no less exciting and entertaining, so far! Being conducted in Germany, the tournament has already been completed till the quarter-finals, and the matches have been quite a ride!

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Each and every team has played and displayed exceptional football skills and the urge to fight for the trophy. Some teams, like Italy and Belgium, which had high expectations from fans, were eliminated in the early rounds. Meanwhile, teams like Turkey, Switzerland, Romania, Slovakia, and Georgia, which were considered 'underrated' prior to the beginning of the competition, produced some really good performances and raised high expectations. No matter whom we consider as favourites or underrated, football still is able to surprise us with completely different outcomes every time!

Italy, the defending champions of the Euros 2021, and Belgium, one of the most talented teams in the tournament, were eliminated earlier than expected. But, some teams still managed to handle the pressure from the fans, such as France, Germany, Spain, England, Netherlands, and Portugal.

Germany performed really well in the entire tournament till this stage. Not only did they have the advantage of their home fans, they even displayed immense creativity on the field. They were so good that they really started their tournament with a blast, scoring 5 goals against a poorly performing Scotland team! Youngsters like Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, had been a crucial part for the team's success. The only sad part of Germany's incredible show is that, this will be the last ever major international tournament for the midfield maestro, Toni Kroos. Aged 35, he had already confirmed his retirement from club football.

What ended this strong German squad's dream of lifting the trophy was another worthy competitor, Spain. They defeated Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals! Spain has been equally brilliant in the tournament, with a team full of young players who are hungry to lift the cup! Some youngsters who have been exceptional for the Spanish team are Lamine Yamal, Nico Williams, Pedri and the list goes on! What's noteworthy is that Lamine Yamal is the youngest ever player (aged 16) to have played in the history of the tournament. He was not just scoring goals and surprising the entire world. He was also preparing for his exams in the off days between the tournament. Not just that, the entire Spanish team has been dominant in the Euros.

The match between the two high-rated teams was from the beginning very tight, with the German players being very aggressive. However, Spain were able to create a lot of chances. And in no time, Dani Olmo scored the first goal in the match. He did that just after being subbed in. Later, Germany were able to equalize, with a goal by Florian Wirtz in the 89th minute! This goal led the match to extra time. In the end, Mikel Morino scored in the last minutes of the match to win it for Spain. This goal led the Spaniards to the semi-finals!

The next match was between Portugal and France. After a poor campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Portuguese team was able to redeem their form. The team had a slow start in the Euros. But their team spirit and individual skills are what led them to successfully reach the quarter-finals of this tournament. Their midfield is stacked with star players such as Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. Their attack is of course consistent as always, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafael Leao. The Portuguese defense is also filled with experienced players like Pepe, Ruben Dias, and Joao Cancelo.

The French team is also loaded with star players, with World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe leading the team. Although they did not have a very good form in the Euros, they have managed to reach the quarter-finals. Unfortunately, Kylian Mbappe had broken his nose in the first match, but that did not stop him from contributing to the team. He continued to play the next matches with a mask on!

The Portugal vs. France match was tight-ended too. Both teams created chances, but none were taken properly to be declared as a goal. The match continued till 120 minutes as goalless! Later the score was decided in the penalty shootout. The French team had the last laugh despite underperforming in the entire match. They will now face Spain in the Semi-Finals of the Euros.

The next two quarter-final matches were England vs. Switzerland, and Netherlands vs. Turkey.

The English team was highly criticized because of weak team management under head coach Gareth Southgate.

Aranyak Dutta is a Guwahati-based football enthusiast.