Euro 2020 Was All About the UnderdogsEuro 2020 was one of the most unique Euro competitions in history. While the Covid-19 did postpone the tournament, it finally happened this summer and it was truly an exhilarating experience for football fans around the world.
Euro 2020 will be remembered for many things. It was held in 11 cities across Europe, more substitutions were allowed, and VAR was implemented for the first time. But perhaps what this edition of the Euros will be most known for is the underdogs.
SwitzerlandThe group stages were full of surprises, but the round of 16 was the most gripping stage of football we have ever seen. The biggest shock of the group stages was a miracle from Switzerland. The World Cup winners France were supposed to have an easy route to the quarter-finals.
The scoreline was a comfortable 3 - 1 heading into the last 10 minutes of the game. Two goals from Switzerland and a stalemate in extra time meant the match went to penalties. A missed penalty by Kylian Mbappe signalled the end of the road for the most dominant team in the Euros.
In the quarter-finals, Spain narrowly escaped elimination at the hands of Switzerland. With 1 goal a piece and no goals at extra time, Switzerland only lost to Spain in penalties. While they couldn't make it to the semi-finals, Switzerland won the hearts of football fans around the world.
Czech RepublicCzech Republic has had great players throughout its history but this team didn't have as big stars as one from the past. However, that did not stop Czech Republic from giving big teams a run for their money.
The Netherlands were going through a renaissance and this team seemed like it could go far in the tournament. However, the Czechs were too much for the Flying Dutchmen as they won the match 2 - 0. While Czech Republic did end up losing to Denmark in the quarter-finals, the fact they beat some big teams heading into the late stages of the competition shows their grit.
The biggest impression was made by Patrik Schick who scored five goals in the tournament including a goal from half the field in the group stage, a player many people didn't even know about before.
DenmarkThe biggest surprise to come from the Euro 2020 was just how good Denmark played. Their tournament started in the worst way possible. Losing their key player Christian Eriksen who thankfully has recovered from the heart attack.
The way the team rallied after such a devastating moment is truly special. Not only did Denmark dominate the group stages, they demolished Wales in the round of 16 by defeating Bale and company 4 - 0. Denmark went on to face Czech Republic in the quarter-finals, defeating them soundly 2 - 1 and getting paired with England in the semi-finals.
While many favoured England to win, and they did, it was no walk in the park. The decisive goal from Harry Kane was scored in extra time that secured England's ticket to the finals.
ItalyLet's face it. When the Euros started, did any of us think that Italy was going to win? Sure, they had a win streak going on and they did play well in the group stages. But many had thought that this Italian team didn't have what it takes to defeat teams like France, Spain, Belgium, and even England.
Italy went on to prove all the doubters wrong. As the underdogs heading into the Euros, Italy excelled and played beautiful defensive football. Italy didn't have any megastars but they didn't need them. Every player in the team played their roles to perfection and that's what led them to victory in the Euros. No one thought they would win but they did, and that's the ultimate underdog!