News   |    July 21st, 2021

WHEN LOSERS CAN BE WINNERS

Once the dust has settled and the Euro 2020 Champions have been crowned, I think UEFA need to seriously reflect on the future format of the competition.

Understandably there is a lot of goodwill towards Denmark because of the cardiac arrest suffered by Christian Eriksen in the match against Finland but they qualified after losing two of their three group stage matches and it seems odd to me that having done that Denmark could now end up as the Euro 2020 Champions.

My preference would be to abandon putting through the four best performing third place losers in the group stage and instead extend the number of qualifiers for the competition and only allow the top two in each group to qualify. After all there are 55 countries in UEFA and only 24 currently qualify in 6 groups so why not make it 32 in 8 groups.

There was so much to admire about England’s last two performances against Germany and Ukraine. Defensively they are well organised and are yet to concede a goal in the tournament. The tactics employed in each match have been devised to nullify the opposition’s strengths and exploit their weaknesses and have been spot on. The players have all bought into Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff including my good friend Chris Powell and the team spirit and the will to win is there for all to see.

Watching England in recent years has been a painful experience at times and it was often hard to understand how players who performed so well for their clubs couldn’t pass the ball three feet when putting on an England shirt. The players in this England team are all comfortable on the ball and can retain possession for good periods and break into well-constructed attacks quickly.  The other impressive thing is how comfortable the players all are in front of the media. Every player who is interviewed comes across as grounded and focused and all seem to mirror the qualities of the manager.

Hopefully England can lift some of the gloom we have all endured since March 2020 and qualify for the final on 11th July and win it and then we can hopefully exit lockdown on 19th July to make it a double national celebration. Who knows on a few days maybe even the sun will come out!

Whether they do or don’t, I believe England is in excellent hands and progressing well and don’t forget unlike some of the other leading European nations England has a talented young squad that will only get better.

Image – Pool/Getty Images

Peter Varney - Chairman – Integral Sports Management

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