With two matchdays played in Euro 2016, there are a lot of discussion points that can be raised as we head towards a thrilling and open conclusion to the tournament. Here are a few to ponder over before the group stages end this week.
Can France Up Their Game?
Six points from a possible six, it has been the ideal start for France as they look to win the European Championships on home soil. Admittedly, the brilliance of Dimitri Payet has dragged them through two close games against Romania and Albania. In the latter, they were far from their best and rode their luck through much of the game before Griezmann broke the deadlock with just minutes remaining. There are still defensive vulnerabilities and on the attacking front they are still yet to hit their fluent best. It has to be said that they must become a much more ruthless unit if they are to achieve Euro glory. Based on current performance, they would fall short against a top side such as Germany or Spain.
Are Spain the Real Deal?
So far Euro 2016 has been one of the most open and interesting tournaments for a long while. One of the reasons for this is that every game has been competitive and no side has really put down a marker. Spain are perhaps the only side that have done this so far. In Friday’s 3-0 win over Turkey they showed the sort of performance that has landed them the last two trophies. Nolito proved his selection worthy with a fantastic performance from the right and Alvaro Morata silenced his doubters with two well-taken goals. As good as the performance was, it has to be pointed out that Turkey performed dreadfully and seemed disinterested once the second goal had went in. Turkey did have chances to get in behind Spain, so it will be intriguing to see how the Spanish stand up when faced with a side who will take advantage.
Can Ronaldo Find His Form?
Cristiano Ronaldo had perhaps his most frustrating night on Saturday when he could not seem to find a way past Austria. Several chances including a penalty evaded him as he was left wondering whether he would do anything with the Portugal national team. Although his shooting was far from what we expected, he was still getting into the positions to score and on most days he could have had a hattrick. It can be assumed he will be slated in the Portuguese press. Given his driven nature, this could only prove to be fuel in his attempts to reinvigorate Portugal’s charge for the title.
Will the Fans Spoil it for Croatia?
Croatia would have been safely through to the knockout stages now had it not been for their fans. During the 2-2 draw with Czech Republic, a number of Croatian fans threw flares onto the field when the game was 2-1 to Croatia. This incident lead to a lengthy delay which resulted in around nine minutes additional time. During stoppage time Domagoj Vida gave away a penalty that Czech striker Tomas Necid put away. Before Milan Skoda pulled a goal back for Czech Republic, Croatia were cruising towards victory and looked like real contenders for the tournament. Modric, Rakitic and Perisic have all turned up so far but shamefully all of their hard work could scupper by the minority of Croatia fans.