The Euro 2020 tournament might have come and gone, however, the memories of the good and bad moments will linger in the minds of football lovers around the world.
It is no longer news that the tournament was won by the Azzurri of Italy after overcoming the Three Lions of England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday, July 11, 2021, to claim their first European Championship silverware since 1958. They had waited 53 years to clinch their second title of the tournament.
On the other hand, England fought and hoped to break the jinx of not winning a major European title, but the team’s efforts were not enough to rewrite that part of their history.
There is no doubt that the Euro 2020 final provided so many excitements as the two teams battled tooth and nail for the trophy. But the fans’ unruly behaviour and racists abuse somewhat overshadowed the beauty of the game
Completesports.com‘s AUGUSTINE AKHILOMEN highlights some of the remarkable moments of the 16th edition of Europe’s eite football showpiece.
Racism Issues Overshadowed Final Match
Before England and Italy took to the field of play, nearly all news media were feasting on the slogan: ‘Is Football Coming Home Or Going To Rome?’
But barely a few minutes after the game, an ugly trend was awash on Social Media.
Despite efforts to make a success of the fight against racism in the round leather game across the world, England fans seemed not keen on embracing it as they took racist abuse to a different level.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were the victims of a stream of abuse on Twitter and Instagram following England’s 3-2 shootout defeat to Italy at Wembley. The trio failed to convert their penalty kicks.
The incident completely overshadowed the fact that not only had the Euro 2020 gone off practically without a hitch but also, that the England team made great strides towards rewriting their football history..
Tournament Favourites Fell Apart
Prior to the commencement of Euro 2020, pundits have predicted that either France or Belgium would lift the trophy due to the caliber of players they brought to the tournament.
However, the story was not the same as one of the tournament favourites, France, crashed out in the Round of 16 to Switzerland via penalty shootout. Recall that France came second at the 2016 edition of the tournament. They lost to Portugal in the final.
In the same vein, Belgium with their starstudded team, comprising mainly Premier League and La Liga players, was knocked out in the quarter-final by eventual champions, Italy.
Belgium had a golden generation such as Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Jan Vertonghen, Youri Tielemans, Toby Alderweireld, to mention a few.
Italian Fans Brutally Attacked By Irate English Fans Outside Wembley Stadium
After Italy lifted the Euro 2020 trophy at the expense of England, violence ensued onto the streets of London with disgruntled English fans unleashing mayhem on their Italian counterparts.
While the outcome of the final match ignited celebrations and mourning for the winners and losers respectively, it also triggered ugly scenes of some England fans physically, verbally, and racially attacking their Italian counterparts. The streets of London saw vandalism and violence which escalated to physical brawls between some groups. In some visuals, English fans were seen insulting Italy’s national flag by stomping on it.
Read Also: AFA Sports Plots To Bag Deal As Super Eagles Kit Partners
Eriksen’s Close Shave With Death
The start of the Euro 2020 was almost marred with the sudden life-threatening ill-health of Denmark superstar, Christian Eriksen after he collapsed on the field unmarked in their first Group B game against Finland.
The entire world was put in great suspense as the Inter Milan midfielder battled heart failure and was immediately attended to by the .medics.
Thankfully, Eriksen was revived and rushed to the nearest hospital for further treatment. Although the game later continued, Eriksen’s health issue had some poor psychological effect on the Danish players who lost the game 1-0.
Ronaldo Equals Ali Daei’s National Team Goal-Scoring Record
Cristiano Ronaldo scored five Euro 2020 goals to tie with Iran legend, Ali Daei, as the only two footballers to have scored the most national team goals so far – it’s 109 goals apiece for the duo.