It began with Italian celebrations in Rome and ended with Italian celebrations at Wembley.
This European Championship finally concluded with Italy’s penalty shoot-out win over England, a year after the tournament was postponed due to the health crisis.
The incidents when ticketless fans tried to break through ticket barriers at Wembley, leading to violent scenes, may have tarnished Sunday’s final in London.
But overall, the Euro 2020 was an uplifting tournament for the football on the pitch and it marked the return of spectators on a large scale for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
There were memorable games, and unexpected stars, like the Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick and Italy’s flying left-back Leonardo Spinazzola.
Stars of major tournaments do not always carry that form back into their club careers though: Renato Sanches was the outstanding young player at Euro 2016 before his career stalled, while Eder was hardly boosted by scoring Portugal’s winner in the final five years ago.
Despite the fears about fatigue, much of the football at Euro 2020 was of the highest quality.
The last four World Cups have been won by European nations and the evidence of the past month suggests the continent’s leading sides will set the standard at Qatar 2022.
Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to victory over Brazil in Saturday’s Copa America final, but it remains to be seen if those teams will be able to stop Europe’s powerhouses at the World Cup.
Italy are on a roll, while England will hope to go the extra step.
Spain have an exciting young team and Germany could get a new lease of life under new coach Hansi Flick, and then there is France, eliminated from the Euro by Switzerland but still world champions.
It was a memorable month of football – with 142 goals in 51 matches, the average of 2.78 goals per game made this Euro the most prolific since 1976. It was the most prolific tournament since the competition was expanded to eight or more teams and the fourth overall. The last World Cup with a higher average was Spain ‘82.
Most prolific European championships
|Competition||Goals per game||No of participating teams|
Italy and Spain were the joint top scoring teams in the tournament, however, it was Spain who became the first team to score five goals in back-to-back Euro matches had the best best goals per game ratio. Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands also had good goals to game ratios along with Portugal and France.
Top scoring teams of Euro 2020
|Team||Goals||Matches played||Goals per game|
Here’s an analysis of how the goals were scored at Euro 2020
How did they go in?
61: Right foot
43: Left foot
11: Own goals
Where were they struck from?
Inside penalty area (including five-metre box): 123
Outside penalty area: 19
What type of goals were they?
Open play: 132
Direct free-kick: 1
What about penalties?
Penalties awarded: 16
England had the lowest goals per game ratio among the top ten goalscoring teams of Euro 2020 but their run to the final was largely down to their defensive record. The Three Lions had the best defensive record in the competition both in terms of fewer goals conceded and clean sheets.
Best defensive teams at Euro 2020
|Team||Clean Sheets||Goals conceded|
Ronaldo wins golden boot
Despite playing just four games at Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo won the golden boot after he finished as the tournament’s joint top scorer along with Patrik Schick who both scored five goals each. But the Portuguese won the award as he scored them having played a game fewer.
Euro 2020 - Top goalscorers
|Player||Team||Goals scored||Matches played|
|Patrik Schick||Czech Republic||5||5|
Switzerland had a fine tournament which peaked when they knocked out world champions France in the Round of 16. They left a mark on Euro 2020, the proof of which is Steven Zuber who finished with the most assists in the tournament.
Euro 2020- Top assist providers
Stats and Trivia
- Italy are the fourth side to win multiple EURO titles after Germany (3), Spain (3) and France (2). The 53-year gap between their titles is the longest in EURO history.
- Italy are the first side to win two penalty shoot-outs at a single EURO finals tournament.
- Bonucci (34 years and 71 days) is the oldest player to score in a EURO final while Giorgio Chiellini became the oldest EURO-winning captain.
- Distance covered (km)
86.61: Jorginho (Italy)
82.99: Kalvin Phillips (England)
76.14: Pedri (Spain)
74.33: Harry Kane (England)
68.35: Raheem Sterling (England)
- England became the first team to top a group at a EURO finals by scoring just two goals. Neither they nor fellow finalists Italy conceded in the group stage – only four sides had managed that previously.
- Spain’s 5-3 win against Croatia was the second-highest-scoring game in EURO finals history and the first to feature eight different scorers, while Portugal maintained their 100% record of having always progressed from the group stage at EURO final tournaments (eight times).
- Switzerland had not tasted victory in any final tournament knockout phase match since the 1938 World Cup – their victory against France on penalties in the round of 16 ended an 83-year wait.
- Emil Forsberg’s goal after 82 seconds for Sweden against Poland was the second-quickest in EURO finals history. Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen had originally moved second on the list with his goal after 99 seconds against Belgium. Luke Shaw then netted the earliest goal ever in a final, firing in after 116 seconds against Italy.
Top moments of Euro 2020
Damsgaard gets Denmark up and running
Brought into the team as the replacement for Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening game against Finland, Mikkel Damsgaard set the tone for the Danes’ run to the semi-finals. After starting their campaign with successive defeats and suffering the shock of seeing their star player need to be revived on the pitch, Damsgaard’s brilliant long-range strike against Russia put Kasper Hjulmand’s men ahead. They went on to win 4-1 to reach the knockout stage, only exiting the tournament after an extra-time defeat by England in the semi-finals.
Mbappe’s penalty miss knocks out France
The hero of France’s 2018 World Cup triumph, Kylian Mbappe became the fall guy at Euro 2020 as they crashed out to Switzerland in the last 16 on penalties. The Paris Saint-Germain forward failed to score in four matches at the tournament, and was the only player to miss in the shootout as Yann Sommer repelled his effort. In truth, the loss was a collective failure as France allowed Switzerland to come back from 3-1 down in the last 10 minutes. “I’m very sorry about the penalty. I wanted to help the team but I failed,” Mbappe wrote on Twitter, saying it was “very difficult to move on”.
Ronaldo equals all-time international goals record
Seventeen years after his first Portugal goal in the opening game of Euro 2004, Cristiano Ronaldo matched former Iran striker Ali Daei’s all-time international scoring record with a pair of penalties against France. The 36-year-old Ronaldo, the leading scorer in European Championship history, netted his 109th goal for his country in his 178th international appearance. Ronaldo is the first player to appear at five editions of the tournament scored five times in the group stage before Portugal lost to Belgium in the last 16. The Juventus striker has 14 European Championship goals, five more than French great Michel Platini, who struck nine times when he led France to glory in 1984. He also won the Golden Boot for the first time at a major tournament.
Schick wonder-strike stuns Scots
Scotland went into their opening game against the Czech Republic at Hampden Park full of optimism ahead of their first major tournament match since 1998. But Patrik Schick, who had earlier headed in the opener, produced one of the European Championship’s all-time greatest goals to secure the Czechs a 2-0 win. The Bayer Leverkusen striker spotted Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall off his line and launched a curling lob from almost 50 metres into the net. Schick went on to finish level with Ronaldo as the tournament’s top-scorer with five goals.
Chiesa rescues Italy
Roberto Mancini’s men cruised through the group stage, winning all three games while scoring seven goals without conceding. But the last 16 proved to be a much tougher test, with Austria pushing them into extra time at Wembley. The Azzurri had already survived a scare when Austria’s Marko Arnautovic saw a goal ruled out by VAR for offside, before Chiesa struck in the 95th minute. An excellent piece of control on his chest was followed by a clever touch to tee up a thumping left-footed strike from a tight angle. Italy went on to win 2-1 en route to the title.
England fall on penalties, again
Fifty-five years after their last major final, England’s tournament ended in all-too-familiar heartache as they were beaten on penalties at Wembley. Marcus Rashford hit the post before Jadon Sancho, who like Rashford was brought on to take a spot-kick, saw his attempt saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma. Jordan Pickford kept England’s hopes alive by denying Jorginho, but 19-year-old Bukayo Saka was left distraught as Donnarumma turned away his effort to secure victory for Italy. Despite their rare triumph against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup, England have now lost seven of nine shoot-outs at major tournaments.
With AFP and Uefa inputs
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.