After the first round in action, there is a glimpse of clarity as to which sides can be expected to bring impact. Some teams have exceeded expectations, while others have stayed level. With a few unexpected downfalls, the tournament has already rendered itself interesting.
France were a collective favorite before the competition kicked off. Henceforth, Didier Deschamps’ side showcased an evidence of their quality with a comfortable victory over Germany. Despite the narrow margin, they were the more comfortable side throughout the game, and faced no difficulty in getting the three points.
England were also listed as one of the favorites to go all the way, and they started things off with a 1-0 win over Croatia. However, they didn’t appear to be as convincing as France, and it appeared to be a case of getting the job done. Even though they defeated Croatia, they may need to exhibit greater commitment and utilize their capabilities if they are to produce the tournament that many expect.
FIFA’s number 1 ranked side Belgium have been a dominant force in recent times. There are several talks about the Red Devils after a strong first game in which they imposed themselves on Russia and won convincingly. The Belgians have a lot going for them even without Eden Hazard. Possessing a self-assured talisman like Romelu Lukaku has been a massive boost for them.
On matchday one, Italy surfaced with a dominantly offensive squad and faced Turkey, a team seen as a dark horse by some. With their 3-0 victory, Roberto Mancini’s side are starting to get the mention only top teams get.
Portugal took a while to warm up against Hungary, but their three late goals have rendered them as a side to look out for. They have a formidable squad with impressive depth, which might be crucial as the tournament progresses. With two crucial games up ahead for the defending champions, they face a big test of quality and persistence.
Of the teams that have started off in the wrong direction, Germany’s inclusion is quite understandable. The 2014 World Cup winners lost their opening game to France. Although they dictated the flow of play, they seemed relatively inefficient in the final third. Their clash against Portugal on Saturday holds great significance, and it promises to be an entertaining fixture infused with quality.
Spain, who also had an unsatisfactory start, played a goalless draw with Sweden. They received harsh criticism for their lack of incisive opportunities. Despite having the majority of possession, La Roja struggled to penetrate behind Sweden’s low block and produce serious chances. However, it would be too early to dismiss them. Luis Enrique will be expected to come up with solutions in the next two games.