Obviously, due to COVID-19, the European Championships, which were supposed to be played at the beginning of the new (and cursed) decade, had to be postponed to 2021, so the title should be more like Top 5 Moments of Euro 2021, but I guess we can still go on calling it as it is, mainly because it sounds satisfying. The actual tournament being satisfying, however, is far from the truth, as, through the course of the entire tournament, the matches had kept us at the edge of our seats, often making us question whether we should hit the beds or pull off an all-nighter for almost an entire month. If you were part of the former, I absolutely pity (and feel) you on that one.
Since an entire month’s summary cannot be put into one Google Doc (which I can, but I’m not, as I’m kinda on a deadline, and also because I’m fat and lazy), I decided to take some of the top 5 moments of the entire competition and compile it into one big, Watchmojo-Esque word document. With that in mind, let’s get into it, shall we?
5. Croatia 3 – 5 Spain
Anyone could be fooled by watching the own goal scored at the beginning of the game, and the next 20 minutes, into believing that a whitewash by Croatia was imminent. Instead, what we got was a 120-minute classic, with Spain taking the win 5-3, with the front three of Pablo Sarabia, Alvaro Morata, and Ferran Torres showing their potency. Despite Croatia’s collective efforts in the second half of extra time, the scoreline changed no more, giving us the highest-scoring match in the competition.
4. Roberto Mancini
Tell this name to any Manchester City fan, and you can immediately see the respect they might hold for him, for orchestrating them the moment of a lifetime, resulting in them winning the Premier League (link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWPmKCTJDjc). After winning the League, Mancini had a short, but successful stint in Serie A, leading to him winning a few domestic titles, after going off the grid in about 2015, until he was called to resurrect Italy after their failed World Cup qualification. And resurrect them he did, as he helped Italy get an unbeaten run of about 40 matches, leading them to win the European Championships. Safe to say, Mancini’s story is the stuff legends are made of.
3. England 2 – 0 Germany
Jack Grealish in the box. Grealish to HARRY KANE!! IT’S 2-0!!! ENGLAND HAS WON AND IS MOVING ON TO THE QUARTER-FINALS!
Oh, the scenes!
Prince Andrew’s going absolutely crazy!!
The fans have gone wild!
Young 9-year old German fans in tears being abused……….yay.
Look, it is understandable that a team has won over their rivals, and are obviously overjoyed about it, and there might be a bit of heckling and bragging by the winning team, but cyberbullying a crying girl and harshly harassing her over the fact that her team lost, is just too low. The England team was already hated in an entire country at that time, but after that, it was hated in an entire continent, mainly because of the fans’ actions. I consider this match important, as it was this match that pretty much led to the gritty exposure of the absolute immorality of England fans.
2. Italy, Champions of Europe
I know, you might be thinking why is this moment #2 instead of the rightful top spot, but bear with me for a sec.
After what happened with England fans losing the support of the entirety of Europe, Italy winning the final had to be the cherry on top of one of the most unpredictable tournaments of recent history. It wasn’t without drama, however, with the match being level throughout the entire 90 minutes with each team being a goal apiece, and the incident regarding Chiellini pulling Saka’s shirt, all leading to a heart-breaking penalty shootout from England’s side, as both Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka had their penalties blocked by the post and Gianluigi Donnaruma respectively.
If there’s anything to be said, it’s that Southgate should really check his penalty lineup before sending people up.
1. Denmark’s Fairytale Run
If you ask me, when Christian Eriksen was resurrected from his cardiac arrest, it was as if the entire team resurrected with him.
Denmark was deemed as ‘finished’ after their star player was out of the tournament, and it was looking like they were true, due to two consecutive losses to Finland and Belgium, before getting a thumping 4-0 win over Russia, and a little bit of luck, leading to them actually getting through to the Round of 16, where instead of bowing out to Wales, they ended up annihilating them 4-0 and went on to the semi-finals after defeating the Czech Republic, where they were robbed by England, losing 2-1 due to questionable decisions.
Other than that, Denmark had to work the hardest out of all of the teams in the tournament, as they had to overcome psychological trauma to get to where they are, and their effort is what I think was what helped them being the top spot of this list.
By, Saarnav Das, 11F