The Euro 2020 group games are over, and the knock-out matches are set to begin soon. It's been pretty interesting so far, and we've had so much talking points: teams that impressed us, players who surprised us, moments we loved so much so that we occasionally go back to watch that again and again. And, of course, so much more.
90min as a brand is a diverse amalgamation of writers and contributors from various parts of Asia. Before the start of the Euro 2020 round-of-16, we as a team invited our editors from Indonesia, Thailand and India to give their take and make predictions on the ongoing tournament.
Below are the choices and picks relating to the tournament from our 90min team in Asia.
Best Match of the tournament so far
Chidchanok Sharma (CS), 90min Thailand: Sweden 3-2 Poland...What a game! Poland came back from 2 goals behind just to lost to an injury-time winner from a substitute.
Dananjaya WP (DWP), 90min Indonesia: Best match of the tournament so far for me is Denmark beating Russia 4-1. Based on what happened with Christian Eriksen. The Danes put on an amazing performance to get a big win and go through to the R16, also an amazing goal by Andreas Christensen.
Ali Shibil Roshan (ASR), 90min India: I'd say Germany vs Portugal on matchday 2 was thoroughly gripping. Ronaldo put Portugal ahead, and then Germany wreaked havoc and scored four goals. I honestly didn't think Germany could do that to Portugal, who, on paper, have one of the best squads in Euro 2020.
Best and worst performing coach
CS: Gareth Southgate: Based on the attackers that he has, they should be scoring at least 2 goals per game, not 2 from 3, and how they are too cautious and seems happy with a point against Scotland makes me disappointed. Best coach? For me, It would be Mancini. Italy has always been recognized as a team that defends and counter attacks, but this team! They are fast, they are ferocious and very entertaining to watch.
DWP: Best performing coach in my opinion is Roberto Mancini. Italy have been impressive in this tournament, and Mancini have brought Gli Azzurri back to one of the top nations after failing to qualify for World Cup 2018, and that deserves praise.
My pick for worst performing coach is between Gareth Southgate and Joachim Low. Southgate because England didn’t put up a convincing performance to get through the group stages. While Germany with Low doesn’t have a balance and clear plan in the last few years. Both have good players in their squads, just not performing to the best of their capabilities.
ASR: The England team is so full of attacking talent, yet, they could only score two goals in three games in the group stage. So, I'd say Southgate has not quite delivered as a coach in this tournament. Best coach? Italy have been near-flawless so far, so Mancini.
Current dark horse
CS: I'm pretty surprised that Wales has progressed to the knockout stage which they have their goalkeeper to thank for.
DWP: Based on the teams that qualified, I think Netherlands deserve to be called one. A lot of people underestimate them because of Frank de Boer, and that is fair. But I think being the underdog can help a lot of teams, including the Dutch.
ASR: Wales - but even at their best I don't see them going beyond the semi-finals.
Moments you love so far
CS: How the German fans stood up against UEFA's decision not to allow lighting up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours, due to an anti-LGBT law passed in Hungary.
DWP: Denmark and Finland fans cheering for Christian Eriksen after his collapse. It really shows that football as a sport and a game can unite people for good causes.
Player(s) that surprised you
CS: Denzel Dumfries - never heard of him, but that's before he ran the show against Ukraine and Austria with 2 goals and plenty of attacking runs.
DWP: Pedri - there’s little doubt about his talent, but how he has performed so far in his first tournament with the Spanish senior team, coming after his first season in Barcelona, makes me feel he is special.
ASR: Pogba - not that he's not been good before, but that he's elevated his game to another level. Easily France's best player so far in this tournament.
Who is the overachieving/underachieving team?
CS: Overachieving, I'd say is Sweden, and underachieving would be...can't really say it's England because they've just qualified for round-of-16 as group leaders with seven points and three clean sheets. So, I'll go for Turkey. They have great players with great potentials to achieve something in this tournament but yet they didn't.
DWP: Overachieving team I think is Wales. Gareth Bale and co didn’t head into the tournament with the best preparation considering Ryan Giggs is not there. But they finished second in the group ahead, ahead of third-placed Switzerland courtesy of goal difference. I think Portugal is underachieving in this tournament. They have players with high quality and is one of the favorites to win, but Fernando Santos’ defensive approach can hinder them against some opponents. But cautionary approach can also bring success in the knockout stages, so we’ll see.
ASR: You just have got to give credit to Hungary for what they did in the 'group of death'. Held Portugal until the 84th minute before collapsing and conceding three goals, and earned a 1-1 draw vs France and a 2-2 draw vs Germany. If they were placed in any other group, they'd have been in the round-of-16, and I'd have had them as the dark horses. Italy have also been quite impressive. 3 matches, 3 wins, seven goals, nothing conceded, nine points. Looks and is indeed very good!
Which team has the most favourable draw?
CS: Netherlands - they are facing Czech who weren't that great in the group stage, and should they win it, will face either Wales or Denmark in the quarter-final. The real test is after that since they are most likely to come up against Germany or England in the semi-final.
DWP: Looking at the bracket, the side containing England, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Wales, Sweden, Ukraine, and Czech Republic is more favorable. I feel that the winner between England and Germany can go on to be in the finals.
ASR: Germany/England - Whoever wins the round-of-16 clash between them has a relatively easier path to the final and should reach there.
Predict the finalists
CS: Germany vs Italy.
DWP: From the left side of the bracket, I think it is between Italy or France to get to the finals. From the right side it is between England or Germany. Tough to say now but I think we can get a France vs England or France vs Germany in the finals
ASR: I think it's going to be between two teams from Group F, so I'd say France/Portugal vs Germany.