The dust has settled. Euro 2016 is but a distant memory. As a football tournament, was it any good?
I don’t think it was as awful as some claimed. But the dismal final was certainly not the best spectacle the world of football has ever seen.
Before a ball had been kicked, I scoffed when I heard one punter say they had backed Portugal to win Euro 2016 at odds of 16/1. Or was the price a bigger one? I can’t remember now. Either way, I’m not laughing now. He is.
Well done to any punter who backed them pre-tournament. I couldn’t be having them. Their qualifying campaign didn’t lead me to believe anything had changed for a country whose national side had long flattered to deceive. Stop Cristiano Ronaldo and you stop Portugal. Or so I and many others thought. Wrong.
Portugal won Euro 2016 in the manner of Greece, circa 2004. They were not as bad as Greece, for sure. But the tactics applied were all too similar. It’s a knock out competition. If we don’t get knocked out, we win. Simple. Why didn’t more countries approach the tournament with the same negative attitude?
Were success based on 90 minutes alone, Portugal would have had to rely on alphabetical order in order to progress.
True, they grew in stature against a France side that spurned chances and just got worse the longer the final went on. Portugal were professional and defended well. They were harder to break down after Ronaldo broke down than before he left the scene of battle, drowning in a mixture of tears and moths.
A poor final did at least have a good goal. Late in the day, Eder scored a cracker for Portugal – just as Ronaldo had predicted he would.
Portugal’s tactics at Euro 2016 were clear. Do not lose. Do not concern yourself with entertaining. Just get over the line. I’m not interested in watching tournaments won by effective teams. Call me old fashioned, but I want entertainment. If the top tournaments continue to be won by countries whose prime objective is not to lose, to bore their opposition into submission and play for a penalty shoot out, then I will stop watching those competitions. More importantly, so will the young.
If my generation is bored and turns off, that’s not such a big deal. We’ll be dead soon. But if the young lose interest, that is bad news for the future popularity of International football.
With exception of the 3-3 against Hungary, when their opponents forced them to come out and play, Portugal were dull. I’ve had more thrills watching paint dry. They adopted a brand of anti-football that won them the tournament, but few friends. They’ll not care about that, I know. Fair enough. They have finally won a major tournament and the history books will forever record that. Good for them.