Euro 2016: 5 surprising facts about the tournament
The Euro 2016 came to an end as Portugal lifted their first ever major international trophy. They had a fairly easy road to the finals, but met the favourites and hosts of the tournament, France, who had to face a much sterner tasks on their road to the finals.
This year’s Euros were full of surprises as teams like Wales and Iceland came through the ranks and established themselves as teams to be reckoned with. On the flipside, teams like England and the Netherlands crumpled under pressure and the latter could not even achieve a qualification to the group stages.
Antoine Griezmann was a revelation as he scored six goals, ending as the top scorer of the tournament, although he couldn’t inspire his team to win the tournament at home. One of the interestingly surprising facts about the tournament was that Iceland, despite being ranked 131 in 2010, participated in the group stage.
They not only participated, but also survived a group that had Portugal and Hungary. Iceland were unbeaten in the group as they faced England in the round-of-16 phase of the Euros. They dominated and dumped England out of the Euros.
What’s funnily surprising is that Iceland played both the finalists of the Euros as they played Portugal in the group stages, while playing France in the quarter-final, only to lose 5-2. Below are 5 of the most surprising facts about the 2016 Euros:
1) Champions won only one game on their way to the title
Portugal were crowned as champions of Europe for the first time in their entire history, as they beat France 1-0 after extra time through an Eder goal. But what’s surprising is that Portugal only won one game in normal time.
They did not win a single game in the group stages of the Euros, as the Portuguese secured three draws against Hungary, Iceland and Austria. Then in the round-of-16 clash, the Ronaldo-led team faced Croatia in a match that was goalless for the whole of 90 minutes.
The win came through a goal from Ricardo Quaresma in the dying minutes of the second half of extra time. They couldn’t even win a game against Poland in the quarterfinals as the match went down to penalties, duly won by Portugal.
Their only regulation time win of the tournament came against a resilient Wales side, which featured Cristiano’s Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale, but their attempts in bringing Portugal down fell short, as Ronaldo proved to be the difference with a goal and an assist in the game.