AS THE GROUP STAGE ENDS, SPECULATIONS THAT UNDERDOGS COULD LIFT THE EURO 2016 INCREASES
The group stage of the Euro 2016 hosted by France has ended, but speculations about who might lift the trophy have increased.
The likely winners were picked out earlier but after the group stage, the tournament shows it is still very open. There was a time an underdog came from behind to steal the trophy. Greece at Euro 2004.
Greece, against all odds, being underdogs surprised everyone when they were crowned the European champions in 2004. The defeated some of the biggest teams, despite Euro 2004 being only the second time they had participated in the tournament. Greece surprised hosts Portugal and defending champions France, in fact they defeated the hosts in both the opening game and again in the final.
France are favourites to win, including Germany, defending champions Spain and Italy in this current tournament. The group stages ended with no group leader having maximum nine points. France and Germany have seven each. Croatia, who piped the defending champions, also have seven points, the rest group leaders have six but Hungary in Group F has five points.
France has an enviable record on home soil, winning both the Euros in 1984 and the World Cup in 1998 as host nation. They have done well this time around but their last game against Switzerland which ended in a goalless draw, shows that other teams have a real fighting chance against their star studded team in their prime. Spain and Italy’s defeat were shocking, Sweden’s exit is another shocker, Wales topping Group B ahead of England is a bit surprising, and Portugal qualifying in the last minute by a hair’s breadth is also something as well. The tournament keeps drawing all sorts of stunners, but will another underdog lift the trophy like Greece did years back?