Top 10 Euro 2020 Moments
Amidst a football-filled summer, the 2020 European Championship stole the spotlight. In one of its most memorable editions to date, the Euros took fans to both ends of the emotional spectrum, and was filled with incredibly memorable moments. In order to share with you some of the best out of all of these moments, I have made a selection of 10 of the best moments in Euro 2020, in no particular order.
1. Denmark and Finland supporters chant Cristian Eriksen's name and Denmark get to the semi-finals in his honour
One of the Euro's darkest moments was also followed up by one of its most heartening. During Denmark's group stage clash with Finland, Danish star midfielder Christian Eriksen fell onto the ground in a scary fashion, leaving millions across the world scared for his life. After receiving quick medical attention from doctors and a heroic attitude from Denmark captain Simon Kjaer, Eriksen was taken to the hospital, where it was eventually found he'd had a cardiac arrest. As he was taken off the pitch and both teams left the match with no conditions of continuing to play, with the fans fearing for Eriksen's life, both ends of the stadium left their rivalry in the past and chanted together. As the Finnish sang "Chrsitian", the Danish replied "Eriksen". This went on for several minutes, and symbolized the whole world's support for Eriksen in such a tough moment.
Solidarity for Eriksen was taken to the next level upon Denmark's historic run throughout Euro 2020, reaching a previously unimagined semi-final, only losing out to eventual runners-up England with an extra-time penalty.
2. Ronaldo becomes the Euros' all-time top scorer
The Euro's most capped player Cristiano Ronaldo also became its all-time top scorer after a penalty against Hungary in their opening game helped him overtake Michel Platini's total of 9 goals. Ronaldo managed to add another 4 to his record, making it 14 goals in total and also finishing as the tournament's joint top scorer on 5 goals. Yet another record for the unfathomable Portuguese legend!
3. Ronaldo bottles it
Perhaps one of the most unique moments of Euro 2020 did not happen on the pitch. In a televised interview, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to get rid of the Coca-Cola bottles that stood in front of him, saying that he would prefer water instead. This had major repercussions around the world, as various players, staff and fans had their way with the joke.
4. Switzerland beat favorites France on penalties to move to the Euro quarter-finals
Another one of the dark horse stories of the Euro 2020, Switzerland left current World Cup champions France behind. Favorites for the tournament and with a star-studded side, France were disappointed to go out on penalties after a thrilling 3x3 draw. After Haris Seferović opened the scoring in the first half, the Swiss saw their opportunity to double their lead fall short in the hands of Hugo Lloris, as he saved Ricardo Rodríguez's penalty. The game seemed to be heading in France's favor from there onwards. Karim Benzema bagged a brace and Paul Pogba with a screamer put France 3x1 up, only to concede two late goals in disappointing fashion. Haris Seferović again and Mario Gavranović equalized the game, taking it to extra time and eventually penalties. After all first 9 penalties were converted, the responsibility lay in Kylian Mbappé's feet to take the decision to sudden death, only for it to be saved by Yan Sommer, who put Switzerland through 5x4 on penalties in a historic display.
5. Tiny remote-control car brings the ball for kickoff
Definitely the most peculiar entry on this list (and also the funniest one), this spot is taken up by the tiny remote controlled-car that delivered the ball to the match officials in the opening game of the tournament, which took place in Rome. This was merely a publicity stunt to promote an official tournament sponsor- Volkswagen. But this mini-car captured the imagination of fans so much that a verified Twitter account was set up, @TinyFootballCar, and it returned for the semi-finals and final. This is a merely trivial thing that happened but small, somewhat ridiculous events like this are what help make major tournaments memorable.
6. It's Coming to Rome
After England fans began boasting the term "It's Coming Home", referring to the fact that they would go on to win the Euros and thus football would return to where it was initially founded, Italy fans decided to make joke out of it by creating their own chant: "It's Coming to Rome". This gained special traction after their eventual win on penalties, securing the Euro 2020 trophy's destination to Rome. This came after a brilliant tournament, placing Italy on a … game unbeaten run and securing Mancini's place as one of the best managers in the world. A special mention should also be made to Gianluigi Donnaruma, Italy's 23-year-old goalkeeper and player of the tournament, who also saved 2 penalties in the decisive shootout.
7. Jorginho paints his hair blonde
Following up on the list's previous entry, Italy star midfielder Jorginho decided to take the joke to the next level upon their Euros win. He celebrated by dyeing his hair blonde. And while this may seem harmless, it is especially funny considering England player Phil Foden's promise to the England fans. Before the tournament, Foden decided to dye his own hair blonde, paying homage to Paul Gascoigne's hair in Euro 96. With it he made a promise that, should England go on to win the tournament, the whole England squad would also adopt the trim. With their eventual defeat in the final, Jorginho could simply not let the joke slide; he decided to take the idea for himself, as a form of ironizing Foden's promise. Might not be his best look ever, but more than worth it for the jokes!
8. Fans back in stadiums
Fans are the essence of football. As Cristiano Ronaldo puts it, football without fans "is like going to the circus and not seeing clowns, it's like going to the garden and not seeing flowers." They are what makes this sport what it truly is, and it has been a sad time watching games in empty stadiums, as health does come first at every instance. But with increasing portions of the population already vaccinated and as the pandemic is evermore contained, fans have gradually been allowed back into the stadiums. This was the case throughout Euro 2020, as we saw 60,000 fans at Wembley for the semi-finals and final, an inspiring sight after over a year behind closed doors.
9. Spain beat Croatia 5x3 in the match of the tournament
The best game of the tournament took place still in the Round of 16, as Spain would take on the 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia. In a thrilling end-to-end match, Croatia opened the scoring with the most bizarre goal of the tournament, as Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon failed to control Pedri's pass, which ended up in the back of their own net. Spain equalized still in the first half with Pablo Sarabia, and eventually led by two, courtesy of César Azpilicueta and Ferrán Torres. It took until the dying minutes of the game for a reaction, and Croatia bagged two in the last ten minutes to take it to extra time, with Mislav Oršić and Mario Pašalić getting their names on the scoresheet. Extra time went a lot smoother for Spain, however, as Álvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal helped them close out the game and progress to the Quarter Finals after an action-packed match.
10. Schick's 49.7 meter stunner
And what type of top 10 list about a football tournament would this be if it didn't contain any goals? Well, this doesn't feel as much as just a goal, but rather closer to a piece of art. Amongst many amazing goals in this year's competition, there is no dispute as to what the Goal of the Tournament is: Patrik Schick's 49.7 meter beauty. As the Czech Republic led 1x0 against Scotland, Patrik Schick received the ball just past the halfway line, and after seeing the Scottish goalkeeper way out of his line, decided to take a first-time shot on goal. It goes over the keeper and hits the back of the net in spectacular fashion, marking the goal of the tournament and one of the best goals in Euro history.
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