By Vincenzo Pugliese
TheNYExtra.com Soccer Reporter
The 2020 European Championships have been off to a flying start.
The competition kicked off in Rome on June 11th as the Italians hosted and beat Turkey, 3-0, in the opening match of the tournament.
Since then, there have been goals, late drama, emerging new favorites, unexpected results
and a display of the world’s best footballing talents.
However, the frightening incident regarding Danish attacking-midfielder Christian Eriksen has been the biggest headline thus far.
The player went into cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening Group B match against Finland on Saturday, June 12th. Eriksen suddenly collapsed in the 43rd minute of the match. Eriksen received a heart massage on the field which saved his life as he was immediately rushed to the hospital. The game resumed after a two and one-half hour suspension and the Finnish would walk away with a 1-0 victory.
Eriksen’s responded positively at the hospital. He was discharged after a few days and has been in contact with the Denmark team.
Italy and The Netherlands, two teams who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, became to first two teams to advance into the next round. Immediately joining them was Belgium. They were the only three teams at the European Championships to win all three of their games in their respective groups.
Italy, who emerged to be the tournament’s most impressive and exciting team to watch thus far, saw Roberto Mancino’s side became the first ever team at the European championships to advance into the knockout phase without conceding a single goal.
Group F, which is considered to be the “group of death,” features the last three winners of major international tournaments in defending Euro 2016 champions Portugal, 2014 World Cup winners Germany and defending 2018 World Champions France. The fourth team in that group, which has proven to be able to compete with those three powerhouses, is Hungary, which took a point away from underwhelming tournament favorites France.
With the third and final group fixture of Group F on Wednesday all four teams, yes even Hungary still remains alive. The matchups are Portugal and Ronaldo taking on France, while the Germans await a hungry Hungary.
Ronaldo became the European Championship’s all-time top scorer with 15 total goals across five tournaments appearances (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 2020-21). He surpassed French legend and current UEFA President Michelle Platini on Portugal’s opening match against Hungary when he scored two late goals to seal a 3-0 win against the Hungarians.
In Group D, England took the top spot after a Raheem Sterling goal gave the Three Lions a 1-0 win vs the Czech Republic. Croatia took second place with a 3-1 victory over Scotland in the final match day of the Group. The Czech Republic still remains alive as they advance with a third place finish.
Spain, which has struggled to find that firepower in the attack, have a chance on Wednesday to secure a knock out spot with a must win game against Slovakia, which sits one point ahead of them. Sweden, the leaders of that group, take on last place Poland, which still has a chance to advance. Polish and Bayern Munich star striker Robert Lewandowski spoiled the fiesta with a 54’ minute equalizer against the Spaniards.