Best XI: Euro 2020 group stage matches

The Euro 2020 group stages concluded yesterday. 72 matches occupied our screens for the better part of two weeks, and there was plenty of high entertainment value on display. With a two day break before the knockout rounds begin, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite matches from the group stage.

1. Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 3 – 0 ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey

Valerio Pennicino – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Italy got the tournament off to a fantastic start with a class performance from start to finish over Turkey. Ciro Immoble and Lorenzo Insigne tore the Turkish defense apart, cruising to a 3-0 win. The Italians had scored 37 goals in their qualifying campaign and carried that form into the tournament with a brilliant start.

2. Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ 3 – 2 ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine

Lukas Schulze – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

This match took fans by surprise with how open and attacking it was. Under new manager Frank de Boer, the Dutch jumped out to a 2-0 lead, only to see Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine claw back to a 2-2 draw, including an absolute banger of a goal from Andriy Yarmolenko. Ultimately the Oranje snuck a late winner through wingback Denzel Dumfries, sealing three points in a thoroughly enthralling match.

3. Scotland ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ 0 – 2 ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic

Steve Bardens – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

If the Czechs had been overlooked heading into the tournament, they certainly weren’t after this showing. Striker Patrik Schick put the team on his back, scoring a brace against the Scots. His second in particular was a world class strike, catching goalkeeper David Marshall off his line from just inside the half to find the back of the net from 60 yards out. The win was enough to propel the Czech Republic out of a difficult group and into the knockouts.

4. France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท 1 – 0 ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany

Sebastian Widmann – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

This one didn’t have the goals or drama of some others on this list, but the tactical matchup between reigning World Cup champions France and Germany’s well-oiled machine was something to behold. The sole goal was a Mats Hummels own goal, but the battle between two of the best sides in international history was a treat, albeit a more subdued one.

5. Denmark ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ 1 – 2 ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium

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Riding the wave of a passionate home crowd after Christian Eriksen’s on-field cardiac arrest in their opener, Denmark took it to Belgium. The Danes scored in just the second minute and took 21 shots, putting Belgium under constant pressure. It was the Red Devils, however, who got the win, scoring twice in the second half to come from behind. The performance from the Danes, though, was an incredible and resilient showing against the best side in the world.

6. Hungary ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ 1 – 1 ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France

Angel Martinez – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

In front of 55,998 fans at the Puskรกs Arรฉna, Hungary shocked the football world with a 1-1 draw against France. Attila Fiola found the net just before halftime, and Hungary held on valiantly against a second-half onslaught to escape with a point.

7. Portugal ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น 2 – 4 ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany

Sebastian Widmann – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

In another Group F classic, Germany took the reigning European champions to task. Brilliant performances from wingbacks Joshua Kimmich and Robin Gosens spured Die Mannschaft to a statement win over Cristiano Ronaldo’s side. The combined six goals were the most in any match in the group stage, and the action was end-to-end and non-stop.

8. Russia ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ 1 – 4 ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark

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After outshooting Finland and Belgium 43-7 in their first two matches, the Danes were incredibly unfortunate to go into their final group match with zero points. They took out all their frustrations on the Russians, bombarding them with 16 shots and scoring four goals in front of the Copenhagen crowd. For a side and a country that had gone through such public trauma, it was a cathartic and crucial result.

9. Sweden ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช 3 – 2 ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland

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Both sides went into their last match needing three points to secure advancement from the group. Sweden jumped out to a two goal lead, before Robert Lewandowski again showed his class with a brace, including a gorgeous strike from the edge of the box. However, Viktor Claesson’s 94th winner spoiled the party for Lewandowski and company, and powered the Swedes to a shocking finish on top of Group E.

10. Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช 2 – 2 ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary

Sebastian Widmann – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Another endearing performance from upstart Hungary, and another alarming performance from the Germans. Hungarian captain รdรกm Szalai got his side out to an early lead with a well taken header. The Germans equalized late in the second half, but Hungary immediately responded with a Roland Sallai goal just two minutes later. The Hungarians looked set to shockingly advance from the group of death until an 84th minute rocket from Leon Goretzka pulled the Germans level. Germany advanced out of third place, while Hungary saw their tournament end after a fantastic group stage performance.

11. Portugal ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น 2 – 2 ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France

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As expected, an extremely tight contest between two top-five FIFA ranked sides. Portugal got a first half lead from a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty kick, before Karim Benzema got his first international goals since 2015 on either side of halftime to give France the lead. Ronaldo wasn’t done, though, tying Ali Daei’s record 109 international goals with another penalty in the second half. On a wild afternoon that saw the Group F table fluctuate constantly, both sides advanced to the knockout round.

Euro 2020 continues on Saturday, with Wales and Denmark kicking off the Round of 16.

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