What We Learnt From EURO 2016 – By Jesse Nagel

Our writer Jesse Nagel takes a look at what we may have missed in the Euro 2016.
Our writer Jesse Nagel takes a look at what we may have missed in the Euro's. (Picture: Backpagepix)
Since the start of Euro 2016, football lovers have been nothing short of anxious, just to see how their favoured teams will do and where we could find that upset or two. But instead of just the joy of watching football, we focus on some of the things that you may have missed during this epic nail-biting tournament.

Antonio Conte

Up first, we focus on the new Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte. Since the departure of Jose Mourinho, it was always going to be tough for the Blues faithful to replace their so-called ‘Special One’. Looking at Conte’s formation at the Euro’s, clearly means that he is out to change things at the London club. The 3-5-2 formation is what got Conte’s Italy to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten on penalties by Germany. So the big question is, could I imagine Chelsea with a 3-5-2 formation?

NOT IN MY WILDEST DREAMS!

Antonio Conte has taken charge of Chelsea

However, looking at the way Conte sets up his team and encourages (screaming like a wild animal) them on the touchline, I’m forced to believe that this new-look Chelsea should be feared for the upcoming season. Italy were arguably the most tactically dangerous team at the Euro’s and would be thwarted with the fact that they exited through a penalty-shootout. With that being said, Conte showed that he is a mastermind tactician and will certainly look for glory in his first season at the Chelsea helm.

Granit Xhaka

Crossing over to the North of London, we look at Arsenal’s new boy Granit Xhaka and what he can bring to the Gunners’ midfield. The Swiss international had a remarkable 89% pass accuracy in the tournament and averaged around 105 passes per game. He was hugely influential in the Swiss’ progression to the knockout stages and could have the same effect at Arsenal. He was named Man of the Match in two of Switzerland’s group games, but missed a decisive penalty against Poland, which resulted in his nation getting knocked out of the tournament.

Granit Xhaka cost Arsenal around £30 million

Known for his ability to pick a pass and his calmness in possession, Arsene Wenger should be confident that he can slot right into the team in the holding role position. However, he would have to compete with Arsenal’s midfield options of Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey, who can all play in that holding role. But at the age of 23, Xhaka has got a lot of potential in him and could become one of the best players in his position in the years to come.

Never Put Your Money On England

From the start of the Euro’s, England were given high expectations to make it far in the tournament. And as proven, the Round of 16 was as far as they could go. Roy Hodgson stepped down as England manager – most likely out of shame – after his side suffered the most treacherous defeat of the tournament at the hands of Iceland, losing 2-1 after taking a four-minute lead.

The starting price of 16/1 for England never fancied me and it shouldn’t have fancied you either!

Roy Hodgson stepped down as England manager after the Euro tournament.

Personally, I cannot wait for the next England manager to go through the same sort of feat as Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello, Stuart Pearce and Hodgson all did. Although, in a way, consistency is key, and the English have been nothing short of that with each of the above-mentioned coaches failing to go past the quarter-finals of a major tournament. So to the next England manager, GOOD LUCK! You will need it.

Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches claimed the Young Player of the Tournament award for his staggering displays at the Euro’s. But one team in particular, saw the Portuguese youngster’s talent long before the start of the tournament. Bayern Munich scooped up Sanches at a massive price of €35m from Benfica.

Renato Sanches moved to Bayern Munich for a fee of €35 million

At the age of 18, Renato showed the football world that he has got a huge amount of talent in his boots and should be one to keep an eye out for in his first season as a Bavarian. He became the youngest player to score in the 2016 Euro and is the youngest footballer in history to win the European Championship, aged 18 years & 326 days old. Looking at his performances at the Euro’s, I’m forced to question myself whether or not we could be seeing another Cristiano Ronaldo in the making. And my answer is… possibly so.

Possession Doesn’t Win You Games

As seen in a few games at the Euro, possession means nothing than an extra few passes more than your opponent. Germany proved that in their semi-final clash against France where they completely dominated the game with 65% of the ball. With that excessive amount of possession, the Germans failed to find the back of the net and fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the hosts.

Iceland showed in the Euro's that Possession doesn't win you games

France, however, played the role of the Germans in the final, where they controlled most of the ball in the Euro final against Portugal – where they failed to score a goal. But going further back into the tournament, Iceland proved it more than any other team. It’s fair to say that the Icelanders were ‘outclassed’ by most of the teams they squared up against. However, it was tactics over possession that got Iceland to the quarter-finals. 
Antoine Griezmann – The Unluckiest Footballer Alive

Loses out on the Spanish La Liga two weeks before it ends, runner-up in the Champions League final, runner-up in the Euro final. Ladies and Gentleman, Antoine Griezmann. UNDOUBTEDLY, the Frenchman has got to be football’s unluckiest player. Had he achieved at least one of those trophies, Griezmann would be on course to give Ronaldo and Lionel Messi a run for their money when the next Ballon d’Or ceremony is upon us.

Antoine Griezmann now has a UEFA Champions League and Euro 2016 runners-up medal

Griezmann made sure that he would not return home empty handed, though, walking away with the Euro Golden Boot award for his six goals in the tournament. The Messi vs Ronaldo debate will probably continue for the next few seasons, but Griezmann is a name that could surely join the ring of those two football heavyweights in the upcoming years.

The Messi vs Ronaldo Debate Continues…

After winning anything and everything at club level, Cristiano Ronaldo has now lifted a major trophy at international level for the first time in his career. CR7 went off injured and in tears in the opening 25 minutes of the final, but those tears of sadness became tears of joy when Eder struck home in the second half of extra-time.

Cristiano Ronaldo has now won a major trophy with his national team

The Euro trophy came at the perfect time for Ronaldo, after Messi retired a fortnight ago, losing out in four major finals for his national side. I don’t mean to spice up the debate, but I’m forced to believe that Ronaldo may have overtaken the Argentinian maestro for the time being. He may be a few Ballon d’Or’s behind his Argentine arch-rival, however, claiming an international trophy in arguably a more competitive continent and with a weaker team, certainly adds more fuel to the fire in the debate.