Euro 2020 is getting more exciting day after day. At the start of the knocked-out phase, let's take a look at the Euro 2020 group stage best goals.
The European Championship, also known as Euro, is probably the second most important national team competition in football. Euro 2020 started after one year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a long time, fans returned to the stadiums in this tournament. The national team level is not comparable with clubs, of course. National teams have less time for training, while most of the players are from different clubs.
In a club, sometimes the manager covers the team's weakness by signing a player he needs, but the national team selection is different. These are the reasons that many teams count on free-kick to score. Teams likeFrance
have all the tools a manager might need, but not all the teams are like this. In Euro 2004,Greece
reached the final and won the title by simply defending and waiting for free kicks or opponents' blunders. At the time, many pundits criticized their style of play, but today the style is very common.
The quality of a goal is hard to define. To make it simple, we're going to have some ground rules. First of all, no own-goal is allowed. The opening goal of the competition was an own goal fromMerih Demiral
. It was the first time a Euro Cup started with an own-goal. Three days later, another own goal was scored byWojciech Szczęsny
. It is the first own goal scored by a goalkeeper in the competition's history. Both Szczęsny andRobert Mak
were unlucky because Mak's run and shot were brilliant and if it went straight to goal, it could have been one of the
Euro 2020 group stage best goals
The match betweenPortugal
was the first one in the history of the Euro with multiple own-goals. Two own goals happened once again in theSpain
match. Euro 2020 already has the record for the most own goals in a single tournament.
The second rule is No Penalty. There have been 14 penalties awarded at Euro 2020 so far. The conversion rate of the penalties is low and six of them are missed. The last and most important rule is that the goal has to include excellent individual skills or teamwork. There's a factor named XG, indicating that how much a shot is expected to be a goal. Having less XG is considered an advantage because the low XG goals are rare. Despite the large number of penalties and own-goal, many goals were worthy of being on the list of best goals in the group stage of the 2020 European Championship.
Once again, the 16th UEFA European Championship, brought Europe’s best national teams together. Read on to find out more about some of the best goals of its first stage.
In Group A,Italy
collected all the points with three victories, the exact opposite of Turkey's results.Turkey
lost all the matches and besidesNorth Macedonia
, they're the only teams without any points in Euro 2020. Turkey failed to score before the last group stage match againstSwitzerland
. Two beautiful long range goals fromHaris Seferovic
before half time were enough for the closure of Turkey's awful tournament.
In 62' Turkish players were roaming around Switzerland's penalty area. After a few passes,Calhanoglu
reached the ball toIrfan Kahveci
in the corner of the box. Kahveci, the central midfielder ofFenerbahce
, was trying to find a teammate in a good position while he was marked byRicardo Rodriguez
. Kahveci launched a left foot shot as soon as he found the space.
The shot was shocking and powerful and it went straight to the top left corner of the goal. The XG value of his goal was 0.04, which is really low. Despite the goal being amazing, Kahveci barely celebrated. The goal could be a turning point for Turkey, but after a few minutes, another goal by Shaqiri killed all the hope Kahveci's goal gave them.
lost the first match to Belgium, whereLukaku
scored a brace.Finland
's first match was under the shadow ofChristian Eriksen
's cardiac arrest. They won the match, however, with a goal byJoel Pohjanpalo
. Pohjanpalo netted the ball in the early minutes against Russia, but VAR ruined his celebration. He was in the offside position. Russia needed a victory to keep its hopes for surviving the group stage.
In the second minute of first half injury time, Russians, after intercepting the ball, reached it toAleksey Miranchuk
behind Finland's box. Miranchuk was facing his own goal, but after a nice turn he had a chance to take the shot at the ball, but two Finnish defenders were marking him.Atalanta
midfielder, Miranchuk played a textbook one-two with Artem Dezyuba and ran through the defense.
Miranchuk, wearing number 15 jersey, moved the ball to his left side and immediately sent the ball to the top left corner of the goal. His shot was smooth, precise, and curly. At the end of the match, he was selected as the Man of the Match due to his winning goal with a XG value of 0.09.
The second match of Euro 2020 Group C was betweenNetherlands
. Both sides started attacking and thirsty for a goal. There were nine shots in the first ten minutes, which is a record in European Championship (Euro) since 1980. Despite several attempts, the first half ended goallessly. The Dutchmen have always been one of the most powerful teams in the competition. Ukrainians with coach Shevchenko and talented players likeRuslan Malinovsky
, andOleksandr Zinchenko
are showing beautiful performances.
In the 52nd minute of the game,Georginio Wijnaldum
scored the first goal of the match and six minutes laterWout Weghorst
doubled the lead. In the 75',West Ham
winger Yarmolenko had the ball on the right side after a one-two with the skipper, Yaremchuk reached a clean angle to shoot. Yarmolenko's stunning shot netted beyond the hands of Stekelenburg. The 20 yard goal, with a XG value of 0.04 was inspirational and a few minutes later Yaremchuk scored an equalizer header by a cross Malinovskyi delivered.
In the group of death, Portugal finished in third place, behind France and Germany. Portugal was the best one among the third-placed teams on the group stage and proceed to the next round. With five goals scored,Cristiano Ronaldo
is the top goalscorer of the Euro 2020. Ronaldo broke Michel Platini's record and became the all time top scorer of the European Championship. This achievement unlocked after his brace in their first match againstHungary
. Until the 84' Hungarians managed to keep a clean sheet, butRaphael Guerreiro
scored the opening goal.
After a couple of minutes, a penalty was taken that Ronaldo converted. In the 92nd minute, a move started byRenato Sanches
passing the ball to Ronaldo behind the box. Ronaldo performed two flawless one-twos with Rafa to get into space in front of the goal. Hungarian goalkeeper charged towards Ronaldo, but Ronaldo moved the ball around him beautifully and slot into the back of the empty net. Both teamwork and individual skills had a big role in scoring the 0.61 XG valued goal.
In the first two matches of Group D,Croatia
only gained one point from a tie with theCzech Republic.
The last third match, against Scotland, was vital for the World Cup runner-up team. Croatian took the lead in 17' but an equalizer scored in the 42' by McGregor.Real Madrid
turned the tie in the second half. Once again, Modric showed why he is one of the best. The move started when he was changing the wings and advancing towards the goal. His side footed shot outside of the box was the icing on the cake. The flick kick went perfectly to the left top corner of the goal.
Modric had a more defensive role in their first two games, but his fantastic goal was a reminder of the last World Cup. In Euro 2008, Modric scored a goal that made him the youngest Croatian player to score a goal in the Euro Cup history. By wonder goal he scored in the win over Scotland, he is now both youngest and the oldest goal scoring player of Croatia. After Modric's goal with a XG value of 0.09,Perisic
sealed the deal with a beautiful header.
Euro 2020 has been a dramatic tournament and on top of all forDenmark
. It started upsetting, but the end of the group stage was happy. Belgium won all three games in Group B. Denmark lost the first match that Eriksen had to leave the competition. Denmark faced Russia in the last game, while, in the case of their victory, the group would have three teams with three points and the goal difference would decide. What Denmark did was score four goals, which two of them were extraordinary.
The 20 year oldMikkel Damsgaard
in the 38' put Denmark in the lead. Behind the curve of the box, he received the ball, and, right after nudging the ball to his right foot, targeted the right-top corner of the goal, and hit the bullseye with a side footed strike. In the second half,Yussuf Poulsen
doubled the lead thanks to a blunder from the Russians. Russia got back on track with a penalty in 70' but after the goal, Denmark turned to ultra attacking.
In a couple of minutes, they created plenty of scoring opportunities, but Safonov and his defenders didn't easily give up. The wall of the resistance collapsed after a cannonballAndreas Christensen
launched. A loose ball was going towards the center of the field, then out of nowhere Christensen came in and netted the ball from more than 20 meters distance. His shoot was so powerful that it didn't leave a chance to the goalkeeper, even though it wasn't too far from his hands. The XG value of his goal was 0.02, which shows how stunning it was. Maehle scored another goal for Denmark. Christensen won the Star of the Match award at the end.
Belgium has one of the best squads in the world, including the club teams. Hazard brothers,Mertens
, Lukaku, and many others are a golden generation of Belgian players that are mostly at the peak of their professional careers. The second round of Euro 2020 group stages was heavily influenced by the unfortunate event of Denmark's first match. Without Christian Eriksen, it was hard to believe that Denmark could be one of the knock-out teams, but they did it.
Yussuf Poulsen scored an early goal that put Denmark in the lead for 50 minutes.Kevin De Bruyne
was the first substitute of the night. He started the second half and immediately had a great impact on the game. De Bruyne's work with Lukaku led to an equalizer thatThorgan Hazard
scored. Coach Roberto Martinez sentEden Hazard
in seeking the leading goal. In one of Lukaku's runs,Alderweireld
saw the space ahead of him and sent a long through ball. Lukaku passed two defenders by dribbling and opened the space behind the box.
Lukaku passed toTielemans
and in a classic one touch partnership including Hazard brothers and Tielemans himself, they came up with an open space through ball for De Bruyne behind the penalty area. De Bruyne didn't break the one touch streak and took a shot with his left foot so precise that it's hard to believe it's a long range goal. The XG value of his goal is 0.05. In respect to Christian Eriksen, he didn't celebrate his goal.
Switzerland vs Turkey is one of the best matches of Euro 2020 so far. Since the starting whistle, both teams created many scoring chances and in the end they had 42 shots combined. Haris Seferovic beautifully netted Switzerland's first serious attempt in the 6th minute. When Xherdan Shaqiri is on the field, you should be prepared for extraordinary goals. In 26' Shaqiri finally revealed his magic trick.
After a few playmaking in the sides,Zuber
sees Shaqiri on the edge of the box and sends across. He was marked poorly, maybe because they didn't think he would try a long shot with the right foot. Shaqiri didn't hesitate and curled the ball with the side of the right foot as the first touch. The ball went to the right top corner. Scoring a brilliant goal with a non-specialized foot is rare.
After this goal with a XG value of 0.08, Turkey responded with another amazing goal, which is also on this list of Euro 2020 group stage best goals. In the 68' Shaqiri secured the three points by scoring another goal. Zuber was the assist provider of the goal, just like the long shot goal.
Super is the right word forPatrik Schick
's goal. The 25 years old forward has scored all Czech Republic goals in the tournament. His brace in the win over Scotland and a penalty goal against Croatia was enough for advancing to the round of 16. In the first match, Patrik Schick showed no mercy to Scotland. The first goal was the most typical type of goal you see, especially in the national tournaments. A header scored following a set piece.
The second goal, though, was unbelievable. Scottish players were trying for an equalizer. One of their attacks in 52' Czech players intercepted the ball and Soucek passed the ball away from their defensive third to the literally middle of the field. The moment that ball passed the mid line Schick arrived behind it. He spotted that Scotland goalkeeper Marshall has come a little forward and struck a magnificent shot towards the goal.
Schick was approximately 50 meters away from the Scotland's goal. In the replays of the goal, you realized that Schick has used an exaggerated curve in his shot. Marshall dashed into the goal, but the ball flew over his hands to the left top corner of the goal. Right after the goal was scored, pundits believed that it might be the goal of the tournament with a XG value of 0.01. It means that one from a hundred would have scored such a goal. Schick's Super goal was scored on the anniversary of creation of Superman.
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