So, the first games of the group stages are over. While some fans may be disappointed at the quality of play in some of the matches, there are quite a few things we can take from the games.
One, there's no clear favorite.
Germany looked great against Poland, but the lack of strikers scoring goals and the fact that Jens Lehmann is goalkeeping are scary thoughts. Spain opened the floodgates against Russia, but its defense looked shaky at times and Russia dominated them down the flanks.
The Dutch may have handed Italy their heaviest defeat at Euros, but all the team does is attack. Lastly, Portugal may have beaten Switzerland, but their opposition lacked quality, and Cristiano Ronaldo didn't look his marauding best.
Two, there is no good dark horse candidate to win this tournament.
Of all the possible dark horses, Russia looks the strongest, but they still got smoked 4-1 by one of the best teams in the tournament. Romania, long touted as contenders to get out of the Group of Death, looked boring and lifeless against the French.
Switzerland, always an underrated side, has lost their captain and best goal scorer. Croatia, after knocking out England, has since shown lack of quality, and desperately miss Eduardo.
Third, the quality of most matches hasn't been exactly as I expected, but the tournament so far has been quite entertaining. There were plenty of goals, the referees have allowed games to go on without getting unsafe, and the fans have created great atmospheres.
So, who will win?
After round one, I want to pick the Dutch. They play in a very attacking style that is entertaining to watch, and had put on a master class against the defending World Cup champs.
Spain will be the sentimental favorites due to their history, and they look like they finally have the quality side needed to win something.
Whoever wins, I'm sure it will be entertaining.
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