It’s really easy when a tournament finishes to only talk about what went well and all the times you were right.
However, I’m all about checks and balances here - and more importantly, laughing at dumb shit that I’ve said.
Here, I’ll go over most of the predictions from before and during the tournament.
Wrong: Rating Turkey
I’ll start with arguably my biggest blunder of the tournament because it’s the funniest one to talk about.
Wow was I wrong.
While I didn’t expect them to win their group, I predicted them to come second and have a good shout in the knockouts with their great play up front.
Instead, they scored one goal and were probably the worst team in the tournament.
However, I may have saved myself in the last line of the article
Still, I really rated them as a bit of a roughie to win a few games.
Then, after publishing this I saw all the “Turkey are the dark horse” articles come out and I knew I was doomed.
Anyway, I learned that if there’s too many question marks - Turkey had some great form in qualifying but mixed elsewhere - lean on the side of a mid-tier team being shit rather than good.
Right: Rating Italy
I really liked Italy heading into this tournament.
Before the tournament, Italy were around 9/1 outsiders, and depending on who you bet with, around the 7th favorite for the tournament.
I had them a lot higher than that.
Now, I didn’t predict that France would spontaneously combust (more on that later), but I did have Italy as my second favorite to win behind the French side in my Mega Preview before the tournament started.
I’ll take that - picking the winner is always a bit of a win, especially when they start the tournament as 7th favorite.
Wrong: France. All of France.
We all got that one wrong, hey.
Right: Liking Jeremy Doku
If you’ve been following my stuff for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk up Doku before.
The young Belgian winger was one of my first ever scouting reports - and hey, since then he’s been really good.
Leading into this tournament, I liked Doku’s role in the Belgian side.
Doku really impressed in his time on the field, and I think he’s one that will be massive for Belgium in the next few seasons.
A really good player.
Right and Wrong… Whatever Holland Were
I thought that if Holland got their shit together they’d be able to cause some havoc in the tournament.
I guess that happened.
I also thought they’d be a shout for a semi-final if it broke right for them.
That didn’t happen.
However, I did hang some shit on the now sacked Frank de Boer. Which I stand by.
Keep in mind - Frank de Boer knows so much more about coaching professional soccer than I do - but I just saw the pattern of his previous gigs.
I did also predict a more advanced role for Georginio Wijnaldum, and that happened.
I think I looked too much into the draw rather than the quality of the teams. I didn’t think Holland were in the top four sides in the tournament, so probably shouldn’t have picked them to make the semi-finals.
Right and Wrong: England
My biggest mistake with England was predicting their lineup would consist of who I think the best players are - and not the lineup that Southgate has used in the past.
And not the lineup that would work in international tournaments.
I also thought their defenders were a little accident-prone; They were incredibly solid (granted, the side played in a way to help them be incredibly solid).
I thought Maguire would be basically playing injured - but he was great.
I thought Jadon Sancho would have a good tournament and he hardly played.
I did say that they’d make the final four if they didn’t get a horror round of sixteen matchup (France or Portugal dropping to third). While Germany were no slouches, they were an easier match than the other two.
So while I was right that they did “at least make the final four”, I’m not really pleased in the how of my prediction.
On a side note - and I’ll discuss this a lot more in a rant on next week’s pod. I cannot comprehend the mental gymnastics that has to take place when I was seeing some English fans, on their couches, thinking that they’d do a better job than Southgate - it’s absurd.
Anyway, I'm sure I’ll rant about that later.
For now, I did learn to lean into a defensive side’s defensive qualities. I also learned that I should make my predictions on the side I think that a team will play, and not one based on who I think the best players are. Sancho was hardly playing for England before in the big games, so don’t know why I thought he’d start getting those important minutes in the Euros - then again, Saka wasn’t and he was great throughout the tournament.
I think I’ll start by predicting that they’ll be more defensive and look at that setup as opposed to how they’ll look in attack.
Wrong: Ignoring Spain
I didn’t rate Spain that much this tournament, and I think I was wrong in doing that.
I knew that they would struggle to find the goals without one player that they can rely on to hit the back of the net.
And I thought that they get into the “we have 80% possession and do nothing with it” habit too much - and they do.
But I should have really looked more into them. Hell, even though I was pretty bang on about the no striker part - they were a penalty shootout away from the final.
I really like Pedri, and this tournament did a lot to solidify him for me as a really top prospect.
Wrong: Going Too Obscure and Young in the Young Prospects Predictions
I think I messed up here by predicting young players that I really rate for the next 5-10 years, and not the tournament.
While Alexander Isak (Sweden) and Jeremy Doku (Belgium), and Christoph Baumgartner (Austria) all did well in their minutes - there were some really deep cuts that were picked for a bight future and not a bright tournament.
And for most of those, I kinda thought that might be the case, unless one really grabbed a spot and made it their own.
I probably should have stuck with the more well known players like Pedri - but there’s no fun in that.
Right: The General Feel of the Final
There were a lot of things I got wrong about the final like thinking England would play a back four (although, it could be argued that they kind of did at times throughout the match), and Federico Chiesa would start of the bench because he wasn’t the post tactically and positioning-wise for the side.
However, with that in mind, I think I went okay here.
While Chiesa did start in front of Berardi, I stand by my choices.
Chiesa needs to take a lot of the blame for the Luke Shaw goal - Shaw was his man, and Chiesa didn’t follow early. It almost cost them the tournament.
I liked Berardi because he sits wide, Chiesa, on the other hand liked to drift in - thank makes the backline sit a lot more compact.
However, when Immobile went off, Insigne went central, Chiesa went left, and Berardi went to the right.
It worked. Italy had a bunch more space for their attacking buildup, and created space for Emerson to overlap.
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