Euro 2020: Top 5 talking points so far

Here are the top five talking points as the Euro 2020 moves into Round of 16 from Saturday.

The European Championship was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the 16th edition of this competition has not disappointed.

Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Sweden and France advanced to the Round of 16 having secured the top spots in their respective groups. Meanwhile, Wales, Denmark, Austria, Croatia, Spain and Germany managed to progress with the second spot finishes along with reigning champions Portugal and Switzerland who finished in third place in their respective groups.

  • CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN’S COLLAPSE

A tragic and nerve-racking moment in football history unfolded on live television as Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field in the middle of a group match against Finland due to a sudden cardiac arrest. The 29-year-old’s life was saved when CPR was administered to him on the pitch and his heart was re-started with a defibrillator before he was taken to hospital. Tributes, prayers and wishes poured in from around the world. Fellow footballers dedicated their goals to him including the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Heung-Min Son. The former Tottenham player was discharged from the hospital after an operation to implant a heart starter device.

  • OWN-GOALS

This edition of the Euros has already seen a record number of own goals being scored. Euro 2016 saw 3 own goals being scored a reduction of 5 goals than this year. The scorers of all eight own-goals in the group stage ended up losing the match, including Germany’s defeat to France. The list includes three goalkeepers who were unlucky enough to concede in front of fans.

  • A VERY SCHICK GOAL

Halfway line screamers just light up the stadium like fireworks, and this is exactly what happened when Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick spotted the Scotland goalkeeper off his line, launched a looping shot from just inside the halfway line and gave his team a two-goal lead it wouldn’t surrender. Scotland’s goalkeeper backtracked to try and save the shot but ended up tangled in the net and the still image of that was widely shared through memes on social media.

  • UEFA LOST ITS PRIDE

The European Super League fiasco and its handling by UEFA, European football’s governing body, was praised by the football world. However, all this effort went down the drain with UEFA’s handling of Munich mayor’s request to light up the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for the Germany vs Hungary group stage match. Mayor Dieter Reiter wanted to highlight legislation in Hungary banning school materials deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change.

UEFA claimed it had to decline the request because of its ‘political context’. It said in a statement, “UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organization. Given the political context of this specific request – a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must decline this request.”  UEFA received widespread criticism for their controversial decision.

  • RONALDO’S SNUB TO COKE

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola snub at a Euro 2020 press conference, captured headlines across the world, the Portugal captain removed two bottles of Coca-Cola kept in front of him encouraging people to drink water instead. As he sat down to speak to the media before Tuesday’s Group F opener against Hungary, the 36-year-old moved the cola bottles aside.

The Juventus forward followed it by holding a bottle of water before shouting: “Agua!, Agua!” (water) in Portuguese, indicating what appeared to be him encouraging people to drink water instead of aerated drinks. The video of the incident went viral on social media and was widely shared.

Coca-Cola is one of the official sponsors of Euro 2020, hence bottles were placed in front of the cameras in the press conferences for marketing. The company replied with a statement on Tuesday that said: “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences with different tastes and needs”. Social media jumped on the craze with memes and other brands such as Fevicol, Zomato and Amul reacted with marketing gimmicks too.

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