EURO 2024 Takes Over Soccer World in a Variety of Ways EURO 2024 Takes Over Soccer World

Lineup choices and varying performances highlight tournament after two rounds

Disclaimer: Subject matter discussed in the video is opinion and analysis as you would see in a studio show.

DREW VONSCIO: Welcome back to the NCC Sports Report. And it’s time now for NCC FC. I’m Drew VonScio…

GERALDO REID: And I’m Geraldo Reid. Let’s get right into with some Copa America action. The United States won their opening game last night, two-nil against Bolivia. Christian Pulisic and Folarin Balogun netted goals in the win. The US is one is one of four countries that is considered a favorite along with Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.

VONSCIO: And Colombia is currently on a 22 game unbeaten streak, while Argentina and Brazil are known powerhouses. So moving into the EUROs, the third and final round of the group stage, has started. But through the first two, Geraldo, what have you seen that really stands out to you?

REID: Yes, Drew, so I watched the EUROs when it first began, and the first game between Spain and Scotland was a great game because not Spain in Scotland, Germany and Scotland rather, because it was like goals galore, six goals that were scored. And so, but one of the main things that I realized is that the, the games between the smaller teams, they’ve been the best. They’ve been the best games, you know, they’ve been just like there’s no tactical, anything that’s going on is just like, ‘okay, we’re going to score. If you score two, we’re going to score three. If we have 15 shots, we’re going to have 17.’ And so that’s the thing I realized. And that and also between the games that have the bigger teams, it’s been more pragmatic, it’s been more, you know, conservative. Let’s try to keep possession. Let’s try you know, try a little tweak so we can win the game. And that has been very mundane. And just like, you know, just all the technical stuff that I personally don’t like. And I think the media also doesn’t act as well.

VONSCIO: And on that same note, we’ve seen it from Portugal as well. Manager Roberto Martinez starting out with a 3-4-3 in the win over the Czech Republic and then switching it to a 4-2-3-1 against, the latest match against Turkey. And he’s also not utilizing Bernardo Silva properly, playing him out on the wing as opposed to as a box to box midfielder, where he gets Pep Guardiola gets the most out of him and Manchester City. So I think if Martinez makes those two changes, it gives Portugal a strong advantage going into the round of 16. I mean, making changes is what friendlies are for. Now is not the time to do that. So if Martinez just continues to make change after change, Portugal’s going to end up going home in the round of 16. And that’s all the time we have here for you on NCC FC. Stick around after the break where Taylor Mascetta takes you through Olympic track right here on our special NCC Sports Report.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) –  The European Championship is back in Germany this year, and the tournament has gotten off to a crazy start. Lower-profile matches turning heads, team-by-team performances and questionable lineup decisions have made this tournament more popular than ever before across the world.

Lower-Profile Matches Leading the Way

EURO 2024 has had a handful of matches between soccer powerhouses. Spain vs. Italy, Netherlands vs. France and even Denmark vs. England have all taken place but have not produced the best matches. Instead, it has been teams like Slovakia, Albania and Romania that have caught the attention of viewers.

It’s not that the soccer giants aren’t playing well because they are, but the managers who are experimenting and trying different tactics in the group stage games. Heading into a tournament like the EUROs, these items should be sorted out already.

Countries like Slovakia, Albania and Romania are different. They have their system in place with a clear identity for the team. The players have bought into the message from the managers, and it’s paying off. Albania was proof in the 2-2 draw with Croatia and even losing by just one goal to Italy; Romania was the same way with its 3-0 win over Ukraine and 2-0 defeat against Belgium.

Slovakia perhaps pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament to this point with a 1-0 win over Belgium in the opening round of the group stage. The Slovaks trusted in their tactics and went in knowing they could give Belgium a fight.

The “smaller” countries, from a soccer perspective, are much more aggressive early in the tournament. These countries know they are the underdogs, and they know nobody expects much of them. But those who follow soccer know, there’s always a Cinderella story in these major tournaments.

Expectations vs. Reality

Every four years at the EUROs, there’s always one team that performs levels about their pre-tournament expectations while others falter drastically. It’s not just the teams that have their performances reviewed in this manner, as individual players and managers do as well.

Through the first two rounds of the group stage, Portugal has taken all six possible points after wins over Czech Republic and Turkey in Group F. However, manager Roberto Martinez has faced far less scrutiny than expected.

In Portugal’s opening match against Czech Republic, Martinez played a defensive 3-4-3 formation. With the talent of Portugal drastically outweighing that of the Czech Republic, there was no need for Martinez to play defensive. That mindset almost cost the Portuguese who had to come from behind in the win.

Against Turkey, Martinez switched to the 4-2-3-1, which allowed Portugal to be more fluid in the attack and be more dominant in possession. It’s something that Portugal should consider going forward.

Martinez also needs to reconsider his use of Bernardo Silva. In Portugal’s games so far, Martinez has played Silva as a right winger. It’s a position Silva used to play for his club, but he has not done so in quite some time.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has gotten the most out of Silva in the center midfield, and Martinez should consider doing the same. When Silva scored in the win over Turkey, he did so in a central position as opposed to being out wide because of being in the center third of the field.

Southgate’s Team Selection Causes Controversy Again

Another major international tournament, another controversy regarding England manager Gareth Southgate and the starting lineup he puts on the field. Despite having one of the most talented teams every year, England consistently underperforms because of his lineup choices and tactics.

NCC Sports Reporters Geraldo Reid and Drew VonScio went through the 26-man roster and each created what they believe to be the strongest lineup that England could field in hopes of winning EURO 2024.

Geraldo: Goalkeeper – Jordan Pickford. Defenders (Left to Right) – Kieran Trippier, Marc Guehi, John Stones, Kyle Walker.  Midfielders – Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Cole Palmer. Forwards (Left to Right) – Phil Foden, Harry Kane, Buyako Saka.

Explanation: “This back line worked well for England at the World Cup in Qatar, so I would keep it. The Trent Alexander-Arnold experiment in midfield though has to end. He’s not good enough for the way England need to play as he’s clogging up space in the midfield for Rice to build up in possession.”

Drew: Goalkeeper – Aaron Ramsdale. Defenders (Left to Right) – Joe Gomez, Marc Guehi, John Stones, Kyle Walker. Midfielders – Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Cole Palmer. Forwards (Left to Right) – Phil Foden, Harry Kane, Buyako Saka.

Explanation: “I went with Ramsdale because he helps maintain possession more than Pickford in my opinion.
Joe Gomez isn’t a natural left back but it helps create balance in a back line with walker being offensive-minded.”

EURO 2024 is set to run through July 14 where this year’s champion will be crowned in Germany’s capital, Berlin.

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