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Hits and misses: First round of Euro 2024

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By; Nana Kwame Bediako 

The Euro 2024 kicked off with a bang as Germany emerged as the dominant force, steamrolling over Scotland in the first round. The German squad displayed precision and prowess, with standout performances from young stars Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, who dazzled fans with their exceptional skills and strategic play. This commanding win has set a high bar for the tournament and left fans eagerly anticipating what Germany will bring in the subsequent rounds.

Turkey also made a significant impression, thanks to the prodigious talent of Arda Guler. The 19-year-old sensation marked his European Championship debut with a stunning goal, becoming the youngest player to achieve such a feat since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004. Guler’s goal was a moment of pure magic that electrified the stadium and signaled Turkey’s potential to be a formidable contender in the tournament.

Romania, Portugal, and Spain also showcased their footballing brilliance in the first round. Portugal’s Francisco Conceição provided one of the most dramatic moments, scoring a decisive goal mere seconds after coming off the bench, securing a 2:1 victory against Czechia. This last-minute heroics demonstrated Portugal’s depth and resilience, qualities that will be crucial as the competition progresses.

Spain’s performance was equally noteworthy, as they demonstrated their characteristic flair and control on the pitch. Their tactical superiority and cohesive teamwork allowed them to dominate their match, leaving fans and analysts impressed with their potential to go far in the tournament. The inclusion of young blood and seasoned veterans has created a well-balanced squad that is both dynamic and experienced.

In the realm of individual brilliance, N’Golo Kante’s performance for France stood out. His experience and composure in the midfield were instrumental in frustrating Austria’s efforts, allowing France to secure a narrow victory. Kante’s ability to control the tempo of the game and disrupt the opposition’s play was a masterclass in midfield dominance, reinforcing his reputation as one of the best in the world.

England’s Jude Bellingham also made headlines with his courageous header that secured a lone goal against Serbia. Bellingham’s fearless play and determination have infused the English squad with a renewed sense of hope and ambition. His contribution was pivotal in keeping England’s prospects bright as they look forward to the challenges in the upcoming rounds.

However, the first round was not without its disappointments. Belgium, often seen as a powerhouse, stumbled unexpectedly against Slovakia, losing by a solitary goal. Romelu Lukaku had a particularly frustrating match, missing several key opportunities and having two goals disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). This unexpected loss has cast doubt on Belgium’s ability to progress far in the tournament.

Kylian Mbappe, despite being heavily involved in France’s winning goal against Austria, had his own share of missteps. Presented with a clear one-on-one chance, the 25-year-old missed leaving the fan’s dumbfounded on what was going through his mind. 

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