Biggest Surprises From the Group Stage23rd Jun 2016 |
The group stages haven’t been as exciting as many had hoped, but when the matches have been good, they’ve been amazing. Many will point at Iceland winning their group as one of the most incredible matches. I don’t elevate it quite as much. True, Portugal is supposed to be a better team than Iceland on paper, just as almost any other team in Europe. But we are used to surprises from Iceland now. Amazing performance, but they’re no longer as surprising. We saw them beat Netherlands and Turkey in the qualifications. I think it was a bigger surprise when Hungary beat Austria and managed a draw against Portugal.
In the section of negative surprises, Portugal and Russia stands out. The latter’s performance has been very disappointing. Granted, they were in a tough group and I would accept it if they had to go home after a fair effort. But they didn’t live up to their potential, and disappointed many fans. Portugal has the world’s best player up front and a decent team to back him up. Yet they didn’t manage to beat Austria, Iceland or Hungary. Also very disappointing.
Hungary is the biggest positive surprise, Portugal the biggest negative surprise.