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Obvious favorites and passionate underdogs. Group A Review

Teams in Group A finished their performances at the group stage and revealed the teams, which will continue featuring at the Euros, the one that can keep the hope and the only team which players can pack their luggage right after the closing game. Let’s go one by one.

Team P W D L GD Pts Form
1 France 3 2 1 0 +3 7 WWD
2 Switzerland 3 1 2 0 +1 5 WDD
3 Albania 3 1 0 2 -2 3 LLW
4 Romania 3 0 1 2 -2 1 LDL

In the Last 16! France and Switzerland

The hosts and one of the main favorites of the tournament – France, have shown the results with no impressive game but with obvious leaders. The team won first two games with late winners, laying with the reserve mostly against Switzerland. However, France was the team, which gave us one of the most impressive players of the group stage, and no, it is neither Paul Pogba nor Antoine Griezmann. France national team midfielder Dimitri Payet can be fairly announced the Player of the Group!!!

Dimitri+Payet+France+v+Albania+Group+UEFA

West Ham player was the one to construct France attacking line. His through passes and left wing penetrations has been the key to the constant oppression the team made on the opponents. If you look deeper, statistics speak better than any words. Having featured in a bit more than two, Dimitri Payet scored twice, made an assist and has an 80% pass accuracy, which is an outstanding number for a playmaker.

Dimitri Payet, however, entered the pitch only 27 minutes prior to the end of the closer against Switzerland, the game not being a fortune definer. The Swiss team, in turn, have had a very qualified squad and was expected to play good. It can now be confirmed, that they almost met the expectations. A win against the obvious underdog Albania and two harsh draws afterwards. Swiss team accepted only one goal, which was from a penalty shot. This was not a coincidence, as Switzerland gave us the Goalkeeper of the Group in the face of Yann Sommer!

Yann+Sommer+Romania+v+Switzerland+Group+UEFA

The goalkeeper managed to keep clean sheets against Albania and France, the latter constantly oppressing his goal trying to prove their favorite status during the group closer. Impressive, isn’t it?

Awaiting other group results and hoping! Albania

Albania lost first two games and were the ones to have too small chances to qualify, although they have been showing a good game against both Switzerland and France. They have been defending as any other underdog tries to do in major tournaments. They accepted their first goal against France at the 90th minute but lost 2-0. That might have been due to the lack of experience. However, they shined against Romania. Armando Sadiku scored the only goal of the game and their only game so far, presenting their fans a sudden hope for the feast continuation. Moreover, Albania revealed the Opening of the Group – Ledian Memushaj!

Ledian+Memushaj+France+v+Albania+Group+UEFA

The Italian Serie B player not only assisted Albania’s only goal, but also has taken on average 4 shots a game! Have been very aggressive and showed his best in playmaking. Moreover, many statistical websites rate him to be the second best player of the group after Payet! What a revelation!

Waving good-bye to Euros! Romania

Romania have been one of those underdogs who showed good football, but were either unlucky or lacked experience. Against Switzerland they could have won, against France they could have kept the draw, but they did not! They were the favorites against Albania but failed! They fought, they lost. They had players like Bogdan Stancu (the first in Euro-2016 to score his second goal), but did not really know the tournament specifics. Good-bye Romania and good luck in gaining experience!

Group A gave us what we expected. Battles, obvious leaders and impressive underdogs. Not a bad start!

Inga Volkers