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  • Writer's pictureSean Earley

Euro 2020: the most memorable ever?

This month, instead of talking about translation, I would like to discuss something near and dear to me, both professionally and personally.

It has now been over a week since Italy lifted the trophy crowning them champions of Europe. As an Englishman I have to admit they were probably the deserved winners having consistently played the best football. They have also been incredibly entertaining to watch, so a massive congratulations to the Italians.

Now that the dust has settled (and I have had time to process the heart-breaking defeat in the final), I thought I would have a look back at the tournament as a whole and pick out some of my favourite moments. In many ways it was a very unique tournament given the pandemic but it wasn’t all negative!

So let’s take a look at my top five moments of Euro 2020 (or should it be Euro 2021?)

Number 5

Number 5 was personal to me (it’ll be the only one I swear!). But hear me out! It was my first time transcribing for an international football tournament and I have to say, I loved every minute of it. I saw it as an opportunity to get to know every team in the tournament. It’s easy to forget the small teams, but working on the Euros meant that this wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t miss beautiful moments such as the veteran Goran Pandev qualifying for the first time with his country, North Macedonia, Hungary almost miraculously qualifying from the ‘group of death’ and the rise of many young promising players: Damsgaard, Saka and Locatelli, just to name a few. So it was a very special tournament for me personally but now let me move onto the moments that were fantastic for everyone else too!

Number 4

The Czech Republic shocked us all, having made it to the quarter finals. Their main man Patrick Schick’s goal was so good that it absolutely has to make this list. This guy had a stellar tournament, finishing joint top scorer alongside Cristiano Ronaldo! It will go down in Euro history as one of the finest goals ever scored in the tournament. Lobbing the keeper from the halfway line in itself is quite the feat in and of itself, however, what makes it even better was the thought behind it. Schick stated in an interview that he had noticed the goalkeeper’s high positioning in the first half. So it wasn’t just one of those moments where things fall into place. He knew exactly what he was doing and boy did he execute it to perfection!

Number 3

On day 3 of the knockout stage we were treated to possibly one of the best days of football I have ever seen. 14 goals over the space of two matches is insane! I was exhausted after watching Spain come out victorious 5-3 in extra time against Croatia. Little did I know, even more drama was going to unfold as Switzerland upset one of the favourites for the tournament, France, in a penalty shootout. What was even more shocking was that Mbappé was the one to miss! He plays with such maturity that sometimes I forget how young he still is. It was sad to see him miss but I have to admit it did make for a delicious finale to the tournament.

Number 2

My second favourite moment of the Euro was England reaching the final. Surprised it’s not number 1? Just you wait! I have grown up watching England field teams of superstars, yet they’ve never really threatened at international tournaments. Having watched a stale performance in their 0-0 draw against Scotland, I’d written them off as soon as I saw that our last 16 tie was against Germany. Then things really started to click and before I knew it, England were in their first international final in my lifetime! I’ve never been this excited as an England supporter and I imagine a lot of the country feels the same way. It was a joy to watch a talented young team get that far in the tournament. We may have lost the final but I believe the players can hold their heads high. We haven’t seen the last of this team and it’s time to look up and onwards to the World Cup in Qatar.

Number 1

There was so much good and bad throughout this tournament. There was no greater low point than the incident involving Christian Eriksen. It’s a sight that none of us want to see, but you know what? I have to applaud the solidarity between not just the Danish players, but everyone else who showed support. The Belgium game gave me goosebumps for the respect they showed for Eriksen. The atmosphere at Parken was electric for the entire tournament and similarly the team put in performances that their country can be proud of. For me, this is what football is all about: good sportsmanship, respect and bringing together people from different backgrounds, countries and races. Watching this Danish team reaffirmed my love of the game and it truly made for certainly the greatest Euro in my lifetime.

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