While every major tournament has its own glimpses of the future, it has its own legacy too. The Euro 2016 departs marked the start of Spanish domination. One which went on till 2012 edition of the continental showpiece. That tournament two editions ago was the start of “Tiki-Taka” football by the La Roja. And it has been inscribed in history. This edition, being alleged as one of the most boring ones, would have it’s share of naysayers but it departs with giving us a wonderful lesson. A lesson which not only teams across leagues but outside of football too will be followed. The likes of Wales and Iceland have won hearts of millions of neutrals across the globe whereas Portugal ended their nation’s wait for a major trophy to send them into delirium. None of the three teams were fancied to accomplish what they did and they only serve us to teach us valuable lessons. Euro 2016 departs, which would serve well for the future.
Euro 2016 departs
Iceland: From Nobody to a Quarter finalist
With a population of 330000, this tiny nation exemplified the ultimate fighting spirit. Pitted against the likes of Portugal and England, they came out unscathed and victorious respectively. The passion displayed by their players may well do good for us if inculcated in our own lives. The criticism from Ronaldo after their first match of “being too defensive” didn’t dampen the mood of anybody rooting for the nordic minnows. Ironically though, it was the same strategy that was transmuted by the Champions in their run to glory. Unlikely heroes were born and while their ending may not have been akin to the fairytale run English champions Leicester had endured, it was a stuff of folklore for the Icelandic diaspora. One therefore hopes that the standout performers from this tiny footballing nation would be corted and tied down by teams from better leagues and their Footballing Association would plough in more money into the infrastructure to develop the youth with a view to qualify for the World cup. Who knows we may come across some unknown heroes in Russia?
Wales: Red Dragons soar to memorable heights
When the Wales missed out on World Cup qualification in 2014, hardly did anyone bat an eyelid. A replication of the same scenario would neither be met with a similar expression,nor be acceptable to the Welsh folks now. From languishing at wrong end of 100 in the Fifa rankings four years ago, the remarkable run of this British nation in the Euro 2016 has etched its name in the memories of its locals. The Gareth Bale-led nation did possess the threat of the Real Madrid star but it was not the only one. The fact that arguably their best goal of the competition had been scored by Hal Robson Kanu, a player deemed surplus to the requirements by League One side Reading speaks a lot about the team spirit and camaraderie that the team shared. Every time Bale was asked about his contribution, he repeatedly downplayed it in favour of the bond that gave them results.It was everything opposite of what he is compelled to do at Real Madrid. Aaron Ramsey too served a timely reminders to all the naysayers of his ability. The highest assist maker was forced to miss out the crucial tie against Portugal and his absence was tellingly felt. The captain, Ashley Williams should be marked out for special praise. Playing with just one hand in one of the games with severe cramps in the other hand rendering it motionless and all the substitutions having been used, he exemplified the sacrifice of his team, for his team.
Portugal : The triumph of Team spirit
When the final whistle blew to send all of the Portugal contingent at Stade de France into delirium, Pepe was seen vomiting. It was an indictment of his work rate. Time after time, he doused the fire at the backline for his team throughout the finals. Every corner taken, every ball delivered didn’t result in any clear cut chance for the hosts. Pepe could claim a lion’s share of those failed efforts.Keeping the likes of Giroud and Griezmann at bay, he was happy to do the dirty job sans any qualms. Ronaldo, the goalscorer and assist-maker had a say in only two matches. The rest was a result of the collective. Being oblivious to the countless labels being handed out to them by critics, they played the style which saw them crowned champions. A style, which demanded every ounce of energy from every single player. And the players obliged. With the under-20 finalists from last year, the likes of Joao Mario and Raphael Guerreiro defied any nerves that was expected of these youngsters and rose to the occasion to hand their country their biggest footballing prize till date.