There was much expected of Euro 2016 as some of Europe’s biggest players and teams went head-to-head in France. On Sunday the final of the competition will take place between Portugal and hosts France, which we will preview on Sunday.
However today we are going to look at some of the great underachievers of Euro 2016, teams or players who have disappointed in France. Here are some of those great underachievers:
England as always came into the tournament highly-hyped by the British press. However there was a sense that something was different about the Three Lions squad, an air of freshness about the team and the squad.
However, just like in previous tournaments England were a massive let down in France. Expected to top a winnable group, Roy Hodgson’s side finished second following poor draws with Russia and Slovakia.
The worse was still to come though. The Three Lions were given what looked like a comfortable last-16 clash against minnows Iceland. It turned out to be the most embarrassing defeat in the history of the modern era of English football.
Boss Roy Hodgson quit his role straight after the game and it seemed he had little alternative but to leave his role following the defeat.
Austria headed into Euro 2016 as a potential dark horse to win the tournament. They had high-profile stars like Bayern Munich’s versatile David Alaba and Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic in their starting line-up, but fell flat on their face in France.
A disastrous open game 2-0 defeat against Hungary was followed by a battling draw with group favourites Portugal. However a last-gasp 2-1 defeat against Iceland in their last group game meant that Austria finished bottom of Group F and went home early.
No Doubt the Austrians will be back stronger in the future, as they have some relatively young players, but Euro 2016 was definitely one to forget for them.
The Bayern Munich striker headed into this tournament as one of the most highly-rated number nines in world football. The 27-year-old had also managed to score 13 goals in just ten qualification games, which saw him finish top of the scoring charts in qualifying.
He was expected to make a big impact in a Poland team that had a number of highly-rated players in their ranks. However his goal return of just one goal in France was disappointing. His goal against Portugal in the quarter-finals of the competition was the sort of effort that has become his trademark.
A number of issues may have caused his disappointing campaign. He did not look his usually sharp self in front of goal. Maybe a long Bundesliga and European campaign had left him tired or maybe speculation about a possible move to Real Madrid proved a distraction.
Whatever it was Lewandowski produced an under-par performance in France. His poor Euro 2016 campaign is unlikely to affect his reputation though, as the striker will still be regarded as one of the best number nines in world football.
Hosts France manage to negotiate a fraught semi-final clash with Germany to send the German World Champions home.
Final Score in Marseille, France 2, Germany 0.
Germany were forced into three changes from the team that started against Italy in the quarter-finals, as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Emre Can and Julian Draxler started in place of the injured Mario Gomez and Sami Khedira and the suspended Mats Hummels.
France were unchanged from the eleven that started the 5-2 mauling of Iceland last time out, with Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud paired in attack.
The hosts offered the first threat on goal on seven minutes. Striker Antoine Griezmann showed good feet to beat the German defence, but Manuel Neuer was equal to the striker’s effort on goal. Germany’s first effort of the game fell to out-of-sorts Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller who rather snatched after an effort following work by Emre Can.
Can was involved soon afterwards, as the versatile Liverpool man hit an effort that took a deflection and appeared to be heading for the bottom corner of the net, only for France ‘keeper Hugo Lloris to get down well to palm the strike away from goal.
The world champions had a penalty appeal turned down on 21 minutes, as Toni Kroos went over in the penalty area in the presence of both Samuel Umtiti and Paul Pogba. Referee Nicola Rizzoli took a look and waved play on.
France came back at Germany and Griezmann hit the side-netting from a tight angle following good work by veteran full-back Patrice Evra. France were handed the advantage, literally, in first half stoppage-time.
Dimitri Payet’s corner kick found the head of Evra, whose header hit Schweinsteiger’s arm in the penalty area. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Schweinsteiger was shown a yellow card.
The tournament’s top scorer Griezmann stepped-up and sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way to put the hosts in front.
France came out brightly in the second half, with Olivier Giroud’s shot well blocked by Jerome Boateng, before the Arsenal striker combined with Griezmann who saw an effort on goal deflect just over the bar.
It was a comedy of errors that lead to France’s second goal on 72 minutes. Young Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich gave the ball away in his own penalty area, then the experienced Neuer failed to deal with Paul Pogba’s cross and Griezmann was on hand to poke the ball into the net from close-range.
Germany came close to halving the deficit straight after the second goal, as youngster Kimmich curled an effort of the outside of the post from the edge of the French penalty area.
The hosts could have extended their lead even further, but Griezmann fired straight at Neuer when given the chance to score his hat-trick. Germany launched one last attack and it was that man Kimmich again.
The full-back saw a long-range effort saved superbly by the sprawling Lloris and that turned out to be the last meaningful effort of the game. In the end France had too much for an under-strength Germany side and will face Portugal on Sunday night in Paris.
The second Euro 16 semi-final plays out later tonight and sees European giants Germany and France face-off for a place in the final of the competition on Sunday against Portugal.
World champions Germany made heavy weather of seeing off Italy in the quarter-finals, drawing with the Azzurri in normal and extra-time only to win 6-5 on penalty kicks.
Joachim Low’s team produced a subdued performance against stubborn Italian team, but took the lead on 65 minutes, as Mesut Ozil found the net. The Azzurri equalised on 77 minutes through a penalty kick from Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci.
The game was all-square at normal and extra-time, so the game went to penalties with Jonas Hector firing home the winning spot-kick, after Manuel Neuer saved Matteo Darmian’s effort.
The world champions are unbeaten in their last six international matches and Low’s team have kept clean sheets in five of those games, conceding just once in the process.
One big major negative for Die Mannschaft from the Italy game was that striker Mario Gomez limped off in the last 20 minutes and the 30-year-old has now been ruled out for the rest of the tournament. The former-Stuttgart star had previously found the net twice in his three appearances and was looking like a contender for the Golden Boot in France.
Gomez is joined on the sidelines through suspension by defender Mats Hummels and through injury by midfielder Sami Khedira. Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is likely to replace Khedira, while Benedikt Howedes will come in at centre-back, if he recovers from a knock.
Germany have won two of the last three meetings with France, with their most prominent win coming in a 1-0 victory over Les Bleus in the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals.
Despite those two recent defeats, France have won six of the last nine international meetings between the pair, including a 2-0 friendly win last time these two teams met in a friendly at the end of 2015.
The hosts have not beaten Germany in a competitive match since the 1958 World Cup and a 6-3 victory.
France breezed through to the last-four with a 5-2 demolition of surprise package Iceland at the Stade de France. Didier Deschamps side were four goals up by half-time.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring on 12 minutes, before Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann added goals to all-but end the game as a contest. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored for Iceland, before Giroud headed home his second.
Iceland got a second goal back on 85 minutes, as Birkir Bjarnason headed home, but the goal meant little and Deschamps side head into this clash in confident mood.
Les Bleus have a good recent record in international matches, having won 13 of their last 15 international games and losing just once in the process.
France are the top scorers in the competition with 11 goals. Striker Antoine Griezmann has scored four times, while Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet have found the target three times, so all three are candidates for the competitions golden boot.
The host nation has a fully-fit squad to choose from with the return from suspension of Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante, who both served one-game suspensions against Iceland.
Germany will no doubt miss the key players who will be absent and the trio will be difficult to replace. The absentees make the hosts Football Issue favourites to make it to the final on Sunday at the Stade de France.