EURO 2024 Talking Points: France fail to impress, Austria fly, England produce snoozefest


EURO 2024 Talking Points: France fail to impress, Austria fly, England produce snoozefest

France lacked a cutting edge against Poland
France lacked a cutting edge against PolandProfimedia
The penultimate day of the EURO 2024 group stages saw pre-tournament favourites France and England continue to lack quality and cohesion in attack, while on the other end of the spectrum, Ralf Ragnick's Austria keep on impressing with their thrilling brand of football.

The real 'dark horses'

Before every major tournament, a handful of teams are touted as being potential 'dark horses' for the tournament. However, in Austria, we may have found the real ones.

Led by Ralf Rangnick, the Austrians topped a group with France and the Netherlands, playing high-tempo, all-action, chaotic football. You simply cannot take your eyes off the way they play.

Group D standings
Group D standingsFlashscore

A stunning 3-2 win over the Dutch in their final group game was a breathtaking encounter, and they showed just how much attacking quality they have, hurting a team with defenders like Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake and Stefan de Vrij in it.

They will now get a favourable draw in the round of 16, likely set to face either Turkey or the Czech Republic. There is no doubt about it, Austria are going to be a dangerous opposition for anyone at these European Championships.

France yet to click

France were most people's favourites to go home with the trophy ahead of the start of the tournament. Yet strangely, they haven't really clicked yet.

Captain and talisman Kylian Mbappe returned to the side for their final group game, and he brought a little bit more X-factor and quality to France's attack. But they were still lacking something.

The French took the lead courtesy of an Mbappe penalty, however, their end product was consistently inconsistent, as they failed to find a second goal. In the end, they were held to a 1-1 draw after Robert Lewandowski bagged from the spot.

Mbappe stats
Mbappe statsStastperform, Profimedia

France have scored two goals at the EUROs: an own goal and a penalty. No French player has scored from open play yet. It is worrying that a side packed with so much star power can't really get going in offence.

Finishing second also means that they are heading to the more difficult side of the draw, with Spain, Germany and in all likelihood, Portugal lying in wait. They've certainly made it a lot tougher for themselves.

Dull Group C 

Before the final two group games in Group C, any of the four teams could still have qualified from the group with England being the only team guaranteed a spot.

But, from the 90 minutes of 'football' that was on offer in Munich and Cologne, it was hard to tell that.

Both games finished goalless with tepid, cagey football, where no team made any real effort to score.

One England fan summed up the evening's entertainment
One England fan summed up the evening's entertainmentAFP

England will be the most disappointed of the teams given their expectations to go far in Germany. They have yet to give their fans anything to get behind and remain a lethargic shadow of tournaments past.

Serbia go home from the four teams, and they will be thinking what might have been given just one goal would have made all the difference.

Even so, it feels a longshot if any of Denmark, England or Slovenia will go much further in EURO 2024.


France gouvernement

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