Finland v Russia: Euro 2020 – live buildup!

Finland v Russia: Euro 2020 – live buildup!

16-Jun-2021 11:54:07 | The Guardian

So how are we all feeling having seen all of the teams play now? Now that you don’t ask, these are my thoughts: Italy are good enough to beat all of the teams with better players than them, but probably not three of them in a row, which might well be necessary, and the same applies to Germany; Belgium are settled enough to monster teams less good than them, but they lack the speed of their rivals and their defence will probably cost them in the end; France have several more gears to engage, especially if sent out to attack, and if they play well the rest are struggling; Portugal and England look to have the best chance of hurting them, but you’d not bet on either; and be ready for teams to improve and deteriorate through the competition.

Email! Richard Adams, the Guardian’s education editor, gets in touch as follows: “I’ve done a thread on the educational background of the England team – 21 out of 26 were state schooled all the way, and four others had a mix of state and independent. I can find only one player who spent all his secondary school years at private school: Phil Foden, paid for by Man City. Compare that to cricket and rugby...”

I think Patrick Bamford and Matt Jansen might’ve gone to private schools too, but I can’t be sure because no one ever mentions it.

Unlike rugby and cricket, England’s national football teams are dominated by state school pupils: 21 out of 26 players at Euro 2020. Those who did attend private schools were often sponsored by their clubs.

Of course, with all due respect to the divine Enzo Francescoli, Uruguay’s 86 edition were mainly famous for choosing violence. Here’s the quickest red card in World Cup history:

So these groups, then. The 1986 World Cup was, I think, the last to feature a 24-team format in which 36 first-round games are played, in order to eliminate just eight competitors. Both Uruguay and Bulgaria made it to the last 16 with two points but Hungary did not – I don’t think two points for a win, still employed at the time, changes that – while the other lucky losers qualified with a win and a draw.

I hope this preamble finds everyone well. We had one entire day with no early afternoon kick-off – absolute shambles, total dizgraze – but we got through it, and here we are back where we deserve to be. It’s not such a bad old life.

And we come back to something pretty decent too: a Karelian local derby with huge ramifications for both nations involved. The ins and outs of the Finland situation have already been discussed at length, so we can note their toughness in beating Denmark despite it all and wonder how they might cope now they have something to lose: a point today and they’re in good shape for the knockouts; a win and they’re there. That’s a lot to process for players with no tournament experience, but also the opportunity of their lives; seeing how they respond to it is a privilege of watching sport.

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