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EURO 2024: A Tournament of Surprises – New Faces, Tighter Battles

It’s the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-finals, and all we can say is what a journey for all the teams; it goes without saying that European football is much more competitive. Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands are the final four teams, and all are interesting since three of the quarter-finals went to extra time.

There was a huge upset in the just-finished quarter-finals. Germany was eliminated from the tournament with a surprising late goal from Spain, while in the other two quarter-finals, France and England advanced after defeating Portugal and Switzerland on penalty shoot-outs, respectively.

The group stage featured some surprises, as first-time participants Georgia advanced to the round of 16, Slovenia reached the knockouts for the first time, and Romania made their first appearance at this stage of the competition since 2000.

To catch all the action and see who comes out on top, be sure to tune in and find out where to watch EURO 2024.

Opportunity is at the Door

The introduction of the 24-team format for the championship in 2016 has made the competition more diverse, but no less violent. In 2016, Wales reached the semi-finals, and Iceland made it out of the group and even defeated England in the round of 16. Just in the past UEFA EURO, Denmark, another Nordic country, reached the semi-finals.

The third-place teams, who also reached the knockouts, made it so that more teams have the opportunity to fight for something in every match at the tournament. Under the new rules at EURO 2020, the outsiders have better opportunities for further advancement.

So, by the last matches of the groups for almost all the teams, there was a theoretical chance of reaching the knockouts. Poland was the only team to drop out of the tournament before the start of the third matchday of the last round.

The Tournament Is Becoming More and More Unpredictable

The Euro 2024 matches have been very close and it shows how competitive the tournament has become. The average victory margin is just 1.08 goals, the smallest since the 1992’s eight-team edition, and much lower than the 1.39 goals average in Euro 2008.

And this isn’t purely because of its one-off knockout tournament intensity; in the group stage, the average victory margin is just 1.03 goals. Every one of the 24 teams earned at least one point, and the average points difference between the first and last teams in each group is just 4.5 points, the smallest since EURO ‘96 which was also the first edition with 16 teams.

Out of the four teams that made it to the semi-finals, only Spain won all their group-stage matches, while the Netherlands lost to Austria, and both England and France won just one of their games. For those who want to catch all of the action, you can find out where to watch EURO 2024 on different broadcasting and streaming platforms.

The Euro and Nations League Empowering Smaller European Nations

The growth of the Euro having made a positive impact can be seen in the context of UEFA making European football more competitive. The Nations League provided an example of new ways to qualify for the Euro that were offered primarily to the smaller European countries. That was vital for their development and growth all year round as they were provided with more opportunities to play in meaningful matches.

The success of Georgia at the EURO 2024 is a perfect example of the progress the country has made with the help of the Nations League. Besides, financial support is gaining European football popularity.

After the UEFA EURO 2020, approximately two-thirds of the revenues will be spent for the benefit of football and every of the 55 national associations will receive part of the funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What impact has the Nations League had on European football?

The Nations League has, indeed, revolutionized European football. Its main advantage is that it allows smaller countries to play bigger games more often, even if these matches are against stronger teams. They can gain valuable experience while facing a higher level of competition, which helps them learn new skills and be better prepared to face their rivals. For instance, Georgia’s impressive performance at Euro 2024 can be attributed to the opportunities presented by the Nations League.

How has the Nations League affected national team rankings?

The Nations League has provided a new meaning to the concept of the ranks of national teams as it switched its emphasis to competitive games. Previously reliant on friendlies of varying quality, rankings now reflect performance in a structured league system. In such a way, this approach was hardly effective and, today, with each country’s participation in the Nations League, there is a specific picture of which national team is stronger in Europe.

How competitive has EURO 2024 been?

The tournament is very contested. The average victory margin is at just 1.08 goals – the lowest since the eight-team edition in 1992 and much lower than the 1.39 goals average in Euro 2008. In the group stage, the average victory margin is even smaller at 1.03 goals.

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