The Five Football Lessons From UEFA Euro 2016
By Jide Alaka
Les Bleus were destined to win – with history on their side – but unfancied Portugal burst their bubble in the final on Sunday at the Stade de France.
The 51 matches at Euro 2016 threw up some lessons on how coaches manage teams and the players’ application needed to win tournaments.
Here are five clear lessons from France:
1) Like we said, possession is overrated
Germany had 65% of the possession against France in the second semi-final but lost 2-0. Italy had 23% of the possession against Spain in the round of 16 and won 2-0. So just like Leicester City did in the English Premier League season last season, where they won the ultimate prize with an average possession rate of 33% – it is what you do with the ball when you have it that is more important not how many passes you put together though it creates a more holistic football spectacle.
2) A focal point is very necessary
The big difference between France and Germany was potent strikers and the man that finally made a difference for Portugal was a virtually unknown Eder.
Whilst France had Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, Germany had to make do with Thomas Muller, who ended the Euros without a single goal.
Griezmann scored six times, while Giroud did four times. The era of Barcelona playing with Messi as a false 9 is behind us. You must have more than a competent target man to build a complete game pattern because teams have gotten better with defending.
3) Defending is an art