The 2016 European Championships have finally come to a close and the tournament ended not with a bang, but a whimper. France came into the final with all the momentum on its side but was unable to overcome Portugal’s defence.
Despite the disappointing loss, the French have a lot to be proud of and the players’ individual performance will certainly have a resounding effect on the summer transfer market.
This year’s European Championships might not have been anywhere near as exciting as most fans might have hoped, but they were still full of surprises.
The entire tournament was full of upsets from the disheartening finale to the Cinderella story of Iceland, who shocked the world with their 2-1 defeat of England. The results have shaken up the football world and made it more than a little difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on.
To help with that, however, Betfair Betting has been providing coverage of all the action. That includes everything from Griezmann’s campaign for the Golden Boot, to who will potentially replace Roy Hodgson as the manager of England as the team’s ignominious exit.
Prior to this year’s tournament, the last time a host country had made it to the final was 2004, when Portugal reached the final and suffered a heartbreaking loss to Greece. This year, the shoe was on the other foot. France was on the wrong end of a late, extra time goal by Eder while they were repeatedly denied by a stingy Portuguese back line. Many could argue that France was the better team, and there’s little question that their run through the tournament was significantly better with strong wins against both Germany and Iceland.
Although Les Bleus were unable to secure the title, its players performed marvelously well and this showing will help to increase the players’ stock during the summer transfer season.
The team of the tournament from the BBC featured four different players from the French squad (more than any other team) with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, midfielders Dimitri Payet and Paul Pogba, and forward Antoine Griezmann all making the squad.
Only one Portugal player, Cristiano Ronaldo, was voted to the team of the tournament, though one could argue that several of the Portuguese fullbacks deserved a place.
Griezmann went on to win the tournament’s Golden Boot as the top scorer with six goals and two assists. Unfortunately, despite some heroic attempts, he was unable to find the back of the net during the final.
His efforts did not go unnoticed and Metro reports that the player was seen speaking with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, which has sparked more than its fair share of speculation. Chances of a move are slim following the player’s extension with Atletico Madrid, but there’s always hope for the Gunners.
Meanwhile, midfielder Paul Pogba was already a top target for many big-name Premier League clubs, but his top-tier performance at the Euros will have them frothing at the mouth. There were rumours flying around recently with The Telegraph reporting that Manchester United was seriously interested in the Juventus midfielder.
Apparently a €132 million deal for Pogba was rejected once, and there’s no word on whether or not the team will make an even larger bid to secure his services. And Pogba isn’t the only French player that United have their eyes on, because the Red Devils are also interested in signing centre midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
He currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, and United already signed former PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer earlier this summer.
There’s still a month and a half until the transfer window closes on August 31, leaving plenty of time for more speculation and big money signings.
We’re curious to see where the majority of the French players end up and how that will impact the Premier League going forward.