As is always the case with any European Championship Finals, there can be some cagey moments during a tournament where there is a tendency for more cautious football to be played. In the group stages in particular, some teams don’t want to show their cards too early. Even in the latter stages of the competition, it can be a war of attrition, and whoever holds their nerve will prevail.
However, some countries haven’t been afraid to let loose, and the floodgates have opened. Indeed, there have already been a few games that have produced plenty of goals. So, let’s take a moment to reflect on four of the biggest wins at Euro 2020.
Spain 5-0 Slovakia (Group E)
After toiling their way through their first two group games against Sweden and Poland, where they were held to draws in each, Spain were waiting to be uncorked. Luis Enrique’s men duly obliged as they demolished Slovakia to equal the highest ever win in European Championships history.
Spain needed a result to qualify for the last 16, and they got a big helping hand from Slovakia. After saving a penalty in the 12th minute from Alvaro Morata, Martin Dubravka went from hero to villain on the half hour mark when he inexplicably punched the ball into the net after a Pablo Sarabia strike spun high off the crossbar.
Spain had been waiting to be uncorked after widely accused of not delivering enough balls into the box. Dubravka was at fault for the second goal after he misjudged a Gerard Moreno cross, and Aymeric Laporte looped home his first international goal. Sarabia and Ferran Torres put some gloss on the scoreline as Spain went 4-0 up. Slovakia were punished for their insipid performance, and it was capped by a second own goal 19 minutes from time from Juraj Kucka.
Wales 0-4 Denmark (Round of 16)
After reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Wales were hoping to go deep in a major tournament once again. Denmark, however, failed to read the script, and they made the most of the early running, putting Wales under constant pressure.
Denmark had already shown admirable resolve to reach this stage, and they broke the deadlock when Kasper Dolberg curled home in the 27th minute. Dolberg then grabbed his second when he pounced on an error from Neco Williams.
Joakim Maehle added a third late before Harry Wilson was sent off in stoppage time, and Martin Brathwaite struck a fourth goal to compound Wales’ misery, and send the Denmark fans into a state of delirium.
Italy 3-0 Turkey (Group A)
Opening group games can always be nervy affairs. But Italy, who were perceived as dark horses in the Euro 2020 odds in the run-up to the tournament, were too slick for Turkey as they laid down an early marker to their rivals.
It was Italy’s biggest ever win in the competition, and they shone from start to finish. The Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne double act was too much for Turkey to handle, as Italy impressed.
After going ahead thanks to a Merih Demiral own goal, Immobile pounced from close range to double Italy’s lead. Immobile then turned provider, as he teed up Insigne, who wrapped up the victory with a classy finish. It was a night of celebration in Rome, and a great way to kick off the tournament for the Azzurri.
Hungary 0-3 Portugal (Group F)
Portugal flattered to deceive before they were knocked out in the last 16 by Belgium. After spurning several decent openings, Portugal looked like they were going to be frustrated against Hungary.
But Raphael Guerreiro gave the Euro 2016 champions the lead before Cristiano Ronaldo fired home a penalty to surpass Michel Platini as the all-time Euro top scorer. And then Ronaldo rubber-stamped the victory when he rounded Peter Gulacsi before stroking the ball into the net after an intricate move inside the area.