Where to begin? The first week of Euro 2020 (2021 really) was sensational. There were extreme highs and some very low lows. Let’s just start off with wishing Christian Eriksen all the best and take some time to appreciate the medical staff that kept him alive. Anyone watching the match between Finland and Denmark surely was shaken by the events that transpired.
I have to say though, as hard as it was to watch, the reaction by fans across the world was phenomenal. Eriksen’s collapse was extremely emotional and I hope to never witness something like that ever again. But, the event also showed just how incredible the footballing world is. Now, let’s get into it and go over what the Manchester United players were up to during week 1 of the European Championships. Let’s take a look at Euro 2021.
Euro 2021 – Portugal
Bruno Fernandes is the lone representative for Manchester United with Portugal. Fernandes did not disappoint, and was integral to Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary. Bruno played the 10 role for a Portuguese side that lined up in a 4-2-3-1. Although it took until the 84′ for Portugal to find the back of the net against a stubborn Hungarian side, they had plenty of chances. Fernandes provided some great crosses and penetrating passes throughout the match, including one that should’ve been finished by Ronaldo in the 42′. He was then substituted in the 89′ after Portugal went up 2-0. Overall United’s Portuguese magnifico had a decent match and will be key to Portugal’s success moving forward in the Euro 2021 tournament. Expect to see plenty of Bruno in the 10 hole.
Lastly many United fans may be happy to know Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to become the tournaments all time goalscorer. Ronaldo is also only 3 goals off the all time international goalscoring record.
Euro 2021 – Wales
Daniel James and Dylan Levitt are representing Wales this summer, but only James has seen the field thus far. James has been excellent in Wales two opening matches against Switzerland and Turkey. The Welshmen has been key to the Wales side as an outlet on the break and he has provided some decent crosses as well. One of which should’ve been finished off by Gareth Bale against Turkey. James has yet to play a full 90′, but that is to be expected considering how much ground he covers. Wales has surprised many thus far and Daniel James will be a starter for as long as Wales remain in Euro 2021.
Dylan Levitt has yet to see the field but has been on the bench in both matches. Expect to see him come on as a sub in Wales final group stage match against Italy.
Euro 2021 – Scotland
Scotland hasn’t had the greatest start to the tournament so far, and don’t expect it to get any better. The Scottish have England up next, followed by a match with Croatia to finish off the group stage. The Czech Republic beat Scotland 2-0 in the opening weekend, thanks to the potential goal of the tournament from Patrik Schick. Although the Scotts did have their chances in the match, and arguably should’ve scored a couple of times. They can take hope in that, but the match they were expected to get 3 points from ended with 0.
Scott McTominay, representing Scotland, started as the deep lying central midfielder in a 3-5-2. McTominay was one of the better players for Scotland and got forward plenty despite his deep role. If the Scotts are to make a comeback in this tournament, much of it will depend on McTominay’s performance. I don’t expect the Scotts to make it out of their group but I do expect McTominay to score before the tournaments end.
Euro 2021 – Sweden & Spain
Victor Lindelof is the United player representing the Swedish this summer. Lindelof put in a man of the match performance against Spain, as he saw his side get a 0-0 draw in their first group stage match. The Swedes sat back in their own half almost the entire match, and still arguably should’ve won the match. Spain had their chances, but they were from Alvaro Morata so the expected goals were probably -0. Lindelof lead his countries backline and is their best defender by far. I just wish we could see more of this Lindelof for United.
David de Gea was also at this match, representing the Spanish. United’s world number one has seen his dip in form with his club keep him out of the starting role for his country.
Last note on this match. I’d like to point out the young Swedish forward Alexander Isak. The lad was incredible in this match and should’ve scored a couple of times. Isak had a tremendous season for Real Sociedad in La Liga. He’s not being talked about as a potential transfer this summer, but I think he would be a great buy for United. Keep on eye on the young man.
Euro 2021 – France
Paul Pogba is the only United player playing for France this summer, but he plays a major role for his nation. Pogba started in a 3 man midfield for the French to the right of N’golo Kante and put in a man of the match performance. Pogba unlocked the German defense multiple times and should’ve had a handful of assists. France beat Germany 1-0 in the match, but that scoreline flatters the Germans quite a bit. If it wasn’t for a couple of disallowed goals and just unfortunate finishing, the Germans may have had their spirits completely crushed. The French are expected to win this tournament and that objective will certainly be attainable if Pogba continues to perform like this. We all want to see this Pogba for United. Perhaps if United gets a proper CDM this summer we will.
England has the most United players in its squad with Rashford, Maguire, Shaw, and Henderson all representing the Three Lions this summer. The English earned all three points in their opening match of Euro 2021 with a 1-0 win over Croatia. Unfortunately, no United player was in the starting lineup. This was not so shocking for a few of the players, but one in particular was left quite baffled.
Rashford and Maguire both have nagging injuries (Maguires kept him even off the bench) and with England’s embarrassment of riches up front it isn’t too surprising to see Rashford start on the bench. Dean Henderson is the clear number two behind Jordan Pickford, so don’t expect to see Deano anytime soon. The missing man that was most surprising was Luke Shaw. Gareth Southgate opted to go with Trippier (a United transfer target) at left back, even though Trippier is right footed and normally plays right back. Overall it worked, but it was a decision that left many quite confused. I’d expect to see Shaw get a start soon, but the decision to start Trippier is still quite confusing.
So, the only United player to actually play in this match was Marcus Rashford. Southgate brought Rashford on in the 70′ for Phil Foden. Initially Rashford found himself playing on the right, but soon played through the middle when Kane was subbed off. Rashford got in behind frequently, but did not get quality service. Raheem Sterling spotted his counterpart a few times but lacked quality on his attempted passes. When Dominic Calvert-Lewin came on in the final minutes Rashford went out wide again. Overall Rashford showed a tremendous work rate and looked threatening, but he didn’t get enough time. I would expect to see Rashford start against Scotland.
Week 2 of Euro 2021 was a good one, and many of the United players were on full display. Let’s hope our Red Devils continue to see the field and impress. Also, let’s keep our eyes on some potential transfer targets. So far my list of players to watch include Alexander Isak, Kieran Trippier, Declan Rice, and Jules Kounde. Til next week!
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