Soccer is synonymous with goals, said no one ever.
Part of the beauty of the “beautiful game” is that there is so much build-up to almost every tally. It’s the tantric sex of sports. (Insert obligatory Sting joke.)
Every so often you actually do get a high-scoring game, though. Even in top-level tournaments where all the teams are supposed to be good. (Anyone remember last World Cup, when Germany put a seven-spot on host Brazil?)
The Euro hasn’t historically seen those kinds of lop-sided wins thanks to UEFA being home to most of the best soccer nations in the world. But some country is going to lead this tourney in goals, and I’m here to set the odds on who it’ll be.
First, a little background: Spain road a tournament-high 12 goals to their second straight Euro title four years ago. The Spanish team hasn’t changed their philosophy, but they’re not on top of the odds for one very good reason: Germany.
Combine one does of playmaking midfielder Marco Reus, add a tablespoon of prolific striker Thomas Muller, and you have a recipe for goals. If you’re wondering just how dangerous this Germany’s offense is, ask Brazil. Germany’s ability to move the ball around with fast and accurate passing makes them the team to beat at the Euro. They might be even better than they were at the World Cup, and that’s a terrifying thought.
Despite leaving Karim Benzema off the roster, host France are a good bet to score some goals. They’ll play an aggressive, attacking style in front of their home fans. Antoine Griezmann, André-Pierre Gignac, and Olivier Giroud have the potential to make the entire country forget about Benzema’s snub.
Spain are trying to get back to their roots and forget about playing the ball long. Manager Vicente Del Bosque left big-man Diego Costa off the team and will look to play on the ground with the familiar tiki-taka style. The have the talent to score a lot, but they also tend to dominate ball possession and, often, one goal is good enough, particularly in the knockout stage.
If England are going to finish with the most goals, they’ll need to make deep run. History tell us that’s not likely to happen. But this time could be different. Led by strikers Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, they cruised through the qualifying round without losing or tying a game. Maybe this new-look (and much younger) England team has the big-game constitution that its predecessors lacked?
Belgium have too much talent to be left out the top-five. Eden Hazard, Kevin Mirallas, Divock Origi, Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku: their roster is as talented as any in the tournament. Add in the playmaking abilities of Kevin De Bruyne, and Belgium should be a goal-scoring threat each time they step on the field. Can they, like England, finally piece everything together under the brightest of lights?
(Photo Credit: enviro warrior from england (Harry Kane) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
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