So, the group-stage is done and dusted. And after the smoke clouds of these 36 matches subside what are the “final-16” matches to look forward to and …who are the ECON2020-21 front-runners to defeat? All will be revealed.
The clean Group Stage?
With a total of just 2 red cards and an average of 2.6 yellow cards in each game of the group stage, I think there is some reason to dub this a clean group stage. Most matches were enjoyably free of fouls and nasty tackles and most yellow cards emerged from situations where, although yellow was deserved, the tackle was not malicious but simply ill-timed or erroneously executed. There also were no disastrous exceptions to this pattern. Sure, Spain – Poland with 6 cards was the highest of the lot, but we have seen so much worse on UEFA and FIFA tournaments. As a Netherlands fan I will never forget the infamous “Battle of Nuremberg” in 2006 that shocked not just the rest of the world, but pretty much also all of the fans of the two competing countries: The Netherlands – Portugal.
It makes me anticipate every Portugal – Netherlands game with a sense of dread as well as anticipation. So, will these meet in the knock-out stage?
After a edge-of-the-seat end of the Group F matches last night with two draws and positions in the group changing every few minutes during the second half of the matches, we now have the overview of the “last-16” matches.
- Wales – Denmark (Saturday 26 at 5h pm)
- Italy – Austria (Saturday 26 at 8h pm)
- The Netherlands – Czech Republic (Sunday 27 at 5h pm)
- Belgium – Portugal (Sunday 27 at 8h pm)
- Croatia – Spain (Monday 28 at 5h pm)
- France – Switzerland (Monday 28 at 8h pm)
- England – Germany (Tuesday 29 at 5h pm)
- Sweden – Ukraine (Tuesday 29 at 8h pm)
All matches have something to look forward to as they are all pairings between opponents hat potentially allow their opponent to find spaces in search for opportunities of their own. In the knock-out stage holding back is not much of a strategy anymore beyond the first 45 minutes and as the clock ticks time away the stakes only increase. I hope we will see few penalty shoot-outs, but then those have their charm too.
The Group-stage Final Score
So, how did the participants of the forecasting competition do. Now the group-stage has finished the full development of the points collected by the different forecasters looks like this.
We have a duo in the lead who keep alternating positions, “Ferris Bueller” and Luke Langer. “Surfing Manatees” has had to concede some ground while “Would Rather Be Watching Cricket” has now been joined by “Franck-Ngolo P” in pursuit of the three in front. The full standings are here:
But as I said in a previous update: there are still many points potentially to be gained in the remaining 15 matches of the game.
The first Knock-out Stage match is on Saturday at 5h pm, so in approximately 48 hours. That means I must have your forecasts for the KO round by then. When a team loses that you have in the next round, then the predictions for that team will stop earning you points. So expect significant differences to appear during the KO-round of the tournament.
If you want to look at some of the earlier updates, just go here and you will see all of them together. Have a lovely weekend and enjoy a few days of football peace!