Posted in football, Premier League, sport

How 2016 became the year of the underdog

2016 was clearly the year to forget for the giants of football and one to remember for the underdogs of the game. There were many shocks throughout the year which included Atletico Madrid’s unforgettable run to the Champions League final and Iceland’s memorable win over a shattered England team but the biggest of them all was the day when we woke up with a bang and witnessed reality.

Atletico’s blistering run to the Champions League Final

Atletico Madrid demonstrated their strength and confidence to beat two of Europe’s elite clubs (Barcelona and Bayern Munich) en route to reaching the Champions League final before suffering a heartbreak to Real Madrid on penalties. An inspiring performance from Euro 2016 star Antoine Griezmann sealed a STUNNING quarter-final victory over Spanish giants Barcelona to send Atletico into the semis- where they frustrated an empty Bayern side.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg
Antoine Griezmann celebrates a goal in the upset of Barcelona

Portugal come out all of a sudden to win Euro 2016

It was just spectacular how Portugal just came out of nowhere and snatched the Euro 2016 trophy even though they were lucky to go through to the knockout stage after they could get no more than draws- three out of three draws and you still win the tournament! Stunning, just isn’t it? Well Portugal aren’t a bad side and surely would not be classed as ‘underdogs’ but their drab, dull performances throughout the tournament made people wonder ‘how on earth did Portugal reach the final?’. The Portuguese struggled for goals as did their main man, Cristiano Ronaldo but managed to beat Croatia in extra-time and then beat Poland on penalties in the quarters. The 2-0 semi-final win against Wales, was arguably their performance of the tournament (set aside their triumph over France) as goals from Ronaldo and Nani sealed a comfortable win for the Portuguese and booked their place in the final. It was always going to be hard going up against France in front of their own fans but it was surely going to be harder for Portugal when they lost Cristiano Ronaldo to injury in the first half. Ronaldo was simply in tears at that moment as this night could prove to be the most important of his career and of course it’s not every day when Portugal reach a major final. It was pretty drab and dull from both sides but in extra-time, former Swansea City striker, Eder struck to send Cristiano Ronaldo and the fans wild as France dropped to the ground in embarrassment in front of their own fans.

Iceland send a big message to the world of football

A country with over 300,000 people up against a country with a population of 50 million, often tells you a lot about the final result but not in this case as Iceland put in a strong and solid display to upset England 2-1, which was clearly marked as England’s worst performance for over a decade or two. It is also meant Roy Hodgson would have evacuate his seat for his incredibly poor campaign in France. Although, Iceland were unable to follow up their win against France in the quarter-finals it will still of course be a year to remember for the team and the country itself.

The Welsh endure a memorable year

After their exploits in France this year, Wales have geniuely proved to everyone that they are not a one man team despite the fact that Gareth Bale scored more goals than any of his teammates in France. The Welsh most notably showed their excellent team spirit in a famous 3-1 win over Belgium which took Chris Coleman’s side into the semi-finals of the tournament. Coleman later said after the match: “Don’t be afraid to have dreams” and that is exactly what Wales have done and showed us all that if you keep on dreaming and show good team spirit then you never know….

“Don’t be afraid to have dreams’

Chris Coleman when speaking after the 3-1 win over Belgium

 

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