Summer of Soccer: Checking in on the Euros


Just like that, the group stage of Euro 2024 is over. We’ve enjoyed upsets and a VAR masterclass, witnessed the meteoric rise of a prolific goalscorer going by the name of OG, and fallen asleep watching England waste their wealth of talent. What a tournament it’s been, folks, and what a tournament it’s going to continue to be! Join me as we reminisce about the moments that have already captured our attention this summer, and stick around to hear how I think it’s all going to shake out.

*WARNING: The following article contains UEFA European Championship 2024 spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Group Stage Goalore

There hasn’t been a shortage of goals at this year’s tournament, nor goal scorers. 61 different players have found the back of the net across 36 games, scoring a grand total of 81 goals. That’s 2.25 goals per game; not too shabby, eh? And that’s including the three 0-0 draws we were forced to endure (France vs. Netherlands, Denmark vs. Serbia, England vs. Slovenia). If those guys had gotten their acts together, that tally would be even higher.

As I said before, OG has been killing it this year, with seven (!!) own goals being scored so far. Georges Mikautudze is four behind OG with three goals and is the only player to have scored in every one of their nation’s matches to this point. To add to the bizarre stats, no player has managed to score more than one goal in a single game this year, as the wait for the first game-breaking brace or tournament-shaking hat trick goes on.

Spain’s Lamine Yamal or Germany’s Jamal Musiala are two of my favorite candidates to bag a boatload of goals, as the generational talent of these youngsters has been evident to all watching. At just 16 years old, Yamal has already broken the record as the youngest player to ever play in the tournament, and he added an assist to boot. He and his opposite winger, 21-year-old Nico Williams, have been fantastic so far, and they’ve made Spain a real threat.

While we didn’t see too many shocking results, there were still surprises in this year’s group stage. Belgium fell to Slovakia 1-0 in one of the Euros biggest upsets, only for Georgia to upstage the Slovaks with their 2-0 win over Portugal. That massive win pushed the Georgians—who are making their Euro debut—into the knockout stage and was their first win in Euros history.

The surprises didn’t end with individual results, though. Austria stunned the Netherlands and France by topping Group D in emphatic fashion, becoming one of just five teams to win at least two group stage matches (Spain (3), Germany, Portugal, Turkey). Group E was thrilling, with all four teams ending on four points apiece and requiring several tiebreakers to separate them. Romania, Belgium, and Slovakia all went through, while Ukraine became the first team in tournament history to miss out on the knockout stage after earning four points in their group.

Because four third-place teams go through in this tournament (ew), Croatia are the only surprise omissions from the Round of 16. England got through despite playing the most boring soccer I’ve ever seen, and Spain and Germany came out looking better than the rest. We’ve got some interesting matchups in the next round, and I think I know who’s taking the crown.

And So Much More

First, let me show you what we’ve got on the way:

  • June 29
  • Switzerland vs. Italy at 11:00 a.m.
  • Germany vs. Denmark at 2:00 p.m.
  • June 30
  • England vs. Slovakia at 11:00 a.m.
  • Spain vs. Georgia at 2:00 p.m.
  • July 1
  • France vs. Belgium at 11:00 a.m.
  • Portugal vs. Slovenia at 2:00 p.m.
  • July 2
  • Romania vs. Netherlands at 11:00 a.m.
  • Austria vs. Türkiye at 2:00 p.m.

Got it? Let’s go!

Each day will feature a game from opposite sides of the bracket; so, the winner of Switzerland and Italy will play the winner of England and Slovakia. And, unfortunately for both of them, Spain could face Germany in the second round. It’s a tough bottom half of the bracket, with France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and Portugal all on the same side. All five have been described as favorites at some point, and now only one will make the final. Drama!

Without further ado, here are my picks—the part you’ve all been waiting for. I’m going rapid-fire mode here, so try to keep up, please.

Switzerland beats Italy, Germany handles Denmark. England beats Slovakia on penalties; Spain ANNIHILATES Georgia. France barely beats Belgium; Portugal wallops Slovenia. The Netherlands struggle, but win against Romania, and Austria narrowly escape Arda Güler and Türkiye.

In the quarterfinals, I hate to pick between Spain and Germany, but I’ve got to combine my gut and my heart here. Germany are getting the edge in front of their home fans, and I think they run the table. They’ll play (shocker) Austria in the final, after Sabitzer and company take down England in the semi-final. You heard it here first (probably not first, but humor me); Germany is winning it all.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the MLS side of Euro 2024 before I left you. Eight MLS players made Euro rosters, and Xherdan Shaqiri made history as the first player to score in the Euros while playing for a North OR South American club. I guess the Chicago Fire did something good this year, despite their best efforts.

Five of our league’s finest are still kicking in the knockout stages, including Mr. Shaqiri (Chicago Fire and Switzerland), Olivier Giroud (LAFC and France), David Brekalo (Orlando City and Slovenia), Henrich Ravas (New England Revolution and Slovakia), and Saba Lobjanidze (Atlanta United and Georgia). Congrats to each of the lads!

After all the research and soccer watching I’ve been doing, I’m feeling exhilarated. Thank goodness we have a short break before they start the knockouts; I need to catch up on sleep. But the Copa America—oh, nevermind. Summer is not for sleeping; summer is for soccer.