Euro 2016: It was Portugal’s strategy, not luck

By Duane Beckett

Commentators are romanticists, believing in the purity of football’s historic moments. Journalists are sensationalists, looking for the headline and keyword that entices. Fans are realists, stuck between the factual, the hype and the passion.

Portugal won the Euros having created more chances than Germany according to UEFA’s own statistics. Yet for 45 minutes or more in each match they stifled, sat back and strategically focused on sucker punching the opponent.

It doesn’t matter the stats, they bored too many commentators, who in turn, inspired many negative headlines and left fans focused on the defensive, not the rapid counter attacks they executed once they gained the upper-hand.

It was ugly football, but effective football often is.

Attacking football is entertaining but to a professional it must be better to succeed, regardless of the methodology.

Playing this way was Portugal’s prerogative, the same as it was Greece’s goal in 2004 and Denmark’s desire in 1992. Defensive football isn’t new or exclusive to Euro 2016. It’s constant and successful in both international and club football.  

Those with rose-tinted glasses have missed an obvious truth. This championship had a similar ratio of low-scoring matches as any past championships. We just remember the highlights.

Nostalgia is wonderful that way.

For more on this check out our takeaways from Euro 2016