UEFA Euro 2020 has reached the round of sixteen which means tensions are running high and everyone's expected to tune in. It's a tough time of the year for a non-football-fan, especially one on this side of the world. Not only are you forced to watch these ninety-minute-long shindigs, you have to do so at ungodly hours of the night. Well, it's either that or going friendless for a month.
Honestly, the latter is a tempting option—especially once you've spent an evening listening to Daniel from Yishun speak at length about his newfound Croatian heritage. But still, being left out takes a toll. Before you know it, you're drinking alone on Friday night and as the Instagram stories roll in, all you want to do is shed tears about Scotland falling behind in the group stage.
Whether it's out of mere curiousity or a desperate need for company, there's still time to jump aboard the UEFA Euro 2020 hype train. Of course, you will need a team to cheer and cry for. So, as the round of sixteen kicks off, here are some of the (band)wagons at your disposal.
Tried and tested
Defending champions Portugal have had a shaky time through the group stages but if nothing else, they're sure to go out swinging. If you choose to jump on this bandwagon, it'd be wise to plan for a backup. Perhaps Italy, since the flag colours are similar—that should save you some money on face paint. There's also the added bonus of having to learn one less player name. I mean, who hasn't heard of Cristiano Ronaldo?
Denmark have had a tumultuous run through the group stage. One of their midfielders, Christian Eriksen, suffered a cardiac arrest during their opening game. Fortunately, he has since recovered and been discharged from the hospital. In that time, Denmark have not only made an unlikely rally out of the group stage but also coasted through the round of sixteen with a 4-0 victory against Wales. It's tough to imagine them pulling another rabbit out of the hat, but that'd surely be a story for the big screen.
Belgium have stormed through the group stage, although the likes of Finland and Russia were far from tough match-ups. They've scored in forty-eight out of their last fifty games, with their last defeat coming to France in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals. If you're looking for a team which can cause an upset, this is the right path to go down. At the very least, you'll get a highlight worthy of your Instagram story.
Out for revenge
The favourites coming into UEFA Euro 2020, France are sporting a star-studded squad. They had a tougher time in the group stage than expected, but they remain the safest bet going forward. France's last loss at a major tournament came at the Euro 2016 final—a 1-0 loss to Portugal. They've won the World Cup since then, but surely there's a bit of extra motivation in making up for this added-time heartbreaker. Speaking of which…
An England game often showcases the difference between a great team and a team of great players. Unfortunately, The Three Lions fall sorely in the latter category. On paper, they should be right up next to the likes of France. In reality, they're never more than a minute away from self-sabotage. To be fair, it does make things interesting.