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Euros underway with City stars making an impact

Having spoken quite extensively about the kick off of the Euros in last week’s edition of City Watch, we’ve now seen the opening games commence with quite a few Manchester City players making a mark for their respective countries.

I don’t want to spend the entirety of this column talking about England because, after all, it is supposed to be Manchester City based. However, since it’s our national team I’ll start there! The Three Lions played their opening game Group C fixture against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, the home of FC Schalke on Sunday evening. 

Having earlier seen fellow group teams Slovenia and Denmark play out a 1-1 draw, a win for Gareth Southgate’s team would put them top of the group and only a win from qualification for the round of 16. Although all three of the three City players started the game, it was Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham who came up with the decisive and only goal after 13 minutes in a 1-0 win. 

Although this was a great start to the campaign and also meant that Southgate has now won every opening tournament game he’s managed, England didn’t exactly blow Serbia away. In the 13 minutes leading up to the goal, the Three Lions looked very impressive, with slick passing and quick build up. However, after Bellingham scored, the team seemed to do what they have done in past competitions, which is try and hold onto that 1-0 lead. 

As much as Phil Foden has had arguably the best season of his career, he seemed ineffective on Sunday evening, but maybe that can be pointed at the fact he was being played on the left hand side, a position I’ve always criticised him playing. Foden has proved this season he’s far more effective playing down the middle, but with Jude Bellingham’s impressive form, I find it hard to see that Southgate will be changing those two around anytime soon. I guess a positive to take apart from obvious three points is City players John Stones and Kyle Walker partnered with Marc Guehi and Kieran Tripper managed a clean sheet, hopefully giving the defensive line a confidence boost going into a potentially tougher game against Denmark on Thursday.

Although the first games went how most people would’ve expected, there was one major shock with Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku’s Belgium losing to Slovakia but one goal to nil in their opening Group E fixture thanks to a 7th minute goal from Ivan Schranz. Although this wasn’t an ideal start for De Bruyne and Doku’s Belgium, they are yet to play Romania and Ukraine which you would expect to be fixtures they’re able to pick up three points in.

Across to Group B, Spain and Croatia played out their first game in Berlin where several City players came up against eachother. Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol both started for Croatia and, as you would expect, Rodri started for Spain. I found this to be one of the nost interesting games to watch as the Spanish players looked to be playing the best football across the tournament. City midfilder Rodri did give away a cheap penalty, which arguably could’ve been a red card, but aside from this, Spain look to be one to watch.

By this time next week, we will know the outcome of several of the groups and who will be advancing to the next stage of the Euros. England play Denmark on Thursday 20th followed by Slovenia on Tuesday. I’m confident the Three Lions will get through, but make sure to give City Watch a read next week just incase of any shocks!

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