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Euro 2016's opening clashes reminiscent of 2004

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With 1-0 already the most frequent scoreline, is it time to panic that we will again see a Euros of superb defending and...not much else?

As the first round of group stage games came to a close yesterday, it seems there has been more to celebrate defensively than going forward.

The start 2016 European Championships has been low key with the maximum of three goals being the most celebrated in a game - and even that has only happened twice.

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Big stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robert Lewandowski have been kept quiet by tight defences and pinpoint organisation, meaning the hype surrounding players and games hasn't quite lived up to expectation.

While it's only normal for teams to be cagey in their first run out, the average of fewer than two goals per game in the first twelve matches shows how well teams are executing their game plans.

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The tournament hasn't been boring by any stretch of the imagination; that wonder goal from Luka Modric, the free kicks of Dimitri Payet, Gareth Bale and Eric Dier, the last minute victory sealers from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Graziano Pelle.

It's also had its share of upsets; Russia's late equaliser pegging back an England side fancied for greatness, the Irish draw with Sweden, the two-goal victory for Hungary, the lowest-ranked side in the draw.

So why does it all feel tepid? So far no game has finished 0-0. There's so much to admire in good defending, but a display of parking the bus Czech style made for one of the most boring games Spain have been involved in for many years.

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The chess-like strategies mean that sides have been attempting to pass the ball into the back of the net. It's been just like watching Manchester United all season - especially given the high percentage of 0-0s at half time.

Writing in The Telegraph at the beginning of the tournament, Carlo Ancelotti said: "This could be the tournament of counter attacking football." But the very nature of the counter-attack needs one team to begin an attack and that has been something so lacking in a tournament that has seen teams be much less clinical than expected.

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But it's only the first five days of a month-long show. There will surely be more aggression, more attack and most importantly, more goals in the most hyped up Euros in recent memory.

In the meantime, we should start dreaming of that Germany-Brazil match two years ago...

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Euro 2016
England Football
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo

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