Euro 2024: BBC Sport's Nedum Onuoha on why he thinks the big teams and star players are not at their best

I think the time has come to rethink our perceptions of what international football is, and redefine our expectations of major tournaments.

There is a sense from a lot of people watching Euro 2024 that the big guns have not fired; that the star players have not sparkled and the top teams have underwhelmed.

There are significant reasons for this.

As we sit here now in July, a lot of clubs are starting their pre-seasons. But for players involved with their national teams in Germany, last season hasn’t finished yet.

In some cases they’re playing their 60th or 70th game of the season. Fatigue is a big factor in games played in the hottest months of the summer.

Let’s be clear, the best version of these teams and individual players – the ones thrilling us in the Champions League and Premier League – are not necessarily happening right now.

That is significant when we are passing judgment.

Tournament football to me is kind of like the final third of the season when people are actually playing for stuff: titles, promotion, relegation, European places etc.

This is where you might want a good performance, but you need the result.

What we are seeing more often than not is results-based football, which puts us in this position where, at times, it might not be as entertaining as we all want it to be.

There’s more of an approach to it, whereby you make sure you’re defensively solid first and you try and be expressive second.

The Champions League final is a similar case in point. Very often it features a least one, if not two, of the best teams in Europe. Very rarely does it produce a spectacle which matches up to the talent on the field.

The stakes are frequently so high, people are scared to make a mistake.

There’s an element of players and managers at Euro 2024 being reluctant to take chances, because you know the team are good enough that if you go behind the game might be over.

Then when you come up against the so-called smaller or mid-ranking nations, you kind of want them to be open with their style. But those teams have been the exact opposite.

You look at Slovenia, who lost on penalties to Portugal, but across four games they haven’t lost a game.

You wouldn’t expect that from Slovenia, would you? But they have been very tough and resolute.

The bar in terms of the competitive nature of this tournament is far higher. It’s proving quite difficult for some of the bigger sides to break these teams down.

We can talk about how to improve international football as a spectacle but, for me, this is the way that international football is now.

It’s still possible to celebrate and love everything that a major tournament brings.

For this European Championship it seems like fans of every nation have been able to make it to Germany and get into the grounds.

They’re bringing that vibrancy, that noise, which has probably been missing since Euro 2016 in France.

I enjoy international football for its tactical nuances, for the fact that you can have stars, but stars don’t necessarily mean that you’ll be successful.

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