After what feels like an eternity, Euros 2020 is finally upon us. 24 nations will be battling for honours across 11 host cities. But who will lift the trophy at Wembley in July?
We’ve all heard the slogan “It’s Coming Home”. The Three Lions, loud and proud on social media and in stadiums; except that football hasn’t “gone home” since 1966. Yeah! That’s the first and last time England won a major tournament. But could Euro 2020 be the perfect chance for them to overcome this heartache?
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Gareth Southgate is yet to finalize his squad selection. That notwithstanding, he has an exciting crop of players to work with. Tottenham Hotspur’s and England captain Harry Kane is the headline player. He’s in fine goalscoring form after bagging 23 goals to win his third golden boot and alongside, a tantalizing supporting cast.
One worry they’ll have though will be Harry Maguire. The central defender had been sidelined with injury before Manchester United’s season ended. He does divide opinion but if he’s a necessary inclusion, then Southgate would want him in.
England is in group D alongside Croatia, Czech Republic, and Scotland. Croatia eliminated them in the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Czech’s have beaten them previously and Scotland is yet to win against England.
With the semi-final and final primed for Wembley, Southgate and his men will aim for nothing short than to lift the trophy on home soil.
The current world cup champions boast of a dynamic squad and are red hot favourites along England. Didier Deschamp has an array of talent at his disposal throughout the pitch. From Raphael Varane in defence to N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba in the mid to Kylian Mbappe up front.
In Russia, there was consensus that the squad largely played in second gear and stepped up at crucial times. That’s definitely something that makes them quite adaptable to a variety of opponents. Plus, most of his current squad was part of the world cup winning team thus also boasting of experience.
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They are in group F alongside Germany, Hungary and Portugal. Exciting fixtures there to look forward to.
Is this the last shot for the golden generation that’s failed to deliver on the promise of greatness?
Imagine having the talent of Kevin De Bryune, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Axel Witsel, Dries Mertens and co. and still seemingly not close to any titles? This team has been tipped to do great things in the past but so far have under-delivered.
In the last European Championships (2016), Wales knocked them out in the quarter finals. Two years later in Russia at the world cup, they went one step further- semi finals but lost to eventual champions France.
Manager Roberto Martinez has shown that he can be dynamic with his playing style and so long as he can get the best out of players like De Bryune, Hazard, and Lukaku, the De Rode Duivels can be a tough test for any of their opponents.
Can anyone imagine Germany going into a major tournament and not being amongst the favourites?
Well, that’s just the case this time. Die Mannschaft have been on a freefall. Their manager Joachim Löw shouldn’t feel pressured as he’s stepping down after the tournament. But then again, it’s Germany and fans only want the best.
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So why am I including them here?
You never rule out Germany. They’ve enjoyed a significant amount of international success and the team going to the Euros is full of quality. Löw got over his stubbornness and recalled Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels, both of whom have been part of the team’s success.
Add to that their mercurial attacking lineup with the likes of Kai Havertz, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, defensive assets of Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, and you can understand why they’ll always be up for consideration.
Spain in a major tournament and not amongst the teams tipped to win. When does that ever happen?
Everyone knows all too well about the struggles they’ve had post their immense success. But they’ve been steadily working their way back up even though they aren’t close to what they were in their glory days.
There’s no Sergio Ramos but Luis Enrique still has reputable defenders at his disposal together with young talent blended in with experienced players. If the form they had during the qualifying is anything to go by, then expect La Furia Roja to dream about reclaiming their lost glory.
Who said you need to be in the favourites list to win anything?
Portugal wasn’t fancied to win Euro 2016 but they did and with a drab performance. It was about advancing to the next round regardless of the type of display they showed.
Still headed by Fernando Santos, this is bound to be a particularly exciting team. Cristiano Ronaldo is the focus obviously but Bruno Fernandez and Bernado Silva will be some of the most exciting playmakers to watch. Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias will keep things tight at the back.
Portugal has a good record in this tournament. They’ve never failed to reach the quarter-finals in the current format and have reached three semi-finals and two finals. Bookmakers might not fancy them that much – they are behind England, France, Belgium, and Spain, but then again, we ask, who said you need to be in the favourites list to win anything?
France to win Euro 2020
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