The Euros are very nearly here but who will win?
- Credit: Dan Weir/PPAUK
The rescheduled tournament gets underway in 2021 in Rome on June 11, through to Sunday July 11; Semi-finals and final take place at Wembley Stadium.
A total of 24 teams will be playing across 51 matches in 12 different Cities, starting on Friday June 11 2021. The decision to expand the European Championship to span the continent instead of being confined to one or two host nations was made by EUEFA in 2012 as a way to mark what is the 60th anniversary of the tournament.
England: With a number of outstanding young players, I believe England have a really good chance heading into what could be seen by many as a home competition – as many as six of their matches could be played at Wembley, which surely must give us an advantage. England to make the final
France: Again look strong with a star-studded group of players, which includes Karim Benzema, who has been out of the team for almost six years. France must be one of the favourites after their glorious 2018 World Cup campaign and boast an extremely talented squad featuring Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Raphael Varane and N’Gola Kante
Belgium: On paper, Belgium probably have one of the best squads in the tournament and the No.1 side in the FIFA world ranking. Having been handed what looks like a favourable group, I can see them finishing top, progressing to the final stages. After missing out on the best chance to become world champions in 2018, Belgium’s golden generation will be determined to become European champions.
Spain: Again look a force to be reckoned with and a host of world-class players in almost every position. Having triumphed in 2008 and 2012, they will be heavily fancied and again on paper are in one of the easier groups which should play into their hands.
Manager Luis Enrique has made some big decisions leaving out 180–cap defender Sergio Ramos, a mainstay of Spanish tournament football since 2006, replacing him with Aymeric Laporte, who recently switched international allegiance from France to Spain. There are a number of new faces in the squad, including Pedri. After a call up in March, the Barca teenager has made the squad and is one to watch.
Portugal: Will have to be at their best playing in what could be described as the group of death alongside France, Germany, and Hungary, but with players who have been lighting up their domestic seasons in the run up to the tournament.
Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva are all PL Champions with Man City, while Diogo Jota will be hoping to be involved having excelled with Liverpool. Oh and don’t forget Christiano Ronaldo who’s quite handy up front too. Should progress with France but I question their team spirit and discipline, which could be their downfall.
I think the dark horses will be Italy or perhaps Turkey who recently thrashed the Netherlands back in March.
The Netherlands and Germany both come into the Tournament under pressure. The Netherlands, winners in 1998, are always favoured in any major tournament but having failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the World Cup 2018, there will be added pressure on new coach Frank de Boer to deliver.
Never write off Germany in major tournament but this is not the Germany of yesteryear or at least doesn’t appear to be. The group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup hints at a vulnerability we haven’t often seen before and with head coach Joachim Low set to depart after the tournament. They also have France and then Portugal in their opening two games, meaning they’ll have to be up to speed early or it could be an early trip home.
England v France final? Portugal?