After a year’s delay, Euro 2020 is finally here. 24 teams will compete for glory, playing 51 matches over the next month. As usual, England arrive with huge expectations but after the English clubs dominated in Europe and following breakout seasons for some mercurial talents, there is genuine belief that this could be their year…
We’ve whittled it down to eight major contenders this summer, all of whom come with serious title credentials. Here, we preview each of these contenders, and reveal the four who are in with an actual chance.
Frank de Boer, once hailed as ‘the worst manager in the history of the Premier League’ by Jose Mourinho, seeks to add to his accolades and lead the Netherlands to their first European Championship in 33 years. The two former Ajax youngsters Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt have led a resurgent national team who attempt to fix their appalling recent record in major tournaments, whilst Memphis Depay looks a threat, with six goals and eight assists through qualification. Nevertheless, the absence of Virgil van Dijk cannot be understated, and the Oranje will find it hard to progress without their colossal skipper.
Netherlands to score over 8.5 goals in Euro 2020 @ 11/10
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy have been revived under Roberto Mancini, with their last defeat coming three years ago. Jorginho, Nicolo Barella and Marco Verratti provide a solid midfield trio, whilst the Italians are traditionally tight at the back, conceding just four goals throughout qualification. Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile lead the attack, and whilst the pair have scored 39 between them in Serie A this year, their national stats are less impressive. The Azzurri will need more if they’re to go on to land the spoils.
Italy to concede under 1.5 goals in the Group Stage @ 11/8
Germany have been in disarray in recent years, something that would have been hard to predict at the start of the last decade, but they have a great record in this tournament, with three titles and a further three finals in their history. It would be dangerous to write them off. Champions League match winner Kai Havertz will look to join Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan and Serge Gnabry in firing Germany through the deadly Group F. However, with nightmares of their 6-0 defeat to Spain in November still lurking, it seems unlikely that Joachim Loew’s side will even progress through the group.
Germany to get Exactly 4 Points in the Group @ 4/1
This is certainly not the same Spanish side that dominated world football for years on end, but Luis Enrique’s squad are still capable of putting together a run at this year’s Euros. Up front, Gerard Moreno has scored 30 goals this year for Villarreal, whilst Alvaro Morata has a very impressive national scoring record. However, despite an emphatic 6-0 win over Germany recently in the Nations League and some nice form, a Spanish 24-man squad with zero Real Madrid players just emphasises the changing of the guard amongst the Spanish ranks. A lack of star talent could prevent the three-time champions from mounting a genuine title bid.
Alvaro Morata to be Spain’s top goalscorer @ 5/2
This leaves 4 teams capable of winning the Euros…
Talk of Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ has been rife for years now but they’re still yet to win a major tournament. With an ageing squad, it does seem as if it could be Roberto Martinez’s last chance to inspire them to fulfil their potential. Of additional concern is Kevin De Bruyne’s facial injury, which leaves him a doubt for the start of the tournament. Meanwhile, Eden Hazard seems to have lost his way somewhat since his big money move to Madrid, but there is surely still magic in his feet, and he’ll no doubt have a part to play when it matters. Romelu Lukaku has had no such issues, and it seems the big man is a different animal for his country, scoring a staggering 60 goals in 93 national appearances. If their big players turn up when it matters, in the latter stages, they’re huge challengers.
Belgium, Spain and England all to top their groups @ 5/2
Holders Portugal enter this year’s Euros with a squad full of stars. The Manchester City trio of Bernado Silva, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias are fresh from a successful season, whilst Joao Felix, and Diogo Jota are also exceptionally dangerous. However, all eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, who take Portugal from being merely a good squad, to one that can win the whole thing. A tough group could result in an unfavourable draw, but the holders will be confident they can defend their crown five years on.
Bruno Fernandes to outscore Cristiano Ronaldo @ 4/1
Will England ever have a better chance to win a Major tournament? The pessimist in me sees nothing but heartbreak, but a possible home advantage and a seriously exciting squad has created dangerously high hopes. Of course, Harry Kane is crucial to England’s chances, but they can also unleash the talent of Mason Mount, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden from the off. Question marks over Harry Maguire’s ankle injury are a huge blow, coupled with a potentially tricky last 16 tie means that a makeshift defence could be tested early on. Some of the world’s leading attackers could have a little too much for a vulnerable England defence, although I very much hope to be proven wrong…
England to be beaten finalists @ 7/1
It’s easy to see why the reigning champions of the world enter the tournament as the favourites. Kylian Mbappe has lit up the world stage already despite his age, whilst Antoine Griezmann always seems to deliver for France. These two will be joined this year by Karim Benzema, who returns after an absence. Benzema returns a month before the Euros fresh from a 30-goal season with Real Madrid after miraculously resolving his five-year disagreement with the national setup. It’s funny how some things work out… The rest of the French spine doesn’t lack quality either, with N’Golo Kante (odds-on to cover every blade of grass this summer) partnering Paul Pogba in midfield. With Mbappe, Kante and Benzema all fit and firing, it could be hard to stop Deschamps’ men securing the World Cup – Euros double.
Goal Machines: who will score more in Euro 2020?