The excitement which greets the start of every European Championship is always centred around the talent on show and the potential to witness history being made. The one year delay due to the pandemic has only heightened that anticipation for ‘Euro 2020’, even though it’s being played in 2021.
Without doubt, Europe is filled with the very best talent in football. Almost every country has at least one ‘superstar’ player in their ranks. Combined this with proper technical preparation and we are left with a great spectacle every four years. Guided by the most popular EURO 2020 winning odds, the favorites to become Champions of Europe are analyzed in this article.
Die Mannschaft come into the European Championship as the 12th-ranked national team in the world and have to navigate the Group of Death with World Champions France, defending Champions Portugal and Hungary.
Germany arrive for the opening game in magnificent form, having thumped Latvia 7-1 – scoring five goals in the first half – but now the harsh litmus test will come on June 15.
They look healthy and angry as the squad is aiming to avenge their shambolic 2018 World Cup campaign. In the opening game against France, there is no better way to lay down a marker for the tournament.
Low has fostered a dynamic 3-4-3 shape that suits his personnel. Indeed, he will have the forward threat of Atalanta’s Robin Gosens at Left wingback alongside Chelsea’s trio of Champions League winners who have been excellent in the same shape.
Stalwarts Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels have been reintegrated to the squad which is now bristling with world class experience, talented youth and, crucially, quality options in reserve.
Germany have fallen off their impeccably high standards which saw them win the 2014 World Cup thus are somewhat unfancied, giving Low the opportunity to shock the continent on his final hoorah after 15 years as Germany coach.
With the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Toni Kroos, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané also featuring, the Germans are more than capable of anything.
The defending champions are bringing one of their most talented teams in years to Euro 2020, loaded with players who can support Ronaldo and make Portugal back-to-back champions.
Five year ago, the Seleção earned the trophy with only one victory in 90 minutes during the entire tournament. However, they have a selection capable of dominating its way through this time.
A new wave of attack-minded players will be pushing for the Portuguese to become the second nation to retain the Euros. Ronaldo would be backed this time by the likes of João Félix, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Rúben Dias, Diogo Jota and André Silva. The last of whom just completed his best ever season with 28 Bundesliga goals for Eintracht Frankfurt, and he was fourth in the chase for the European Golden Shoe behind Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
Portugal have lost none of their resilience at the back which pushed them to glory in 2016; with Pepe still delivering his best football at 38, partnering Rúben Dias after a magnificent first season at Man City and flanked by João Cancelo.
A squad that can do it all may well be the formula that makes Portugal the team to beat once again.
Just as in Russia 2018, La Roja’s final preparations have been thrown into turmoil a few days away from the opening game. In keeping with the times, Sergio Busquets testing positive for covid-19 has caused the whole squad to isolate and the entire U-21 team taking their place in the final warm-up game which they won 4-0 against Lithuania.
Notwithstanding, Spain are the only national team to win back-to-back European Championships. They will be counting on their historic pedigree as they hunt a fourth continental title.
Spain will look to get past Sweden, Slovakia and Poland in the group stage but must quickly overcome psychological struggles having bowed out before the quarter-finals at every tournament since winning three titles in a row from 2008-2012.
Luis Enrique’s squad is lacking the usual collection of star names associated with the Seleccion – with a Madrid player absent for the first time ever. However, the Asturian has picked the best Spanish talent available. The ex-Barca boss is with a squad full of quality, but there are some doubts about their experience.
Recently naturalized Frenchman Aymeric Laporte should cover for the unprecedented absence of most-capped player and captain Sergio Ramos. Elsewhere, Gerard Moreno scored 30 times on the way to lifting the Europa League with Villarreal and should provide clinical inspiration; with Alvaro Morata, Thiago Alcântara and Marcos Llorente on hand to lead the way.
To get them gunning for glory this summer, Enrique must find his winning formula and stick to his strongest team to truly maximize their undoubted quality.
The European giants are back in an international tournament after painfully missing out on the 2018 World Cup. One of the most successful national teams has since undergone a stunning rebuild under Roberto Mancini. As it stands, they are dark horses of the tournament.
The Azzurri, who have not won the Euros since their first campaign in 1968, face Turkey, Switzerland and Wales. They will be confident of progressing. Mancini has a great mix of youth and experience who are currently on a 27-match unbeaten run, just three behind the Italian record.
Not losing an international game for three years is a nice feeling going into a tournament and the indestructible Italians would be keen to make it count.
Ciro Immobile can deliver the goods for his country after yet another prolific season for Lazio, while Lorenzo Insigne, Andrea Belotti and Federico Chiesa will also provide firepower. The likes of Marco Verratti, Nicolò Barella and Jorginho will be dynamic midfield influences as Inter’s Alessandro Bastoni joins Juventus veterans Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini at the back.
Italy stunned the continent five years ago with a run to the last eight, and this current crop – although relatively inexperienced on the international stage – have the ability to improve the country’s patchy continental record.
Famous under-achievers at international tournaments, the Three Lions aim to become Champions of Europe for the first time. For an unparalleled campaign, England must take the positive experiences of the 2018 World Cup and go one step further.
It is obviously easier said than done, especially with England, but Gareth Southgate’s current side is as hungry, united and stacked with quality as any in history. The 50-year-old has overseen a generational and psychological change within the Three Lions setup and is set to assess his progress this summer.
In truth, England are in a very tough group alongside World Cup finalists Croatia whom they open their tournament against. They also have to deal with Scotland and the dangerous Czech Republic. In fairness, they have their work cut out to progress to the late stages.
They will play the runners up of the group containing Germany, France, Hungary and Portugal should they top their group, or the runner-up of Group E (Spain, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia) if they finish second-best in their group.
Asides the red-hot talisman Harry Kane and a host of ridiculously talented players, Jack Grealish could be the difference-maker as he looks set to take Euro 2020 by storm with his creativity and unpredictability.
England are well positioned to at last meet expectations.
Brushing through qualification with 40 goals and just three conceded to record 10 wins from 10, the world’s top-ranked side are favorites to lift their first European Championship.
The time is now for Belgium’s golden generation in what might be their last international tournament together. The defence is ageing, and most of their key players are going through their peak years.
Roberto Martinez’s charisma and attacking style of football in a 3-4-3 system gets the best out of this star-studded team. That tactical prowess might prove crucial after a third place finish at the 2018 World Cup. To do that, influential playmaker Kevin De Bruyne would be hoping to have no ill effects of his facial injury and produce decisive moments for the Red Devils.
They will face Russia, Denmark and Finland in group B and De Bruyne’s incredible vision and phenomenal technical ability is often the catalyst for Belgium’s best moments. Meanwhile, his world class colleagues must face the ultimate test in a bid to touch glory. Combine that to an in-form and hungry Romelu Lukaku who inspired Inter to their first Serie A crown in a decade and you can see Belgium are ready to go on all cylinders.
Crucially, the squad’s blend of pedigree and immense young talent possesses the winning mentality to go all the way. Belgium have their destiny in their own hands, quite literally.
The 2018 world champions have shown remarkable stability since winning the World Cup and are overwhelming favourites this summer bar a huge upset.
Solid at the back, they are not always as entertaining as they can be. However, the potential is frightening and the squad is deep with outrageous quality in all positions.
Karim Benzema returned to the squad after five years in the international wilderness and their attack may well be able to match their defence this time around.
Although the Real Madrid man went off with a knock in the final warm up game against Bulgaria, Olivier Giroud came on and grabbed a clinical brace to go within five goals of France’s all-time goal-scoring record.
Whoever starts this summer, Didier Deschamps wants to complete an incredible quadruple of both World and European titles as captain and coach of Les Blues to seal a fantastic legacy in French football.
If there’s any group of players to reach such astonishing achievement, it is this golden era under Deschamps.
It goes without saying that France need to hit the ground running early against 2014 World Champions Germany, before more tantalizing group games against Hungary and defending Champions Portugal.
Perhaps the necessity to fight for their lives against every opponent they face this summer will see them over the line, having fallen at the last hurdle on home soil in 2016.