England will be acutely aware that anything can happen in the world of football ahead of Euro 2020.
After the completion of the play-off rounds this week, the groups are finally locked in for one of the biggest tournaments in all of sport and – fingers crossed – there’s less than one year to wait.
The Three Lions are entering the continental competition with more optimism than fans have been used to after semi-final finishes at both the 2018 World Cup and 2019 UEFA Nations League.
Hope for England
Yes, yes, yes, we know that England’s placement in the former is a little flattering with no less than three defeats on their record, but it was still the country’s best result since Italia ’90.
Besides, England happen to have one of the most promising teams in Europe with young talent such as Jadon Sancho, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden getting supporters excited.
That’s not to mention the fact Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have proven themselves as two of the best players in world football as a whole over the last few years.
Can England win Euro 2020?
Don’t get us wrong, there’s still plenty of questions to be asked of this England side from their defensive integrity, goalkeeping dilemma and even the suitability of Gareth Southgate.
But for the love of Darren Anderton, let’s allow ourselves to be vaguely optimistic for once in a 10-year epoch that has seen group-stage eliminations and a humiliating defeat to Iceland.
Besides, it’s not just England fans and English journalists who are rubbing their hands together with optimism because bookmakers are also feeling glass-half-full about the Three Lions’ chances.
It makes sense that plenty of bookies would rank England amongst the contenders, that’s for sure, but Betfair have gone as far as naming Southgate’s men joint-favourites to go all the way.
Favourites to win Euro 2020
And now that the 24 teams who will be competing across the continent have been confirmed, it’s been fascinating to see which nations are being considered the least and most likely to win.
Go on, admit it, you’re intrigued too, so do yourself a favour and see where the likes of Scotland, Wales, England and more rank ahead of the next big international tournament:
=23. Hungary – 500/1
=23. North Macedonia – 500/1
22. Finland – 300/1
=20. Scotland – 250/1
=20. Slovakia – 250/1
19. Czech Republic – 200/1
18. Sweden – 125/1
=14. Wales – 100/1
=14. Poland – 100/1
=14. Austria – 100/1
=14. Russia – 100/1
=12. Turkey – 80/1
=12. Denmark – 80/1
=10. Ukraine – 66/1
=10. Switzerland – 66/1
9. Croatia – 25/1
8. Portugal – 14/1
7. Italy – 11/1
=5. Netherlands = 15/2
=5. Spain – 15/2
4. Germany – 7/1
=1. Belgium – 5/1
=1. France – 5/1
=1. England – 5/1
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
Steady on, Betfair, I’m more optimistic about England than your average football fan, but let’s not go as far as claiming they’re equal with France and Belgium in the footrace for victory.
Ultimately, I fear that this England side is still lacking the experience of big games together as a unit, which may sound silly after two semi-final finishes but hear me out…
Since the 2014 World Cup, the Three Lions have only faced a single nation – Belgium – in the top 10 of FIFA’s world rankings at the time of the game at a major tournament.
And no, we’re not counting the Netherlands in a UEFA Nations League semi-final…
Otherwise, England’s recent repertoire has seen them lock horns with Russia, Wales, Slovakia, Iceland, Tunisia, Panama, Colombia, Sweden and Croatia.
Combine that with the fact Southgate isn’t drenched in experience himself and the squad is full of young, developing players to see why we should apply the brakes on hope surrounding England.
That being said, if you want to ask me the same question when I’m three pints deep next summer screaming on the Three Lions, then I’ll polity change my answer to ‘It’s coming home!!!’
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