The European Championship will finally happen this summer a year later than planned due to the pandemic the globe currently faces.
The fact that the football tournament has been postponed a year has given talent in Europe the chance to grow and give themselves a chance to be selected by their home nations.
There have been some great moments in past tournaments and international competitions give football fans a completely different enjoyment compared to club football and it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable summer.
There are always upsets, during matches and the last World Cup showed this when South Korea managed to beat Germany in the group stages.
24 countries are involved in the tournament following them advancing via the qualifiers and will all be dreaming of lifting the trophy. However, as always there will be favourites who many believe have the best chance of winning. Here are ten of the favourite countries ranked.
The Danes have a decent blend of youth, quality and experience, with players like Kaspar Schmeichel, Christian Eriksen, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Martin Braithwaite all able to make a difference at the competition. Despite featuring in the top ten, the last big competition they won was in 1991/92 when they won the Euro’s and they have never really had a sniff of glory since.
Croatia were somewhat of a dark horse at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and made it all the way to the final. However they were easily beaten by France and have digressed since then as some of their world class players like Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are ageing. The run they had in the last international tournament emphasises that they should not be underestimated.
Italy haven’t had great success at major tournaments for a while but the four time World Cup Champions have got a very experienced manager in Roberto Mancini and some good players like Lorenzo Insigne, Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile. If they can get the most out of these attackers then they could have an outside chance of going all the way.
Netherlands have a great squad, but key players like Virgil Van Dijk have long term injuries and Ronald Koeman left his role as manager to move to FC Barcelona. Frank de Boer has replaced him but the Dutch legend has failed in various club roles. He could be the reason for their downfall as he doesn’t really look to have the experience to get the country far in this tournament.
Belgium are yet to win a major trophy, but many see their current squad as the ‘Golden Generation’. Roberto Martinez has managed them well at recent tournaments, like the semi-finals at the World Cup and with world class stars like Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, they have a big chance to win the Euro’s. However Eden Hazard has struggled for game time due to injury for a while now and he could be a big miss if he doesn’t get match fit.
Gareth Southgate managed to get the club to the semi-final in the World Cup, and this was a huge achievement. There is an abundance of great players in the Three Lions squad like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, with other stars like John Stones and Luke Shaw getting back to their best at the perfect time. It would be amazing if the squad could win their first trophy since the World Cup in 1966, but it seems like they are always lacking the mentality to make it all the way.
Spain are an interesting side as they have a lot of quality but some of their stars are coming towards the end of their international careers like Sergio Ramos. However there are some very exciting young stars in that squad like Ansu Fati and although they might not win the tournament this summer despite having a good chance, the future for the country is very bright and intriguing.
Portugal won the last tournament and it was a little bit of a shock. Their football is not seen as the most entertaining but they got the job done and despite his age, Cristiano Ronaldo can make anything happen when at his best. They also have Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, and it is exciting to see whether they can go all the way again.
This will be the last time Joachim Lowe manages Germany and so he will be wanting to go out with a bang. He has done a lot for the country, including a World Cup win and there are a few great players like Manuel Neuer who could see this as their last tournament as well. Some of the players they have like Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich are lighting up the pitch for Bayern Munich and they definitely have a big chance of winning the whole tournament.
There is no doubt that France are favourites following them being in the final of the last European Championships and their World Cup win in 2018. They have an abundance of World Class quality, from Hugo Lloris in goal, to Antoinne Griezemann and Kylian Mbappe up front. It is hard to see them not winning the whole tournament.
What is known for sure is that the European Championship’s will be a great spectacle and no matter who wins, football fans across the globe will be thoroughly entertained by the talent and quality on show.
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