After an excruciatingly long wait, the UEFA Euro 2020 is finally upon us with 24 nations hoping to lift the biggest football trophy in Europe. In this piece, we’ll look at all these 24 teams and how their groups are shaping up ahead of the commencement of the tournament.
Teams: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales
Predicted Winner: Italy
Dark Horse: Turkey
Roberto Mancini’s Italian team have the home advantage in this group as all their fixtures will be played in Rome while the other three take place in Baku. Italy missed out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup but have bounced back pretty well after that failure. They are unbeaten so far in their recent qualifying campaign and expect them to top Group A.
Turkey are going to be the surprise package from this group and are unbeaten in six games in 2021 so far leading up to the tournament. They’ll back themselves to upset a few teams this tournament.
Teams: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Russia
Predicted Winner: Belgium
Dark Horse: Russia
Belgium under Roberto Martinez is a well-drilled and settled team. This might be the last chance for their golden generation to win something at the biggest stage. They shouldn’t have any issues of topping this group and their bigger challenges would come further into the tournament.
Russia impressed on home turf in the previous FIFA World Cup and would hope to have a similar impact on UEFA Euro 2020 as well. They’d be hoping to clinch the second spot in the group but will get stiff competition from the Danish team.
Teams: Austria, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Ukraine
Predicted Winner: Netherlands
Dark Horse: Austria
Frank de Boer would lead the Dutch team in UEFA Euro 2020 who would be without their captain Virgil van Dijk. They have a team packed with stars but so far de Boer has failed to get the best out of his team. This is a great opportunity for the Dutch team to flourish and they would want to kickstart that by topping the group first.
Austria under Franco Foda is a versatile squad with top-tier talent. David Alaba is their star player and usually starts at the wing-back position but can pop up anywhere on the pitch. He’d be hoping to get help from another creative player Marcel Sabitzer this time around to rally the Austrian troops.
Teams: Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Scotland
Predicted Winner: England
Dark Horse: Czech Republic
This is arguably the best England squad going into a major tournament for some years. England at its best is a fluent, pacey and counter-attacking side. Their main issue would be breaking low block compact defences in the competition and this is where the creative players like Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish would come in handy.
The Czech Republic are a consistent, well-organised team with overlapping full-backs and inverted wingers creating the most attacking plays. They have a complete midfielder in Thomas Soucek and his late runs into the box could come in handy for them.
Teams: Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
Predicted Winner: Spain
Dark Horse: Poland
First time ever in a major tournament, the Spanish team won’t consist of any player from Real Madrid. Luis Enrique named a 24-man squad that excluded their captain Sergio Ramos and included Aymeric Laporte instead. His team isn’t the Spain of old that comes into the tournament as favourites but are a young side that is in the rebuilding process. They play some decent intricate football but lack a proper goalscorer. Enrique has laid all his eggs in Alvaro Morata’s basket and the forward needs to deliver in the competition if they stand a chance of doing something substantial in it.
This will be Poland’s fourth successive appearance in the Euros and most of their hopes would be pinned on their star striker Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern striker is being considered for the Ballon d’Or award and if he lights up the UEFA Euro 2020 then surely the award is his for the taking.
Teams: France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal
Predicted Winner: France
Dark Horse: Portugal
There’s always one group in these major tournaments that seems too competitive to be true and UEFA Euro 2020’s group of death is Group F. World Cup winners France are stacked against two genuinely high-quality teams in Portugal and Germany. Didier Deschamps’ France have a side filled with world-class talents all around and would fancy themselves on topping this group.
Defending champions Portugal is yet another team that oozes class from every position on the football field. They have a great mixture of youth and experience in the squad and are dark horses not just for the group but for the whole tournament.
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