The European Championships are set to kick off from the 11th of June with 24 teams battling it out across 11 cities for the second biggest prize in International football. With the tournament being delayed by an extra year due to the pandemic, the buildup of excitement for the high-profile tournament is bigger than ever, so here are our Man’s Life Predictions for Euro 2020.
It would be foolish to bet on any team other than France to win Euro 2020. France would win this at a canter if it were to be a drawn-out league season, but considering this is knockout football, it makes things more interesting. They might not be the best side tactically but Les Bleus are blessed with the best selection of players in the tournament and their squad is littered with quality and depth in every position.
The last time France won the World Cup in 98’, they followed it up with a European Championship victory in 2000, and considering the depth of squad at their disposal, you wouldn’t put it past them to repeat the same feat this summer.
Portugal might not be one of the top three favourites to win the tournament by the bookmakers, but they are currently in the midst of a golden generation of players and possess a squad that is arguably better than the one that won the tournament in 2016. Portuguese stars such as Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Bruno Fernandes have starred in the Premier League over recent seasons while youngsters such as Renato Sanches and Joao Felix won league titles in Spain and France last season.
Add to that, one of the best players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo and it would be no surprise to see Portugal go all the way to Wembley at Euro 2020.
DARK HORSES: DENMARK
Denmark could emulate the likes of Wales and Croatia from previous tournaments and surprise everyone at Euro 2020. Aside from the fact that Denmark will play all three group games in front of their home fans in Copenhagen which is a major advantage, they have an incredibly well-rounded squad. In defence, the combination of Schmeichel in goal alongside Christensen and Kjaer in the centre of defence is one of the strongest in the tournament. In midfield, Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and Thomas Delaney form an incredibly combative partnership while Christian Eriksen is one of the best playmakers in world football.
Denmark could struggle to score goals from open play given their lack of a genuine goal-scorer, but they have enough quality throughout the XI to cause a few upsets and possibly reach the final four this summer.
UNDER- ACHIEVERS: GERMANY
The team that is set to under-achieve for the second consecutive tournament is Germany. Joachim Low’s team have been incredibly inconsistent over the past few years and have struggled with their identity and playing style, constantly switching from a 3-4-3 to a 4-3-3 in the lead up to the tournament. According to data (see tweet below) from the Twenty-first group – a football intelligence company – Germany has the best squad on paper in terms of player quality, but looking at their recent performances, it’s clear that the whole is lesser than the sum of its parts.
How are the squads looking for Euro 2021? pic.twitter.com/5iyZ08UmZl
— Aurel Nazmiu (@AurelNz) May 27, 2021
GOLDEN BOOT: CRISTIANO RONALDO
No player in the world loves scoring more than Cristiano Ronaldo and the Juventus star has the added motivation of needing 5 more goals to match Ali Daei’s record of most International goals. Ronaldo was the top scorer in Euro qualifying, finding the back of the net on 11 occasions and if Portugal are to go deep in the tournament, expect Cristiano to top the goal-scoring charts.
Apart from Ronaldo, other players who are contenders for the Golden Boot are Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Diogo Jota.
BEST PLAYER: KYLIAN MBAPPE
This might be the obvious pick but if France are to win Euro 2020, the best player of the tournament has to be Kylian Mbappe. The mercurial Frenchman has elevated his game in recent years, scoring 53 goals and assists for PSG last season. Mbappe’s speed and elite finishing have made him one of the most dangerous forwards in world football and he is capable of producing those moments of magic on the biggest stage.
Other players who could rival Mbappe for this award include his teammate Antoine Griezmann, Bruno Fernandes and as a slightly left-field choice, Christian Eriksen.
[Image Credit: UEFA EURO 2020]