After a year’s delay, Euro 2020 is here, with Turkey and Italy set to kick the tournament off on Friday night.
Across one month and 11 countries, Europe’s finest will go head-to-head this summer for the right to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy, while a number of individual players will be eyeing up the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament awards.
So, who are the favourites and dark-horses heading into Euro 2020? And which players are set to make their presence felt?
Sky Bet‘s top 10 Euro 2020 contenders
- France – 9/2
- England – 11/2
- Belgium – 6/1
- Spain – 15/2
- Germany – 8/1
- Italy – 8/1
- Portugal – 8/1
- Netherlands – 12/1
- Croatia – 28/1
- Denmark – 28/1
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Euro 2020 Favourites
France to make it a double?
Heading in as the reigning world champions, it’s understandable that France are slight tournament favourites at 9/2 according to Sky Bet.
With plenty of their World Cup stars still in their prime years (or yet to even enter their respective peaks) France will fancy their chances of replicating their Euro 2000 and World Cup 1998 triumphs to hold both prestigious international honours at the same time.
Les Bleus have a ridiculous amount of depth in just about every position, while in Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema they boast two of the most feared forwards in Europe, with the latter earning a recall after almost six years in the wilderness.
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The one thing which may work against France is that, unlike many of the other big-hitters at Euro 2020, they won’t be hosting any games, meaning all of their matches will be played either at neutral or away venues. But as they proved in Russia, or conversely, by losing the Euro 2016 final on home soil, this will likely be of little concern to the players once they step out onto the pitch.
England’s Euro 2020 squad in uncharted territory?
The current England Euro 2020 squad find themselves in the unusual position of being 11/2 second favourites. Gareth Southgate’s men went into the 2018 World Cup with little expectation and reached the semi-finals, where they lost to their Euro 2020 opening opponents, Croatia, 2-1 after extra time. One of the main benefits of the 2018 World Cup squad was the tender age of the majority of Southgate’s selection; many of the star performers will be around for the next two or three tournaments at least.
With another three years worth of experience in the bag, plus the rise of Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, the Three Lions will surely head into the summer an even stronger team than in Russia. Defensively, the team have a lot to work on, but with home advantage for most of their Euro 2020 fixture schedule, you can see why England are being rated alongside the likes of France and Belgium as potential winners.
Belgium: Euro 2020 glory for the Golden Generation?
The Red Devils claimed third place at the World Cup in 2018 and will be expecting to reach the same stage at the very least to meet expectations at this summer’s tournament. Belgium have some of the best strength in depth of any international team in Europe and they will be a popular choice if they do go all the way and finally secure a major honour. Sky Bet price them at 6/1 third-favourites to do just that.
With a whole host of creative options including Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Dries Mertens aiming to feed and supplement all-time Belgium top-scorer Romelu Lukaku, goals shouldn’t be hard to come by. Backed up by a solid and technical midfield and an experienced defence containing Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, with Thibaut Courtois between the sticks, Belgium have all the ingredients to win a national tournament.
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Who are the potential dark horses?
Given they’re the holders from 2016, as well as the inaugural Uefa Nations League champions, it seems strange to list Portugal as a ‘dark horse’. However, Fernando Santos’ men are priced at 8/1 with Sky Bet, behind England, France and Belgium, as well as Spain.
Looking further down the odds list, respect must be given to the likes of Turkey (50/1) who beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a World Cup qualifier, while Switzerland (66/1) have a strong squad, capable of hurting any of the big hitters on their day. Vladimir Petkovic’s side qualified for this tournament with just one defeat and six goals conceded across eight games.
There’s also the small matter of Poland (66/1) bringing Ballon d’Or chasing Robert Lewandowski to the Euros, backed by a supporting cast including Arkadiusz Milik, Piotr Zieliński and Mateusz Klich.
Euro 2020 groups
Group A is headlined by Italy, who are returning to the major international tournament scene after missing out on the 2018 World Cup. Turkey, Switzerland and Wales are sure to provide a tough test for Roberto Mancini’s men but, ultimately, the Azzurri are fancied (4/9) to head into the knockout rounds as group winners. At 9/2, Switzerland are next, slightly ahead of Turkey (11/2) while Wales are priced at 9/1.
Belgium are the unsurprising 4/5 favourites to top Group B, while Denmark are second at 15/8. The Danes, along with Russia and tournament debutants Finland, are sure to give Roberto Martinez’s a stern test of their tournament-contender credentials but ultimately, providing the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne are fully fit, the Red Devils should have too much in the tank. That three-way tie for second place should be fascinating, with nobody wanting to rely on being a best third-place qualifier.
- North Macedonia
Despite their struggles under Frank de Boer so far, the Netherlands are still strong 4/9 favourites to top Group C, with Ukraine next at 4/1. Even without Virgil van Dijk and Donny van de Beek, North Macedonia are minnows at this level, while Austria failed to live up to their dark horse bill at Euro 2016, so the Dutch should still enjoy a straightforward return to international tournament life.
- Czech Republic
Second-favourites England have been drawn against a familiar foe in Croatia and, after beating them to reach the Uefa Nations League finals in 2019, will surely be after more revenge for that 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat. The Three Lions will also renew relations with fierce rivals Scotland, while the Czech Republic beat Gareth Southgate’s men as recently as October 2019. But despite the various narratives and challenges afoot, it comes as little shock to see England as 4/9 favourites to win Group D, while Croatia are next at 3/1.
Spain have a wretched record at major tournaments since their Euro 2012 triumph, failing to progress beyond the round-of-16 in the two World Cups and one Euros they’ve competed in during that time. But Luis Enrique’s men are still the 2/5 favourites to top Group E, though those odds are much shorter than some of the other big guns at this summer’s tournament. That is no doubt thanks to the presence of Lewandowski, whose Poland are 5/1 second-favourites to top the group.
Group F is by far and away the toughest of this summers European Championships. Germany and France are joint-favourites at 6/4 to finish top while holders Portugal (11/4) are slightly further back. With that in mind, it’s no shock that Hungary are the 25/1 outsiders to top the group, while they’re 7/2 to merely qualify for the knockout rounds.
Alongside the top two teams from each group, four of the best third-placed nations will advance to the knockout rounds of this summer’s European Championships. According to Bet365, only seven teams are odds-on to go out in the group stages. They are Wales in Group A (5/6), Finland (2/7) in Group B, North Macedonia (2/7) in Group C, Scotland (8/13) in Group D — Czech Republic are also 10/11 here — Slovakia (4/9) in Group E and Hungary (2/11) in Group F.
This would suggest that these will be the groups most likely to produce third-place qualifiers, with perceived minnows potentially acting as whipping boys, while Group F is obviously set to be extremely competitive given the heavyweights it contains — it wouldn’t be a shock if Hungary went home with no points on the board, while Germany, France and Portugal are all capable of taking points from each other.
Route to the final
Round of 16
1. 2A vs 2B, June 26 (17:00, Amsterdam)
2. 1A vs 2C, June 26 (20:00, London)
3. 1C vs 3D/E/F, June 27 (17:00, Budapest)
4. 1B vs 3A/D/E/F, June 27 (20:00, Seville)
5. 2D vs 2E, June 28 (17:00, Copenhagen)
6. 1F vs 3A/B/C, June 28 (20:00, Bucharest)
7. 1D vs 2F, June 29 (17:00, London)
8. 1E vs 3A/B/C/D, June 29 (20:00, Glasgow)
Q1. Winner 6 vs Winner 5, July 2 (17:00, St Petersburg)
Q2. Winner 4 vs Winner 2, July 2 (20:00, Munich)
Q3. Winner 3 vs Winner 1, July 3 (17:00, Baku)
Q4. Winner 8 vs Winner 7, July 3 (20:00, Rome)
S1. Winner Q2 vs Winner Q1, July 6 (20:00, London)
S2. Winner Q4 vs Winner Q3, July 7 (20:00, London)
Winner S1 vs Winner S2, July 11 (20:00, London)
The presence of three European giants in Group F makes for some tasty potential round-of-16 ties. For example, should England win Group D, they’re likely to face any one of Germany, France and Portugal in the last-16, providing Hungary don’t pull off a miracle. To reach the final, the Three Lions would then likely have to beat Spain in the quarter-finals and the Netherlands in the semi-finals, assuming the favourites advance. With that in mind, England’s most likely final opponents, following the odds, would be France or Belgium.
For more on Euro 2020 fixtures, check out our guide below: