After what feels like the longest of waits, Euro 2020 is almost upon us. But who will lift the coveted trophy at Wembley on 11th July?
England and France competing for favourites tag
England are expected to be among the favourites for the European Championships in 2021. With Harry Kane at his blistering best this term and supremely talented youngsters like Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho supporting him, who is to say the Three Lions won’t be going all the way?
Well, France might have something to say about it anyway. Les Bleus were the deserved winners of the World Cup in Russia back in 2018 and if anything, their squad has improved since then, with Kylian Mbappe three years older and wiser and the lethal Karim Benzema being brought back into the fold.
The fact that Italy, Spain and Portugal are all priced at around 8/1 with most firms, shows how crowded this field is for the Euros in 2021 though and it could be one of several teams lifting the trophy this tournament, with plenty of strong squads and experienced managers in the mix.
Who are favourites to win Euro 2020?
It really depends which bookmaker you’re using, but France and England appear to be the two main favourites. The Three Lions are slightly ahead of Les Bleus with Paddy Power, perhaps due to having some degree of home advantage in the latter stages with the semi-finals and final all being played at Wembley Stadium in London.
It isn’t hard to see why these two teams are considered to be the favourites. England possess a supremely talented young squad led by Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, while France’s squad is equally, if not more impressive and they have the taste of success still lingering following their World Cup win in Russia back in 2018.
The next favourites beyond England and France are a Belgium outfit that boast the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, Germany, who have course have a decorated history in major international competitions and Portugal, the holders led by the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo.
Is this the Three Lions’ best ever chance to end the trophy drought that has plagued them since 1966? With Harry Kane leading the line and an eye-catching supporting cast supplying the ammunition for one of the tournament’s stand-out attacking players – plus home advantage at Wembley should they reach the semi-final stage, can England fans dare to dream this summer?
Much has been made of Gareth Southgate’s squad selection, but much of his team selection may rest on the fitness updates afforded on Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson. If they can work they way up to full fitness quickly, then they could be the difference for England.
France’s squad depth must be the envy of every manager at international level. Not only do they have an embarrassment of riches in attack including the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, but in midfield they boast the likes of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba and their defence is marshalled by Raphael Varane and the vastly experienced skipper Hugo Lloris.
Experience is the name of the game here too, as the majority of this squad were involved when the side were victorious at the World Cup in Russia three years ago. Despite that, there are still question marks over Didier Deschamps and the perceived pragmatic style of play he prefers, but will it really matter with so much quality in this squad?
Is this the last chance saloon for Belgium’s so-called Golden Generation? De Rode Duivels have been backed for big things for quite some time now, but they were embarrassed by Wales at the Quarter Final stage in the last European Championships, although they did make it as far as the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia back in 2018.
The likes of Eden Hazard, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are reaching an age where opportunities to earn international silverware are running but if Roberto Martinez can get the best out of the irrepressible Kevin de Bruyne and the ever-prolific Romelu Lukaku (who has 59 international goals to his name from just 91 caps), then Belgium will be a tough test for anyone this summer.
Over history, Germany have pulled out some stunning performances at international tournaments just when things are going against them. Indeed after a disastrous group stage exit at the World Cup three years ago, some very strange results in World Cup qualifying and the Nations League of late and with long-serving manager Joachim Low set to step down following the tournament, this seems like one year in which die Mannschaft may not be seen as a major threat.
And yet, you can never rule out a nation that has enjoyed so much success in major international tournaments through the years and this squad is still packed with serious quality. Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry and Chelsea’s Kai Havertz will hope to provide some attacking thrust while Toni Kroos will pull the strings in midfield alongside the excellent Joshua Kimmich.
This Spain side may not have the same star quality that saw them win this tournament in both 2008 and 2012, but in Luis Enrique they possess a popular and progressive head coach and La Furia Roja will head into the tournament on the back of some impressive form in other competitions.
There is no Sergio Ramos but Aymeric Laporte will be tasked with marshalling the side behind Sergio Busquets, while a clutch of talented youngsters will look to lead the way in attack, including Manchester City’s Ferran Torres. By no means is this Spain side at the level’s of Vicente del Bosque’s all-conquering outfit, but it deserves to be in contention for the trophy.
Portugal were the eventual winners of the last European Championships five years ago despite drawing all three of their group stage games. Never particularly fancied pre-tournament, the Seleccao are arguably in a stronger position going into this tournament with some talented players emerging in the five years since that victory in France.
eStill coached by Fernando Santos and still led, of course, by the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo, this certainly seems to be a more rounded squad on paper than that of the 2016 vintage. Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes should prove to be among the most creative players in the tournament, while Silva’s Manchester City team-mates Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo make Portugal look more organised defensively than they have been in years past.
Bookmaker’s dark horses for Euro 2020
It seems strange to be considering the likes of Spain as dark horses for the tournament, but so tight is the field among the seven or eight favourites that it’s difficult for them to be placed above England and France in the running and their squad doesn’t have the same star factor it had when winning this tournament in both 2008 and 2012.
The Netherlands will hope that their defensive lynchpin Virgil van Dijk can return to fitness to give them something more of a chance heading into the tournament while Italy, although like Spain perhaps lacking in household names compared to normal years, have been in fantastic form going into the summer tournament.
Other Euro 2020 Betting Markets
There are so many more outright bets you can place on the tournament and indeed the outright markets tend to be almost as popular as the match bets when it comes to a major international tournament such as this one with a glut of bets placed before the action even kicks off.
Most bookmakers will offer odds on each group winner, which may be harder to call in some groups than in others and which teams will qualify – as well as team-specific specials and round-specific specials – England to lose in the semi-finals again anyone?
There are also markets for some of the individual awards on show including the Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot. Read on for more information on the second of those markets below.