With almost all -20 out of 24- the places taken for next year’s tournament in 12 different countries (imagine that!), let us have a brief look at the teams that stand the chance of winning Europe’s biggest National Football tournament – it is definitely not you, Nations League.
The current World Champions struggled a bit, especially towards the end of the qualifying campaign. Regardless, they are still the team to beat. From back to front, the team is extremely talented and another feather to their cap is the fact that they know how to play in (and win) tournaments now. There are still questions as regards certain –forward positions: would Antoine Griezmann playing on the left for Barcelona affect his style and performance when the tournament arrives? Will Olivier Giroud still lead the line seeing that he practically clocks no minutes for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea? Would the in-form Benzema be recalled to the France squad after a lengthy exile? – this is highly unlikely. Would Alexander Lacazette get a call up? Would Anthony Martial be called up as well? Would Paul Pogba be fit enough for Manchester United and France to prominently feature in the tournament? Questions, questions, questions. We would know soon enough.
The Red Devils fell to France in the World Cup and eventually finished third but were flawless in the qualifying campaign for the Euros next year. Their all-round quality is not debatable; however, the question that still lingers is whether Eden Hazard and his team-mates would be able to pull down the big teams when they come knocking. Will next year be the year the golden generation finally reaches its destination?
The European defending Champions would have their work cut out when the tournament comes in a few months. The team has a solid base to build on and a very potent attack force. Players like Joao Felix – 2019 Golden Boy winner- would need to really up his game as his Club, Atletico Madrid are currently in very poor form in the League. Portugal would also hope that Cristiano Ronaldo, their talisman, would also be fit enough to lead the line seeing that he has faced a lot of fitness issues this season. They were unfancied in the last tournament especially considering the fact that they did not win a game in the Group stages and qualified as one of the best losers. They are also probably unfancied this time around. The prospect of retaining the tournament trophy is extremely fascinating!
Well, the trophy did not come home the last time that England featured in a tournament. This year, Gareth Southgate’s team seems to have become better. The potential inclusions of young players like Declan Rice and Jadon Sancho gives England something to look forward to. The return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also gives the English something different in midfield. However, the English team has a history of always buckling under pressure. Would next year be any different? Gareth Southgate and his team now have tournament experience and we look forward to seeing how they would use that to their advantage.
There are other outsiders that should not be taken for granted. Teams like Germany, Spain, Italy and Netherlands are teams that could go to the tournament and surprise everyone, just like the way Portugal did the last time. Ultimately, we look forward to a fascinating and pulsating Euro 2020 tournament.