Euro 2020 has endured a tough start due to a heart attack for Denmark’s Christian Eriksen during the game against Finland on Saturday. The Danish playmaker is on the mend and stable. From the competitive perspective, there have been numerous one-sided games in the first three days of the tournament until now. However, there are numerous teams making a strong case for the ultimate prize in the tournament.
Many national teams have been performing consistently well in the past few years. There are few outright favourites, but there is a group of teams that have the potential to go all the way. Let’s look at the top five teams to watch out for in Euro 2020.
The four-time world champions are one of the most underrated teams in this tournament. Italy has not tasted success in recent years and they didn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in 60 years but under Roberto Mancini, the team has come up to the ranks once again as they are 28 games unbeaten right now in Europe.
The Azzuri have a good set of players in the current squad which includes some of the star names like Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne in attack, Jorginho and Marco Veratti as midfielders. The team also has an experienced center-back duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Italy started their Euro 2020 journey with a sensational 3-0 win against Turkey where they dominated the whole game as they had 24 shots with 64% possession. Even though it is not a vintage Italian team, they are one of the strong contenders for the title due to good form and structure under Mancini.
The 2014 World Cup winners had a disappointing run in the last World Cup as they were eliminated in the group stage. Since World Cup 2018, it has been a run of inconsistent results for Germany with the lowest point coming last year during 6-0 defeat against Spain in the UEFA Nations League. With the return of Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels to the squad, they can be serious contenders for the European championship.
The most exciting thing about the German squad is their midfield as they have some of the best players in Europe. Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Thomas Muller, and Joshua Kimmich provide the experience in the midfield. Meanwhile, the likes of Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala provide x-factor in the team. Bayern Munich forwards Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane can causes problems for best defenders. Meanwhile, Antonio Rudiger, Havertz, and Timo Werner will be coming into the tournament on the back of winning the Champions League. Joachim Low will be looking to end his 15-year tenure as a national team coach with silverware at Euro 2020. Even though they are part of the group of death with Portugal and France, Germany has the talent pool to go all the way in Euro 2020.
England has been one of the best-performing sides in Europe and they have a serious number of young talents and experienced players in their squad. Led by Gareth Southgate, the English team are expected to perform to the highest level as they have players like Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Jude Bellingham, and Phil Foden in their attack which gives them a lot of options at front.
In the midfield department, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice are going to be the starters for England as Jordan Henderson is recovering from injury. The Three Lions have stacked three right-backs which include, Kyle Walker, Kieron Trippier, and Reece James. Harry Maguire and John Stones are the ideal centre-back partnership for England and they also have Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell as left-backs, which shows that they have serious competition within the squad. England is in Group D which includes their old rivals Scotland, Croatia, and the Czech Republic. They started off their Euro 2020 campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia in a group stage game. England has been serial underachievers in big tournaments over the years, but the current squad has the quality and unity to break the trend of poor performances in big competitions.
The current defending champions were the underdogs in the previous but this time they have a squad stronger than ever. The Portuguese attack includes Juventus star striker and captain Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, and Andre Silva. All attacking players are coming off a productive season with their respective clubs. Manchester United’s midfielder Bruno Fernandes will also play a crucial role after a very productive season at the club level. Renato Sanches, Ruben Neves, Danilo Pereira other solid midfield options for Portugal.
Portugal boasts one of the best defensive units with the center-back pairing of Ruben Dias and Pepe. Rui Patricio will be the main goalkeeper in the squad. Full-back positions are also very well covered despite Cancelo pulling out at the last moment after testing positive for COVID-19. The Portuguese team is favourites to make it two Euros in a row like Spain did in 2008 and 2012.
The current world champions need no introduction as everyone is aware of their capabilities which we witnessed in the 2018 World Cup. There’s no surprise that France are favourites for various pundits due to the sheer amount of match-winners in the squad. The group of attacking players is the best in the world with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kingsley Coman, Ousmane Dembele in the attack. Real Madrid star striker Karim Benzema has also been added into the squad for the first time in six years.
N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba were outstanding as midfield duo in Russia two years ago. They remain the first-choice midfield pairing for Didier Deschamps. The defense is also well stacked with some of the best defenders in Europe. The French team suffered heartbreak in Euro 2016, but winning World Cup in 2018 gives them an edge in Euro 2020.