Just as the Premier League season comes to an end, football fans in England and around the world have the European Championships to look forward to Euro 2020, which was postponed last year, is set to get underway in June with Turkey vs Italy being the opening match in Rome on Friday 11th.
Several of the bookmakers listed on Which Bookie have priced England as favourites for the tournament at around 5/1, with France and Belgium also very much favoured. England are usually in top three teams tipped for Euro glory but this time around, many feel like it could be a real possibility.
Back in the 2018 World Cup, it seemed as though football could be coming home as England made their way through to the semi-finals of the competition; their first since Italia ‘90. That would turn out to be their last game of the tournament after an early Kieran Trippier free kick was cancelled out by a second half goal from Ivan Perisic, followed by an extra time strike from AC Milan’s Mario Mandžukić to seal the win for Croatia and send them through to their first ever World Cup final.
However, it was a positive performance from England throughout the tournament in 2018 and they followed that up by reaching the UEFA Nations League semi-final the following year. Their World Cup qualifying campaign followed where Southgates men finished top of their group having won seven of their eight matches.
That leads us to preparation for the upcoming European Championships. So how good are England’s chances of winning the tournament and ending 55 years of hurt?
Southgate’s squad has yet to be confirmed and there are several contenders that will be hoping to secure a space and many that will be the focal point of discussion with fans. Southgate chose to leave out Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold in England’s recent World Cup qualifying matches, with Kieran Trippier and Reece James being given a chance in his place. Southgate has some tough decisions to make and ones that could determine how England progress in the tournament this summer.
England have been drawn into Group D along with Croatia, Czech Republic and Scotland. Both Croatia and the Czech Republic have beaten England in recent years but anything other than finishing top of the group will be seen as an under achievement.
Another advantage England have is that they could potentially play five of the seven matches at Wembley. Two of those would be the semi-final and final should they reach that stage but that surely should be a driving factor in progressing to those stages for Southgate’s players. France have reached the final of the Euros in two of the three times it has been held there, Italy won the tournament when the final was played in Rome in 1968 and Spain when it was held in Madrid in 1964. Playing on home soil against rival nations historically gives an advantage and despite this years’ tournament set to be hosted in 12 different cities, it could be England who reap the rewards more than others.
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Current Bookmaker Odds For Euro 2020
- England 5/1
- France 5/1
- Belgium 6/1
- Germany 15/2
- Spain 9/1
- Portugal 9/1
- Netherlands 12/1
- Italy 12/1
- Denmark 33/1
- Croatia 40/1
With Germany having let their dominance of world football go over recent years, England’s main contenders for the championship are France and Belgium.
France have a world-class squad with players such as PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Chelsea’s N’golo Kante all aiming to cause problems for rival sides.
Belgium are number 1 in the FIFA world rankings and also have players who would be welcome in any team such as Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne. They finished their qualifying rounds in perfect form, picking up maximum points from 10 games; scoring 40 goals in the process and conceding just 3.
Germany and Spain may not be considered consistent enough to back at 15/2 and 9/1 but with only seven matches to be played, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see either team progress to the knockout stages.
Portugal are an outsider to consider if Cristiano Ronaldo is in his usual form but whether or not he has the team around him to win the tournament is questionable.
Italy, who last won the Euros in 1968, are currently on a 24 match unbeaten run and so shouldn’t be ruled out but only three of those matches were against teams at shorter odds to win the Euros, two of which they drew.
Could this be England’s year? Quite possibly. But with teams such as France and Belgium in the tournament, whichever squad Southgate chooses, they’ll have to play to their maximum ability.
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