The Euro 2020 finals kick off on June 11th 2021. The competition was postponed last year amid the coronavirus pandemic but it’s officially due to begin on June 11. The 2020 tournament will be the 16th edition of the tournament and there is not one host this time around. Instead 12 countries will host matches in 12 host cities. 24 teams will all be seeking victory by the 12th of July. Last time out Portugal managed to defeat France in a final that went to extra-time. Eder scored the winner against France in 2016. So here’s a quick look at five participating Nations at this year’s Championships.
Shock horror – the holders are actually quite good. In fact, much more than that, they’re quite possibly the most lethal attacking force in European football. Not so much in the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is still chugging along, more determined than ever to get on the end of every possible cross, but more in the way in which the other superb members of that attacking unit manage to gracefully dance and sway around him.
Bruno Fernandes may be blessed with a frankly shocking pass completion rate (normally hovering around 65%) but as we know – when they hit, they hit. At his best, he’s a one-man band capable of picking both his club and his country up from the floor and simply getting it done.
Despite an injury-hit season, Diogo Jota has performed admirably at Liverpool, showcasing himself as one Europe’s best emerging wide forwards, and the increasingly reliable, enigmatic talent that is Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix and you have, as the screaming fan in Mike Bassett’s face eloquently put it, “an effective partnership of strength and skill”. Despite the fact that the 39-year-old Jose Fonte still gets a run-out at the back, they will take some stopping.
Another Iberian side urged on by a bulging thighed megalomaniac, Spain have been earmarked as ‘transitional’ for the best part of a decade. Since that entrancing 1, 2, 3 hit of trophies between 2008-2012, the side has struggled to replace bona fide legends (your Xavis and your Iniestas) and under-rated stalwarts (your David Villas and your Busquets). Add to this the off-on love affair the idea of a centre forward, complete with Diego Costa in the Stanley Kowalski role, and you’re left with the constant impression that the Spanish don’t know their best line-up.
Honestly, it was always going to be a tough job to form a new band after that era. However, the ruthless 6-0 thrashing of the Germans in November 2020 felt like a watershed moment for this emerging Spanish vintage.
With Manchester City’s Ferran Torres grabbing an eye-catching hat-trick and Rodri and Koke providing a central midfield engine room powerful enough to light up Las Ramblas, the match may prove to be a launchpad that builds plenty of momentum heading into this summer. And for the final flourish, they now have a young player destined for the dizzying summit of the global game.
Ansu Fati may be someone that a side can truly be built around, and as a sort of Messi Padawan, is someone great things have been expected of for some time, despite his young age. With the right players and the right system around him, this summer’s tournament could be Fati’s Mbappe moment on the big stage.
Here we go, here we go, here we go! I think. Are England’s chances helped or hindered by the delay of Euro 2020? With such a strong and exciting squad (my type, on paper 100%) there isn’t a lot in it, but arguably it’s a plus that this squad have had more time to gel and come together. The Three Lions stumbled a little across 2019 and 2020, culminating in the disappointing Nations League results that prompted more questions than they answered.
However, there have been some fleeting but fantastic shimmers of gold that glimpse at a genuinely thrilling potential of Southgate’s team. Namely, his public acknowledgement that Jack Grealish is actually quite good and could do a job for his national team. Couple that with the blooding of Phil Foden, a player who would arguably look more at home in the red of La Roja, the stunning season of captain wonder Harry Kane, the re-emergence of John Stones as a classy centre back made of silk instead of sawdust and the gradual improvement of Declan Rice and you have the makings of something wonderful and outrageous talent of Mason Mount who has proved himself on different occasions that he’s beyond ‘promising’.
Yes, yes, yes they’re here and it’s marvellous. To any Scottish readers, be rest assured that this is sincere and heartfelt. Having Scotland qualify for their first major tournament in 23 years is exciting in itself, but chuck in the fact they are in England’s group and the whole thing has just been shot with a vaccine dart composed of pure adrenaline and giddiness.
We’re recreating Euro 96 lads. We were doing it anyway but now it’s actually proper. Speaking of which, this Scotland side are not here to make up the numbers. It is true that their best two players are left backs – step forward Kieran Tierney and the skipper Andrew Robertson. Combine that with the prowess of two seasoned premier league midfield technicians in Scott McTominay and the ludicrously underrated John McGinn and it’s clear to see why Scotland have finally made it after such an exile.
One thing’s for sure, book Wednesday 16th June off (if offices are still a thing at the time of reading). It could be the game of the tournament.
It feels ludicrous to use this word to describe the reigning world champions with a squad depth big enough to comfortably fill out five very, very good starting XI’s, but France can often be a bit. Even in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign there were only snatched moments of true brilliance – Pavard’s stunning strike against the Argies and Mbappe’s constant thrilling electricity.
There remained a purveying sense however that the French had managed to simply be good enough – definitely more than enough to brush off an exhausted, hallucinating Croatia side of grizzled vets in the final. There is an argument that certain players are just beginning the slow descent from the peak of brilliance, such as Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba.
It seems perhaps that the prolongment of this particular tournament may end up costing Les Blues – however as always with such a footballing conveyer belt of a nation, the French have some serious talent lurking in that star studded squad. Where Spain have Ansu Fati, step forward Eduardo Camavinga. The bendy legged wonderkind has set pulses racing across Ligue 1 for the past two seasons at the terrifying age of 16 and 17 respectively.
His international debut featured a casual, looping bicycle kick inside the six-yard box that arced impudently over a host of helpless Ukrainian defenders, announcing his arrival in the most appropriate way imaginable.
Coveted by Europe’s top clubs, there has already been some devastating link up play with Mbappe, and this tournament could see his full emergence into the spotlight. Plausibly. One to Watch.
We’ll be providing in-depth previews of all the Teams which will be participating in the tournament, as well as comprehensive coverage of the tournament itself. Each country will be previewed and each player will be profiled as we build up to the major football event of 2021.