THE countdown to the long awaited UEFA European Championship (commonly known as the Euro) is well and truly on, and now football fanatics all over the world can now say “our wait is finally over”. The competition which normally takes place once every four years, was meant to be played on the 17th June 2020, but was postponed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nevertheless, the competition is here and we can only say “Its better late than never”.
The European Championship, has over the years, since its inception been an amazing competition, highly anticipated, always lived up to its hype and is watched by millions all over the world. This is evident in the analysis by UEFA, on the amount of viewers the last Euro competition had. Well, this episode of the Euro which as announced by UEFA would take place from 11th June till 11th July would not be any different, this is owing to the amount of hype it has gotten from pundits, football fanatics and above the period of wait the competition experienced due to the pandemic.
The competition officially kicks off on Friday night, the 17th of June when Turkey takes on Italy in one of the 11 venues the competition would take place, which is the Stadio Olympico in Rome.
Here is all you need to know about the Euro 2020. There are 24 teams that have qualified through participating in the qualifiers. These 24 teams have been shared into 6 groups. These groups and teams are as follows:
Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales
Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland
Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria, North Macedonia
Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland
Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia
Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, Hungary
According to UEFA, the competition would be played in 11 different countries and these countries, the cities and the stadia are as follows:
Scotland, Glasgow (Hampden Park). United Kingdom, London (Wembley). Spain, Sevilla (Estadio La Cartuja). Netherlands, Amsterdam (Johan Cruyff Arena). Denmark, Copenhagen (Parken Stadium). Germany, Munich (Football Arena Munich). Italy, Rome (Stadio Olimpico). Hungary, Budapest (Puskas Arena). Russia, St Petersburg (Krestovsky Stadium). Romania, Bucharest (Arena Nationala). Azerbaijan, Baku (Olympic Stadium).
So, there you have it, the 24 countries participating, the groups they belong and the hosting cities. So, what are your expectations for the tournament? Which group is the toughest for you? Which is your favourite country to win? Who would be the standout player for his country?
Well, here is an analysis of the favourite countries to win the competition:
England: The three-lions are always pre-tournament favourites, this is a case with the World Cup in 2018 and other competitions they have been in. This time, there seems to be far more justification that they are one of the favourites to win. This is because of the squad that Gatheth Southgate picked for the competition, with plenty of young talents hoping to show themselves in the big stage. Players like Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice and also, England would rely greatly on the great striker who has made a name for himself in the English Premier league in the person of Harry Kane to do the job for them. Finally, the fact that England reached the Semi-final in the World Cup in 2018 would be a big boost to the squad and individual players to go on and get into the finals and even win it.
France: Having called up Karim Benzema, this makes the Blues (Les Bleus) one of the favourite side. This team would be going into the competition with the mindset that they won the last World Cup and they can win the Euro 2020. The talent in this squad is out of the world and all eyes would be on this team to go very far in the competition. Some of the key players in this squad are as follow, Kylian Mbappe, N’golo Kante, Karim Benzema, and Paul Pogba. France would hope to make it their third Euro win.
Portugal: Football fanatics all over the world would be asking the crucial question, “can Portugal make it two in a row?” “Can they become the second team after Spain in the history of the competition to defend their title?”. This question can only be answered if the players in the squad bring out their best. The team would be relying on individual talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Joāo Félix, Bruno Fernandes, and the amazing Rúben Diaz, who had a wonderful debut season in the premier league.
Germany: Die Mannschaft (The Team), one of the two most successful teams in the history of the competition, having won it three times would be looking forward to making in four in this episode. Looking up to their depth in the midfield with and few attackers they have, will be hoping on their big players like Kai Havertz, Timo Werner who just won the Champions league with their club and also talents like Thomas Miller, Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan to help them go far in the competition.
Belgium: Die Roten Teufel (The Red Devils) are definitely one of favourites to win the competition. Having reached the semi finals in the last World Cup, Belgium look to leverage on the talents they have and go on to win the competition. With players like Romelu Lukaku who aided his team Inter Milan to win the Seria A this season, Kevin De Bruyne, Youri Tielemans, Dries Mertens. The Red Devils are one of the countries from analysis to go a very long way in the competition.
The Euro hopes to be a very fun and amazing tournament, it promises to be breathtaking, who wins the competition in the end? Who would come out victorious? Who would lift the trophy at last? Well, time will tell. We wait in anticipation for the competition.
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