New Delhi: Euro 2020 is here and the tournament marks the return of top-flight international football. The top 24 nations in Europe will battle it out to earn the ultimate glory.
This upcoming edition will be the 16th in the tournament’s history. Euro 2020 was slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now it will be played from June 11-July 11.
There is a new model which is in place for this year’s Euro and the tournament will be played in 11 cities across 11 UEFA countries. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will be making its debut in the European Championship this time around.
Twenty-four teams have been divided across six groups and Group H comprises of France, Germany, Portugal and Hungary and is being labelled as the ‘Group of Death’. The tournament opener will be played between Italy and Turkey on Friday.
France who are the defending champions of the 2018 FIFA World Cup are being seen as the tournament favourites and rightly so. The side boasts of highly talented individuals like Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema. Benzema after sitting on the sidelines for many years has finally returned to the national squad and it would be interesting to see how manager Didier Deschamps utilises his talent.
N’Golo Kante has been the flavour of the town off late and he single-handedly managed to help Chelsea win the Champions League. Many pundits believe that Kante will win the Ballon d’Or if he manages to help France win the Euro Cup. France had finished as the runners-up in Euro 2016 and they had lost the summit clash against Portugal. So it is fitting that both these sides are placed in the same group in Euro 2020.
Another big favourite to win this year’s competition is England. Off late, the side has been surrounded by controversy as the Three Lions are being booed by some section of the fans as they continue to take the knee to show support towards the Black Lives Matter movement. However, talking about football action, the side comprises of talented individuals like Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Jordon Henderson and Reece James.
England will be playing most of its matches at home and if they progress to the finals, then they will be playing in front of home fans at the Wembley Stadium. This might be England’s best chance to finally win a trophy.
Defending champions Portugal might go all the way this time around, but once again, a lot depends on maverick Cristiano Ronaldo. He also has in-form midfielder Bruno Fernandes for support. However, the biggest thing for Ronaldo’s side would be to make it to the round-of-16 as they are placed alongside France, Germany, and Hungary in the Group of Death.
Belgium finished at the third position in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the side is once again being looked as the stronger contenders to win the title. Kevin de Bruyne got injured in the Champions League final while playing for Manchester City, but he joined the team squad this week and as a result, Roberto Martinez’s side has been given a big boost.
Spain, once the major powerhouse of European football, has not been able to make the quarterfinals of their last three major tournaments, but the La Roja cannot be ruled out to spring a surprise. Sergio Ramos has not been included in the squad, so it would be interesting to see whether defenders like Jordi Alba and Eric Garcia can do the job.
It would be also interesting to see who scores the most goals in the competition. The likes of Ronaldo, Kevin de Bruyne, N’Golo Kante, Harry Kane might be the frontrunners, but Poland’s Robert Lewandowski might just put on a one-man show in the top European competition.
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