Euros all set for the big kick off
Fans have been waiting over a year for Euro 2020 after the global pandemic halted the tournament in its tracks.
UEFA’s flagship international event will be a celebration of 60 years of the Euros and is taking place across the continent in Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Saint Petersburg and Seville over the course of June and July. It all kicks off on Friday night with Turkey taking on Italy in Rome at 8pm.
Who’s going to win?
France are the new 9/2 favourites to do one better than Euro 2016 and win the tournament having recently replaced England as the market leaders. Southgate’s side are now 5/1 having been 9/2 for a long time, but the contrasting performances between England and France in their friendly matches.
Karim Benzema’s return to the squad has also increased France’s chances and the world-class talent doesn’t stop there, Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante and Kylian Mbappe are just a handful of names of arguably the strongest squad of the tournament.
If England’s best players can fire on all cylinders then there’s every reason to believe that they can play a part in the latter stages of the tournament and bring football home.
Elsewhere Belgium are no longer dark horses and serious contenders at 6/1; they have the easiest of the groups with Russia, Finland and Denmark so they’ll be confident of taking strong form into the last 16.
Germany will 9/1 to win the tournament but face a tough ask to qualify from a group with World Cup winners France and Euros holders Portugal. Spain are 15/2 to win, reflecting the fact they are far from the force of old and short a quality side similar to the one which won this competition in 2008 and 2012.
Tip: Portugal 8/1
Portugal have retained the core of their squad including Rui Patricio, Pepe and William Carvalho who won the tournament in 2016 as well as a crop of players who have developed since then.
Ruben Dias has won the Premier League Player of the Season while Joao Felix has just won the La Liga title with Atletico Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo will also be wanting to break another record by going ahead of Michel Platini in the all-time goal scoring chart at Euro Finals as well as building on his historic 103 goals for his country.
Euro 2020 winner
Germany, Italy, Portugal 8/1
Croatia, Denmark 28/1
Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey 66/1
Russia, Ukraine 80/1
Czech Republic 150/1
Scotland 250/1, Hungary, Slovakia 250/1
North Macedonia 750/1
Which players should you look out for?
Romelu Lukaku, 13/2 to be the tournament’s top scorer, finished on 30 goals for Inter Milan this season and is hitting his peak just as Belgium’s golden generation are entering their prime. Kane is the 5/1 favourite to win the Golden Boot award and add to his 2018 World Cup gong, following a strong season with Tottenham and with the creativity of Phil Foden alongside him, the forecast could be raining Kane goals and plastic pints this summer.
Mbappe is 8/1 behind but will have to test himself in the group stages against the defences of Germany and Portugal. Ronaldo is in a similar position but was only second to Harry Kane’s of goals in qualifying so even at the age of 36 he still has the potential to win the Golden Boot.
Tip: Benzema - 18/1
Benzema will be making up for lost time as this will be his first international tournament since the 2014 World Cup. He has 57 goals in his last two seasons for Real Madrid and has been their pivotal figure at club level.
Benzema is known for his instinctive finishing and flawless technique in front of goal so will be a threat every minute he plays. He’ll also be supported in wide positions from the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and from midfield by Paul Pogba so will have plenty of service throughout the tournament.
Golden boot winner
Harry Kane 5/1
Romelu Lukaku 13/2
Kylian Mbappe 8/1
Cristiano Ronaldo 12/1
Memphis Depay 16/1
Karim Benzema 18/1
Ciro Immobile 20/1
Antoine Griezmann 22/1
Alvaro Morata, Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Timo Werner 25/1
Diogo Jota, Ferran Torres, Kai Havertz, Marcus Rashford, Olivier Giroud 33/1
How will England do?
England have their strongest squad on paper for years mixing players making their tournament debuts such as Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish along with more experienced heads in Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane.
The biggest concern is Gareth Southgate’s tactical acumen and his naturally cautious nature over qualifying has led to worries he won’t get the best out of this squad. It’s still clear that he doesn’t know his strongest eleven and will have to learn over the group stages who is arriving in form and who has a good level of fitness.
England’s chances of winning Group D are enhanced by playing at Wembley in all of their group stage games and the Three Lions will return to the national stadium a couple of times should they progress to the late stages of the competition, although a potentially tricky clash with Portugal in the round of 16 could cause them some problems.
England kick things off against an ageing Croatia side which aren’t the force that knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-finals stage. Following that are games against Scotland and the Czech Republic, which could see England repeat their enjoyment in front of goal during the World Cup, making the 5/1 price for them being the tournament’s top scorers interesting. Phil Foden is one of the leading players of his generation and he could well win the award for the best young player if he transfers his domestic form onto the international stage.
England tournament odds
To win Group D - 2/5
Highest scorers in Euro 2020 - 5/1
To finish runner-ups in Euro 2020 - 8/1
Phil Foden to win the Best Young Player of the Tournament award - 7/2
To be eliminated at the last 16 stage - 8/5
Odds and tips via bettingexpert.com