With football’s second-largest national competition just around the corner, we have weighed up the international squads that we think have the best chance of claiming glory in this year’s European Championships.
The worldwide pandemic halted sports during 2020, causing European football fans to put their clocks forward a year to arrive at the Euro 2020 tournament. Finally, the time has come where Europe’s finest international squads will go head-to-head in a month-long competition to determine the kings of European football. The previously named Euro 2020’s has become Euro 2021, and we are ready for some top-tier footballing action.
Let us sneak a peek at the teams we believe own the most excellent chance of lifting the trophy.
Reigning Euro Champions Portugal
If you fancy yourself as a betting man, the Portuguese outfit could be right up your alley. With a current price of 8/1 to claim it all, they are a squad that is currently being overlooked by critics and fans alike.
The decline of Serie A top dogs Juventus may have something to do with this; why? Because Cristiano Ronaldo has not had the brightest season, but he remains the superstar player on Portugal’s team.
In addition to Ronaldo’s declining season at Juventus, Portugal has landed in the sights of Germany and France by drawing into Group F. However, I honestly believe that facing stiff competition from the onset could provide a cup winning confidence boost like no other, and we cannot simply discredit one of the world’s best players because of his domestic team’s downfalls.
The best possible news for Portugal is that a 3rd place position in Group F could still see them qualify into the knockout stage. Four third-place teams will advance, meaning that a loss to France and Germany could still provide rewards later down the line. But this is a worst-case scenario, the talent inside the Portuguese squad has enough to win their group, let alone scrape by.
Fernando Santos is all too familiar with this setting, leading the Portugal squad to cup-winning glory during the Euros 2016. In addition, three of his players hold over 100 caps; plus, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Joao Felix are a set of players who can match Ronaldo’s stardom on the pitch.
Italy Look Unstoppable
Here are a few statistical facts about Italy you may be unaware of:
- They haven’t lost a single game during their previous twenty-one encounters.
- They have won their previous seven away games whilst holding their opponents to zero goals.
- They hold more runners-up trophies than any other team in European Championship Tournaments.
Italy is another squad that is seemingly overlooked in this year’s Euro 2021 competition.
The overly experienced Roberto Mancini is a coach who knows how to win silverware; when you match this with a well-balanced squad and the most manageable opposition during group stages, Italy could be well primed and rested heading into the knockout stages.
Italy came close to recapturing their 1968 Euro winning year in 2000 and 2012, but these runner-up positions were not good enough for Italian fans.
The difference-maker during this campaign will be their home advantage during group stages and an impressive unbeaten streak dating back to 2018. This is the best Italy squad we have seen since 2012; their chances of success are high in our estimation.
Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Berardi enter the tournament following a very successive Serie A domestic season. This forward strong Italy squad could become a devastating outfit with Roberto Mancini at the reigns.
France Are the Favourite to Win for Good Reason
The most talented group of all the Euro 2021 campaign is pointing towards Group F, and the French squad are current favourites to claim the first position finish. The thought of France winning this group (especially without a loss) could create an unbeatable team when moving onto the knockout stages.
The 2018 World Cup winners have a remarkably similar but more experienced squad than they did back in ’18; if Pogba, Kante, Varane and Mbappe don’t give the opposition worries, they must be insane. Now give these elite players more experience, a higher net-worth and the chance to pull off the double; doubting this French squad would be foolish.
The talent residing in French football is amazingly stacked, and Didier Deschamps accomplished the Euros/World Cup double in 1998 & 2000; twenty years later, he is attempting the same accomplishment, but this time as the manager. The squad he has at his disposal can provide two starting line-ups capable of causing damage, giving him a considerable advantage with tired legs or potential injury. If France causes trouble early on, it is hard to envision any team causing them issues during later stages.