Euro 2020, the 16th edition of the Euros, starts with the opening match in Rome on Friday 11th June & ends with the final at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday 11th July 2021. Postponed from last year due to the pandemic, the tournament retains its original branding of ‘Euro 2020.’ 2020 would have been the 60th anniversary of this tournament, which was first held in 1960. The tournament will play out in many European cities, with the two semi-finals and the decisive final to take place at Wembley Stadium (which also hosts some earlier matches too).
In the previous 15 tournaments, Germany(inc. West Germany) & Spain can boast an hat-trick of successes, whilst France can claim a brace of victories. 7 teams have won a single tournament each.
The tournament starts with the group stages, where the 24 participating teams have been divided into 6 groups of 4. Did you know this tournament had only 4 teams from its inception, until 8 teams took part in 1980 – that lasted until 16 teams took part in 1996. Euro 2016 saw the number of teams increased to 24.
Each team will play against the other 3 teams once in their group. The top 2 in each group, and the best 4 third placed teams, all make it through to the Round of 16. This means there will be a total of 51 matches for you to enjoy.
- Group D is of the most interest to England and Scotland fans, with Croatia and the Czech Republic also in the group. England and Scotland contested the first ever international football match in history – of course they met in the group stages of Euro 96 at the old Wembley Stadium too. England have home advantage in all 3 of their games, playing at the new Wembley Stadium each time. England fans will be wary of Croatia, who knocked them out after extra time in the World Cup 2018 semi-final. Croatia’s home and away wins versus England in qualifying for Euro 2008, also went a long way to ensure England didn’t even make it to that tournament.
- Our tip: England to win Group D. England have home advantage in all 3 of their games, playing at the new Wembley Stadium each time. They also have one of the best strikers in the world in Kane at their disposal.
- Group A contains the only other home nation to be involved – Wales. They are joined by Italy, Turkey, and Switzerland.
- Our tip: Italy to win Group A. We expect an experienced defence to lead Italy to top spot here.
- Group F is the most intriguing group overall, and genuinely deserves the overused phrase: the Group of death. The defending European champions – winners of Euro 2016, Portugal can be found in this group. The last 2 winners of the World Cup are here too: France (who won World Cup 2018), and Germany (who won World Cup 2014). Spare a thought for Hungary, who make up the four.
- Our tip: France to win Group F – we think they are the best equipped squad in the tournament (see below, in our Tournament Winner section). The inclusion of Benzema may prove a shrewd move too. Germany are the weakest that they have been for a while, and their coach is set to leave after the tournament – they were thumped by North Macedonia in a friendly, not too long ago. Portugal will for sure be a massive challenge, with a wealth of Premier League stars, as well as Ronaldo.
- Group E contains Spain who have had a lot of success on the European and world stages not too long ago, but have struggled more recently. Sweden, Poland, and Slovakia are in this group too.
- Our tip: Spain to win Group E. Whilst we don’t think Spain can go all the way and win this time around, they should prove too strong for this group.
- Group C contains Ukraine and the Netherlands, as well as Austria and North Macedonia.
- Our tip: Ukraine to win Group C – we were torn between Ukraine and the Netherlands, but ultimately we think the unavailability of Van Dijk will cost the Netherlands.
- Group B contains Belgium who could be a dark horse to win the whole tournament. Denmark, Russia, and Finland are also in this group.
- Our tip: Belgium to win Group B. Like Spain, whilst we don’t think Belgium can go all the way either, they should prove too strong for their group too.
Top Goalscorer: PSG’s Mbappe is our tip here. We expect France to go all the way, so this lethal striker will have plenty of opportunities to score.
Winner: Our tip for the team who will lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy on 11th July is France. We think they have the strongest squad by far, which could prove important, as this tournament follows pandemic hit domestic football seasons all over Europe.
All tips above made on 11th June 2021, prior to the start of the tournament.