Many fans of international football adore the UEFA Euro competition. The tournament features the best European national teams competing for the title of continent champions. This year’s tournament was supposed to take place in 2020, as the competition takes place every four years, with Portugal winning the last one in 2016. The tournament, which is still known as Euro 2020, features twenty-four nations, including old favorites and exciting newcomers. Anyone could win this tournament, but who has the best pieces to make a deep run?
The 2018 FIFA World Cup champions are strong favorites to win this tournament. Karim Benzema returns to the French national team after not playing for them since October of 2015, prior to this year’s Euro competition. The team is led by world-class players such as Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, the latter of whom is a likely candidate for the Ballon d’Or trophy this year. The two shone in their first match of the tournament, a win over rivals Germany.
When asked about N’Golo’s play, teammate Benjamin Pavard said, “N’Golo is N’Golo.” He has a total of six lungs. He never takes a break. I’m hoping we can win the Euros so he can win the Ballon d’Or.” This star midfield, combined with a new connection up top with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Karim Benzema, could be the team to beat this tournament.
The Spanish team are also defending themselves to be the elite the world knew them for in the game with the likes of players such as Morata, Toress, Azplicueta and many others. The match they had on Saturday which was against Poland and with that, Spain started well by leading in the first half with Morata opening the goal at 25th minutes but they were unable to keep themselves from conceding a 54th minutes goal by Lewandowski which ended the match draw with the a score line of 1-1
The Italian giants cannot be Forgotten. The UEFA Euro competition will take place in Italy this year. The home team opened the tournament with a win against the Turkish national team that was promising. The tournament began with a loud bang and shut Turkey out with a three-0 display of Italian dominant soccer. The team’s world class play style was both exciting and jitting, while fans of Italian soccer knew that they hadn’t qualified for the World Cup 2018, but also were aware that their team did so.
Nonetheless, the Italians have taken their place in their first two games with a 3-0 win over Turkey and Switzerland. The team could very well lead a solid run, led by new Manager Roberto Mancini, who took office in 2018, once the country did not qualify for the World Cup.
Portugal, the winners of the last Euro contest in 2016, has an increasingly powerful and talented team. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese leader in the history of the Euro Turnier, has been the five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or. Some of the world-class talents Ronaldo receives support, among them Manchester United, star Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota from Liverpool, Bernardo Silva from Manchester City and João Felix, a wonderful Atletico Madrid star.Do not allow this attacking group to dissuade you from the Portugal power behind you with season Premier League player and Portuguese defender Ruben Dias. In its first match, the Portugee had an easy round of Hungary to crush the team 3-0 with Cristiano Ronaldo’s two targets. On Saturday despite Cristiano Ronaldo beautiful kick that led to the opening goal in which gave Portugal the lead over Germany, but it was back fired by the two disappointing own goal which was committed by Dias and Guerreiro before the half time and at the beginning of the second half, Germany came out beautiful as they were unstoppable to get the ball to the back of Portuguese net with the likes of Havert and Gosens having their name recorded on the score sheet, although Portugal try to impress again in the second half with the like of Diego Jota scoring at 67 minutes, but that was not enough for them to come from behind as the German triumph over the Portuguese with a full-time score of 4-2. For some time, the Spanish national team was a favorite even before their 2010 World Cup victory. The team’s slow-playing style of passing from player to player is well known. The concept in which everyone touches the ball is called ‘Tiki Taka’ until the opposing team reaches the net repeatedly up and up. Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola is recognized for this playing style, which was famous during his days at FC Barcelona for the tactical approach.
In their opening match of the tournament, Spain demonstrated this tactic in its draw against Sweden. Spain’s total of 917 passes were combined with 86 percent, compared with Sweden’s 162 percent and 14 percent. One football fan is used to this Spanish domain. The lack of accumulation of the points in Sweden however adds to the problems of Spain’s national team, as they have had difficulty in major international competitions since their 2010 victory. If they can get it together and get the ball into the net on Saturday, then they might have a shot at this tournament in their match against Poland.
Belgium has been a powerhouse for quite a while. The team was a FIFA Team of the Year in 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020, despite not winning significant international competitions. Those awards demonstrate the team’s talents and dominance but precede them in their history. No major competitions have been won, and your group is growing old. It might be their year, as Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City star, returned to inspire the team in their 2:1 win over Denmark. The team now has two victories and looks good for the tournament. May this finally be your year?
The English national soccer team, headlined by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden, is packed with young and promising talent. England may very well have a shot at the title under the veteran leadership of Harry Kane. Their victory over Croatia’s 2018 World Cup runners showed what they could do. Can this young team upset the line and take it back into England with the European Championship Trophy?
The UEFA Euro-2020 competition will certainly be an entertaining event, no matter what team you choose to support. The world is recovering slowly from a global pandemic that for some time has restricted access to soccer. No matter the results, the most beloved sport in the world will be presented this summer.