A year later than planned, the European Championship is finally about to begin. Due to the corona pandemic, the tournament was forced to be postponed last year. This year twenty-four teams will compete starting from June 11th in hopes of reaching the final, which will take place on July 11th. The European Championship final will be played in London, with the UEFA unanimously voting to permit England to host the semi-finals and final at Wembley Stadium. Matches will be played throughout Europe, in 11 different cities: London, Baku, Copenhagen, Munich, Budapest, Rome, Amsterdam, Bucharest, St. Petersburg, Seville and Glasgow. The first match will take place in Rome. Here, Turkey and Italy will kick off the European Championship.
What are the favourite teams per Euro Cup pool? In Group A, Italy is the favourite to finish as group head. In pool B, it is Belgium. In pool C, the Netherlands is the favourite. In pool D, the battle is probably between England and Croatia, the 2 teams who also played each other in the semi-finals in the 2018 World Cup. The Croatians were successful in that meeting, so the English will therefore be keen on vengeance. In Group E, Spain is favoured, although Sweden hopes to stunt against the Spaniards again, something they did during the 2018 World Cup by eliminating the Spaniards after penalties. Pool F is considered the pool of death. Portugal, Germany and France will clash to show who is strongest. Three overall favourites for the European Championship final win will battle it out in their own group.
In the group stage, both first and second place advance. In addition, the four best third place finishers also qualify for the quarter-finals. For example, in 2016 Portugal managed to win the European Championship, despite only finishing 3rd in their group. Portugal is again one of the favourites for the final win. With attacking leader Cristiano Ronaldo, who is probably starting his last European Championship, and many other top stars from major leagues, they will be looking to defend their title. They are not alone, however. Belgium’s golden batch has not yet brought what has been hoped for: a trophy. With several key routines likely to be playing their last major final tournament, this is the last best chance to walk away with the win. England also yearns for the win, considering their disappointment after their semi-final loss to Croatia in the World Cup. France is seen as top favourite for that European Championship. The French managed to win the 2018 World Cup convincingly, and have had to leave many top players at home because the selection is so talented. With attacking leader Karim Benzema called up again for 5 years, France will be looking for the final victory.
In addition, we certainly can’t write off top countries like Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. Despite the fact that their national team performance in recent years has been relatively weak, they remain top European competitors with much quality in their selections. Without doubt we are promised an exciting summer.