The 2020 Euro tournament is right around the corner, and after delays due to the current, one of the best football tournaments in the world is about to start. With teams from across the continent competing in 11 cities, tons of goals to be scored, and some of the best players in the world.
However, some may still not be sure who is playing, where they are playing, and what the format of the tournament is. This post will go through everything you need to know before the tournament begins.
Where is it Being Played?
This year’s tournament starts on the 11th of June and ends on the 11th of July, and is being held across 11 host cities. 12 cities were due to host games, but Dublin had to relinquish their responsibilities due to Coronavirus concerns.
The host cities are Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Munich, Seville, and St. Petersburg. Rome and London will also be hosting games, with Rome being chosen for the opening fixture, and the final of the tournament to take place at Wembley Stadium in London.
Who is Playing?
There are 24 teams that are split into 6 groups. Group A will include Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and Wales. Group B will include Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland. Group C will have Ukraine, Netherlands. Austria and North Macedonia.
Group D will have England, Croatia, Czech Republic and Scotland. Group E is Spain, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia. Group F is the group of death, and includes Germany, France, Portugal and Hungary.
The tournament format is pretty straight-forward. Each team will play the other teams in their group, and receive points for a win or draw and none for a loss. The top two teams in each group wll then go into the Round of 16, with the top 4 third place finishers making up the rest of the 16 teams.
From this point on it is purely elimination. Winners will go through to the quarter-finals, then the winners of the quarter-finals matches will go through to the semi-finals, and then onto the final. There is no third place game unlike some other tournaments.
The favorites heading into the tournament have to be England and France. Both sides have incredibly strong squads, however, the likes of Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands have been billed as dark horses, with Italy especially being tipped as a surprise winner.
The bookies’ favorites currently are England. They have an incredibly strong squad that has depth, experience, and on paper have all the working parts to form one tournament winning machine.
Gareth Southgate has been criticised with his selection choices though, with many fans being surprised and almost outraged by the fact that Jesse Lingard, who just came off the back of his best Premier League season ever with West Ham, and James Ward-Prowse who is arguably one of the best players behind a dead ball in the country.
France are the other favorites to win the tournament. Karim Benzema has been recalled after 6 years out of his national team, and will be joined up front with kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezman. Pundits have already agreed that these three will be near impossible to stop if they click and find their form together.
Like England, their depth and general squad strength is incredible, their bench is going to be full of players that will start for any of the top clubs in the world. These two will most likely be the juggernauts of the tournament.
Portugal and the Netherlands are probably considered dark horses even though they have strong squads. However, they both have a mix of players that may be a bit too old or a bit too young.
However, you can’t write off any team that has Cristiano Ronaldo in it, and considering Portugal did win the title last tournament with Ronaldo on the bench due to injury for the majority of it, prepare to possibly be surprised. We are still yet to see how Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo will combine in a tournament setting.
The biggest dark horses of the tournament have to be Italy. They are a team that went from not qualifying for the last World Cup, to now being on a 26 game unbeaten run under the leadership of Roberto Mancini.
They have seemingly been reborn, and while their squad is packed with world famous names, except for the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marco Verratti, Jorgino, and Ciro Immobile, they have been a team that has come together and performed like no other.
You would think that after not qualifying for the World Cup they would take some time to rebuild, but they have proven so many wrong and have put themselves in a position where they can beat the likes of Spain, England, France, and whoever else steps onto the pitch with them. Keep your eye on Italy this year.
With the first game about to take place in a matter of hours, the Euro’s are finally going forward, and there isn’t a single football fan who won’t be looking forward to this bumper tournament of Europe’s best.