The European Championships start this weekend; which teams have a chance in the tournament? The favourites going into the tournament are Spain, Germany and France. With the final games of the European club seasons having been completed, the European Championships await. The second most popular football competition after the World Cup, 300 million watched the 2012 final between Spain and Italy in Kiev. The standard of teams on average may transcend even the world cup, with every populous European nation usually having unique teams and star players.
Staged this year in France, the matches are to be played in ten stadia including the Stade de France and Parc de Princes, Paris, Stade velodrome in Marseille, Parc Olympique Lyonnais in lyon and Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille. This is the third time the French have held the tournament, previously hosting it in 1960 (the first tournament) and 1984. This tournament, the first to be competed by 24 teams is an expansion from the 16 team competition of the past.
With France at home and in a relatively straightforward group alongside Switzerland, Albania and Romania, expectation may be high from the French prior to the tournament. Armed with talent like Hugo Lloris, Dimitir Payet, N’Golo Kante, Antoine Greizmann, Paul Pogba and Yohan Cabaye the French might have good reason to be confident. Young talent is present in the squad with Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial impressing for Bayern Munich and Manchester United respectively. Notable absentees Karim Benzema (unpicked by the FFF due to personal events) and Rapahel Varane (thigh), both Real Madrid players may be significant omissions.
The players of Real Madrid going into the Euros in healthy physical condition may be high in confidence after wining the European Champions League on Saturday. Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and the other prominent Europeans in Madrid’s squad may be instrumental in success for the national teams and need recovery time ahead of the Euros.
World Champions Germany may be one of the favourites going into the tournament though friendly results versus England and Slovakia may prompt followers to debate Germany is a tournament team. Assembling a strong squad with the likes of Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and Manuel Neuer Germany are clearly going to finish strongly, however one notable omission in the squad announced on Tuesday is Marco Reus (4). High quality possession and a hard work team ethic underlies Germany’s success demonstrated in a 7-1 win over Brazil in the World Cup final.
Back to back winners of the European Championships Spain may have dominated European club football this season with both Madrid sides in the Champions League final, Sevilla winning the Europa League for the third year in a row and Barcelona winning the World Club Championship. The national side have a healthy squad although the foreign talent in teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid are unavailable. An experienced defence complements a creative midfield and proven goalscorers, with players like Silva, Iniesta and Alcacer.
A young England side have shown a new mentality in qualifying and friendlies epitomised by what many believe to be a new teamwork ethic and a superior attitude. A settled defence with Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill in the centre and Joe Hart in goal, it is in midfield and up front where England excels presently. With young Marcus Rashford and Daniel Sturridge included in the squad, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy may well lead the line after productive seasons. Supported by Delle Alli, Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier and Ross Barkley the midfield possesses a mixture of hard work, pace and talent.
The tournament begins on June the 10th when France entertain Romania and the final at the Stade de France a month later on the 10th of July. Germany, Spain, and France being on home soil may well be the favourites however teams like England, Belgium and Italy might have a great opportunity.
Which nation is the most likely to win the European Championships?