England are the favourites to win Euro 2020 and were even considered to be favourites in 2020, especially by the bookies, however, England does not have the greatest record at international tournaments in recent years so this optimism is always approached with caution.
That being said, this is, without doubt, the best and most complete England squad we’ve seen in recent years. With an abundance of generational talent, not to mention an ideal blend of youthful exuberance, enthusiasm and experience, their strength in depth is so great that there wasn’t room in Gareth Southgate’s final squad for many of the current best young players in football. Due to their wealth of talent and choices available to them, speculation and a favourites tag were bound to follow.
The likes of Phil Foden, arguably the best young player in the world currently, together with Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho all represent massive talents and the potential to be the best players in World Football, many of whom are being closely watched at the tournament by the biggest clubs in the world as well. Their wealth of talent, coupled with the restructuring and rebuilding of many other of the bigger teams like Spain and Germany, has led to England being touted as the favourite to win Euro 2020.
Key player: England
The best striker in the Premier League, believed to be moving soon, Harry Kane, won the Golden Boot ahead of Salah this season in the English Premier League and produces ridiculous numbers every season, not just for goals but now his assists as well, he has evolved into the most complete version of himself and of a striker. A proper finisher and poacher, who scores goals for fun.
Gareth Southgate’s side got their tournament off to a flying start with a 1-0 win against Croatia on Sunday afternoon. Italy have also started well, winning the opening game of the tournament 3-0 against Turkey in Rome.
Bonucci, who played the full 90 minutes in that three-goal triumph, has praised England for their work ethic in their opener.
Speaking on Tuesday, Bonucci said:
“England have really stood out to me for the approach that they showed, the way that they were willing to work hard for one another and the fact that they sought the three points.
“That’s the team that’s impressed me most thus far.”
In the spincasino.com game that is football, there’s a fine line between hope and expectation, arrogance and confidence, luck and fate, and statements of “footballs coming home” can come off as arrogant, or as entitled statements. However, it is hard to deny England as having the best chance aside from France. That being said, they have been considered favourites many a time before and this is no different. So it is up to them to grab the opportunity with both hands and realize their nation’s dreams and expectations to fulfil their hope and belief in them and themselves.
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham)
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Man City).
But obviously, France are also in the picture. To be honest, it’s astounding that they are not considered as favourites for all upcoming tournaments not just Euro 2020, the 2022 World Cup, perhaps even Euro 2024. They haven’t yet been able to solidify the status of the team as the team of their time, as previous French teams have with the likes of Henry and Zidane, the way Spain’s Tiki Taka squad dominated every other team without being able to get a sniff of possession, but that may reflect the way they have been overlooked and underrated.
The 2018 World Cup champions were denied victory in the Euro 2016 final by the rarest or rare Eder goals & even with Ronaldo injured early on, Portugal held on, with Rui Patricio warning man of the match and the French spurning the chances presented to them. It was far from a vintage tournament for the French, but they were the closest thing to a complete squad and team. They played the best football and it was plain for all to see. They are a modernized European powerhouse.
Then there is also the point of taking into account home games and the advantage it actually provides, with fans having just returned to stadiums in limited figures.
Since France in 1984, no hosts have managed to win it. Portugal won Euro 2016 and have since gained Diogo Jota, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva even, who wasn’t present before due to injury. Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland and Croatia all have a chance as well, but other than Belgium who are ranked first in the world currently, it’s hard to argue that there are any other teams who are as complete.
Ever since that fateful night, revolutionized by the emergence of a generational talent in Kylian Mbappe, they look better and better each time they step out on the pitch. They have only lost three of 36 games. With a recall for star striker Benzema after past complications, it only increases their strength, and perhaps the one cog of the team you could say was missing, a proper number 9.
Olivier Giroud, remains a timeless asset, his longevity and knack of being in the right place at the right time is uncanny, however, when compared to Benzema the level difference is apparent. Giroud acts more as a supportive striker to Mbappe and Griezmann. Benzema is more involved and is more of a goal threat. Add to this the likes of Paul Pogba, France possess genuinely world-class players, a lot of them, which few other teams in world football do.
Samuel Umtiti of the World Cup final starters & Blaise Matuidi are no longer in the squad and the defender has been replaced by Barcelona defender & a fellow Frenchman, Clement Lenglet. Aymeric Laporte couldn’t even make it into the squad and traded out his French nationality to play for Spain. That in itself tells you about their vast talent pool. Hugo Lloris may be slightly past his best, but that’s not to say he still isn’t capable as one of the best keepers in football currently. Not to mention they have the game’s best defensive midfielders, in champions league winner N’Golo Kante, arguably the player of the tournament, who harassed and constantly harries the opposition.
Wesley Fofana is not even guaranteed a place in their Under-21 team. Aymeric Laporte never played a single international game for France before making the switch. Dayot Upamecano, just recently having signed for Bayern Munich, might not be in the final squad, and ¾ players of the German giants back four next season may even be French: Lucas Hernandez, Upamecano and Benjamin Parvard.
France won’t find it easy, having been drawn in a group with Hungary, Germany and reigning European champions Portugal. Having beat Germany 1-0 in the opening game they look to be off to the perfect start.
The French will be looking to add to the 2018 World Cup triumph and make up for the disappointment of the last Euros. Key to those hopes is 22-year-old Mbappe, the PSG forward who shone at the last World Cup whilst still in his teenage years.
Mbappe averages almost a goal a game for his club and has been compared to Messi and Ronaldo countless times, while he may not be such a freak as the likes of those two superhuman individuals, he may be the closest thing to them that we have.
Can he possibly make it two triumphs in his first two tournaments at the international stage? If anyone could, you would probably wouldn’t bet against him.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Lille)
Defenders: Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Lucas Digne (Everton), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Midfielders: N’golo Kante (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)
Attackers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
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