Whether it’s who will win, who will get the golden boot, or where our favourite team will finish – everyone has got a view when it comes to this summer’s European Championships.
So as football fans across the continent gear up for a month-long feast of football, we thought we’d ask some of our contributors for their predictions ahead of Euro 2020.
We asked Robert Butler from Block 109, Jay from Spion Kop, Alan from United Journal, John Pearman from Red All Over the Land and Italian journalist and broadcaster Vito Angelè to give us their picks before the action gets underway.
Who will win the tournament?
The Portuguese were victorious against France in Paris five years ago, and the Euro 2016 holders are many people’s picks to retain their trophy this time around.
Gareth Southgate’s England reached the semi-finals in Russia, and a star-studded attack means they could be a good bet to finally bring football home and Robert Butler from Block 109 is feeling vert confident.
“There is only one answer isn’t there?” He says. “Southgate’s lions of course. People dancing in the streets, a sporadic bank holiday announced and 55million people washing down their Champagne with Wembeerly IPA until the early hours of the morning!”
Italian football journalist, Vito Angelè, doesn’t agree though: “Italy haven’t lost a game in three years,” he says “Coach Mancini has done a great job, but if Italy doesn’t win I hope England do because they have so many young and strong players.”
Meanwhile, Jay from Spion Kop is backing the three big guns to take the spoils in four weeks’ time, rather than England.
“I think it’ll be between France, Belgium and Portugal that wins the Euros. But if pushed I’d say France, the most complete team,” he says.
However, John Pearman from Liverpool fanzine Red All Over the Land thinks it might be much more open than that.
“Due to all the happenings of the past eighteen months it could be an open competition and with games being played across the continent some nations, such as England have been given advantages,” he says.
How far will England get?
Gareth Southgate’s England team breezed through qualifying, winning seven of their eight games and scoring 37 goals to book their place in the finals.
The other side in their group is famous old rivals Scotland who won their play-off to get into the tournament.
With the semi-finals and final being played at Wembley the incentive is there to go further than Euro 96 but much will depend on the draw something that Rob believes is key to their success.
“The hard match will be the round of 16,” he explains. “Germany, Portugal or France look our likely opponents but if we get through that then the tournament is ours to win.”
And Vito agrees that this could be England’s best chance for years, saying: “England is a very strong and unpredictable team, perhaps for the first time in recent years,” he says. “They have fast and technical players like Rashford, Foden and Sterling.
“Maybe the midfield is not as strong as when Lampard and Gerrard played, but the English national team can be the revelation of the tournament.”
A sentiment echoed by John Pearman, who thinks a last-four spot is a must for Southgate’s side this summer.
“They should do far better than they normally do and anything less than a semi-final place would be viewed as a failure,” he says. a view shared by Alan from United Journal who says: “England will make the semi-finals at least.”
Not a view shared by Jay, however, who says: “England are likely to face a tough route if they get out of the group stages, I can’t really see them getting much further than the Quarter-Final stage.”
“They have very good young talent and attacking players, but the defence and goalkeeper areas aren’t strong enough.”
Who will win the Golden Boot?
England hotshot Harry Kane won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup and heads into the tournament full of confidence after beating Mohamed Salah to the Premier League equivalent.
“I feel the Golden Boot will be between Mbappe and Lukaku,” says Jay. “But will just side with Lukaku based on some nice group stage games for him against Finland and Russia.”
Meanwhile, Alan from United Jornal says: “Harry Kane is a good shout, though Mbappe can also win it.”
Rob is focussing on who has the more favourable group draw though, and beleives that could hold the key to who bags the prize.
“Kane or Immobile,” he says. “Not based on who I think will win, but the fixtures for both Italy and ourselves look favourable for each side’s talisman to knock up 3 or 4 in the group stages alone.”
Who will be the star of the tournament?
With so many stars on display this summer, we can all look forward to a sparkling array of talent showing just what they can do on the biggest stage possible.
Huge names from the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga will all be strutting their stuff, with all of us looking forward to watching our particular favourites shine – but who will steal the show?
“I could say Kane, Lukaku, Insigne, Mbappé,” says Vito. “But the European Championship has taught us one thing: it is an unpredictable tournament.
“Often there are players who become stars, but then they immediately fade away. Do you remember Charisteas’ Greece? Or Eder’s Portugal?”
Not surprisingly, Rob from Block 109 is looking a little closer to home. “If England are to win it will require Phil Foden or Jack Grealish to step up,” he says. “France are my other pick and maybe Kante will finally get an accolade that matches his talents.”
Meanwhile, Alan believes that the level of competition is so high this year that naming the player of the tournament is almost impossible, claiming: “This is a really tough one, but at a push I would have to go with Mbappe.”
Something that Jay agrees with:” I’d say Kylian Mbappe will be the star of the tournament, especially with me opting for France to win the Euros as well,” he says.
“He’s a superstar.”
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