With only one day to go until the Euro 2021 tournament finally kicks off, it seems as it could be anyone’s to win, despite the favourites, especially after the season we have just had.
After being postponed last year and a rollercoaster of a season, it is finally going to take place, albeit a year later.
Players are no doubt tired, from the long, drawn out and tough season, so it will be interesting to see who has some fuel left in the tank to lead their teams to the trophy.
Although teams like France, Italy and Spain, some of the top teams in Europe, seem to be the favourites going into the tournament, nothing is guaranteed as we have seen domestically this season.
Although Manchester City, by the end ran away with the title in Premier League, it wasn’t as plain sailing in the French, Spanish and Italian leagues.
In Spain, Atletico Madrid overcame both Real Madrid and Barcelona to win La Liga, in Italy, Inter Milan overcame dominant champions Juventus to win the league and in France a historical win for Lille saw them overcome PSG to win the title after a decade. So, if the shock title wins in each country’s league is anything to go by then for the Euro 2020, we will no doubt be in for a real treat.
There are many underdogs in the tournament, however, the likes of England, have a young squad full of individually talented players as many teams do and I am sure they will be wanting to better their fourth-place finish in the World Cup three years ago.
Portugal despite drawing with Spain in a friendly build-up to the tournament, are the current holders and will be looking to lift the trophy again, yet with a poor season from Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, it remains to be seen how much fuel he has left in his tank.
Runners up in the 2016 tournament France, are current World Cup champions and will be looking to grow from that and become Euro 2020 champions. Although they have a strong squad with many talented players it remains to be seen if the return of Karim Benzema after five years away will help them go one better than last time around.
Turkey promised so much after making the semi-finals in Euro 2008. But after reaching the playoffs in Euro 2012 they were eliminated after losing 3-0 on aggregate to Croatia. They failed to qualify for a tournament until Euro 2016 where they couldn’t get out of the group stages. However forward on five years and they have an experienced manager in Senol Gunes and a mix of talented, young and experienced players plying their trade all around Europe, with the likes of trio Burak Yilmaz, Zeki Celik and Yusuf Yazici from Lille, Caglar Soyuncu from Leicester City and Merih Demiral from Juventus to name a few.
There is no denying that each team at the tournament has a mix of youth and experience, however with the season the players have just had it remains to be seen just how much energy they have left.
I think it is safe to say that it could be one of the most unpredictable yet exciting international tournaments we have seen for a very long time that could bring with it some shocks. Who will win, well it remains to be seen, but I would watch this space!