With Euro 2020 approaching as ever, we are assessing the candidates from each group, whether they can meet their expectations and which countries could find themselves being knocked out earlier than expected.
Group A believes that Italy is currently emerging as a candidate to advance to the top and it is unsurprising to see why when considering its latest form. Roberto Mancini’s side have won their last five competitive matches without conceding a goal and not defeated in any way since their comeback in September 2018. Since their 1-0 defeat away to Portugal in the UEFA European Championship, Italy have surpassed 25 times. Unbeaten matches (including friendly matches) and it would be a huge surprise if they did not qualify for the knockout stage as Group A winners.
Belgium is also expected to move to the knockout stage as the winner of Group Two, where the Red Devils, currently ranked first in the FIFA World Rankings, have lost just four of the 54 games they have played so far under the supervision of Roberto Martinez. They are heading for Euro 2020 in great goal form after having scored 18 goals over the course of their last five competitive matches. Many others, including Kilbett, agree that the Belgians are likely top of the second group
While the Netherlands may be seen as the favorites to win the third set, when you dig in, it doesn’t seem like such an open and closed conclusion. For starters, they will head to the championship without influential center back and captain Virgil van Dyck. Question marks also remained above coach Frank de Boer as the Netherlands won only four of its nine opening matches (including friendly matches) under his leadership.
Group D will see England, led by Gareth Southgate, face Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, alongside the Czech Republic and old rivals Scotland. World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane must provide firepower in front of goal with Manchester City stars, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, standing directly behind him. With the England team mentally able to deal with the pressure that comes with playing at home, Southgate’s men should be preferred over the lead in competitive Group Four.
Spain has historically boasted a strong team that should be called up in recent years. However, this profound strength does not seem to prevail as the Euro 2020 finals approach. Coach Luis Enrique has already shocked the selection of his team after defender Sergio Ramos has been excluded and his absence will be particularly evident in terms of leadership in a team without any Real Madrid players. Therefore, the likes of Sweden or Poland could emerge as shocking winners in Group E, as the latter manages to summon the services of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, one of the most feared forwards in world football.
When considering the tremendous strength in the rear at their disposal, combined with having lost just one of their last 18 matches (including friendlies), France should be considered the 2018 World Cup winners as the most likely to top Group E though. Portugal, which boasts mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo, is not canceling out. Germany is not looking as strong as it has in previous tournaments, however they will be desperate to perform well in the last tournament for Joachim Loew as head coach, calling up the likes of veteran striker Thomas Muller with all his experience in major tournaments can prove. A very shrewd move.