UEFA Euro 2020: France and England favorites, Portugal in contention

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Ritesh Gogineni
Editor/Founder of The False 9.

After being postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UEFA Euro 2020 is finally underway. The 16th edition of the tournament started on June 11, as Italy beat Turkey 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome. For the first time in history, the European Championship will be held in multiple cities, with matches being played in Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Saint Petersburg and Seville. Wembley Stadium, in London, will host the final on July 11.

In the first round of games in the group stage, the world was shocked during the match between Denmark and Finland, in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the 43rd minute, Inter Milan and Denmark star midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch due to a cardiac arrest. He was given immediate medical attention, and had to be resuscitated with the aid of a defibrillator, as his teammates stood around him. Eriksen was transferred to a local hospital and is currently in a stable condition, undergoing further examination. Despite the incident, the match was resumed later in the same day, and Finland won 1-0.

In the tournament’s last edition, Portugal claimed their first major trophy in history, and are the defending champions for this year’s edition. However, according to the latest sports betting news, France, the reigning FIFA World Cup champions, and England are the favorites to win the UEFA Euro 2020. Belgium, Portugal and Italy complete the list of favorites to lift the trophy at Wembley, on July 11.

France and England jump ahead

France entered the tournament as the overwhelming favorites to win the title, with +390 odds to do so. But England are right on their tracks, with +600 odds to lift the trophy, and a much easier path to the knockout stage. The historic rivals are considered by analysts and pundits the best teams in the tournament.

Relying on a star-studded squad, which includes fantastic players like Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé, Les Bleus are certainly the strongest side in this year’s Euro. The team managed by Didier Deschamps, FIFA World Cup champion both as a player and as manager, plays with fast pace on the flanks, building off the speed of Mbappé and Griezmann, with Pogba deployed as a deep-lying playmaker, posing an offensive threat to any team in the competition. They were seeded in Group F, regarded as this year’s group of death, with Portugal, Germany and Hungary. In the first match, France beat Germany 1-0.

After many years of disappointments and disillusions, the England national football team is finally being able to thrive in international competitions. Under manager Gareth Southgate, the Three Lions finished fourth in the last FIFA World Cup and displayed a competitive, aggressive football style that regained the fans’ trust. England were seeded in a relatively easier group, playing against Scotland, Czech Republic, and Croatia, who they’ve beaten in the first match 1-0.

Portugal and C. Ronaldo want more

Despite having worse odds than France, England and Belgium (they are at +750 odds to win the UEFA Euro 2020), Portugal are always in contention for titles, for having one of the best players in the history of football: Cristiano Ronaldo. But the Portugal national team isn’t all about CR7; they also count on Bruno Fernandes, who’s in amazing form for Manchester United and recently became the team’s captain, and Manchester City’s winger Bernardo Silva. Under manager Fernando Santos, they won the UEFA Euro 2016, after beating France in the final, and claimed their first title.

Also seeded in the group of death, Portugal faced Hungary in the first match of the tournament, and won 3-0, with goals by Raphaël Guerreiro and Ronaldo, who keeps performing at a high level for the national team.

Belgium and Italy also in contention

With Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku leading the team, Belgium is almost an unstoppable offensive force in European football. After blasting through the qualifying stage, they were seeded in Group B, against Denmark, Finland and Russia, who they defeated 3-0 in the first match. Playing with ball possession, quick touches, and an involving style of football, the Red Devils are enjoying one of the best generations of Belgian footballers ever. Lukaku, by the way, is the favorite to finish as the tournament’s top goalscorer, with +225 odds.

Italy is returning to the spotlight after some years of ostracism and reformulation. With a younger squad than in past editions, the Squadra Azzurra is at +750 odds to win the UEFA Euro 2020, and some pundits expect them to return to former glory with this new generation of players. The team counts on Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci as the defensive bastions, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti as the source of creativity in the midfield. In the opening match of the tournament, they beat Turkey 3-0, with goals by Merih Demiral (own goal), Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.

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