UEFA Euro 2020 mascot Skillzy poses for a photo.(REUTERS)
UEFA Euro 2020 mascot Skillzy poses for a photo.(REUTERS)

UEFA Euro 2020: A look at the prime contenders for the trophy

  • The opening round of matches from June 11 to June 23 will feature some thrilling encounters such as England vs Croatia, France vs Germany, Portugal vs Germany, Portugal vs France and many more.
PUBLISHED ON MAY 11, 2021 06:23 PM IST

The UEFA European Championship is like a FIFA World Cup tournament, but just for European teams and is generally considered tougher to win than the World Cup because of the higher quality of opposition. Between June 11 and July 11, there will be 51 games for fans to enjoy and soak up the atmosphere across the 11 host cities across Europe. All 24 teams at the final tournament are guaranteed to play at least three games before the top performers in the group stage move on to the knockout phase – where things get even more exciting. From that point, every game is sudden death: win and teams reach the next round, lose and they are going home.

While the teams are yet to announce their squads, viewers are already looking forward to some of the biggest names from across the 24 participating nations like Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Paul Pogba, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kros, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin Du Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Matthijs de Ligt.

The opening round of matches from June 11 to June 23 will feature some thrilling encounters such as England vs Croatia, France vs Germany, Portugal vs Germany, Portugal vs France and many more. Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will host the opening match on June 11, while only two teams will ultimately make it all the way to the July 11 final at London's Wembley Stadium. The 11 final UEFA EURO 2020 host cities are Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Munich, London, Rome, Seville and Saint Petersburg.

Here are the top contenders primed to pick up the coveted trophy and reign over European football for the next four years -

Portugal –

The current holders and inaugural UEFA Nations League winners have progressed from the EURO group stage on all seven occasions. Their group looks difficult, but coach Fernando Santos said: "We will prepare well for this EURO and look to go into it with incredible conviction, looking to defend the title."

Jersey Colors: Red, Green

Group stage opponents: France, Germany, Hungary

France –

Any fan of flair, attacking football and Gallic genius will surely look no further than reigning world champions France for this competition. History tells us there have only been four occasions when a team has won five matches at a single EURO – France have achieved that feat three times.

Jersey Colors: Blue, White, Red

Group stage opponents: Germany, Hungary, Portugal

Croatia –

Croatia’s unmissable red-and-white checked kit makes them the must-support side for the style-conscious fan. The Vatreni will be appearing in their fifth consecutive EURO – a huge achievement for a nation of less than five million citizens. Losing World Cup finalists in 2018, they will be out on the field to make a statement at this year’s UEFA EURO 2020

Jersey Colors: Red, White

Group stage opponents: Czech Republic, England, Scotland

Belgium –

The top scorers in qualifying with 40 goals in ten matches, Belgium have just one major tournament success in their history – can they add a second 101 years after striking gold at the 1920 Olympic Games? Striker Romelu Lukaku hopes a settled squad can help them, explaining: "If you keep getting better and the team plays together for a long time, it gets easier."

Jersey Colors: Red, Yellow

Group stage opponents: Denmark, Finland, Russia

England –

If goals are your thing then England is your pick. The Three Lions are also playing in their tenth EURO, which is the most participations any country has racked up without ever winning the title. With the final scheduled to take place in London, has their time finally come?

Jersey Colors: White, Blue

Group stage opponents: Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland

Germany –

Appearing in their 26th consecutive major tournament, the three-time winners have progressed from the EURO group stage on seven occasions – no team has advanced more times – and have the most wins (26) and most goals (72).

Jersey Colors: White, Black

Group stage opponents: France, Hungary, Portugal

Italy –

The Azzurri are unbeaten in 40 EURO qualifiers, dating back to 2006, so translating that form into silverware is surely the next step for the 2012 runners-up.

Jersey Colors: White, Blue

Group stage opponents: Switzerland, Turkey, Wales

Netherlands –

Having failed to make the last EURO and World Cup, it is the Netherlands' longest absence from major finals since the mid-1980s – when they marked their return by winning EURO '88. If you believe in fate then the Dutch could deliver for you.

Jersey Colors: Orange, White

Group stage opponents: Austria, North Macedonia, Ukraine

Spain –

The choice of the purist, the kings of tiki-taka have lost none of their total football philosophy after winning two of the last three EUROs. Could they claim their fourth EURO triumph?

Jersey Colors: Red, Blue, Yellow

Group stage opponents: Poland, Slovakia, Sweden

Watch UEFA EURO 2020 LIVE on SONY TEN 2 and SONY TEN 3 (in Hindi) channels from June 11, 2021 to July 12, 2021

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