Dublin: 19°C Sunday 25 July 2021
Advertisement

Ranking the 10 teams now most likely to win the Euros

France, Italy, England and other contenders.

YOU MAY RECALL prior to the start of Euro 2020, we compiled a list of what we deemed to be the 10 teams most likely to triumph.

With the benefit of having seen each country in action three times, we feel now is an opportune time to update this list in accordance with how the main contenders have performed.

The 10 teams are exactly the same as on the original list, but unsurprisingly, their stock has fallen in some cases and risen in others, as reflected by the changes from our original list.

Check it out below…

10. Croatia

croatia-v-scotland-uefa-euro-2020-group-d-hampden-park Source: PA

An ageing team shorn of a few important players and clearly not at the same level as they were at the World Cup in 2018, as they showed with some patchy group-stage performances. Nonetheless, the Croats have enough individual talent to give most sides a good game, and 35-year-old Real Madrid star Luka Modric has proven — particularly in the win over Scotland in which scored a brilliant goal — that he remains one of Europe’s outstanding midfield players.

9. Denmark

denmark-russia-euro-2020-soccer Source: HANNAH MCKAY

It would have been hard to be critical of the Danes had they exited in the group stage. The traumatic scenes involving Christian Eriksen in the first match have overshadowed everything that has come before and after it. And without their star playmaker, Kasper Hjulmand’s side are undoubtedly a lesser team. A repeat of the Euro ’92 triumph, therefore, looks highly unlikely. Yet in their favour is the fact that they find themselves in the ostensibly easier half of the draw for the knockout stages, while the accomplished manner in which they dispatched Russia 4-1 in their most recent fixtures bodes well for the rest of the tournament.

8. Portugal

portugal-vs-germany-uefa-euro-2020-championship-in-munich-germany-19-jun-2021 Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Perhaps the most disappointing of the ‘big’ sides, 3-0 against Hungary in their opening match flattered them while they were deservedly beaten 4-2 against Germany. Fernando Santos made a big call leaving out Bruno Fernandes for the France match on Wednesday night, but it paid dividends ultimately, as Portugal got the draw they needed and Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the men’s world record for goals. Their stock has certainly fallen since the tournament began, yet like last night, they famously just about made it through the group stages in 2016, failing to win a single game along the way, and we all know what happened then.

7. The Netherlands

netherlands-north-macedonia-euro-2020-soccer Source: Olaf Kraak

Have impressed so far, with three wins out of three, albeit advancing from one of the weakest groups in the competition. Georginio Wijnaldum in particular has thrived, with three goals, as he is enjoying playing in a more advanced role than he was normally allowed to occupy at Liverpool. Memphis Depay, meanwhile, has found the net twice and will be hoping he can continue to show why Barcelona recently signed him. They should have too much for the Czech Republic in the round of 16, and will similarly fancy their chances against either Denmark or Wales in the quarters. They will therefore see a semi-final place as eminently achievable, but whether they have the depth of quality in their squad to go beyond that point is uncertain.

6. Spain

uefa-european-football-championship-uefa-euro-2020-group-e-spain-vs-poland-seville Source: Dppi/Joaquin Corchero

Started very slowly as their attack looked far too blunt in their opening draws against Sweden and Poland. However, the impressive 5-0 victory over Slovakia on Wednesday suggests Luis Enrique’s team are coming good at the right time and it’s only a few months since they hammered Germany 6-0. Yet they got the slice of luck against the Slovaks with Martin Dubravka’s howler for the opener and their lack of a world-class striker means they can be susceptible to having an off day in front of goal against a team who are defensively well organised.

5. Germany

portugal-germany Source: DPA/PA Images

Like Spain, Germany have been erratic and hard-to-predict. Their 4-2 defeat of Portugal at the Allianz Arena was arguably the best standalone performance of the competition thus far. Yet that stunning display came in between two deeply unconvincing outings. They looked toothless far too often in the 1-0 defeat by France, while they were fortunate that Leon Goretzka’s goal six minutes from time rescued a team that had previously been staring at a potential shock elimination from the competition at the first hurdle amid a nervy 2-2 draw with Hungary. Beating England at Wembley won’t be easy, but if they can get through that game, they will face Sweden or Ukraine in the quarters, while Netherlands look the strongest side they could come up against in the semis, so they will fancy their chances of reaching the final and giving Joachim Loew a fitting send-off as manager.

4. England

england-czech-republic-euro-2020-soccer Source: NEIL HALL

Started relatively well with a 1-0 win over Croatia before a disappointing goalless draw against Scotland raised questions. With both teams having secured qualification before kick-off, it is also difficult to read too much into their 1-0 defeat of Czech Republic in the final group game. Their defence was the main concern prior to the tournament, though along with Italy, they are the only team yet to concede. Down the other end though, they have looked one of the less impressive of the nations that are fancied to contend for the top prize. Despite a host of talented names, the likes of Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Mason Mount haven’t quite clicked for the most part, while they face a hugely challenging last-16 encounter against Germany. Should they win that big match, however, they find themselves in the easier half of the draw and a place in the final will start looking very feasible.

3. Belgium

finland-vs-belgium-in-saint-petersburg-russia-21-jun-2021 Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

In Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium possess one of the outstanding individual players at the tournament. The rest of their attack is similarly impressive, with Romelu Lukaku having enjoyed a particularly strong season — the 28-year-old has registered 41 goals in all competitions thus far. Their ageing defence, featuring current and former Tottenham stars in Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen remains a concern, while they showed signs of vulnerability against Denmark in particular during the first half before De Bruyne came on and changed the game.

2. Italy

italy-v-wales-uefa-euro-2020-group-a-stadio-olimpico Source: PA

Arguably the most impressive team in the competition so far, it’s been no surprise to see Italy swiftly go from relative outsiders to one of the favourites among the bookmakers. There are at least a couple of teams with more star power and greater individual talents to choose from, but more so than most sides, Roberto Mancini’s men’s cohesiveness as a unit is what makes them stand out. They won all three of their group games and a victory over Austria in the last 16 will see them go 31 games unbeaten, breaking an all-time record that was set in 1939. The one caveat from the Azzurri’s perspective is that they have yet to come up against a truly top side at this tournament.

1. France

germany-france-euro-2020-soccer Source: Alexander Hassenstein

Despite remaining unbeaten and overcoming Germany in their opening game, there is still a feeling that we are waiting for France — many people’s pre-tournament favourites — to fully take-off. They have rarely been spectacular and have been just doing enough, as was the case in Wednesday evening’s 2-2 draw with Portugal. That said, they weren’t especially impressive in the World Cup group stages three years ago and managed to go all the way in that tournament. The fact that Kylian Mbappé has yet to score will be a slight concern, although Karim Benzema’s brace — his first competitive goals for his country since the 2014 World Cup — will have been a welcome sight for manager Didier Deschamps. They did not look totally assured at the back against the Portuguese – Hugo Lloris’ reckless concession of the first penalty for the opening goal being a case in point. Yet there was a feeling before the tournament that Les Bleus had more all-round quality in their starting XI than any other side, and there has been little so far to dispel that notion.

Other remaining teams: 11. Austria 12. Czech Republic 13. Sweden 14. Switzerland 15. Wales 16. Ukraine

Last-16 fixtures:

Saturday, June 26

In Amsterdam

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

Wales v Denmark

In London

Italy v Austria

Sunday, June 27

In Budapest

Netherlands v Czech Republic

In Seville, Spain

Belgium v Portugal

Monday, June 28

In Copenhagen

Croatia v Spain

In Bucharest

France v Switzerland

Tuesday, June 29

In London

England v Germany

In Glasgow, Scotland

Sweden v Ukraine

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

Read next:

COMMENTS (38)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel