UEFA Euro 2020 will be kicking off in the second week of June 2021 with the European continental tournament all set to make a return. The tournament was initially scheduled to take place last year, hence the name ‘Euro 2020’, but due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, it had been postponed to 2021.
The 60-year old tournament will boast the calibre of 24 teams this season that have been divided into six groups named from A to B. Only two teams will directly qualify from each of the six groups for the knockout stage of Euro 2020, whereas the third placed teams will have a ‘chance’ of qualifying.
This year’s tournament will see some of the best footballers in the world fight for the illustrious trophy with a glorious history.
The squads of almost all the teams have been announced, and whereas all the teams look worthy of winning the cup, some teams look evidently stronger ‘on-paper’ than the others. With less than ten days remaining for the high-voltage tournament to start, it is time that we have a look at the top five strongest squads that are the serious contenders to win Euro 2020.
Top 5 contenders to win Euro 2020
Although Germany has not had a good fortune in the big competitions in the last few years, we can not underestimate the calibre of this star-studded team. The 6-0 loss against Spain a few months ago, was a big blow to the Nationalelf. However, the return of Thomas Muller in the squad can do wonders for them in Euro 2020. Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Leroy Sane are a few key players in the current squad.
The sudden gain in form of Antonio Rudiger will further strengthen Germany’s already strong defence.
The only weak point that might worry head coach Joachim Low is his team’s finishing. Timo Werner and Kevin Volland are the only two strikers listed in the squad, and given the poor form Timo Werner is currently in, Low will have to give additional duties to some of the midfielders.
Germany have won the Euro thrice. They last won it in 2008.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Kevin Trapp (Frankfurt)
Defenders: Emre Can (Dortmund), Matthias Ginter (Mönchengladbach), Robin Gosens (Atalanta), Christian Günter (Freiburg), Marcel Halstenberg (Leipzig), Mats Hummels (Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (Leipzig), Robin Koch (Leeds), Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea), Niklas Süle (Bayern)
Midfielders: Serge Gnabry (Bayern), Leon Goretzka (Bayern), İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Mönchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Jamal Musiala (Bayern), Florian Neuhaus (Mönchengladbach), Leroy Sané (Bayern)
Forwards: Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Thomas Müller (Bayern), Kevin Volland (Monaco), Timo Werner (Chelsea)
England have never won the Euros, but this year, probably, is their best shot at the trophy. This can arguably be called the golden era of english football, with two all english Champions League finals in the last three years. The young players of England are at a rise, and the average age of this English squad is very very low.
Young players like Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Trent Alexander Arnord and Reece James have conquered world football at this ripe age and have earned worldwide appreciation. The presence of a prolific striker in Harry Kane makes them serious title-contenders. The three lions have probably the most balanced teams in Euro 2020.
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham).
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Man City).
Manager: Gareth Southgate
Portugal arguably has one of the best defences in the tournament. The centre-back duo of 24 year old Ruben Dias and 38-year old Pepe is the perfect combination of resilience and experience. Ruben Dias played a big role in Portugal winning the Uefa Nations League back in 2018.
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo, however, is undeniably the x-factor of the Portugal team. The 36 year old star is still the key player of the team and is one of the top contenders to win the golden boot award. Manchester United’s playmaker Bruno Fernandes will be another key player for the Navegadores. The portuguese midfielder scored 18 goals and provided 12 assists in the Premier League this season.
However, the defending champions are placed in Group F, the group of death, alongside Germany and France, which will make their campaign very difficult right from the beginning.
Their Euro 2016 win was the first time that Portugal ever won european championship.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patrício (Wolves), Rui Silva (Granada)
Defenders: João Cancelo (Manchester City), Nélson Semedo (Wolves), José Fonte (LOSC Lille), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (Sporting CP), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund)
Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (Paris), João Palhinha (Sporting CP), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Moutinho (Wolves), Renato Sanches (LOSC Lille), Sérgio Oliveira (Porto), William Carvalho (Real Betis)
Forwards: Pedro Gonçalves (Sporting CP), André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafa Silva (Benfica)
Manager: Fernando Santos
Team chemistry is the best attribute in this year’s Spanish squad that makes them so dangerous. There had been a good amount of controversy last week when head coach Luis Enrique announced his 26-man squad for Euro 2020 with no Real Madrid player. The coach however backed his decision by arguing against the current form of the Los Blancos stars.
All the 26-players selected by the former barca manager might be playing in different leagues across the globe, but they are all connected by their same Spanish ideology of football. The average age of this Spanish squad is one of the youngests in the tournament. Moreover, they are in tremendous form, having defeated a strong German side 6-0 just a few months ago.
History backs the Spaniards too as they have won the most number of euros alongside Germany (both twice). They last won the tournament in 2012.
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Unai Simón (Athletic), Robert Sánchez (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Defenders: José Gayà (Valencia), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric García (Manchester City), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Llorente (Atlético)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernández (Manchester City), Pedri (Barcelona), Thiago Alcántara (Liverpool), Koke (Atlético), Fabián Ruiz (Napoli)
Forwards: Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traoré (Wolves), Pablo Sarabia (París)
Manager: Luis Enrique
The current World Champions are undeniably the strongest team on the roster ‘on-paper’. The Les Blues were the runners up of Euro 2016, but there has been a significant positive change in their squad since then. The return of Karim Benzema to the national squad after six years has further strengthened the already fearsome French team. The forward duo of Mbappe and Benzema is capable of giving nightmares to even the best defenses in Europe.
However, France’s x-factor lies in their midfield in the form of Chelsea star N’golo Kante. The 2021 Ballon D’or candidate is in the form of his life and has just recently won the Champions League with the blues. The workload of the 30-year old defensive midfielder is tremendous, and with him in the team, it’s almost like playing with 13-men on your side. The duo of Kante, Paul Pogba alongside Adrien Rabiot or Thomas Lemar, can incapacitate any midfield.
Apart from Presnel Kimpembe, the other defenders of the team might not have had a great run with their clubs in their recent past, but their performance with national teams has always been flawless. The addition of Sevilla centre back Jules Kounde will be adding fresh legs to the defence.
Goalkeeper-captain Hugo Lloris in between the sticks will lead the Les Blues from the back.
France have won the competition twice. They last won it 21 years ago, back in 2000.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Milan)
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Léo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris), Jules Koundé (Sevilla), Clément Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern), Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Thomas Lemar (Atlético Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern)
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern), Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappé (Paris), Marcus Thuram (Mönchengladbach)
Manager: Didier Deschamps