This week, qualifying for Euro 2020 gets underway with the first two Matchdays (of ten to be played through 2019). Current holders Portugal will be in the mix along with World Cup Winners France, as well as the likes of Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and of course England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as they all hope to at least reach the finals in the summer of 2020.
In this article, we are going to preview the tournament and then look at some of the big teams, their groups in qualifying and how bet365 rates their chances of ultimate success in Euro 2020 over that summer.
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Euro 2020 – Tournament Preview
The 2020 European Championships has been designed to be a special one-off event to celebrate the 60th year of the tournament’s existence. The brainchild of Michel Platini, instead of having just one or two host nations, the tournament will instead be played at 12 venues across Europe that summer. Each venue hosting Group Stage games and then some venues going on to host knockout stage matches too.
The semifinals and the final of the tournament are slated to be played at Wembley Stadium which could well be a massive incentive for Gareth Southgate’s England team to try and win another tournament on home soil after going close in Euro 1996 and reaching the World Cup Semi Finals last summer.
With 24 places available in the tournament once again, a total of 20 teams will earn their place at the finals through Euro 2020 qualifiers, the top two teams in each group progressing. However, rather than playoffs based on the eight best third placed teams in each group, the remaining four places will be decided by the teams who have not qualified but who qualify for the Nations League playoffs by virtue of their performances in that competition and their FIFA ranking.
The 12 Venues
- Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan
- Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Wembley Stadium, London, England
- Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
- Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary
- Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
- Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Holland
- Arriva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
- Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania
- Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia
- Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland
- San Mames, Bilbao, Spain
Euro 2020 Qualifiers – Groups
All 55 members of UEFA will compete in the qualifying competition with no designated host nation. They have been split into ten groups in total as follows:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E|
|Group F||Group G||Group H||Group I||Group J|
|Malta||Israel||Andorra||Cyprus||Bosnia & Herzegovina|
Who are the genuine contenders for Euro 2020?
- France – World Cup Winners
With a hugely talented squad, Didier Deschamps World Cup winners will likely be the favourites to win the European Championships for the third time. In Kylian Mbappe, they have potentially the player to inherit the mantle of the world’s best when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo call it a day and with a squad packed with huge talent, they should make light work of what isn’t the most difficult qualifying group.
France should win Group H and I’d expect Turkey and Iceland to battle it out hard for the second qualifying spot behind them. And if France do get to the finals, I’d expect them to be major players in the tournament that summer.
- Portugal – European Championship Holders
With Cristiano Ronaldo back in the fold, Portugal look to be another strong outfit. The winners of the last tournament didn’t have the best of World Cup’s and they have a tough group stage to come through with Ukraine and Serbia liable to give them a real test. However Ronaldo’s return will give the team a huge boost and I think they’ll make a good fist of defending the title they won in Paris in 2016.
With the semis and final at Wembley, there is a huge incentive for Gareth Southgate’s men to perform as well, if not better than they did at the World Cup last summer. Although England’s record in this tournament is poor, their current team seems to be more adept at tournament football. Having been drawn in a relatively favourable group with only the away trips to Montenegro, Czech Republic and Bulgaria likely to be a test, England should qualify top of the group comfortably and I’d expect the Czech’s to join them in the finals from Group A.
Along with Germany, Spain have won this tournament a record three times and after a very disappointing World Cup and average Nations League performance, the Spanish will want their talented squad to perform well in this tournament. However, I feel this Spain team lacks the leadership and midfield guile of their best teams from a few years ago and while they will qualify from their group comfortably, I feel they may just come up short in the latter stages of the finals.
After missing out on both Euro 2016 and the World Cup 2018, Dutch football seemed to be in crisis, however after qualifying from a Nations League group ahead of France and Germany, their young squad promises an exciting new era for Dutch football. They have been drawn in Group C which is very tough but even so I’d expect them to not only qualify, but on recent form, win the group ahead of Germany and in the finals they are going to be a threat against any side and could well be the dark horses to win it.
The World Cup winners of 2014 have had a miserable period since then with poor performances at both of the last two major tournaments. Joachim Low has overseen an overhaul of the German squad and has told a number of experienced players they will not be considered in future, a risky move considering the quality of some of the players. Germany will qualify, they always do, and they’ll go into the latter stage, but I feel this team is still a little way off matching the best German sides.
For me, along with France, Belgium are the favourites to win this trophy in the summer of 2020. A young squad that is packed to the brim with talent in all areas of the field. They reached the quarterfinals in 2016 and the World Cup semis in 2018. I can see Belgium going one better and reaching the final so could 2020 finally be their year?
Who are the teams to watch?
If you want a list of teams that could cause a shock or two by going deep into the tournament at Euro 2020, if they can qualify of course, then the following teams are worth looking at for a bet.
- Croatia – World Cup Finalists but with an ageing squad and one that does seem to ship a lot of goals, especially on the road. On their day capable of beating any team but I think by 2020 a lot of their star players will be the wrong side of 30.
- Serbia – An emerging side with some talented players who could well qualify from Group B ahead of the Ukraine and who will be a team no team will want to face in the finals given the quality of several players in the squad such as Mitrovic and Milenkovic-Savic.
- Italy – Usually amongst the star names in European football, Italian soccer is undergoing a pretty miserable period for the national team and while they will qualify from their group, I think they’d be happy to reach the quarterfinals given their current predicament.
- Russia – The Russians enjoyed a solid World Cup on home soil and they’ll know that if they can qualify behind Belgium in Group I, then they could find themselves playing at home again in the summer of 2020 which I think would help their cause enormously.
Our tip? We’re going to be patriotic and back a Belgium v England final at Wembley in 2020. With Gareth Southgate leading the Three Lions to their first major international trophy since the 1966 World Cup.