Article by: Lakhe Thwala
Arguably one of the best platforms for world football, the long-waited Euro 2020 was delayed due to the on-going pandemic. However, the highly-rated competition is anticipated to bring exciting football with several world class players at the prime of their careers. At this point, all eyes will be on the star-studded world champions France, who have been identified as the favourites to lift this year’s competition in Italy.
With no doubt, one of the best team in the tournament, Les Bleus will be expected to lift the 2021 UEFA Euro competition with one of the strongest teams in the tournament at the prime of their careers such as Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezman, Paul Pogba, and Ngolo Kante, to name few.
2016 finalists will be eager to show the world why they are the reigning world champions in their group of death (Group F) as they are expected to top their group with the likes of Germany, Portugal and Hungary.
It won’t be a walk in the park for the world champions; however there are huge expectations from Didier Deschamps’s side to reach the finals with their golden generation. Anything less than that will be seen as a failure as the players are fully aware of the pressure and expectations awaiting them.
One of the most in-form strikers at present, Romelu Lukaku is desperate to lead his team to their first ever title with their golden generation who suffered a semi-final defeat to France who went on to lift the title against Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Roberto Martinez’s is well known for his attractive attacking football and he will expected to end Belgium’s on-going trophy drought with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne who is arguably the best midfielder in the world at present.
If the 2020-21 seasons is anything to go by, then Lukaku arrives at Euro 2020 in the form of his life after guiding his side Inter Milan to their first league title in 10-years. The 28-year-old 24-goals in Seria A were enough to end Juventus domestic dominance in Italy.
It is now or never for Gareth Southgate’s side who have been tipped to end their trophy-less run and put criticism into bed with their star-studded squad. England has continuously failed to impress at major competitions despite their well-known stars in the Barclays Premier League which is regarded as the most competitive league in world football that has attracted several international stars such as Kun Aguero and Thiery Henry.
However, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia paved a way for a new England as they suffered a semi-final defeat to Croatia. With no doubt, the 2018 FIFA World Cup wasn’t a bad tournament for The Three Lions as they started to believe the long-waited World Cup was coming to England only to be sent home by Modric led Croatia.
The reigning European and Nations League champions possess one of the strongest squads in the tournament with the likes Ruben Dias who was awarded with both Premier League Player of the Season and Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year in his debut season with Manchester City.
Cristiano Ronaldo is desperate to add silverware to his collection and go down in history as the best player ever in Portugal. The 36-year-old is continuously proving that age is just a number with his amazing stats in Seria A, managing to register 29-league goals while helping his side to qualify for the Champions League and lifting the Italian Cup against Atalanta in the 2020-21 season.
With no doubt, Germany’s glory days are long gone as their golden generation came to an end after lifting the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. However, one cannot rule-out and undermine one of the most successful national teams in international competitions, having won a total of four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014) and three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996).
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