UEFA Euro 2020: Decoding the title contenders
The postponed UEFA Euro 2020 is set to start this Friday with Italy facing Turkey. The month-long European Championships will be held between June 11 to July 11. There are several top teams battling it out for the coveted prize. Euro 2016 winners Portugal have their task cut out. World champions France will be the favorites. Here we present the title contenders.
Italy warmed up for Euro 2020 with two big wins over San Marino and the Czech Republic. They scored 11 goals and conceded none. The Azzurri have sealed eight successive wins without conceding. Italy are on a 27-game unbeaten run (W22 D5). Italy had earlier reached the four-team finals of the UEFA Nations League in November 2020.
France have the best squad available at least on paper and Didier Deschamps' men will be keen to build on the success earned at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. France have enjoyed an unbeaten run at the Nations League 2020-21 and 2022 World Cup Qualifiers (W7 D2). With Karim Benzema back in the squad, France are well stocked to make a real impression.
Portugal won the Euro 2016 and followed it up with the UEFA Nations League 2018-19 trophy as well. The Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal outfit have what it takes to do well at major tournaments. Portugal are placed alongside France, Hungary, and Germany in Group F and have a tough task ahead. Portugal will look up to Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes for the comforts.
Spain got the job done at the Nations League, sealing a berth in the Finals. Spain thrashed Germany 6-0 in the final matchday to top League A Group 4. Luis Enrique's men have a chance to perform well at the Euros and make a statement of intent after recent blips at major tournaments. The experience in the Spain squad could come in handy.
Belgium finished third at the 2018 World Cup and have also reached the Finals of the Nations League. Roberto Martinez's side dominated the show in the qualification phase with 10 wins from 10. Romelu Lukaku is in fine form and helped Inter Milan win the Serie A. With Kevin De Bruyne facing a fitness issue and Eden Hazard out of form. Belgium need inspiration.