Can England Win Euro 2024?


Can England Win Euro 2024?



The Premier League may be hurtling towards a thrilling climax, but the end of the domestic season represents only a brief lull in the footballing entertainment in 2024. Less than a month after the final Premier League fixtures on 19 May, the eyes of the sporting world turn to Germany for the 2024 European Championships. Kicking off on Friday 14 June, and running through to the final at the Olympiastadion on Sunday 14 July, a footballing feast awaits.

What makes this summer's tournament all the more exciting is the fact that England might actually go and win the thing – at least if you believe the bookmakers who have installed the Three Lions as the outright favourites for the competition – the 3/1 available with Betfred being representative of the general price available for Gareth Southgate's troops. Are the UK compilers swayed by home bias? Or is there substance to England’s chances?

So Near and Yet So Far in 2020

The first thing to note when considering a bet on England is that you will be backing them to do something they have never done before. First qualifying for the finals in 1968, their status as World Champions only took them to a third-placed finish. Fast forward to 1996, and, despite enjoying home advantage, a semi-final exit at the hands of the dastardly Germans awaited – yes, we lost on penalties again, with none other than Gareth Southgate the man to see his kick saved in sudden death.

However, we can draw encouragement from England’s most recent European Championships performance, which was their best ever – making it to the final, only to lose out on penalties (again) to Italy.

Squad Even Better This Time Around?

When looking at the starting lineup from that 2020 final, a few of the eleven remain fixtures in the side four years on. Jordan Pickford is still the number one, Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire dominate the right side of the back four, Declan Rice provides stability and legs through the middle, and Harry Kane is still one of the deadliest centre forwards in world football.

Gareth Southgate probably wouldn’t swap his squad for any other in the tournament.

What elevates this squad is the emergence of a cast of young talent, which is the envy of almost every other squad in the competition. Bukayo Saka is a better player than in 2020, Phil Foden has blossomed into the world-class talent he always promised to be, and Jude Bellingham is arguably the best player in his position on the planet. And then we have Cole Palmer, who is making an improbable tilt at the Golden Boot, and Ollie Watkins, who provides superb backup in the number nine position. Gareth Southgate probably wouldn’t swap his squad for any other in the tournament.

If there are any weaknesses, they likely lie on the left-hand side of defence – Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell are solid enough options, but it would be no surprise if the opposition targets this side of the pitch.

Group Stage Appears a Formality

You can never take anything for granted in international football, but England could certainly have fared much worse with the draw. Currently ranked fourth in the FIFA World Rankings, England have landed in Group C alongside Denmark, Serbia, and Slovenia - ranked 21st, 33rd, and 57th, respectively. All three sides have their standout talents; Rasmus Højlund and Christian Eriksen for Denmark, Aleksandr Mitrovic for Serbia, and Benjamin Šeško for Slovenia, but none boast anything like the depth of England. England are 4/11 favourites to win the Group with BetFred.

Biggest Threats

The most obvious obstacle in England’s way is France (7/2 with Betfred). Going agonisingly close to winning the 2022 World Cup - only losing out to Argentina in the Final - Les Bleus dumped England out of that tournament and remain a hugely talented outfit. Lucas Hernadez, Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konaté, and William Saliba probably represent the best centre-back options in the competition; the midfield is similarly robust with the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Adrien Rabiot, whilst Antoine Griezmann provides the creativity behind Kylian Mbappé, who can win any match in an instant.

"Die Mannschaft" have rather annoyingly found their form just in time

Twelve months ago, it would have been hard to imagine Germany (6/1 with Betfred) winning this on home soil. However, "Die Mannschaft" have rather annoyingly found their form just in time, with their two most recent games seeing them beat the Netherlands on home soil and, more impressively, seeing off France 2-0 on the road. Now ticking along nicely under Julien Nagelsmann, they boast a solid spine of Marc-André ter Stegen, Antonio Rüdiger, Toni Kroos, and Kai Havertz, surrounded by a nice mix of experience and youth – headlined by the sensational Jamal Musiala

Further down the list, Spain (15/2) blitzed through qualifying but don’t look the force of old despite a raft of talent in midfield. Portugal (8/1) may be a bigger threat in what will surely be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last major international tournament. A perfect ten from ten in qualifying, they rattled in 36 goals and conceded only twice. More expansive these days under Roberto Martinez, they rate a tough assignment for anyone.

England’s Route to the Final

Assuming England skates through Group C, and all other groups go as forecast, the Three Lions will face a likely Last 16 clash with Austria, Romania, or Turkey, followed by a Quarter Final against Italy. Things then become much tougher, with France likely to lie in wait in the Semi-Final. Win that, and Germany, Spain, or Portugal are the most realistic opponents in the final.

So can England win it? It won’t be easy, but it’s hard to disagree that 2024 doesn’t represent their best chance in quite some time. Germany, France, and Portugal are respected, but England, propelled by the most dangerous midfield in the tournament, may bring it home at long, long, last.


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