This time next year, the European football world will be congratulating the newly crowned Euro 2020 champions. Spain have won two of the last three events and have been the most successful UEFA European Championship team of the new millennium. Robert Moreno (pictured) will be desperate to get his side back to winning ways after a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign in which his team was dramatically bundled out in the Round of 16.
Of course, there’s a whole lot of football to be played between now and then, not least the remainder of the qualifiers. However, that doesn’t stop us from doing a little crystal ball gazing to put forward some early speculations as to how things might pan out.
When looking at such an early stage it is always doubly important to check out multiple bookmakers, as odds can vary significantly, even with the big names. For example, the Unibet live streaming facility always makes this a popular site for live betting – but here, you can also get the longest early odds on Spain winning Euro 2020 at 15/2. Most bookmakers have them at around 6/1.
One factor on which everyone can agree is that France looks set to be the team to beat, but England could also be a strong shout. True, the team has often flattered to deceive in the biggest tournaments, but then again, the media said exactly the same about the nation’s cricket team, and we all know what happened there.
Any qualifying surprises in store?
The qualifiers always throw up a surprise or two, and this year looks set to be no exception. Two groups, in particular, are worth monitoring closely. The first is Group B, where defending champions Portugal have got off to the most indifferent of starts, taking just one point from each of their games with Ukraine and Serbia.
As things currently stand, they might have to rely on a play-off victory in order to even qualify, and that will most likely mean getting past Holland.
The other group that is attracting plenty of attention is Group E. We all know what a dangerous outfit Croatia can be, and on the face of it, they and 2016 semi-finalists Wales should be favourites to go through. However, at this stage it seems that Hungary and Slovakia have other ideas. Wales are the team with it all to do.
Dark horses for the title
Belgium are a team that is always there or thereabouts in the major tournaments, but they have only ever made the final once, when they lost to West Germany in 1980. There are, however, many in the know who feel this could be their year. There are few nations with as much talent available as the Red Devils, and fewer still in Europe. Eventually, they’ll get it together and land a major trophy.