The 2021 UEFA Euro tournament is almost upon us. Having been cancelled in 2020 due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the return of professional sport on a global basis has meant that the tournament is finally going ahead this year. Rather confusingly, you might see it referred to as Euro 2020, but that’s just because it’s still being seen as last year’s tournament so as to keep naming conventions intact for future Euro events.
Since there don’t appear to be any more delays on the horizon, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at some of the teams being floated as potential winners for the tournament. Many of these national teams won’t surprise you; European football keeps to an extremely high standard, and lots of yesterday’s greats are still the titans at the top of the mountain today. However, there might be some unexpected picks, so without further ado, let’s take a look at the favourite teams to win Euro 2021.
Let’s start with an obvious pick. The French national team has never really wavered in the quality of football it plays, and right now, strikers like Mbappe and Ben Yedder are in excellent form. Unfortunately, the calibre of France’s competition in the group stage this year is incredible; Les Bleus find themselves up against Germany, Portugal, and Hungary in order to qualify for the quarter-finals. Despite this stiff competition, this is France’s year, and if they don’t take home the trophy, we’ll be very shocked indeed.
The English national squad is improving all the time. After a rough patch in the 2000s during which England went through several managers and several different strategies, the team soared all the way to a spectacular semi-final finish, placing a very respectable fourth overall. Manager Gareth Southgate will be looking to replicate that performance at Euro 2021, with Harry Kane and Phil Foden tipped by Sky Bet to stand a decent chance of being the players of the tournament.
Portugal’s frontline is absolutely incendiary thanks to the continuing oppressive presence of legendary striker Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite his advancing age, Ronaldo is still a force to be reckoned with on the pitch, and it’s going to take some work to dethrone 2016’s reigning champions. Traditionally, Portugal’s weakness has been a somewhat lacklustre defence (although that may simply be in comparison to Ronaldo’s incredible attack power), but this year, Ruben Dias could change that.
Belgium’s power this year lies in its midfield, thanks to the talents of Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne. A particularly nasty injury shouldn’t prove an impediment to De Bruyne dominating the pitch when it does come to Belgium’s games in the group stage, which it shouldn’t struggle with given that it’s up against some of the less heavy-hitting teams in the tournament. Belgium is a slightly more outside choice than the surefire winners above, but don’t count this much-loved European nation out just yet.
It’s been a long time since Italy was talked about as a powerhouse in international football, but Euro 2021 could change that. Roberto Mancini’s Italian squad hasn’t lost a game across 25 matches, although it is worth noting that the last time it did lose was against Portugal in 2018. Italy won’t struggle to qualify this year; the team is up against Switzerland, Turkey, and Wales in the group stage, none of which should trouble the final few rounds. However, Mancini can’t settle for a series of draws this time around.
Denmark hasn’t won a Euro tournament since 1992, when it beat Germany to take home the trophy. Since then, the team has languished in relative obscurity, reaching the quarter finals once in 2004. This year, though, Denmark has a solid squad and a reputation to protect. The team has only sustained one loss across its last 26 games, but that loss was to Belgium, who happen to be in Denmark’s group this year. Here’s hoping Kasper Hjulmand’s hopefuls can reclaim past glories. Betway has them at 29 to 1, but we have a good feeling about Denmark.
Bet365 might have Poland’s odds at a rather staggering 80 to 1, but Robert Lewandowski is the ace up Paulo Sousa’s team. Lewandowski has been called the best striker in the world right now, and with good reason; he’s scored an astonishing 41 goals this season, shattering the previous Bundesliga record held by former Bayern legend Gerd Müller. The rest of Poland’s team may be nothing to write home about, but Lewandowski’s goal-scoring prowess could see the team to an unlikely victory.
Joachim Löw’s squad this year just doesn’t have the spark of previous German sides. There’s a worrying lack of international-class talent at the front of the German team, and when running up against previously-mentioned greats like Lewandowski, Ronaldo, and Mbappe, that’s going to be a real issue. Many betting platforms have Germany at much more favourable odds than Poland or even Portugal, but a world in which Low’s German team stands a better chance of winning Euro 2021 than Portugal is a mad world indeed.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Spain, although in all honesty, we’re just as skeptical about Luis Enrique’s side this year as we are about Germany. We’re a long way from Spain’s incredible late-2000s period of dominance, and it’s been a long time since the international football Spain played has been worthy of the tournament stage. Recent performances don’t exactly instil confidence either; Spain really should be thrashing teams like Ukraine, but a 1-0 loss at the end of 2020 spells doom for La Roja.