By Sports Reporter
The year 2020 was terrible for football fans. All competitions were suspended or canceled. Euro 2020 was postponed by one year.
Kick off of one of the grandest stages in world of football is set for June 11. Fans will finally flow into stadiums around Europe to cheer their country heroes as they scuffle for the prestige prize in Europe.
The opening match will see a much-improved Turkey side take on tournament sleeper Italy in Rome, then will see seven of the next eight days have three matches per day. 24 teams will face off in the best football event this year. The four semifinalists of 2018 World Cup, France, Croatia, England and Belgium, will be participating, joined by Euro 2016 titleholder Portugal, and powerhouses Spain and Germany.
Euro 2016 finalist and 2018 World Cup champion France are the favourites, along with England.
Led by Mbappe and Griezmann, Didier Deschamps’ team boasts a pool of brilliant players forming a squad very similar to the one that won World Cup.
The Three Lions made a run all the way to the 2018 World Cup semifinals, and are able to win Euro 2020, lifting the trophy at Wembley in front of their home fans much like they did in the 1966 World Cup. Behind Harry Kane who is now up to 34 international goals, manager Gareth Southgate has a wealth of depth, from Marcus Rashford to emerging stars Jack Grealish and Mason Mount.
Belgium is a strong contender. They recently beat Wales (3-1) and Belarus (8-0), either side of a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the Czech Republic. The balance of the squad is great. There is a lot of experience mainly from the “golden generation” such as Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, and also plenty of youth, either in age or in caps, starting with Timothy Castagne.
Titleholder Portugal have been attempting to become less reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals ever since winning Euro 2016. The 36-year-old now is within just six international goals from equaling former Iran striker Ali Daei’s world record of 109, but he was outscored over Portugal last three games by Liverpool’s Diogo Jota. If Jota and likes such as Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Andre Silva are able to score during the tournament and relieve Ronaldo from some pressure, Portugal will be a formidable contender to win Euro 2020.
Beyond these, the likes of Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Croatia and even Denmark have the capacity to make life very difficult for opponents.
One thing is certain: Euro 2020 promises an unpredictable and exciting football feast.
July 11, is a date set where a champion will be crowned at Wembley Stadium in London.
Zambian football fans will be able to enjoy the whole tournament thanks to Euro 2020 Official broadcaster TopStar sports channels that will air the 51 matches live and in HD.