Sports Talk

Euros kicks off major summer

Posted 6/11/24

The two year cycle is upon us in the soccer world. With the World Cup in the rearview mirror it is time for the European Championships and the Copa America to take center stage.

The Euros will …

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Sports Talk

Euros kicks off major summer


The two year cycle is upon us in the soccer world. With the World Cup in the rearview mirror it is time for the European Championships and the Copa America to take center stage.

The Euros will kick off this weekend with host Germany taking on Scotland on Friday, as the German team is looking to return to the top after several years of disappointing results following a 2014 World Cup victory.

That group will consist of Hungary and Switzerland as well, with Germany likely the favorite to finish first, Switzerland as the favorite for second while Hungary and Scotland fight for a third place qualifying spot or attempt to snag the second spot to advance.

Group B will consist of several heavy hitters, with Spain, Italy and Croatia all battling it out for the top three spots.

Those three I can see finishing in any order, but I see an up and coming Spain finishing on top, just ahead of defending Euro champions Italy and age finally catching up to Croatia’s golden generation to finish third ahead of Albania.

Group C consists of one team that has high expectations in this tournament in England, who have the talent to finish on top comfortably as long as manager Gareth Southgate does not screw things up.

Denmark is a strong team that could upset England and finish on top but I expect them to finish in second ahead of Serbia and Slovenia which should take third and fourth.

Group D has an interesting dynamic, as several strong teams can make a case, while the fourth still has one of the top players in the world.

Leading the way is expected to be France, which has a World Cup and runner-up medal in the last two editions of that tournament, but was upset at the last tournament by Switzerland and will be looking for revenge this time around.

Second and third could go either way for the Netherlands and an up-and-coming team in Austria which continues to build a team that can potentially be a dark horse in this tournament.

I think Netherlands will finish second due to experience, with Austria third, comfortably ahead of Poland despite the presence of Robert Lewandowski for Poland.

Group E once again has an interesting dynamic, as an aging golden generation from Belgium will try to mix in some young talent such as Jeremy Doku to the lineup to finally battle to a championship.

They will battle against a young Ukrainian team that has a lot of potential to also be a dark horse in the tournament alongside Austria.

The remaining teams in the group do not present a lot of challenges, as I believe that Belgium wins, Ukraine comes in second, Slovakia is third and Romania finishes fourth.

The final group contains a clear favorite in Portugal, as the other teams feature several name brand players who could flop or take their team to the knockout stage.

Of those teams, I feel like Georgia (no, not the state) has the most potential star power to advance to the next stage, just ahead of Turkey in third and the Czech Republic in fourth place.

This tournament will definitely feature tons of highs and lows for several countries, with even the host country surprisingly showing a lesser interest in the tournament as more than a quarter of Germans polled by ARD radio in Germany showed little interest in the tournament after little success at recent tournaments.

If your favorites going into the tournament are not England or France I would be shocked as those are two of the most dynamic teams going into this event having been part of recent finals.

There are always the serial winners that can find a way to win such as a young Spain, who continue to lack a top end goal scorer but have some talent that could break out and help the Spaniards claim a fourth Euro title.

Host Germany cannot be counted out, as that team has continued to improve and look more like the teams of old, now under Julian Nagelsmann after the team has faltered for years since the departure of Joachim Löw.

Italy can always surprise and find its way to the top, proving that in the 2020/2021 edition (COVID), while Portugal continues to have a strong team that is still trying to find a way to balance the aging Christian Ronaldo in its lineup.

I feel as though France will break through after losing in the 2016 final and getting upset in the most recent edition, but it remains to be seen as the French have not won the Euros since 2000.

This tournament will feature plenty of star power once again, and don’t be shocked if England breaks through to win its first ever Euros and second major international title since 1966.

I think that the top scorer of the tournament will likely be Harry Kane or Kylian Mbappe, with some of my favorite dark horses being those younger teams to upset some of the favorites.

I feel as though Belgium will finally see its strong run of form come to an end in tournaments as my flop of the tournament, failing to advance past the quarterfinals, maybe even the round of 16 as that team will be unable to find the right balance between young and old players.

While this tournament always finds some ways to surprise its fans, the summer is just getting started with top events.

The next one up will be the Copa America starting next week, which I will cover in depth next time. That will be followed by a short break, before the Olympics kick off at the end of July in France.