The tournaments of the national teams of America are said to be the most competitive and hard-fought, as their teams are traditionally more competitive. Indeed, some teams are always favourites: Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and, more recently, Colombia. They are the ones that receive the most bets, by players and fans. However, it is undeniable that there are other teams, such as Venezuela and Costa Rica, who when they can believe it, can give more than one surprise.
Looking across the Atlantic, and leaving aside the debate outlined above, the weight and influence of the European Championship are undeniable, not only for that region but for the rest of the continents. It is no coincidence that the trend in the world cups of recent years is that it ends up becoming a Euro.
On the occasion of Europe’s most important competition, restaurants all over the world adorn themselves with the flags of the different teams, and offer menus, promotions and programmes to attract more customers. Other sites, such as Sportsbook and those betting websites that offer promo code and other incredible prizes, collapse because of the number of users and predictions, which are often correct.
This 2020, and for the first time in history, the European Championship will not have an official venue. The games will be held in 12 different cities of the old continent, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the tournament. San Mamés, Allianz Arena, Euro stadium and Wembley Stadium will be some of the venues chosen to host the most powerful teams in Europe.
What are the conditions under which the national teams are arriving?
- Italy, a ghost in the Mediterranean. If there’s one team without expectations, it’s Italy. Totti, Gatusso and Gigi Buffon, although not so distant, are all outsiders to this Italy, who have not managed to rethink and get on track for years. Disoriented, curiously enough, like Argentina at last year’s Copa America, the outlook for Italy remains bleak and shows no sign of improving.
- Portugal, or the predictable team. The current European champions will continue to play for Cristiano. Lusitanians have managed to put together a team that plays for a single player, even if he is not on the pitch. Remember what that surprise and unusual final in 2016 was like. Portugal does not seem to change their course, and along with Rui Patricio as a reliable first-choice goalkeeper, Éder, Bernardo Silva and Moutinho, will make the game easier for CR7.
- Switzerland, always at the top. In recent times, it has become customary to see Switzerland ranked among the best teams in Europe and the world. Gone are the days of Tranquillo Barnetta’s team. Switzerland is undoubtedly one of the favourites. With Shakiri, captain Lichtsteiner, Xhaka and Seferovic at their side, the Alpine nation can afford to dream and achieve great things in this tournament.
- Croatia, still a winner. The world runners-up have high hopes. With names such as Modric, Perisic, Kovacic and Rebic, the Balkans have what it takes to define, and put the finishing touches on, their golden generation.
- Germany’s chances. Germans are always favourites in every competition they take part in, and this year’s EURO is no exception. They still have players like Neuer, Gundogan and Kroos, who were part of that unforgettable generation in 2014. These veterans are the ones who will make amends for France 2016 and Russia 2018. And they will show Hector, Kimmich, Wegner and Rudy that there is still good old Germany to the future.
- Spain’s renewal. The Spanish national team is coming out of a profound and traumatic rethink. It is worth remembering that the colossal generation of Iniesta, David Villa, Xavi and Puyol left the field almost in unison. Iberians were left without significant figures to serve as a bridge to the new players, although there are still bastions of that dynasty, such as Ramos and Busquets. But that is now in the past. Now Spain looks renewed, and with the help of Bernat, Carvajal, Alcácer, Thiago and Morata, they can deliver a hard blow to the table of predictions.
- France, the (sub)champions. The reigning world champions and European runners-up, with the youngest average age among their players, are bound to have their hands full at the last European Championship, which they hosted. Led by Matuidi, Griezmann, Mbappé, Varane and Coman, and led by Deschamps, this team is unquestionably the favourites to win the tournament and achieve the feat of that Spain of 2012.
- When will Belgium be ready? Origi, the Hazards, Fellaini, Courtois, De Bruyne, Lukaku and Benteke, are names that any country would give to have. And yet, the Belgians have been left with the bitter taste of staying halfway through the last few competitions. European Championship is the perfect time to make a name for themselves, if they don’t want to remain the second Clockwork Orange in history.