With only a week left to the 2021 edition of the Euros, teams are ramping up their friendly matches in preparation for the month-long tourament.
Known as #EURO2020 but played this year after the dreadful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition between the senior men’s national teams of the members of the UEFA, is more commonly known as the Euros.
Played every four years between FIFA World Cups, this tournament takes place after a five year break since the last edition.
Cristiano Ronaldo famously led Portugal to their first ever major title after a 1-0 extra time win against hosts France. Ronaldo stood on the touchline injured and bandaged up, cheering his teammates on before substitute Eder scored the winner.
Their squad has definitely grown since then and with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva available, can they retain the title?
They will face tough opposition in their ‘Group of Death’, having to face Germany, Hungary and a France team seeking revenge.
Germany and Spain hold the record for the most European titles, with both countries winning the prestigious tournament on three occassions.
There has been plenty of discussion over the Spain squad selected for this year’s finals, after coach Luis Enrique failed to include any Real Madrid player.
Since winning back-to-back Euros with the 2010 World Cup title in between, Spain has been a flop at major soccer tournaments as the team’s aging veterans lost their luster.
The coach’s new pool of attacking players includes Manchester City’s Ferran Torres (21), Leipzig’s Dani Olmo (23), Barcelona’s Pedri González (18), and Wolverhampton’s Adama Traoré (25).
They headline a group featuring Slovakia, Poland and Sweden.
World Cup finalists Croatia are also a team worth taking note of and they are in a tricky group alongside England, Czech Republic and Scotland.
Gareth Southgate has been under the spotlight due to his squad selection and received some slack for some noticeable absentees.
Leeds top scorer Patrick Bamford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Leicester’s James Maddison were some of the names left out.
Though there is enough talent in the Three Lions squad that could challenge for their first major tournament title since the 1966 World Cup.
EURO 2021 GROUPS
Group A – Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Wales
Group B – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Russia
Group C – Austria, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Ukraine
Group D – Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Scotland
Group E – Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
Group F – France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal