Look for an England/France showdown in the UEFA Euros

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The 2021 UEFA Euros begin Friday, June 11 with a match pitting Turkey against Italy.

The UEFA Euro is a soccer tournament held every four years in which European national football teams compete against one another to win the championship. UEFA Euro gets underway tomorrow with the first match between Turkey and Italy.

Olympic Heights student Matthew Cartagena says, “This Euro’s will be one of the best ones yet with so many strong teams that can easily win the championship.” Here is a rundown of the five teams with the best chance of claiming the 2021 UEFA Euro Championship.

1. England: With one of the best up and coming youngsters in the world, accompanied by some of the best senior players in the world, England have everything lined up to take the trophy home and win the Euros. With the likes of Phil Foden, Harry Kane, and Lingardinho, England has more than enough talent within their squad to win the championship. After being knocked out by Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, England will be looking to show what they are capable of and destroy anyone that comes in between them and the trophy. Having the best squad depth in the tournament and winning most of their qualifying matches, England looks in great shape to win their first ever European championship.

2. France: With the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, and Antoine Griezzman, this France team is also another team with everything that it takes to win a tournament like the Euros. France, the current world champions, will be looking to end the bitter taste of defeat in the 2016 Euros that saw them lose 1-0 in the 109th minute to Portugal. This team is full of serial winners who will be working restlessly in order to have a shot at the trophy. France, like England, has amazing squad depth which allows them to substitute a player with a player of equal quality. This is what differentiates England and France from the rest of the pack and puts the two squads at numbers one and two in our power rankings.

3. Portugal: The current title holders of the European Championship are third in our power rankings simply because of the squad depth of the other two nations. When it comes to strong starting lineups though, Portugal is definitely number one. With arguably one of the best players in history, Cristiano Ronaldo and top form players Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Dias, who are having the season of their lives, Portugal is definitely looking to cause some trouble in this tournament. Like in 2016 finals when they beat France, Portugal has proven that they can keep their composure and patience when it matters most. Everyone had their bets placed on France in the finals, especially when Ronaldo came off the pitch with an injury, but Portugal never stopped fighting and were able to score the only goal in the game in extra time. Portugal will be looking to replicate their 2016 success in 2021 and take the trophy home for consecutive championships.

4. Belgium: Another strong contender for the title this year comes in at number four. Belgium who has always caused the better teams problems will look to do that this year to the furthest extent possible. In the 2018 World Cup, Belgium came in third place after losing to eventual champions France, and beating England in the third place match. This marked their best ever finish in a World Cup and gave the squad a big confidence, especially having beaten tournament favorites Brazil along the way. Their key player and creative outlet this tournament will definitely be Kevin De Bruyne, who is considered by most as the best midfielder in the world. Even though he has been struggling with injuries over the past year, Eden Hazard will be able to link up with the likes of Romelu Lukaku who has been tearing it up in Italy for Inter Milan, and definitely cause some trouble. Portugal’s lack of amazing quality on the bench could end up hurting them further down the tournament when players start to get tired, but their starting lineup will still cause damage and has the capability of taking the trophy to Belgium.

5. Spain: Ever since their world dominance between 2008 and 2012, wherein Spain won two European championships and a World Cup, Spain’s national team has never looked like themselves, but recently this has all changed. Spain has shown great form in their qualifying matches, and with new up and coming players like Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia, partnered with senior players like Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, Spain look like a real threat to bring the trophy back home. Spain has been longing for another major trophy, and that hunger can easily turn the players into warriors that will give it their all in order to claim the trophy.

“At the end of the day, in the world of football, you can predict and predict but there will always be crazy twists and turns that will leave spectators speechless,” OH student Diogo Verde said of the Euros. “So we will see if any of these teams are even in the final come the end of the tournament.” 

Matches will be played every single day for a whole month up until the final on July 11, where the two last two teams will battle it out for ultimate European glory.

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