The highly anticipated (and delayed) UEFA European Football Championships – or Euros as we all know them – kick off on Friday, June 11, almost a year after they had been originally scheduled. It has been a long wait for football fans across Europe and the world – but the waiting is finally over.
Each of the 24 qualifying nations will hope to make it all the way to the showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, July 11, but first they must qualify from one of the six groups of four teams.
How do the groups look and what is the format?
The six groups in the initial round-robin stage were drawn during a ceremony in December last year and are as follows:
Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia
Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic
Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia
Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany
The format of the group stages will be the same as for Euro 2016 with the top two in each of the six groups proceeding to the round of 16 along with the four best third-placed finishers.
It is then a straight knockout tournament, which will bring all the drama of extra-time and penalty shootouts that we have seen down the years.
Who are favourites?
As always, the betting is very close for who will go on to be crowned European champions, but 888sport has France as slight favourite at 9/2. The current world champions, who will include the huge talent of Kylian Mbappe among their ranks, boast a very strong squad.
England, who could benefit from having both semi-finals and the final at Wembley if they get that far, have been installed as the second favourites at 5/1 with 888sport.
Gareth Southgate’s young squad reached the World Cup semi-finals in Russia in 2018, but could go all the way this time with goals from Harry Kane, and the emerging talents of Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham.
Belgium are 6/1 to win the tournament having gone close in their last two major competitions, while the Germany, Spain, and Italy can never be written off when it comes to tournament football. Perhaps one of the dark horses could be Portugal, who are the reigning European champions and have been priced at 8/1 to retain their title. However, with France, Germany, and Portugal all being drawn in the same group, we are likely to lose one of the big guns early. It’s possible that England could come up against one of those sides in the last 16, too.
Where is the tournament being hosted?
Euro 2020 will be held across the European continent for the first time in the competition’s 60-year history and will have 11 host cities in all. These cities are London, Saint Petersburg, Baku, Munich, Rome, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Seville.
Germany and Spain are the most successful nations in the Euros having won the title on three occasions each. They are followed by France who have won the tournament twice, while there have also been wins for the Soviet Union, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece.
The previous five winners have been:
• 2016: Portugal
• 2012: Spain
• 2008: Spain
• 2004: Greece
• 2000: France