The European Championships of 2020 has been complete banger and an entertainment package since its inauguration on 11th June, with football fans over the world keeping up late to experience the edge of the seat action. The tournament have had a lot on offer, from thrilling and enticing footballing moments on field to breathtaking goals and incredible individual performances on show, miraculous underdog stories of minnow nations, heartbreaks and emotions of joy and what not, already highlighting what a festival of football looks like.
Now, with the tournament in its ending stages and the semifinals upon us, we have our top four teams who have fought their way to this stage, but only one can go onto win the ultimate prize. Let’s take a look at that one team, who might have the best chance of embracing the glorious feat.
The Team with the Best Chance to win the Euro 2020: England
England, under manager Gareth Southgate, were one of the favourites coming to the European Championships this year, with many betting their money on the Three Lions to go onto lift the trophy.
And people were likely to do so, because the Three Lions boasted a squad which was a cause of envy for many top competing nations. Gareth Southgate had at his disposal a swarm of prodigious talents and experienced veterans, and choosing the best 24 amongst them was indeed a tough task at hand. Southgate himself was left at crossroads while selecting the 24-men squad before the Euros, and had to leave behind Jesse Lingard, James Ward Prowse, Ben Godfrey, who were balling for their respective clubs the previous season, such was the quality of the best twenty four to secure their places in the squad. Southgate had selected four right backs in his initial squad, naming all of Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander Arnold and Reece James, and was criticized heavily for stacking up a single position, such was the dilemma the former Aston Villa manager was left at.
England looked all bright and pumped from the beginning, and didn’t lift their foot off the gas pedal once they got goin.
England managed a 1-0 win against Croatia in their opening group game, with Raheem Sterling scoring the winner. The match was closely contested and England had to strive hard to find the winner. Next up, they were against neighbouring rivals Scotland, and played out to a lackluster goalless stalemate, lacking the cutting edge to break through a resilient Scottish back line. In their last group game, England again emerged as the victors against Czech Republic, courtesy to a Raheem Sterling strike once again that made the only difference.
England were the only team other than Italy to qualify for the knockouts without conceding a goal, maintaining a good defensive record, even in the absence of their main defender Harry Maguire for first two matches. England, finished their group D at the top, and were drawn against Germany, their bitter rivals against whom they had a poor record.
However, England displayed a dominating performance against the Germans in the last 16, beating all odds, to win 2-0 at Wembley. One of the major plus points was the the return of their talisman Harry Kane amongst goals, which proved to be beneficial with Kane scoring a further two in a England’s 4-0 win over Ukraine. The match showcased England’s sheer dominance, maintaining an upper hand over Andriy Shevchenko’s men throughout, finalizing a ticket for a semifinal clash against Denmark.
It is England’s first European Championship semi-final appearance in 25 years, since 1996, failing to reach such heights even with their golden generation during the 2000s.
Raheem Sterling have been England’s standout player in the tournament, scoring three and assisting one, finding the all important deciders against Croatia and Czech Republic and scoring the opener against Germany. Jack Grealish is another performer England has largely relied on, failing to find the cutting edge without him at front. Whenever he has came on, Grealish hasn’t disappointed and has made things happen, giving England the important injunction of a playmaker behind the striker, and looked as the missing piece in the puzzle to England’s success.
England’s defence with Stones and Maguire and the side backs of Shaw Trippier and Walker, has also looked solid and confident, as they are yet to concede a goal in the tournament and are the first team in the history of the Euros not to concede a single goal in the first five matches.
England have had an additional advantage with all of their games except the Quarter Final played at home at Wembley, recieving a massive crowd support at their back.
England will be confident going into their clash against a lively Denmark, who have had an incredibly happening tournament yet so far, and will be looking to secure a berth for the first time in the European finals. If they indeed achieve to do so, England will face the toughest task yet in the tournament as they will be facing either of Italy or Spain, two of the best teams remaining in tournament, and will actually put to test what the Three Lions are made of. England will play their semis and the finals, provided they qualify, at home at Wembley, which will be of an immense advantage, with the fans already believing that “it is coming home” this summer.
Also Read: Euro 2020: Top 5 goalkeepers so far