With Euro 2020 kicking off in exactly one week, we’re sizing up the field. Taking squad lists, player fitness, and other intangibles into the equation, here’s how we think all 24 teams stack up heading into the competition.
1. France ??
Two years after hoisting the World Cup, Didier Deschamps’ stacked France squad looks poised to win it all again at the Euros, potentially capturing the country’s first World Cup-European Championship double since 2000. Les Bleus are loaded from top to bottom, but most of the focus will be on France’s electric attack now that veteran forward Karim Benzema was brought out of exile to join forces with superstars Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
2. Portugal ??
Despite finding itself in the veritable Group of Death, Portugal arrives at Euro 2020 with one of the most talented groups of players. Fernando Santos’ 26-man squad is even better than the one he steered to glory five years ago. Cristiano Ronaldo remains the centerpiece of Portugal’s attack, but it’s not only up to him. Andre Silva, Diogo Jota, and Joao Felix bring plenty of ammunition, and Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes are two of the most effective midfielders in the modern game. If Santos can find the right combination, Portugal may have what it takes to repeat as champions.
3. Belgium ??
Belgium’s golden generation is getting older – and the pressure to win ever greater. With 10 wins out of 10, 40 goals scored, and just three conceded, the Red Devils secured their status as a pre-tournament favorite in Euro qualifying. But things have changed since then. Eden Hazard is an injury waiting to happen, midfield talisman Axel Witsel is recovering from an Achilles tear, and creative dynamo Kevin De Bruyne is dealing with facial fractures. If Belgium is to win the Euros, prolific striker Romelu Lukaku – fresh off a title-winning campaign with Inter Milan – has to show up in a big way.
4. England ?gbeng
Is it coming home? Maybe. On paper, England has arguably the second-best squad in the competition, behind only France. The Three Lions’ (many) detractors will point to tournament history as a reason not to be confident of a deep run; England has never reached the final of the Euros. But Gareth Southgate’s team is certainly talented enough to win it all this summer, with a spectacular array of attackers particularly frightening for the rest of the field. Even if Southgate keeps the handbrake on, don’t sleep on England.
5. Italy ??
This is not your grandfather’s Italy. Unlike previous generations, the Azzurri have a dynamic group of wingers in Federico Chiesa, Domenico Berardi, and Lorenzo Insigne – players who cut in, run at defenders, and wreak havoc in and around the penalty area. Italy’s defense, usually impenetrable, is actually the weakest part of its game. Giorgio Chiellini is well past his intimidating best, and Leonardo Bonucci has never looked more vulnerable. It’s fireworks or nothing for Roberto Mancini’s side.
6. Spain ??
The combination of a rock-solid defense and gifted midfield should give Spain a straightforward path out of what’s considered a manageable group. However, inexperience in attack could be Spain’s undoing against tougher opponents in the knockout rounds. The success of forwards Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres will likely dictate how La Furia Roja’s European Championship campaign unfolds.
7. Germany ??
Despite its recent hardships – including elimination from the group stage of the 2018 World Cup – Germany still has enough talent to do damage on the international scene. Coach Joachim Low, who’s vacating his post at the end of the Euros, has done his best to put together the strongest possible squad, reintegrating the likes of Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels after extended exiles. Scoring may be a problem, with the misfiring yet hard-working Timo Werner up top, but the team is set up well in midfield and defense. Manuel Neuer is also back to his best in goal.
8. Netherlands ??
The Netherlands looked like legitimate contenders before the pandemic, but the team’s prospects took a hit when Frank De Boer replaced Ronald Koeman as manager last September. The Dutch have gone 4-4-2 since the change, and they couldn’t beat direct competition in Italy, Spain, and Turkey over that span. The good news is that star forward Memphis Depay is healthy again. He was set to miss the tournament with a knee injury last summer.
9. Turkey ??
Turkey enters Euro 2020 as the tournament’s youngest team with an average age of just 24.9 years. It also has one of the best defensive corps in Europe. Turkey allowed just three goals in 10 qualifying matches – the joint-fewest along with Belgium – with Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu anchoring a young but sturdy back four. Burak Yilmaz, an elder statesman at 35 years of age, provides experience up front and poses as much a threat as any other striker at the Euros after scoring 18 goals for Lille this season.
10. Denmark ??
Denmark is, in a word, solid. The foundations are strong and the midfield is balanced. Longtime leader Simon Kjaer shares center-back duties with Champions League winner Andreas Christensen, and the rugged Thomas Delaney patrols the middle of the park with industrious tackler Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Christian Eriksen is the creative lynchpin, but without a quality striker, Denmark lacks that finishing touch.
11. Poland ??
When it comes to underdogs pulling off upsets and causing chaos for top nations at the Euros, Poland has to be in the conversation. If Jerzy Breczek’s team gets out of Group E, Poland – led by superstar Robert Lewandowski and a solid supporting cast – will undoubtedly be a tricky test that top nations will hope to avoid in the knockout rounds.
12. Croatia ??
Just two years removed from an appearance in the World Cup final in Russia, it’s entirely possible that Croatia could struggle to get out of the group stage at the Euros. While Luka Modric is still a threat at the ripe age of 35, goals could be hard to come by, especially now that Mario Mandzukic, the country’s second-highest leading scorer, is retired.
13. Switzerland ??
After going several decades without a single appearance at either the Euros or World Cup, Switzerland found its groove in the late 90s and eventually became a tournament regular. It has successfully navigated the group stage, too, emerging from the opening round at the 2006, 2014, and 2018 World Cups and at Euro 2016. But the team, which lacks dynamic players, doesn’t win many style points. It also hasn’t won in the knockout stage. Getting there will be hard enough this time around.
14. Ukraine ??
Paired with the Netherlands, Austria, and North Macedonia in Group C, Ukraine should see itself advancing to the knockout stage. But it must first overcome a lack of firepower. Ukraine has scored no more than once in each of its last 12 matches, and though it managed a respectable draw against France, it also slumped to disappointing stalemates against Finland and Kazakhstan. Ukraine will need some inspiration from former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko, who’s in his fifth year as manager.
15. Austria ??
Austria is something of an enigma. Franco Foda’s team, headlined by versatile star David Alaba, has a legitimately enticing collection of talent, with Sasa Kalajdzic and Marcel Sabitzer also standing out amongst a group with strong Bundesliga ties. But the style of play, often viewed by Austrian fans as overly conservative, belies the skill within the team. As outlined above, Group C looks wildly forgiving. A place in the knockout stages is there for the taking if Foda and Co. are willing to be adventurous and grab it.
16. Sweden ??
As was the case during a successful qualifying campaign, Sweden can handle business without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who briefly ended his international retirement before picking up a season-ending injury. With Spain the likeliest to top Group E, Sweden will have a battle on its hands against Poland for an automatic spot in the knockout round.
17. Russia ??
Russia’s success relies on 6-foot-4 man-mountain Artem Dzyuba, whose aerial ability and ruggedness in possession can singlehandedly win games. To thrive, the 32-year-old will need service from one of Denis Cheryshev or Aleksandr Golovin, players who can create chances on set pieces and in open play. Former Chelsea defender Yuri Zhirkov, who turns 38 later this year, may also lend his experience to Russia’s backline.
18. Czech Republic ??
The Czech Republic won’t replace Portugal as the European champion, but that doesn’t mean Jaroslav Silhavy’s squad will be an easy task for the opposition in Group D. In fact, the Czech Republic might even fancy its chances of securing a victory over England after beating the Three Lions during the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
19. Wales ?gbwls
Don’t expect Wales to make another fairytale run this summer. Reaching the semifinals at Euro 2016 was as wonderful as it was unexpected, but the makeup of this squad is very different from the one Gareth Bale inspired five years ago. Bale seems much closer to retirement, midfielder Aaron Ramsey appears far from 100%, and Hal Robson-Kanu, one of the heroes of Euro 2016, is no longer with the team. Though a younger generation is coming through, it may not be ready to make a difference at a major tournament.
20. Scotland ?gbsct
A clash with England is the big one circled on every Scotland supporter’s calendar ahead of the June 18 meeting at Wembley Stadium. But Scotland’s Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic could be just as decisive – maybe more so – as Steve Clarke’s men will attempt to kick off the country’s first major tournament in over 20 years with three points against a team they beat twice in 2020.
21. Hungary ??
Hungary has been on the most mercurial ride of any nation involved in the Euros. For starters, the Hungarians learned that if they made the tournament at all, they would be grouped alongside juggernauts France, Portugal, and Germany. Undeterred, they reached Euro 2020 after a last-gasp winner from star midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai in their playoff final. And then, just this week, Szoboszlai was ruled out of the event due to injury. It’s been a wild ride, and a ball hasn’t even been kicked yet. Without the RB Leipzig youngster, it’s hard to see Hungary causing any kind of upset in Group F.
22. Finland ??
Finland’s pedigree as a soccer nation is relatively undistinguished. It had never qualified for a major tournament before reaching Euro 2020. But like Scandinavian neighbor Iceland, it has relied on team spirit and compact tactics to get to the promised land. Most of Finland’s players ply their trade outside of Europe’s top five leagues, making this roster thinner than most at the Euros. Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky and Norwich City playmaker Teemu Pukki are Finland’s only recognized internationals.
23. Slovakia ??
Forget winning a game, Slovakia could struggle to register a point at the Euros despite finding itself in one of the more forgiving groups. If the country’s recent run of form – which includes an embarrassing draw to minnow Malta in March – is any indication, all signs point to Slovakia getting its doors blown off and finishing at the bottom of Group E.
24. North Macedonia ??
Little is expected of this major tournament debutant – we’re clearly guilty of that, too. Despite an overall lack of top-end talent, North Macedonia has proven capable of pulling off the unexpected before, with March’s stunning away victory over Germany in World Cup qualifying still very fresh in the memory. A pair of Serie A-based players, Elif Elmas and beloved 37-year-old captain Goran Pandev, will need to shine for North Macedonia to escape a relatively underwhelming Group C.