With Euro 2020 just days away, we take a look at five teams to which you must watch out for across the tournament.
From debutants in form of Finland and North Macedonia to top teams like France and England participating, there are plenty of teams across the 24-team tournament to get behind throughout the next month.
We therefore have rounded up five teams to watch out for across Euro 2020, which will feature a mixture of firsts, success and farewells throughout every country taking part in the tournament as some managers and players make their UEFA Euro bow whilst others say goodbye.
Coming into this match off the back of two fourth-placed finishes at 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2018-19 UEFA Nations League respectively, England definitely will be a team to watch as they look to continue their return to the top level.
Littered with quality players in Jordan Pickford, Jack Grealish and Harry Kane amongst others and a top home-grown manager in Gareth Southgate, these Three Lions will also have home advantage throughout all three Group D matches and potentially in the Last 16, Semi-Finals and Final depending on how deep they go into this tournament.
England also have tactical depth with a wide selection of versatile players available who can play in different positions when necessary, which will certainly pose a challenge for some teams that they come across in the tournament.
We shouldn’t therefore discount the Three Lions out of title contention because although young in squad average, this squad have grown in experience although their midfield could be their key department to watch out for given Southgate’s shock snub of in-form Jesse Lingard.
After suffering the embarrassment of failing to qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup under Gian Piero Ventura, Italy have hit back under Roberto Mancini’s reins with just two defeats in 32 matches across all competitions under the ex Manchester City manager.
The 1968 Euro champions also enter this tournament with eight consecutive clean sheets and a squad compromising of a fine mixture of youth and experience, with experienced stars like Leonardo Bonucci and Ciro Immobile called up alongside youngsters like Matteo Pessina and Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Add in their fluid attacking style in a 4-3-3 formation and stunning form then it is hard to not take Italy seriously, with the potential of a fairytale story in a iconic team going from World Cup qualification failure to Euro glory in just three-and-a-half years.
Surely Italy can’t do the unthinkable can they?
As reigning world champions, France will certainly start the tournament as favourites but they find themselves in a group of death containing Germany, Hungary and Portugal, with the latter coincidentally having defeated them to win Euro 2016 on their home turf.
Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus also have lost just three matches since winning the 2018 World Cup Final and boasts a impressive squad with 164 goals goals between them at time of writing, containing players like Kylian Mbappe, N’Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma who have tasted various levels of success in recent seasons.
It is therefore not difficult to see why all eyes will be on France to see if their star-studded squad can become the third team to follow up World Cup success with the following Euros title, having first done so themselves in 2000 after 1998 World Cup glory with Spain being the other team in 2012 after winning 2010 World Cup.
With this match representing Joachim Low’s final tournament in charge of the 2014 World Cup champions before he bows out, Germany cannot be discounted from contention given the quality within their squad.
Low’s Die Mannschaft though come into this tournament in inconsistent form as has been the case since their disastrous title defence at 2018 World Cup, regularly conceding goals despite looking strong up front yet couldn’t avoid an embarrassing home loss to North Macedonia in March.
You therefore have to wonder just how far this Germany team can go because although they will be keen to deliver one last moment of glory under Low, there is no doubt that getting out of Group F will be difficult due to facing France, Portugal and Hungary.
Either way, Germany certainly will be an interesting team to watch throughout this tournament because they look to be in a transitional period with the old guard like Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos slowly fading, just as the new generation of players like Robin Koch, Jamal Musiala and Kai Havertz begin to step up.
Following successful debuts for four of five teams at Euro 2016 with Wales in particular the stand-out rookies with their run to the last four, North Macedonia could very well be a team to watch out for given how much of an underdog they’re considered.
Placed in Group C containing Austria, Netherlands and Ukraine, you would be forgiven for ruling The Lynxes out of contention, yet with just two defeats and goals in 12 of their 13 matches we really should consider North Macedonia as a potential surprise package of the tournament after stunning Germany in March.
Add in the fact that there is the novelty factor of this being their first-ever major tournament then expect North Macedonia to come out and give their absolute all, which could well suit them if their opposition underestimate them.
Now here hoping that we see another thrilling deep run from a debutant team at the Euros after Wales and Iceland proved it was possible five years ago, with shock memorable wins over teams like England and Belgium en route to their respective exits at Semi-Finals and Quarter-Finals stages.