Euro 2020 is just around the corner now, which means the time has come for us to stick our necks out and make some bold predictions about what will happen.
We asked each of our writers to look into the future and tell us what they think will come to pass at Euro 2020 - from the eventual winners and golden boot winners to the biggest flops of the competition and the fate of Scotland.
Feel free to refer to this article once all is said and done and mock/laud us accordingly. We'd also love to hear your predictions, so do @ us on social media.
Who will win Euro 2020?
James Andrew (editor, @JamesAndrew_): France. Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe is not a bad spine to have. Plus in manager Didier Dechampes they have a manager who knows what it takes to hold two of the biggest prizes in football at the same time. Portugal look a better side than when they won it in 2016, but I think France will be the team to beat.
Joe Brewin (deputy editor, @JoeBrewinFFT): France. There's no weak area in this side – Deschamps builds his team on defensive solidity, then watches with glee as a star-studded attack wreaks havoc. They've got a good run to the semis if all goes to plan... where Belgium will likely await. If so, that one's huge.
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Conor Pope (online editor, @ConorPope): France. Being in a group with Germany and Portugal means that Les Bleus do have a higher chance of going out early than, say, England, but their squad has only improved since the World Cup. Kylian Mbappe's Champions League form is frighteningly good.
Chris Flanagan (senior staff writer, @CFlanaganFFT): France. The World Cup winners have the same manager and largely the same team as 2018, and their star man Kylian Mbappe has got better since then.
Gregg Davies (chief sub editor, @GreggDavies): England. OK fine, France will win it, but at least one of us has to show some blind optimism, right? With Dublin’s last-16 tie switched to Wembley, the incentive is there for the Three Lions to top their group and ensure they’d have to play only once away from north London. They’ve won 13 of their last 14 home games, including against Croatia, the Czech Republic and Belgium since the World Cup, and will be settled at their familiar St George’s Park base throughout the finals. It's the hope that kills you.
Mark White (staff writer, @markwhlte): Portugal. The talent they have across that entire squad is absolutely sickening and they've won the last two tournaments in Europe - assuming you count the Nations League (which I shall but only for this). When the only problems you have as a team are the squabbles between Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes as to who will take the penalties? Yeah, I think we can safely say they've got a good chance.
Ed McCambridge (staff writer, @edmccambridge): Belgium. Kevin De Bruyne & co. have a simple enough group (Denmark, Finland and Russia) and should reach the quarters without breaking sweat. From then on, I'm backing the golden generation to finally come good. In the aforementioned Manchester City midfielder, Belgium have the best creator in Europe and, in Romelu Lukaku, a supreme goalscorer in top form. Eden Hazard's fitness is a concern, but if he can get back to his best before the tournament kicks off, they'll be hard to beat.
Ryan Dabbs (trainee writer, @ryandabbs_): Belgium's group is fairly straightforward, and shouldn't provide them with too many problems in Denmark, Russia and Finland. If they manage to win their group, Belgium will face a third-placed team, providing an easy route to the quarter-finals. From there any number of teams can win the tournament, but this seems like Belgium's last opportunity with their 'golden generation' to go all out and win the tournament. They narrowly lost to eventual winners France in the 2018 World Cup, and if they get lucky could keep players fit for the latter rounds with a favourable draw.
Who are Euro 2020's dark horses?
JA: Holland. Missed out at Euro 2016 but could be a threat this time around.
JB: Turkey could be brilliant or bloody awful, if results over the last year or two are anything to go by. Their dismantling of the Dutch was highly impressive; much less so a 3-3 draw against Latvia that followed. Still, three of their top players have been in form for a brilliant Lille side this season.
CP: One of Ukraine or Austria are certain to get out of their group, and if one side can grab a result against a likely Virgil van Dijk-less Netherlands, there's even a possibility of topping the group. At which point, they'll be playing another group's third-placed team.
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CF: Italy. It maybe seems strange to talk about the Azzurri in such terms, given their history of winning tournaments, but they're as low as eighth in the odds for the Euros, after failing to qualify for the World Cup. Under Roberto Mancini though, they're unbeaten in 25 matches.
GD: Denmark. While repeating their surprise Euro 92 success is unlikely, the Danes are in a favourable group, play their first three games in Copenhagen and have been revitalised under a new coach – Belgium are the only nation to beat them in their last 26 internationals. Mixing an experienced spine (Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Christian Eriksen) with a dash of exciting youth, they won 1-0 at Wembley last October and can ruffle a few more feathers.
MW: Turkey. Everyone sort of assumes that international sides are basically the same tournament to tournament but only Ozan Tufan, Burak Yilmaz, Caner Erkin, and Hakan Calhanoglu have survived from 2016. There is genuine quality across the pitch and I really like their kit, so that's an added reason to back them. Hadi Türkiye!
EM: Poland, because Robert Lewandowski is goals! The Bayern striker has been unstoppable for the past two seasons, scoring more than 100 times for club and country. I think he'll inspire Poland to great things this summer. My prediction: they qualify from Group E as runners-up to Spain before stunning Croatia in the last 16. I'm not saying they'll do a Greece, but, ya know, they might do a Greece.
RD: With an extremely experienced squad, Denmark could cause upsets at this tournament. Reaching the semi-finals is definitely achievable from Denmark's position, because it is likely they'll finish second in the group - behind Belgium. From there, the 1992 Euros winners will play second place from Group A, either Italy, Switzerland, Turkey or Wales, who are all beatable teams. If they manage to miss one of the tournament's outright favourites in the quarter-finals, Denmark have every chance of reaching the semis.
Who will be Euro 2020's biggest flop?
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JA: Germany. Never write off the Germans, they say – well, I'm going to. Joachim Low is coming to the end of his long tenure and recent results have been far from encouraging - especially the recent defeat by Macedonia.
JB: Casual observers may struggle to identify with Spain anymore. Their golden generation of 2008-12 is long gone, and a new breed just aren't cut from the same cloth. Recent results – squeaking past Georgia, drawing with Greece, losing to Ukraine at the tail end of 2020 – don't point to a nation cut out for success. Unless they can play Germany every game...
CP: Given that four third-place teams will qualify for the knockout stages, don't expect any big shocks too quickly. The second round is where national embarrassments will be made, and some certain recent World Cup semi-finalists spring to mind. It rhymes with "Bingland"...
CF: Portugal. They have the talent to win the tournament, so this could turn into one of the worst predictions ever, but they've got a very tricky set of group fixtures - as well as facing world champions France, they're away to hosts Germany and Hungary. If they finish third, they could end up playing someone like Belgium in the last 16.
GD: Spain. The Euro 2008 and 2012 winners first face three sides (Poland, Sweden, Slovakia) that will sit deep and deny them space, with La Roja requiring a last-gasp Rodrigo leveller against the Swedes when they clashed in qualifying. Having their three group matches moved from Bilbao’s San Mames to Seville’s La Cartuja might prove a blessing – as Germany were shellacked 6-0 there last November – but stumbling to second place could lead to a tricky tussle against Croatia, and early exit.
MW: Netherlands. It's hard to know how Frank de Boer got such a big job, considering he's barely managed a club for longer than that ship was stuck in the Suez canal. With Virgil van Dijk still not back and most of the exciting Dutch players still very young, I think it's too soon for them. Maybe 2022.
EM: Germany have been on a downward spiral for a long time under Jogi Low and the departing gaffer's last hurrah will be a damp squib. There's no world-class No.9 in the squad and the defence looks cobbled together no matter who starts in front of Neuer. Low's recent U-turn on axed world champions Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels is a sign of a man simply desperate to be liked again.
How will England do?
JA: Quarter finals. England have an exciting, young team and the hope will be that they will go one better than their semi-final appearance at the World Cup in 2018. But being on the same side of the draw as Group F aka The Group of Death means they will likely have to face France or Portugal in one of the early knock-out games.
JB: I want to believe, I really do, but the draw hasn't been overly kind. We should win the group, but a Group F runner-up will test our mettle. Even recent history suggests falling short when the opposition get tough.
CP: Like the 2018 World Cup, England topping the group leaves a harder knockout route than finishing second. Unlike 2018, the most difficult group opposition comes in the first game, at Wembley. Win that, and a defeat in the round of 16 to France, Portugal or – let's face it – Germany awaits.
CF: Just about edge to top spot in the group, edge past Germany at Wembley in the last 16, then run into Spain in Rome, in their one and only overseas fixture. Without home advantage, that could be where they come unstuck.
GD: It’s Coming Home! Or it would be, were it not for that pesky Kylian Mbappe.
MW: Wherever we finish in the group, there's no easy draw. My head says that England will make the quarter-finals before being spectacularly shown up by more experienced players. My heart reckons it's coming home.
EM: They'll reach the semis and take the lead in the first half before a deflating late goal takes the game to extra-time. Jack Grealish, who's been booked and will have to miss the final regardless of the outcome, gets his toe on the end of the same ball Gazza couldn't in '96. Cue bedlam... before another late equaliser and heartbreak in the Wembley shootout.
RD: England should win their group, and if they do they'll play second place from Group F - one of Germany, Hungary, Portugal or France. I think Portugal and France will progress from that group, and they're both better than England. If England hope to get further in the competition, their best bet would be to finish second and play second place from Group E - either Spain, Poland, Sweden or Slovakia.
How will Scotland do?
JA: They will get out of the groups as one of the best third place teams. Once out of the group then who knows, but I wouldn’t expect them to go too far.
JB: Out in the group, finishing bottom. Sorry lads.
CP: Very well at left-back? England and Croatia are known quantities, while the Czechs are better than many realise. Getting a point on the board at all would be a good result.
CF: A draw with the Czech Republic in their opener at Hampden, then defeats to England and Croatia. It could put them third, but with not enough points to go through.
GD: They’ll frustratingly lose against the Czechs at Hampden, heroically draw with England at Wembley and typically fail to back it up at home to Croatia.
MW: Group D is deceptively tough for the Scots, even if it is mostly at home. One win might be enough - I just can't see where it's coming from.
EM: A plucky draw against England helps them out of Group D as one of the best third-placed teams. They face a juggernaut in the last-16 and are well beaten, but a late Oliver Burke strike gets the party going on the streets of Edinburgh nonetheless.
RD: I can't see Scotland beating either Croatia or England, and their game against Czech Republic will no doubt be a tight affair. Their best chance of progressing from this group will be as one of the four third placed teams, but I can't see them getting anymore than a draw against Czech Republic, so will exit in the group stages with either one or no points.
How will Wales do?
JA: They proved in 2016 that they can cause a shock, but I don’t expect them to do the same this time. They could make it out of the group but don’t think they will go much further.
JB: A nervy wait to see whether they're one of the best third-place finishers in the group stage.
CP: The best tournament of the British teams. Wales could come second in their group, and would then have a favourable round of 16 game, probably against Russia or Denmark. Quarter-finals is a realistic aim – and at that point, who knows?
CF: It will be so hard to live up to their amazing achievements of 2016. They play hosts Italy, and their match against Turkey in Baku might also feel like an away game, given the close links between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Switzerland aren't a bad team either, so it's going to be a tough task to get out of the group.
GD: Well enough to escape their group, then the Danes down them in Amsterdam.
MW: The second round is achievable, for sure. Anything beyond that depends on the draw. I have a sneaky suspicion that they'll beat Italy, though.
EM: A shock win against Italy sees them top Group A after the final round of fixtures. Austria are dispatched in the last-16 before Belgium take their revenge for Euro 2016 in the quarters.
RD: This Wales team is a lot weaker than it was five years ago when they made it to the semi-finals. Bale isn't in great form, Ramsey is suffering from plenty of injuries and the defence doesn't seem as solid. Turkey and Switzerland can both cause problems with strong squads, while Italy should have too much for Wales. I can't see them getting anymore than two draws from this group, at most.
JA: Kylian Mbappe. The 22-year-old has scored over 35 goals for PSG this season and providing he remains injury-free he should go on and be the biggest goal threat at the Euros.
JB: Romelu Lukaku should enjoy himself in Group B, and Belgium will likely get to the semis at very least. It's all there for him.
CP: Kylian Mbappe might have a slow start in the group, but if France go all the way, it will be on the back of his goals.
GD: It’s hard not to look past Romelu Lukaku, who has surpassed 60 goals in two seasons at Inter and plundered 19 in his 17 Belgium appearances since the Red Devils lost to France in the World Cup semis three years ago. He'll possibly bag enough against Russia, Denmark and Finland to secure it before the knockout stages begin.
CF: Romelu Lukaku for me too. Expect him to score at least 35 goals in the group stage matches against Russia, Denmark and Finland.
MW: Big Rom. The Romulator. No offence to Finland or Russia, but come on - Romelu Lukaku eats defences better than theirs for breakfast without Kevin De Bruyne.
EM: Harry Kane. Three penalties and three headers (all from corners).
RD: Belgium's group should provide Lukaku with plenty of opportunities to build a strong tally before the knockout stages, as they play Denmark, Russia and Finland. The Belgian has scored over 20 goals in Serie A this season, while his international scoring record is astonishing. Plus, with Kevin De Bruyne supplying him with assists, Lukaku should easily score at least five goals this tournament.
JA: Kylian Mbappe. If the next ‘Messi vs Ronaldo’ debate is between Mbappe and Erling Haaland, then the Frenchman can use the fact that the Norwegian will not be at the Euros to add to his trophy haul.
JB: Going with the assumption that France win, I'll say Antoine Griezmann. Ignore the club form – he's (literally) undroppable for his country, as 46 straight starts prove.
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CP: How many more ways are there of saying Kylian Mbappe is a good footballer?
CF: Kylian Mbappe. He was already decisively good at the World Cup, now he's got a real claim to be the best player in the world.
GD: If France do follow up their 2018 triumph, Mbappe will lead everyone a merry dance.
MW: Kylian Mbappe. I know it's boring to go for the best player in Europe but he's so good that Florentino Perez tried to set alight to European football just to try and sign him.
EM: Paul Pogba. The Frenchman has been playing his best football in a Manchester United shirt this season. He looks fit, confident and is displaying the kind of swagger that made fans fall in love with him in the first place. He'll light up the Euros this summer.
RD: One of the best players at the tournament, De Bruyne will no doubt display the sublime form at the Euros that Manchester City have become accustomed to these last few years. KDB will create plenty of chances, and will no doubt step up at vital moments when Belgium need him.
Best young player
JA: Phil Foden. Footballers have far more exposure these days than compared to 30 years ago, but this should be Foden’s break-through moment where anyone not aware of him sits up and takes notice. Just like Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90.
JB: Kylian Mbappe will likely be the leading Ballon d'Or contender with a strong tournament. As he proved in 2018, and has done in the Champions League this season, he can weave his magic in the biggest moments.
CP: Kylian Mb- oh, fine. Manchester City's Ferran Torres has already scored a hatful for Spain, including three against Germany in November.
CF: Once you take Mbappe out of the equation, Phil Foden. A player who has shown every sign this season of being ready to step up to the biggest stage of all.
GD: Euro 2016’s inaugural award featured three players from the final (Renato Sanches, Raphael Guerreiro, Kingsley Coman), so let’s bullishly pick Mason Mount. Phil Foden can take the tournament by storm but may not necessarily start every match, whereas Mount’s intelligence, versatility and end product means he will.
MW: Phil Foden. It's scary how good he might become and the fact he's already Man City's biggest "big game player" bodes very well for a country who have a habit of bottling it on big stages. I might shave chunks out of my eyebrows and pretend to be Phil in the park this summer.
EM: The Stockport Iniesta. Such has been Phil Foden's phenomenal development across Manchester City's season, he has to start all of England's group games. He's got the balance, eye for goal and delicate touch that England have lacked in past tournaments.
RD: It's hard to believe that Mbappe is still just 22 years old. After winning the World Cup when a teenager, the Frenchman is hugely important within France's squad and their chances of winning back to back tournaments, even with the talent at their disposal. Mbappe will no doubt shine at this summer's tournament once again.
JA: Thibault Courtois. Belgium could get out of their group without conceding a goal.
JB: Thibaut Courtois. Belgium haven't kept too many clean sheets of late, but won't give up much this summer.
CP: Thibault Courtois. It's easy to see how Belgium could get to the quarters without conceding a goal.
CF: Hugo Lloris. France's rearguard was generally solid at the World Cup, with Didier Deschamps a naturally cautious coach. They probably won't concede many again.
GD: Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Milan gloveman has conceded two goals in his last 11 internationals, and should be in the running if the Azzurri go deep.
MW: Thibault Courtois. Despite having some eroding rocks ahead of him in Alderweireld and Vertonghen, nobody will really trouble Belgium until the quarters at least - again, Finland and Russia, come on - and then it wouldn't surprise me if Courtois pulls off another masterclass by then to get them to the semis. All in all, I reckon he'll concede three or four goals at most.
EM: Thibault Courtois. The Belgian is enjoying a solid season with Real Madrid and Belgium will be the most solid side this summer. It just makes sense.
RD: Thibault Coutrois. The Belgian should be protected in his opening games of the tournament, before stepping up with some inspired performances in the latter stages. Having rediscovered his form, the Real Madrid stopper is back among Europe's elite goalkeepers.
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THREE LIONS SQUAD FourFourTwo writers pick who they'd take this summer
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