Euro 2020 Odds: Can England end their agonising wait for silverware?

Dean Smith:
Photo by SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

The tournament may be delayed until the summer of 2021, but the bookmakers still have plenty of outright markets available on the upcoming European Championships. England are the current favourites, but face stiff competition from reigning champions Portugal, World Cup holders France and plenty of others.

By the time we finally reach the European Championships next summer, football fans across the continent will hardly be able to contain themselves. Any summer tournament always grabs the attention of supporters, but particularly after a longer wait than usual, this will be a poignant and indeed much-needed competition for supporters everywhere to savour – but the question is, who will lift the trophy?

With Europe being a real hotbed of footballing nations, there are always plenty of challengers to the throne. The likes of Italy, France and Spain have enjoyed phenomenal success in both the Euros and the World Cup over the years, but there can always be a shock too. Few expected an ageing Portugal to lift the trophy last time around and indeed even fewer expected Greece to be crowned champions back in 2004.

It may be quite some time off now unfortunately, but that won’t stop us getting excited for one of the most entertaining tournaments in the football calendar and it won’t stop us from keeping our eyes on the odds and looking at the price for each of the contenders starting with a team that, in some people’s eyes, will be surprising favourites.

1) England @ 5/1

So, the good news. Harry Kane is more likely to be fit with the postponement of the tournament, another year of experience for the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jadon Sancho can only prove to be a positive and Gareth Southgate has proven in his one previous tournament that he can harness a really harmonious atmosphere within this squad. The bad news? England don’t have a stand-out goalkeeper, are lacking options in central midfield and have the added pressure of a 55 year wait to lift a trophy on their shoulders. This is a strong Three Lions side, but we can’t help but feel punters have shifted the market here by betting with their heart rather than their head and a pre-tournament favourites tag is slightly over-estimating their capabilities. Although Southgate’s men are very much in with a chance given the quality afforded by the likes of Kane and Raheem Sterling, I don’t see them having the same strength across all areas of the pitch that the likes of France and Belgium do for example. Those key players, on their day, can be match-winners though and with the semi-finals and final set to be played at Wembley Stadium, England would have home advantage in the latter stages – and we all know what happened last time they played the final of a major tournament on home soil.

2) Belgium @ 5/1

Belgium have never won the World Cup or the European Championships but as things stand, they’re joint favourites with England to lift the trophy at Wembley next summer. That may seem surprising to some given their record in these competitions in the past, but this is de Rode Duivels’ so-called ‘Golden Generation’ and for many of them, this is the last opportunity they will have to write themselves into the history books as the first Belgian side to win a major trophy. Eden Hazard will have another year to get his form and fitness back after a stuttering first campaign with Real Madrid, but he isn’t the only star in Roberto Martinez’s squad. The Tottenham duo of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen make for a strong defensive partnership whilst Kevin de Bruyne is arguably the best central midfielder in the world right now and Romelu Lukaku can be relied upon to get the goals as the country’s leading all-time goalscorer. Having not dropped a point in qualifying, Belgium will go into the tournament on the crest of a wave – can they finally make their promise count on the big stage?

3) France @ 11/2

The reigning World Cup champions will not just be hoping to add to their trophy cabinet here – they’ll be expecting to. After lost the final of the last European Championships to Portugal having been the most consistent side throughout the tournament, les Bleus will no doubt feel they have unfinished business in this competition. What’s more, they proved themselves to be the best team in the world in Russia in 2018. The postponement may actually prove to be helpful for Didier Deschamps too as some of his key players such as Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann have struggled for form, consistency and even minutes at times this season, so another year may hand those two stars the opportunity to get back to full fitness. There are weaknesses in this squad, but not many. Hugo Lloris doesn’t seem to be the goalkeeper that he once was, whilst Olivier Giroud still remains Deschamps’ best option as a target man, but the strength afforded in every other position is obvious. What’s more, in Kylian Mbappe, they arguably possess the most talented player in the tournament and three years after he lit up the World Cup in Russia, he’ll surely be even more deadly this time around.

4) Netherlands @ 7/1

Just two years ago, having failed to qualify for the World Cup, Dutch football appeared to be suffering from a serious crisis in confidence. Since then however, they have hired one of the country’s most experienced and successful managers in the shape of Ronald Koeman and the former Everton boss has done an excellent job of turning the team’s fortunes around. De Oranje progressed from a tough group in the UEFA Nations League to eventually finish runners-up, whilst they progressed with relative ease through a potentially tricky qualifying group after that. Since not qualifying for the last two tournaments, some real starlets have emerged from the famous Dutch production line including Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt. Meanwhile, Memphis Depay has progressed into a much more rounded attacking player than he was during his time at Manchester United and Virgil van Dijk has emerged as arguably the best defender in world football. There are still weak spots and a lack of strength in depth in Koeman’s squad, but it will be hard to back against them in most matches at the tournament with the quality that they have.

5) Germany @ 7/1

As World Cup winners in 2014, Germany will have been devastated to have crashed out of the resulting tournament in the group stages after defeats to Mexico and South Korea. Joachim Low may have kept his job, but there have been several changes do the way die Mannschaft operate in the meantime and there’s a feeling that the team aren’t quite back to their best just yet. A poor display in the Nations League indicated that German football is still in transition at the moment but there can be little doubt of the quality that they possess. Joshua Kimmich, Julian Brandt and Timo Werner represent a new generation of stars, but Low will have to strike a balance and ensure that the likes of Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan provide some much needed experience to the squad. There’s no doubting that German teams have the past have had the perfect mentality going into major tournaments, but they definitely appeared to lack that in Russia. The key for die Mannschaft is bringing that winning culture back, which did appear to be happening in 2019.

6) Spain @ 8/1

Another team with a proud recent history in major competitions is Spain, but much like Germany they were embarrassed by their performance at the World Cup in Russia in 2018. Having just about scraped through a group that included Portugal, Iran and Morocco, la Furia Roja were knocked out by hosts Russia on penalties in the second round. Perhaps most frustrating about this debacle however was the managerial situation, as Julen Lopetegui left for a doomed spell at Real Madrid on the eve of the tournament, plunging Fernando Hierro into the deep end. Now however, the side are being managed along by Luis Enrique, a former Barcelona boss. Under him, Spain have enjoyed some great moments so far, not least comfortable wins over the likes of Croatia, Romania and Wales – but there have been slip-ups too, including defeat to England and disappointing draws with Sweden and Norway. This squad may not have the same gravitas as the one that won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, but there’s still serious quality here and if they gather some momentum before the finals, you can make a strong case for Spain to lift another trophy here.

7) Italy @ 11/1

Much like the Netherlands, Italy were embarrassed by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in a very long time three years ago. The experience of players like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci give this Azzurri side a rather traditional defensive look, but Roberto Mancini has sought to bring more flair and entertainment to the attacking ranks and youngsters like Federico Chiesa, Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Zaniolo will certainly provide that. Although Mancini has overseen something of an improvement in results and performances, it’s fair to say that this is still a rather disjointed Italian outfit and this tournament is likely to provide much-needed experience and a platform for a new generation rather than a realistic opportunity of lifting the trophy. Given the country’s history of success in major competitions though, you’d be foolish to rule them out just yet and the quality of these young stars will be showcased for all to see in this tournament, so don’t be surprised if they cause an upset against one of the teams with shorter odds to lift the trophy.

8) Portugal @ 16/1

Portugal are the holders of this competition but their squad has seen plenty of transition in the years following that success in France. Jose Fonte, Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Moutinho were all key players back then and are still a big part of this squad, but the new generation of stars like Ruben Dias, Ruben Neves and perhaps most importantly of all Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva are now expected to lead the side by example. Fernando Santos remains in charge, but you have to wonder whether many of this new generation of Portuguese stars are experienced enough to make waves at this tournament and if there will still be too much reliance on their captain and record all-time goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo. By the time the tournament gets underway, the Juventus man will be 36 years of age and although he undoubtedly still has the quality to make a difference in the biggest of games, you have to wonder whether he will be quite as effective as he was four years ago for example. Beyond him, who can step up to the plate for the Seleccao?

The Rest

Although odds of 25/1 may suggest that Croatia have a slim chance of success in this tournament, it would be churlish to rule them out based on their performance in finishing as runners-up at the World Cup two years ago. Indeed, star man Luka Modric won’t have the same influence that he did at that time with him now reaching the closing stages of his career. Beyond Vatreni, there seems to be little in the way of outside possibilities. Ukraine and Denmark are next in the running at odds of 66/1 and 80/1 respectively with Rode-Hvide possessing some dangerous players such as Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg. Beyond that, the likes of Russia, Serbia and Austria are currently available at 100/1, as are a Wales side led by Gareth Bale and managed by Ryan Giggs. Northern Ireland and Scotland still need to qualify through their respective qualifying play-offs but you can back the Green and White Army to win the whole thing at odds of 500/1 whilst the Tartan Army are even further out at odds of 750/1. They aren’t the longest price though – Belarus and Georgia, who also still waiting to confirm qualification through the play-offs.