From Ronaldo to Mbappe to Kane, all you need to know about the Euros

By Dominic Bossi

Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese celebrate their win at Euro 2016.Credit:AP

A year later and under strange circumstances, Euro 2020 is finally upon us. Delayed due to the pandemic, this tournament is one like no other. For starters, it doesn’t have a host nation. Instead, 11 cities from 11 countries will host the European championships which begin in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico and finish with a final at the infamous Wembley Stadium in London, with all but one venue operating at significantly reduced capacity.

However, it’s a tournament that looms as an enthralling one. France, the world champions, enter as favourites with expectations also falling on England, Portugal and Belgium to challenge for the title but the field has never looked more even.

Spain, Italy and the Netherlands have undergone major rejuvenations of their squad while dark horses loom in Croatia, Denmark and even Ukraine. Scotland return to a tournament for the first time in 23 years while minnows Finland and North Macedonia make their first appearance on the footballing world’s second biggest stage.

Group A:

Fixtures (All on Optus Sport, all times AEST):

  • Turkey v Italy, 5am Saturday June 12
  • Wales v Switzerland, 11pm, Saturday June 12
  • Turkey v Wales, 2am Thursday June 17
  • Italy v Switzerland, 5am Thursday June 17
  • Italy v Wales, 2am Monday June 21
  • Switzerland v Turkey, 2am Monday June 21

Italy
The Azzurri compete in their first major tournament in five years and enter the Euros without the usual weight of expectation but with a refreshed and promising new generation. The recovery of their national team has culminated with the 27-match unbeaten run they take into the Euros, although that includes few wins over the other tournament favourites.
Strengths: Since 2018, coach Roberto Mancini has turned the Azzurri into the eye-catching machine they once were. A midfield operated by Marco Verratti, Jorginho and Nico Barella can purr like a Ferrari. An attack built around Lorenzo Insigne has the flair of a Lamborghini but Italy’s central defenders are like vintage Alfa Romeos – nice on the eye but at constant risk of breaking down.

Roberto Mancini has overseen a rejuvenation of Gli Azzurri. Credit:AP

Weaknesses: If there’s a weak point in Italy’s side, it’s the vulnerability of the old guard in the backline – Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini – who have a combined age of 70. The Juventus duo will start in the heart of defence where they may struggle in transition and against quick, young forwards but if their experience can triumph over pace in their last major tournament together, Italy could go far.
Star player: Lorenzo Insigne.
Keep an eye on: Andrea Belotti.
Predicted finish: semi-finalists.
Odds: $8.50 to win tournament.

Switzerland
The Swiss may not be among the favourites but they are a team others should be concerned about. They qualified directly having finished top of their group and have plenty of tournament experience. There is a strong, balanced squad and one of the most stable coaching set-ups in Europe, with Vladimir Petkovic in his seventh year at the helm. He oversees a disciplined, defensive strategy that has worked well for the Swiss but hasn’t led them deep into a tournament yet.
Strengths: Consistency. The Swiss’ key players have been part of the set-up for close to a decade now and that cohesion has lead to the team possessing a great ability to get results. While they may be slight on style, they are very hard to break down. They have a very strong and stable starting side that is balanced from front to back.
Weaknesses: Depth of talent. While the Swiss are formidable and could well be a dark horse, they don’t have enough quality players that truly threaten opponents. Their most creative player, Xherdan Shaqiri, hasn’t been a regular at his club for some time and their attack is decent but hardly frightening.
Key player: Granit Xhaka.
Keep an eye on: Haris Seferovic.
Predicted finish: Round of 16.
Odds: $56.

Turkey
On their day, Turkey can beat the best. On others, they struggle against minnows. They impressed in qualifying, finishing narrowly behind world champions France in their group and have followed that form with some impressive results including big wins over the Netherlands and Norway. More recently, however, there has also been concern after home draws with Latvia and Guinea in the lead-up to the tournament. Iconic coach Senol Gunes is back at the helm after guiding Turkey to a third-place finish at the 2002 World Cup and will have to pull off something similar to go deep into the Euros.
Strengths: Defence. Marshalled by Juventus’ Merih Demiral and Leicester’s Caglar Soyoncu, Turkey have been hard to break down.
Weaknesses: Consistency. As likely as Turkey are to challenge the heavyweights, they could stumble against the lesser lights. Goalkeeping hasn’t been a highlight lately either.
Key player: Burak Yilmaz.
Keep an eye on: Cengiz Under.
Prediction: Round of 16.
Odds: $56.

Gareth Bale and Wales are hoping to cause an upset. Credit:Getty Images

Wales
The Welsh were the surprise package of the last European championships, eliminating Belgium to reach the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Portugal. Unfortunately, their chances of replicating that appear slim in 2021.
Strengths: Wales have plenty of talent within their squad with the majority playing in the English Premier League. Gareth Bale, Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey add not only big-game experience but quality through a spine that has lead to very cohesive performances.
Weaknesses: Put simply, the Dragons lack fire. Despite boasting Bale, Wales have struggled in attack and no team qualified for the tournament having scored fewer goals (10). Recently, they’ve even toyed with deploying midfielder Aaron Ramsey as the focal point in attack and that failed to add any more threat. They go into the Euros with just three recognised forwards and unless one can provide regular goals, they will struggle to go far.
Key player: Gareth Bale.
Keep an eye on: Daniel James.
Prediction: Group stage.
Odds: $126.

Group B

Fixtures (All on Optus Sport, all times AEST):

  • Denmark v Finland, 2am Sunday June 13
  • Belgium v Russia, 5am Sunday June 13
  • Finland v Russia, 11pm Wednesday June 16
  • Denmark v Belgium, 2am Friday June 18
  • Russia v Denmark, 5am Tuesday June 22
  • Finland v Belgium, 5am Tuesday June 22

Belgium
If there was ever a chance for the Red Devils to lift a first major trophy in more than 100 years, this is it. Roberto Martinez’s team enter the tournament as one of the favourites with a star-studded lineup highlighted by one of the most dangerous forward lines in world football.
Strengths: Belgium’s attack is eye-watering. The focal point is Romelu Lukaku, the Inter Milan striker who is in career-best form after netting 24 goals to lead the Nerazzurri to the title. Behind him, the attacking depth gets even better with Edin Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Dries Mertens and Kevin De Bruyne. The latter could miss the first game due to an injury but has been deemed fit for the rest of the tournament.
Weaknesses: Left side of defence. The Belgians yet again enter the tournament without a recognised left-back, or left-footed defender, which was part of their undoing at Euro 2016. It’s one of the cracks in the back line that make it less formidable than in the past, along with an ageing defence that could struggle against quick opponents.
Key player: Kevin De Bruyne.
Keep an eye on: Youri Tielemans.
Prediction: Quarter-finals.
Odds: $7.

Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne will be one to watch this tournament. Credit:FRANK AUGSTEIN

Denmark
The Danes are in the midst of one of their strongest generations and could well be the dark horse of this tournament. While their strength may not have been reflected in their qualifying results – they finished second to Switzerland – they have only grown since.
Strengths: Midfield. Outside of the heavyweights, the Danes have one of the best midfields at the Euros. Christian Eriksen is at the centre of that but is joined by Dortmund’s Thomas Delaney and Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. They are disciplined and hard-working but have enough creativity to hurt opponents.
Weaknesses: While having a strong and balanced squad, the Danes don’t have the defensive depth teams need to go deep into a tournament. Their starting back four is solid, but an injury or suspension could be their undoing.
Key player: Christian Eriksen.
Keep an eye on: Andreas Skov Olsen.
Predicted finish: Quarter-finals.
Odds: $23.

Finland
The Fins have qualified for their first major tournament since joining FIFA 115 years ago and are flying under the radar. They qualified directly, finishing below Italy in their group and caused a shockwave around world football with a 2-0 win over France in a friendly last year. Since then, however, there’s been little to celebrate. They are winless in six games leading into the Euros, their most recent result a 1-0 loss at home to Estonia. Coach Markku Kanerva has a huge task in improving morale, performances and results if he’s to make their first competition one to celebrate.
Strengths: Attack. A forward line lead by goalscoring machine Teemu Pukki makes Finland an ever-present threat. The Norwich City striker has an uncanny knack of finding the net, turning half-chances into goals. Bundesliga striker Joel Pohjanpalo joins in him a formidable front line.
Weakness: Defence. The Fins have been leaking goals of late and their back line looks porous to say the least. Their poor form entering the tournament has been underpinned by concentration lapses and a lack of organisation that could be punished heavily by their group opponents.
Key player: Teemu Pukki.
Keep an eye on: Glen Kamara.
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $501.

Russia
Russia reached the Euros finishing second to Belgium in their group, winning all their games other than those against the Red Devils. Results since have varied to say the least. A 5-0 thrashing by Serbia in November dimmed Russia’s hopes of another strong showing coupled with defeats at the hands of Slovakia and Turkey. They’re coached by the experienced Stanislav Cherchesov who led the country to the World Cup quarter-finals on home soil in 2018 and stability will be the backbone of any similar success here.
Strengths: Midfield creativity. Russia has the ability to punish teams through the middle of the park, led by their two creative sparks Denis Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin. The pair offer plenty of excitement. They have great vision, pace and can score from distance.
Weaknesses: Defence. Russia’s back line is looking somewhat tired. The 37-year-old fullback Yuri Zhirkov is likely to start but is far from the form that made him a star at Chelsea while the international retirement of iconic goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev exposes problems between the posts.
Key player: Artem Dzyuba.
Keep an eye on: Aleksandr Golovin.
Predicted finish: Round of 16.
Odds: $61.

Virgil van Dijk will miss the Euros. Credit:Getty Images

Group C

Fixtures (All on Optus Sport, all times AEST):

  • Austria v North Macedonia, 2am Monday June 14
  • Netherlands v Ukraine, 5am Monday June 14
  • Ukraine v North Macedonia, 11pm Thursday June 17
  • Netherlands v Austria, 5am Friday June 18
  • Ukraine v Austria, 2am Tuesday June 22
  • North Macedonia v Netherlands, Tuesday June 22

Austria
Remarkably, the Austrians have never won a European championship match but will be licking their lips with a draw that gives them plenty of hope of changing that. They avoided any of the top-ranked sides, pitted alongside the Netherlands, Ukraine and minnows North Macedonia.
Strengths: Austria are sound in attack, at least on paper. David Alaba often plays in the midfield for his country, supporting Marko Arnautovic in attack with Bundesliga regulars Marcel Sabitzer and Sasa Kalajdzic. They have the ability and firepower to hurt a lot of opponents.
Weaknesses: Stability. Austria have tinkered with their formation regularly and the results have been inconsistent. They weren’t impressive in the qualifiers and their warm-up games haven’t provided a huge amount of confidence. A 4-0 thrashing by Denmark exposed frailties while they are yet to settle on their first choice goalkeeper.
Key player: David Alaba.
Keep an eye on: Christophe Baumgartner.
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $91.

The Netherlands
After missing the past two major tournaments, the Dutch are back. They were impressive in qualification with a new generation who have provided plenty of optimism under the guidance of coach Frank De Boer. They are confident of challenging the bigger teams for the title, even if they will be without star defender Virgil van Dijk.
Strengths: Creativity. The new breed of Oranje is as skilful as some of the previous great sides, particularly through the midfield. Barcelona youngster Frankie de Jong is sublime in possession, so too PSG-bound Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum while experienced Feyenoord forward Steven Berghuis enters this tournament on the back of a stellar domestic season.
Weaknesses: Defence. The absence of van Dijk due to injury threatens to expose frailties in the Dutch side. Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt has been inconsistent with his club while ageing goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is past his best.
Key player: Memphis Depay.
Keep an eye on: Frankie De Jong.
Predicted finish: Round of 16.
Odds: $12.

North Macedonia
The Macedonians have qualified for their first major tournament and could prove to be a tricky opponent despite their small stature. They qualified through the play-offs but have since impressed, notably gaining a shock win over Germany in a friendly this year.
Strengths: Depth. The Macedonians are experiencing their first golden generation. The core of their starting squad is playing in the top leagues of Europe and possesses a good balance of youth and experience.
Weaknesses: Quality. Despite the increased depth, by their standards, there still isn’t enough quality to consider them even a dark horse. They enter the Euros as the lowest-ranked nation and although they are capable of causing an upset, they lack the strength across the park to test enough of the bigger nations.
Key player: Goran Pandev.
Keep an eye on: Eljif Elmas.
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $501.

Ukraine
The Ukranians may not be discussed widely as a dark horse but could well be a team that causes many surprises. They qualified comfortably, topping a group that included Portugal and Serbia undefeated. Former star and now coach Andriy Shevchenko had his team firing in the qualifiers but form has been inconsistent since. A win over Spain last year was the highlight but they have struggled with draws against Kazakhstan and Bahrain.
Strengths: Midfield. Ukraine’s best asset comes in the form a trio who are plying their trade at the highest level. Ruslan Malinovskyi of Atalanta, Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City and West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko form the strength in Ukraine’s spine that could propel them past the group stage.
Weaknesses: Consistency. Ukraine have proven they can match it with the best recently but are just as likely to slump to upset defeats against minnows.
Key player: Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Keep an eye on: Ruslan Malinovskyi.
Prediction: Round of 16.
Odds: $76.

Group D

Fixtures (All on Optus Sport, all times AEST):

  • Scotland v Czech Republic, 11pm Monday June 14
  • England v Croatia, 11pm Sunday June 13
  • Croatia v Czech Republic, 2am Saturday June 19
  • England v Scotland, 5am Saturday June 19
  • Croatia v Scotland, 5am Wednesday June 23
  • Czech Republic, 5am Wednesday June 23

Croatia
The Croatians made world football stand up with their stunning run to the World Cup final in 2018 but it appears that was the crescendo of their golden generation. Since the Russia games, several big names have retired and they are yet to be replaced by players of equal promise. However, even if Croatia have dropped off since, they remain a formidable side and could again go far.
Strengths: Midfield. Croatia’s midfield is among the best on show in these Euros. Former world player of the year Luka Modric remains at the helm wearing the armband in an engine room that boasts Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic. They are all tireless and technically superb with enough creativity to unlock space.
Weaknesses: Age and pace. Those who remain from the heroics of 2018 are all now on the wrong side of 30 and a central defence that was never the quickest is at risk of being exposed. Croatia rotated rarely in Russia but that might be required with key players now veterans. This could reveal a lack of depth.
Key player: Mateo Kovacic. .
Keep an eye on: Duje Caleta-Car.
Prediction: Quarter-finals.
Odds: $31.

Czech Republic
The Czechs’ glory years appear to be behind them. A team that once boasted Pavel Nedved, Tomas Rosicky and Karel Poborsky has few stars even close to that stature. However, they still have enough strength to give them some hope of testing stronger sides and escaping the group.
Strengths: Midfield. The engine room holds their most quality. West Ham’s Tomas Soucek is perhaps the most notable name but the hard-working Vladimir Darida provides plenty of stability.
Weaknesses: Quality and experience. The Czechs haven’t been at a major tournament since Euro 2016 and even then they disappointed. They lack enough quality throughout their squad to intimidate Croatia and England in their group, making qualifying as one of the top third-placed teams their best chance of progression.
Key player: Patrik Schick.
Keep an eye on: Adam Hlozek.
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $101.

England
The Three Lions enter this tournament as second favourites and that’s not a tag many of their fans are comfortable with. There’s no doubting the English are entering what looks to be a golden generation and their form in qualifying supports that. Striker Harry Kane is one of the world’s best, they boast a plethora of the game’s more exciting wingers and incredibly have nine players under the age of 23 in a squad that has a healthy balance of youth, experience and a popular coach.

Harry Kane leads a star-studded England. Credit:AP

Strengths: Pace. England has this in abundance. Coupled with technical players and a great squad depth, the Three Lions could terrorise teams with their speed in attack. Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Kyle Walker have clocked speeds of over 36km/h or higher this season. However, it’s not just their running speed but ball speed. Raheem Steerling’s pace doesn’t change much with the ball at his feet either making England incredibly hard to defend against.
Weaknesses: Defence and the draw. Harry Maguire could miss the opening two games, John Stones is prone to concentration lapses while Tyrone Mings’ brain-snap against Austria in a friendly last week left a lot to be desired. More problematic for England is the draw. Should they top their group as expected, they will likely face one of France, Germany or Portugal in the second round. Even if they escape that, Spain await in the quarter finals which could make a campaign built upon so much promise end with the familiar disappointment of so many before.
Star player: Harry Kane.
Keep an eye on: Jude Bellingham.
Predicted finish: Round of 16.
Odds: $6.50.

Scotland
After a 23-year absence, the Scots are back in a major tournament. They reached the Euros the hard way, qualifying with a penalty shoot-out win against Serbia in the play-offs. It pitted them as an unseeded nation in the draw, handed a tricky group with Croatia, Czech Republic and bitter rivals England
Strengths: Midfield. Scotland will likely deploy a five-man midfield that puts quantity in the area of the park they have the most quality. Liverpool fullback Andrew Robertson will play the wing-back role, with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, Chelsea’s promising youngster Billy Gilmour and Scott McGinn of Aston Villa make Scotland hard to break down in the middle of the park.
Weakness: Attack. Scotland’s midfield strength isn’t replicated by what’s up top. Direct forwards, few of them and not of the standard of rival teams in their group stage.
Key player: Andrew Robertson.
Keep an eye on: Lindon Dykes.
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $226.

Group E

Fixtures (All on Optus Sport, all times AEST):

  • Poland v Slovakia, 2am Tuesday June 15
  • Spain v Sweden, 2am Tuesday June 15
  • Sweden v Slovakia, 11pm Friday June 18
  • Spain v Poland, 5am Sunday June 20
  • Sweden v Poland, 2am Thursday June 24
  • Slovakia v Spain, 2am Thursday June 24

Poland
They boast the best player in the world but have to overcome the tag of perennial underperformers. If their recent form is to go by, that might not be changing in this tournament. Poland go in having won once in their past five games and that was against minnows Andorra. They have the quality to be a dark horse but must find the consistency to match that talent.
Strengths: Attack. That is hardly a surprise given the man that leads it: Robert Lewandowski. The 2020 world player of the year will be flanked by Arkadiusz Milik and supported by a solid midfield that should provide consistent and quality service. However, a more pragmatic style of play under Paulo Sousa could stifle Poland’s attack.

World’s best: Robert Lewandowski enters the Euro’s in red-hot form. Credit:AP

Weaknesses: Defence. While goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is as reliable as they come, he looks to be busy in the upcoming tournament. The back line in front of him looks old and inconsistent. For all the strength of the Polish side, their defence could undermine their hopes of causing an upset.
Key player: Robert Lewandowski.
Keep an eye on: Piotr Zielinski.
Predicted finish: Round of 16.
Odds: $56.

Slovakia
Slovakia have been known to cause upsets in tournaments in the past (just ask Italy in 2010) but the Euros don’t look like one of those occasions. They enter the tournament in less than inspiring form. Matches against Cyprus and Malta were meant to be confidence-boosters but ended in a draw while their Nations League results last year – defeats to Czech Republic, Scotland and Israel highlighted – frailties in an ageing squad that is struggling in front of goal.
Strengths: Midfield. Alongside talisman Marek Hamsik, Slovakia boast a solid midfield with plenty of experience with Juraj Kucka, Stanislav Lobotka and Ondrej Duda.
Weaknesses: Attack. Slovakia enter the Euros without a recognised experienced centre-forward and their supporting strikers don’t appear to be of a level that can upset the bigger teams in the tournament.
Key player: Marek Hamsik..
Keep an eye on: Milan Skriniar. .
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $501.

Spain
After disappointing displays at the 2018 World Cup and 2016 Euros, Spain have undergone a period of rejuvenation and look to be close to their best. Strangely enough, that comes despite not having a single representative from Real Madrid in their squad. Nevertheless, there’s no hiding Spain’s new crop, continuing the country’s football rebirth of the past decade. Coach Luis Enrique could deliver more silverware to the Iberian nation.
Strengths: Midfield. The middle of the park is littered with talent for the Spanish. So much so, even the absence of Busquets for the start of the tournament doesn’t seem to pose too great a threat. Marcos Llorente, Thiago Alcantara, Koke and the 18-year-old Pedri are good enough to take the Spanish to the final.
Weaknesses: COVID-19. Before the tournament, it looked to be a lack of depth in their centre forwards but now it is off the field. Defender Diego Llorente and midfielder Sergio Busquets are in doubt to play having contracted the virus that has crept into the camp. The risk of further cases could derail Spain more than any opponent.
Key player: Thiago Alcantara.
Keep an eye on: Alvaro Morata.
Predicted finish: Finalists.
Odds: $8.50.

Sweden
Having avoided a tough draw, the Swedes are in a position to cause a surprise or two but perhaps lack the quality to go deep. They have plenty of experience and a defence marshalled by Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof will be hard to break down. However, it’s in attack that they have more firepower than prior tournaments. A youthful forward line could be depleted, however, by the absence of Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski who contracted COVID-19 in the build-up to the first game.
Strengths: Defensive structure. The Swedes have a great ability to absorb pressure. They are content to spend long spells without possession, stifling teams with a disciplined and organised system that is hard to break down.
Weaknesses: Attack. Even though they boast one of the most exciting young forwards in world football, Alexander Isak, there isn’t enough firepower around him to make Sweden a threatening attacking unit. Dejan Kulusevski’s positive test for COVID-19 is a bitter blow to their forward line while Marcus Berg is not the threat he once was.
Key player: Victor Lindelof.
Keep an eye on: Alexander Isak.
Predicted finish: Round of 16.
Odds: $76.

France’s World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe is among a cavalcade of superstars at France.Credit:Matthias Schrader

Group F

Fixtures (All on Optus Sport, all times AEST):

  • Hungary v Portugal, 2am Wednesday June 16
  • France v Germany, 5am Wednesday June 16
  • Portugal v Germany, 2am Sunday June 20
  • Spain v Poland, 5am Sunday June 20
  • Portugal v France, 5am Thursday June 24
  • Germany v Hungary, 5am Thursday June 24

France
The world champions enter the Euros as the firm favourites for the title. A quick glance at their roster explains why. There is not a hint of a weakness in a squad which boasts some of the biggest names in world football: Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Raphael Varane to name a few. Their coach, Didier Deschamp, oversees a disciplined structure. It’s one that makes an already formidable side dominant.
Strengths: Everything. France have quality all over the pitch, depth to match it and form that justifies their tag as favourites. If you had to put the microscope on the sharpest aspect of the team, it’s their forward line. Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Kingsley Coman and now the return of Karim Benzema make this something of a dream team.
Weaknesses: If there’s a criticism of France, it’s that it doesn’t always play to the strengths of their attacking and creative players. Deschamps’ style has sometimes been criticised as being overly pragmatic but it still ensures France are incredibly difficult to defeat.
Star player: Kylian Mbappe.
Keep an eye on: Karim Benzema.
Predicted finish: Champions.
Odds: $5.50 fav.

Germany
World Cup-winning coach Joachim Loew will oversee his last tournament after 15 years at the helm. After the disappointment of the 2018 World Cup, he’ll be determined to finish on a high. While his squad might not appear as dangerous as previous ones,they are coming out of a rejuvenation and must be considered among the likely challengers.
Strengths: Midfield. The German side oozes quality through the middle of the park. Stalwalt Toni Kroos is the perhaps the highlighted of a star-studded engine room that includes Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, Bayern Munich duo Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka with wingers like Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane. They’ll be organised and hard-working with enough flair to match it with anyone.
Weaknesses: Strikers. It’s not that Germany don’t have good forwards, there just isn’t much depth when up front. Thomas Mueller and Timo Werner are the two obvious candidates but a shortage of attackers could leave Loew without many alternatives on the bench.
Key player: Thomas Mueller.
Keep an eye on: Kai Havertz

.
Predicted finish: Quarter-finals.
Odds: $8.50.

Portugal
The reigning European champions don’t enter this year’s tournament with expectations to retain the crown. That could provide the perfect platform. Against them, however, is their draw in the “group of death”. With a star-studded side, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal shouldn’t feel it hinders their chance of progression to the knockout stages but it could pit them on a more difficult path to the final if they don’t qualify in pole position, including a possible round-of-16 showdown against England.

Ronaldo’s Portugal are among the favourites for Euro 2020.Credit:TT News Agency.

Strengths: Attack. While Ronaldo is the biggest name, he’s far from the only danger man. Portugal are littered with talent in all areas up front with Joao Felix and Diogo Jota while Andre Silva has rekindled his best form, having scored 28 goals in the Bundesliga last season.
Weaknesses: The draw. A squad as stable and talent-rich as Portugal’s doesn’t have many obstacle weaknesses but the group could be their undoing. Even then, the knockout stage is a tricky road with a likely games against England, Spain or the Netherlands in the second round.
Star player: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Keep an eye on: Bernardo Silva.
Predicted finish: Semi-finals.
Odds: $9.50.

Hungary
The Mighty Magyars couldn’t have asked for a harder draw. Pitted alongside world champions, France, reigning European champions Portugal and the might of Germany, the odds couldn’t be stacked higher against them progressing. They return to a major tournament after reaching the knock-out stages of the last Euros and enter with great form – undefeated in 11 – but that could count for little here.
Strengths: Between the posts. Hungary have a strong side but one of the standouts is their goalkeeper, Peter Gulacsi. The 31-year-old is one of the Bundesliga’s best goalkeepers, having forged himself into a star with RB Leipzig. He is one of the few with Champions League experience, which can only help him in a major tournament, and with the draw could well be one of the busiest goalkeepers at the Euros.
Weakness: Depth. While the draw is the obvious issue, Hungary have few standout players. Only four are in any of Europe’s “big four” leagues and their midfield and spine looms as a potential weak point France, Portugal and Germany could heavily exploit.
Key player: Adam Szalai carries a lot of Hungary’s hopes.
Keep an eye on: Roland Sallai.
Predicted finish: Group stage.
Odds: $501.

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