France to struggle & Foden to shine? – BBC pundits make Euro 2020 predictionson June 10, 2021 at 5:27 am

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Who will win, and how will England, Scotland and Wales do? BBC pundits predict what will happen at Euro 2020Euro 2020: BBC pundits make their European Championship predictions – BBC Sport

By Chris BevanBBC Sport

Dates: 11 June-11 July. Venues: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville and St Petersburg. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

Twenty-four teams will contest the tournament, including holders Portugal and world champions France – who are both in Group F along with three-time winners Germany and Hungary.

But who will get their hands on the Henri Delaunay trophy this time, and how will home hopes England, Scotland and Wales get on?

Here, BBC Sport’s TV and radio presenters and pundits predict what will happen during the next four weeks.

Who will win Euro 2020?

Alan Shearer: France to win it. They have got talent all over the pitch.

Gary Lineker: It’s hard to look beyond France – they were losing finalists five years ago, they won the World Cup three years ago and now they have Karim Benzema too. They’ll be improved and they have brilliant young players too. They have to be favourites.

Portugal are not exactly an outsider because they won the thing four years ago but they have a very good team and they’ll have a chance.

Alex Scott: Belgium are very strong and their players are all shining at the moment. I’ve worked a lot with their manager Roberto Martinez on TV this season, so I know his personality as well as his management style. They will have a special environment in their squad, as well as some hugely talented players.

Chris Waddle: I’d love to say England, but I’m going for Italy. I’ve watched them a few times and I really like the way Roberto Mancini has set them up to play on the front foot – they are not like a typical Italy side who shut up shop and try to nick a goal on the counter-attack.

Mancini’s side are clever on the ball, and they can still defend very well too. It is going to take a good side to knock them out.

Rio Ferdinand: France have got the most depth and the most talent, that’s why they are my favourites.

Micah Richards: Belgium are going to win the Euros because Kevin de Bruyne – the best midfielder in the world – is going to light it up. The team has got that experience now that they need too.

I actually think France are going to struggle. They have got too much quality and that means too many arguments. You know what it’s like in the camp – it will be who’s taking the free-kick? Who’s taking the penalty? There will be too much ego in that squad, so they are going to struggle – you heard it here first.

Karen Carney: Germany or Portugal – teams you might not have down as the favourite – could snatch it. Germany have a lot of pace and the Portugal team is stacked with attacking options. When you have Cristiano Ronaldo in the side, anything can happen. You can’t ignore Portugal when they are the holders either.

But I’ll go with France to win it. They have the experience, players in form and that winning mentality. They do have a top-heavy squad in terms of a lot of attacking options but I think they will be too strong.

Ashley Williams: My hot take for the tournament is Turkey. Not a lot of people will be expecting them to do well but they have a good squad and will be right at it.

But France have got so much strength in depth, and that experience of winning the World Cup. With players like Kylian Mbappe, Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, they’ll have too much for anyone else.

Danny Murphy: France have got a wonderful squad and Benzema gives them more quality and competition for places at the top end of the pitch. In midfield, N’Golo Kante is just on a different level at the moment.

Being the world champions can only give them more confidence and I don’t see their group of players becoming complacent or arrogant. It is going to take a hell of a team to beat them.

Chris Sutton: Germany are off the boil a bit but they always seem to find a way and I wouldn’t rule them out. I fancy France to edge it, though. They probably have more match-winners than any other team.

Rob Green: I don’t see anyone as particularly standing out. I will pick France but Denmark are my dark horses – they look very tidy, although they might be lacking a centre-forward.

France (11) Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Williams, Karen Carney, Martin Keown, Danny Murphy, Chris Sutton, Rob Green, Mark Lawrenson, James McFadden
Belgium (2) Alex Scott, Micah Richards
Italy (1) Chris Waddle

How will England do?

Graphic showing England play Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic in Group D

Alan Shearer: I’m just excited to see a lot of our young talent perform in a tournament environment. I’d be hopeful of England going a long way.

Gary Lineker: Us English always get excited in major tournaments. This one, though, we’ve got good reason to – we’ve got exciting young players right throughout the side.

Hopefully one of them will be the tournament’s breakout star. It could be Phil Foden or Mason Mount but Jadon Sancho is the one who I think might emerge if he gets a chance. I know in England we sometimes don’t watch too much football from abroad but I do, and this kid is sensational.

Micah Richards: I’m not sure about England at the back, but we will do well because we’ve got an array of attacking talent. Foden, Mount, Sancho, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane – the list goes on and on.

Grealish is my tip to be the tournament’s breakout star. He is the one who can take England to the next level.

Alex Scott: I can picture it now – a packed Wembley on a sunny July evening and the whole crowd rising to their feet and roaring when England run out for the European Championship final.

I am being an optimistic fan there, I know that. But after the year that everyone has had, I think we are all allowed to dream a little aren’t we?

Martin Keown: The system was key for England reaching the last four at the World Cup and in Russia we showed we have started to learn how to get the job done in tournament football.

Now we want to see this young England team mature and hopefully they will have the right balance to succeed – that is what Gareth Southgate has been building towards – but I think you have to realise how tough a task they face this time, firstly in getting out of our group.

After that, well, France look favourites to win it, but they are in a very strong group with Germany and Portugal. For England to reach the semi-finals they are going to have to get past one of those three teams, either in the last-16 or quarter-finals depending on if we finish first or second in our group.

Rio Ferdinand: if you look at England’s route to the final, it’s a tough set of teams. If they get to the quarters or semis with the players they have got, that would be decent.

Danny Murphy: The Euros is a tougher tournament to make progress in than the World Cup because you don’t get as many weak sides. But, if you are a top team, that higher standard can help by building confidence and momentum if you are beating good opposition consistently.

So, for England I think the old adage is right about not worrying what comes next. We have to try and win all our group games and we get who we get after that.

With the quality we have got, especially in the attacking areas, I think we should be confident enough to back ourselves to get to the last four and then see what happens.

Gary Lineker: We have a big advantage this time too, because it’s the first time in a long time we have a real strength in depth. After a season that’s been so tiring under difficult circumstances and concertinaed it will be important to rotate.

People talk about what Southgate’s starting line-up will be, but it doesn’t matter because it will probably be different every game. He won’t have a specific starting XI but what he can do is rotate, and he can do it during games too.

Southgate likes a high press, and likes to play dynamic football – and he has five substitutes to freshen things up with players who are not only ready to come on but are of equal quality too. Not many sides can do that.

This Euros will be special hopefully from an English perspective because of the amount of young talent in the squad. I think we’ll play the kind of football we’ve not seen from an English side before.

What about Scotland?

Graphic showing Scotland play the Czech Republic, England and Croatia in Group D

Gary Lineker: Scotland will do well to get out of the group but it’s great to see them in a tournament after all these years. The main thing for them is being there.

They used to produce so many great footballers – particularly in my time. They’ve had a real dearth of talent in recent years but now you can see players emerging – Andy Robertson, John McGinn, Scott McTominay, Kieran Tierney are all talented individuals.

There’s the chance of them getting to the knockout stages because in four of the six groups, third place gets you through. That will help.

James McFadden: We need to have belief – everyone outside Scotland expects us to go and mess it up. A chance to beat England is there too, and I think we can cause that upset.

Pat Nevin: We have to get through the group stage first, which is something Scotland have never done at a major tournament before. That is all Steve Clarke wants to do, or at least that’s what he’s thinking about first, anyway, but that’s not going to be easy – it’s a tough group.

Don’t write us off though – England are favourites but I wouldn’t be surprised if Scotland came third, and that would probably be good enough to get through if they win one of their games – then it’s just about getting the right draw.

Micah Richards: Scotland are all right. They’ve got McGinn and McTominay – or McSauce as I call him – plus Robertson, Tierney and Che Adams. Don’t worry about the Scots, they will work hard as well. Don’t sleep on Scotland.

Rio Ferdinand: Scotland haven’t got as much in terms of quality – no disrespect. They don’t have a Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey like Wales to give them that little chance in a tight game. They’ll all have to play at their maximum to make any progress.

Ashley Williams: I’m hopeful they can do well and get out of their group. I think for the first time in ages they have a really good team. I’m sure the whole of Scotland is excited. I’m looking forward to watching them because they play some exciting stuff.

And will Wales spring another surprise?

Graphic showing Wales play Switzerland, Turkey and Italy in Group A

Gary Lineker: Wales did brilliantly five years ago. Can they do that again? I rather doubt it – qualifying was a huge achievement in itself.

Gareth Bale is world class, but coming towards the latter stages of his career. They’ve got Aaron Ramsey as well, and good young players like David Brooks, Harry Wilson and Ethan Ampadu – so some emerging talent. They could get through the group stage.

Rio Ferdinand: If they can do anything like the last Euros then, wow, we’re looking for big things. If Bale is on song he can produce moments that define games. But getting out of the group will be a good tournament for them.

Mark Lawrenson: Wales need Bale to be at the top of his game, which he isn’t, and for Ramsey to be fully fit and match sharp, which he isn’t either. This looks like a very difficult group for them.

Lawro is taking on the 5 live pundits to make predictions for every game at Euro 2020. You can see his scores for the first set of group games on the BBC website on Friday.

Micah Richards: Wales are in transition a little bit and, although they’ve still got Bale, I don’t think they’ll be the force of a few years ago.

Ashley Williams: This is another major tournament for Wales and the nation is already buzzing for it. Hopefully we have a really good run at it and the players can enjoy themselves like we did at Euro 2016. This is a different team but they have some exciting young players – it’s a hard group but hopefully we can go deep into the tournament.

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