Some Euro 2024 Predictions

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Summer has truly begun with the start of Euro 2024, and there’s no better way to celebrate than making a fool of myself trying to predict the unpredictable. We are in Germany for the 17th edition of the competition as 24 teams attempt to cement themselves into the history books. The stories are about to be written: could the hosts, Germany, become the fourth host nation to win, can the Italians defend their crown, or will it finally come home?

Winners – France

I am so boring, and I apologise profusely, but I just cannot see the French failing to avenge the World Cup defeat two years ago and go all the way. The reasoning is simple: just look at their squad. They boast the likes of Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez, Jules Kounde, Antonie Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and the best player in the world, Kylian Mbappe. Didier Deschamps has also been there and done it; he knows how international football is not about the best lineup on paper, but the best team from all those names at his disposal. Having that X-factor in Mbappe tips it over the edge for me, he almost won that 2022 final by himself. However, there are such fine margins in tournament football. One bad result, refereeing decision, or injury can halt your campaign. Something feels off in the French camp, but I still think they’ll go all the way.

Something feels off in the French camp, but I still think they’ll go all the way

Runner Up – Germany

Germany is such a peculiar team, with recent managerial appointments leading to nothing but disappointment for a talented squad. However, the confidence seems to have returned, and the resurgence of Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz is a strong base for an even stronger tournament. German football fans are arguably the best in the world; hence, the home factor should help them overcome tricky opponents in a tough run to the final. France will be a step too far, especially with Mbappe against Joshua Kimmich seeming to be a mismatch. This would be a success for Der Mannschaft, but a 3-1 loss is my prediction.

Semi-Finalists – The Netherlands and England

I will be the first to say that I am a huge fan of Gareth Southgate. Before him, England had failed in group stages, qualifying, and every knockout game I can remember. Sure, he has had quality players, but he has given us iconic memories, left the youth and first team setup in a healthy position, and came two penalties away from a trophy. People find it hard to accept, but winning international tournaments is so hard and based significantly on luck. France has had the best squad for the last 12 years and has won one trophy. That being said, I think we will lose to France in the semi-final 1-0, and Southgate will leave. Until I see us win something, I don’t think I’ll ever have the confidence to predict England winning. As for the Dutch, this would be a great turnaround from years of catastrophic failures. Led by Virgil Van Dijk, this strong defence will help them to the semis before coming up short 2-1 to the Germans.

Dark Horses – Hungary and Czechia

These are not left-field shouts, and you’ll see a lot of people backing Hungary to go far. A 4-0 win against England took everyone by surprise, but they haven’t lost in over a year, meaning on paper they are the form team coming into the summer. A squad that contains consistent good players from the Bundesliga and a star like Dominic Szoboszlai will make them hard to beat. Both of these teams, I believe, will make it to the quarterfinals, with Czechia always being a difficult team to play. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that any dark horse will finish 4th in the group stage as soon as they gain expectations, but it is still fun to guess.

Underperformers – Belgium and Italy

This might just be pure hating from me, but something feels not right with Italy. Their squad suddenly looks quite thin after the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, and Lorenzo Insigne have left the squad. There is still plenty of quality there, but I just have an inkling of a last-16 exit. That will be matched by the Red Devils, who have never looked convincing, no matter the team they put out on the pitch. The golden generation will come up short again.

The golden generation will come up short again

Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament – Kylian Mbappe

Fresh off the announcement of his blockbuster move to Real Madrid, Mbappe will elevate himself to places only the very best have ever achieved. This man’s resume is unbelievable for his age, including a World Cup, a hattrick in a World Cup Final, and 47 goals in just 79 games. He is in great form, and there isn’t a right back in the world who can really handle him. After all that, he’ll probably be injured and barely play now, but the very best will turn up in the big moments, and I think Mbappe will score seven times with four assists.

Ones to Watch

This is a unique opportunity for players to showcase their skills on the biggest stage, perhaps setting themselves up for a big move in the upcoming transfer window. Rasmus Højlund has already made that move, along with an impressive qualifying campaign with the Danes. The 21-year-old’s power and pace should suit international football, and I can see him taking another step in his career in Germany. Declan Rice is not the flashiest player in a stacked England team, but he will be the best player on the pitch, I believe, and may come up with some big moments and a goal or two for the Three Lions.

Fresh off a Scudetto, Marcus Thuram has the game and talent to dominate the group stages in a deadly French front three. I think the German defence is going to frustrate a lot of opponents, with Manuel Neuer and Antonio Rudiger as the spine of that strong back line. Xavi Simons has taken massive leaps in the last two seasons at PSV and RB Leipzig; expect a breakout tournament for the versatile Dutchman. Speaking with pure delusion, a last dance for Cristiano Ronaldo surely means goals, right? I think I’ve underestimated Spain in hindsight, with Lamine Yamal and Rodri continuing to reach levels scarcely believable. Lastly, the Ukrainians have the potential to become a banana skin for any team, with Artem Dovbyk the pick of the bunch in another devastating front three.

Headlines

England fans will embarrass themselves. VAR will continue to annoy everyone. There will be lots of 0-0s, especially in the group stages. Someone will qualify with 3 draws, and everyone will complain about 3rd place finishes going through.

Once again, come back to these in a few weeks for comedic relief. It promises to be a wonderful tournament in a fantastic summer of sport. 

Image: Hossein Zohrevand via Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “Some Euro 2024 Predictions

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