News : EM 2021: favorites in check – France, England or Germany after all?
EM 2021: Corona, injuries and last chances! Favorites and insider tips in the check
The usual suspects – or is there another surprise like 2018 World Cup finalist Croatia? Before the European Championship, world champion France is the benchmark. Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands all have very different concerns.
Italy starts on Friday (9 p.m.) in Rome, the goal is the same for all favorites: Wembley, final, July 11th. Who is ready? What are the top teams still worried about? And where does the German national team actually stand? A favorite check just before the pan-European tournament.
France is the top favorite at the start
FRANCE – Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann in the storm, plus Paul Pogba and Champions League hero N’Golo Kanté in midfield – sounds unfair enough for the other 23 EM participants, as Real Madrid’s top striker Karim Benzema returned just in time for the start of the tournament World champion back.
Didier Deschamps’ team is a well-rehearsed collective and top staff in every position. The dress rehearsal (3-0 against Bulgaria) was a success thanks to Olivier Giroud.
Are the young Three Lions storming Europe?
ENGLAND – The talent pool is gigantic, the expectations are huge: England around World Cup top scorer Harry Kane is ready for a coup at the EM. The offensive potential around Kane, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount is extremely large, coach Gareth Southgate has a deep and variable squad.
If England wins the group, six out of seven games at Wembley are possible. The defense worries: Trent Alexander-Arnold is out, Harry Maguire is still in doubt. In the last test there was a 1-0 win against Romania.
Suddenly world class again – Italy unbeaten in 27 games
ITALY – After the missed World Cup in 2018, Italy is again one of the tight favorites. The reason for this is not only the high potential in all parts of the team, but also head coach Roberto Mancini. Since the 56-year-old has been looking after the Squadra Azzurra, things have been looking up. Most recently there were 27 games without defeat.
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Italy has a compact defense around veteran Leonardo Bonucci, with ex-Dortmund Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne the bearers of hope. In the 4-0 win against the Czech Republic, the offensive worked very well.
Last chance for the golden generation?
BELGIUM – The eternal secret favorite is no longer a secret. The brilliant offensive around world-class striker Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, who recently had an operation on his face, is among the best in Europe. There are question marks behind captain Eden Hazard, who has suffered numerous injuries.
The defense around Jan Vertonghen (34) and Toby Alderweireld (32) is also vulnerable. Belgium also has hardly any young players and has been competing with virtually the same staff for years. Lukaku scored the decisive goal in the 1-0 win against Croatia.
Return of Müller and Hummels as a big trump card?
GERMANY – National coach Joachim Löw is going to his final tournament after 15 years as boss – and wants the last big trophy that he is still missing as coach of the national team. Especially offensively, there is a lot of class with Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz, Thomas Müller and Ilkay Gündogan.
The return of Müller and Mats Hummels should also give the team stability. The team will not be well-rehearsed, however, Loew tinkered with new solutions until the final test (7: 1 against Latvia).
Will Portugal defend the title?
PORTUGAL – The defending champion looks even stronger on paper than in the 2016 triumph. Defender Ruben Dias, midfielder Bruno Fernandes and the eternal Cristiano Ronaldo embody absolute world class.
Frankfurt striker André Silva (28 Bundesliga goals this season) probably doesn’t even have a regular place. Under coach Fernando Santos, Portugal should approach the difficult group with France and Germany more cautiously.
Defense Fels van Dijk is missing from the Netherlands
NETHERLANDS – The group is feasible, the anticipation great, because the Netherlands is back in a major tournament for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. Stars like Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay whet the appetite for joyful football festivals in Amsterdam, but head coach Frank de Boer is worried.
The last European Championship tests (2-2 against Scotland) were not convincing, and important players in Virgil van Dijk and Donny van de Beek are also eliminated.
Corona worries are becoming more and more acute
SPAIN – The furious 6-0 against Germany is still present – but it could hide other problems for the Spaniards. Captain and record player Sergio Ramos was not called into the squad, midfield pillar Sergio Busquets is missing at the start of the tournament due to a corona infection.
In the midfield there are many top players for a few places, there are significantly fewer permanent players than with other top teams. The offensive around striker Alvaro Morata gives hope. There was a goalless draw against Portugal, because of the Corona case, the U21 had to contest the dress rehearsal against Lithuania.
Outsider chances for Poland and Turkey
THE SECRET TIPS – Vice world champions Croatia around Luka Modric, the Poles around world footballer Robert Lewandowski and Turkey, who is particularly strong on the defensive, should be mentioned here.
The Turks only conceded three goals in ten games in qualifying, although the European favorite France was also part of this group. This compactness should already be visible again on Friday, when the team of coach Senol Günes calls for Italy to kick off the European Championship.
Matthäus criticism: Ridle Baku is missing the DFB team at EM on problem position in defense
ce / with dpa