England are set to head into Euro 2020 as the pre-tournament favourites with the bookmakers, but can Gareth Southgate’s side live up to their odds?
Three years on from finishing fourth at the FIFA World Cup, a number of the talented youngsters the country has produced in recent years has had time to develop and gain invaluable experience.
But are the oddsmakers forgetting about some obvious flaws? Vwin are one of many bookmakers who have priced them at 5/1. However, we have our doubts:
Harry Kane was the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner. The Tottenham Hotspur striker was aided by playing against the likes of Tunisia (2 goals), Panama (2 goals) and Colombia (1 goal).
The Three Lions have a favourable group again this time, with Scotland, the Czech Republic and Croatia. Kane is also supported by talented playmakers in Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling; all are also goalscorers in their own rights.
On paper, the attack isn’t a problem. The defence on the other hand…
Jordan Pickford is easily the poorest goalkeeper among the eight favourites:
France: Hugo Lloris
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois
Germany: Manuel Neuer
Portugal: Rui Patricio
Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma
Spain: David de Gea
Netherlands: Jasper Cillessen
In front of the error-prone Pickford are Harry Maguire and John Stones. Both threats from attacking set-pieces, but both get caught out defensively time and time again. Southgate doesn’t have great protection for his goalkeeper.
Kyle Walker played in a back three at the World Cup but could play at right-back in this tournament as England have opted for a back four in recent times. Either way, the Manchester City man isn’t the best defensively either.
England’s run to the semi-finals in the World Cup was hugely down to a favourable draw. Tunisia and Panama were hardly the who’s who of football in the group stage. And Gareth Southgate’s first test was up against Belgium in their final group game, which they lost 0-1.
His side wasted numerous opportunities to beat Colombia in the second round, conceding a late equaliser to Yerry Mina. They scraped through courtesy of a penalty shootout.
Whilst Belgium had to face Brazil in the quarter-finals and France against Uruguay, England beat Sweden…
Southgate’s next test was against Croatia in the semi-finals. The South-eastern European nation had progressed on two penalty shootouts in the previous two knockout rounds, but despite all the additional minutes they had played, they were able to beat England in extra-time.
The manager made a huge mistake in taking off Raheem Sterling in the second half. Although the Manchester City forward hadn’t had his shooting boots on all tournament, he had been their only outlet as Croatia put the pressure on. England never looked like scoring again.
Ultimately, the better side progressed as the former Middlesbrough manager lost the tactical matchup. Whilst there are question marks over the managers of Belgium, Germany and Spain, you’d still expect the likes of Roberto Martinez, Joachim Low and Luis Enrique to get the better of the England boss.