Excitement is building ahead of this summer’s European Championships, and with England tipped as one of the top favourites to win the tournament, fans of the Three Lions are beginning to think this may be the year that England get their hands on another major international title.
Winning any major tournament is no easy feat, and it’s fair to say that England will need a lot of momentum and luck if they are to enjoy glory in the final at Wembley. Nonetheless, just for fun we’ve put together a potential route which ends in Harry Kane lifting the trophy on July 11th. Read on to find out how Gareth Southgate’s men could end all those years of hurt.
England’s opening match sees them pitted against the very team that inflicted heartbreak on them at the last major tournament. Croatia got the better of the Three Lions in the World Cup semi-final in 2018, denying England a chance to face France in the showpiece match. Now, they have a chance for revenge, and with the team having got the better of Croatia at Wembley in the Nations League a few years ago, they are favourites in the England vs Croatia betting odds, and we’re backing them to make home advantage count at Wembley. Prediction: England 2-1 Croatia
The second match has special significance, as Scotland make their way down to Wembley to face England for the first time in a major tournament since Euro 96. It’s sure to be a wonderful occasion, and we fancy Scotland to push England close and make a real game of it. Prediction: England 1-1 Scotland
England’s other group-stage opponents are the Czech Republic, who England beat twice in qualifying for the tournament. With that in mind, we fancy Southgate’s side to win comfortably, and ensure their qualification to the last 16 as group winners. Prediction: England 3-0 Czech Republic
The permutations for the round of 16 are not easy to work out, but England know that if they win the group, they are guaranteed to face the runners up from Group F. However, that is unlikely to be an easy match, as Group F contains all of France, Germany and Portugal. For the sake of our predictions, we’ve tipped France to win the group and Portugal to finish second, so England would be taking on Cristiano Ronaldo and co. at Wembley.
It would be an extremely tough match, but we have a sneaking feeling England would hold their own and advance on penalties. They broke the penalty hoodoo by beating Colombia at the 2018 World Cup, and we fancy the Three Lions to roar again should the game go to a shootout. Prediction: England (p) 0-0 Portugal
A likely quarter-final opponent would be Spain, who we fancy to end their run of going out in the last 16 and make it through to the last eight to face England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. It would be England’s first match of the tournament away from Wembley, but we think the momentum and belief gained from knocking out Portugal would give the team the impetus to put in a stellar showing against Spain. Prediction: England 2-0 Spain
The semi-finals and final are set to be played at Wembley, and you feel that home advantage could spur England on to reach that elusive final. Their opponents in the last four could be one of any number of top teams, but we’ve tipped the Netherlands to make it to the semi-finals and stand in England’s way. With a major final on the line, it would likely be a nervy match, but we’re backing England to get the job done, possibly needing extra time to do so. Prediction: England 1-0 Netherlands (after extra time)
Picture the scene. Thousands of England fans milling around Wembley Way. Horns tooting and flags draped over every building. A feel-good factor gripping the nation in the wake of England’s first major final since they won the World Cup in 1966. It would be an occasion to savour, and one that would live long in the memory of all England fans.
We’re backing France to make it all the way through to the final, and given the attacking riches in their squad, it would be the toughest test of Southgate’s managerial career. However, with the strength of a nation willing them on in the familiar environs of Wembley, we fancy that England would produce a worthy performance and get the better of the world champions, consigning France to another runners up medal at the European Championships, and ending those 55 years of hurt. We can already picture Kane holding the trophy aloft while the confetti swirls around a jubilant England team. Prediction: England 2-1 France