2020 has been a terrible year for football fans. All competitions have been suspended or canceled. And Euro 2020 has been postponed for a year.
The European tournament will finally be held within a month, from 11 June, and this is excellent news, which confirms the return of the fans to the stadiums and therefore of football as we like it.
The opener will pit a Turkey that has made huge strides against an Italy full of potential against Rome. Then seven of the next eight days will offer three games per day. The tournament will end on July 11 with the champion’s victory at Wembley Stadium in London.
24 teams will face off in what is the biggest football competition of the year. The four 2018 World Cup semi-finalists, France, Croatia, England and Belgium, will be there, along with reigning European champions Portugal and European giants Spain and Germany.
Euro 2016 finalists and reigning world champions France are among the favorites alongside England.
Led by Mbappé and Griezmann, Didier Deschamps’s side are blessed with a plethora of brilliant players who form a team very similar to the one that won the World Cup.
The Three Lions have reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and are able to win Euro 2020 and lift the trophy at home at Wembley as they did at the 1966 World Cup. Behind Harry Kane and his 34 national goals, coach Gareth Southgate is spoiled for choice, between experienced players like Marcus Rashford and young stars like Jack Grealish and Mason Mount.
Belgium is a serious rival. They recently beat Wales (3-1) and Belarus (8-0), and pulled off a draw against the Czech Republic. The team is very balanced. She mixes the experience of the “Golden Generation” of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku with a rising youth with Timothy Castagne and others.
Defending champions Portugal have been trying since winning in 2016 to become less dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo. The 36-year-old is six goals behind Iranian forward Ali Daei’s record 109 goals, but has been passed in the last three games by Liverpool winger Diogo Jota. If Jota and his sidekicks Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Andre Silva manage to score and relieve Ronaldo, Portugal will make a formidable contender for the title.
Behind them, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia and even Denmark have the capacity to make the lives of their opponents very difficult.
The games are on, but one thing is certain: Euro 2020 heralds an unpredictable tournament full of twists and turns.
African football fans will be able to follow it thanks to the tournament’s official broadcaster, StarTimes, which will broadcast all 51 Euro games live and in HD on its five sports channels, in English and French, in sub-Saharan Africa.