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Kings of Europe

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We are just 81 days away from the start of Euro 2024, when 24 teams will fight to be crowned the best team on the continent of Europe. This week’s international friendlies gave us a good idea of several teams’ strengths and weaknesses as the nations worked out which final groups of players will get the call to be part of the team.

Italy won the Euros last time, but since then, a lot has changed, with several new players rising to the top. England have a golden generation again, Germany are going through a transition, France look to get past the bitter taste of losing the World Cup final, and Spain’s teenage players are stepping up when it matters.

So, which teams are the favourites to win the Euro 2024?


On paper, the favourites to win Euro 2024 have to be Didier Deschamps’ France. Since 2016, Les Bleus have had an impeccable record in international tournaments. Barring Euro 2020, they have reached at least the semi-final stage in Euro 2016 and the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup. The French boast a side stacked with talent to the brim, with goalkeeping being the only area where Steve Mandanda, Mike Maignan, Lucas Chevalier, Yehvann Diouf, and Guillaume Restes are fighting to be among the three that go to the Euros.

The defence includes players like Ibrahima Konate, William Saliba, Jules Kounde, Dayot Upamecano, and Lucas Hernandez. The midfield will, however, feature most young players like Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Youssouf Fofana, and PSG’s young gem Warren Zaire Emery.

Most of the forwards who played in the World Cup, such as Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram, and Kylian Mbappe, will be in the squad, with Moussa Diaby being the new addition.

With such a squad, France would take nothing short of winning the Euros.


After winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup and reaching the semi-finals of the 2016 Euros, Germany have fallen off the perch. Die Manschaft were knocked out in the knockout stages of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and only managed to reach the round of 16 at the 2020 Euros. However, under Julian Nagelsmann, Germany looked to have discovered an attacking flair that was sorely missing in the previous tournaments.

Germany will have a mix of experienced and youth in this tournament. Manuel Neuer will play his eighth tournament in his illustrious career as captain of the side. With the team without a world-class right-back, Nagelsmann has opted to play Joshua Kimmich (a former right-back himself) in the role. Other players in the defence are Antonio Rudiger, Jonathan Tah, Robin Koch, David Raum, Benjamin Henrichs, and new rising left-back Maximilian Mittelstadt.

In midfield, Toni Kroos starred in the recent friendlies and will be an automatic starter. Other players in the midfield are Robert Andrich, Ilkay Gundogan, Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, and Leon Goretzka.

Thomas Muller, Kai Havertz, Leroy Sane, and Niclas Fullkrug will definitely be in the squad, while others, such as Deniz Undav and Maximilian Beier, will have to finish the season on a high to be on the final team.

Barring recent tournaments, Germany have been a force to reckon with. So, Die Manschaft could reach at least the semi-finals. However, they will have to be at their best to break their 28-year trophy drought in Europe.


England were one step away from winning the Euros three years ago but were stopped by Italy. Since then, their squad has only gotten stronger. Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale are the top two goalkeepers in the nation and will surely be in the squad. However, with Nick Pope still injured, the third spot is a battle between Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone and Burnley’s James Trafford.

In defence, Gareth Southgate will have players like John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker, Ben Chillwell, Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez, and Ezri Konsa. Meanwhile, players like Trent Alexander Arnold and Recee James could make the squad if they recover from their injuries in time.

The midfielder is where England probably have the best talent with Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, James Maddison and the young star Kobbie Mainoo. One question remains whether Jordan Henderson will make the cut after leaving Saudi Pro League to join Eredivisie powerhouse Ajax.

In attack, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford will undoubtedly be picked in the final squad. Others joining them could be West Ham United’s Jarred Bowen, Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins, and possibly Cole Palmer.


After winning back-to-back three international tournaments (2008 Euro, 2010 World Cup, 2012 Euro), Spain have also fallen off the perch. They were knocked out in the round of 16 by Morocco in the 2022 World Cup. However, Spain does have a brilliant crop of youngsters who could become part of yet another golden generation.

David Raya, Unai Simon, and Ales Remiro will be the three shot-stoppers in the squad. However, ahead of them, the defence does not possess the world-class quality of some of the other teams. Aymeric Laporte now plays in the Saudi Pro League. Except for Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) and Alex Grimaldo (Bayer Leverkusen), none of the other defenders recently called up to play for a big team. Manager Luis de la Fuente recently gave Barcelona’s young defender Pau Cubarsi his first international call-up to the squad, but he is far from ready to be a starter.

Rodri will be expected to be the team’s orchestrator. Pedri and Gavi, who were expected to partner him, have had serious injury concerns and look likely to miss out. This means players like Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad and Oihan Sancet of Athletic Bilbao will have huge shoes to fill. Others likely to be called to the squad are Fabian Ruiz, Martin Zubimendi, and Alex Baena.

Alvaro Morata has been appointed captain and will have the support of players like Dani Olmo and Nico Williams. Barcelona youngster Lamine Yamal also delivered a brilliant display in the recent friendlies. Others in the reckoning are Gerard Moreno, Mikel Oyarbazal, Joselu, and Pablo Sarabia.

With such a squad, Spain are among the favorites but, at best, could reach the semi-finals.


Italy have been the perfect embodiment of ‘one moment up, next moment down’ in international football. They won the 2020 Euros but failed to qualify for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Even before that, they were knocked out of the group stage in the 2010 and 2014 editions.

Gli Azzurri do not have the best squads compared to the best teams. However, they have repeatedly proved that their tenacity is their greatest strength, something they clearly exhibited at the 2020 Euros.

Gianluigi Donnarumma has been appointed captain and will be the automatic starter in goal, with Guglielmo Vicario and Alex Meret serving as backups.

In defence, manager Luciano Spalletti can call on Giovanni de Lorenzo, Federico Dimarco, Alessandro Buongiorno, Destiny Udogie, Alessandro Bastoni, Andrea Cambiaso, Matteo Darmian, and Atalanta’s rising star Giorgio Scalvini.

In midfield, Jorginho will play in the number six position, with either Manuel Locatelli or Nicolo Barella partnering him. Since Italy play a 3-4-3 formation, Udogie and Andrea Cambiaso look likely to play as the wing-backs. Davide Frattesi, Bryan Cristante, Michael Folorunsho, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Giacomo Bonaventura will fight for the remaining places on the squad.

Spalletti tried both Giacomo Raspadori and Mateo Retegui as the number nine in the two friendlies. The latter scored a brace against Venezuela, strengthening his case for a starting spot. As usual, Federico Chiesa has to be the leading man, with others Nicolo Zaniolo, Riccardo Orsolini, Mattia Zaccagn, and Lorenzo Luccas taking up the remaining spots.

Italy could, at best, reach the semi-final, but if the previous tournament is anything to go by, always expect the unexpected.

The Netherlands 

The Netherlands also have performed well below their expectations in recent tournaments and would love to finally win their maiden trophy. The Netherlands, like Italy, don’t boast of a squad packed with talent. However, what they have is a clear strategy with the best players to execute it.

However, the Oranje are struggling in one area, with Marco Bazut, Bart Verbruggen, and Mark Flekken all currently in contention for the role. Verbruggen and Flekken played one game each in the recent Fireflies against Germany and Scotland, respectively.

In defence, the Dutch have a good crop of defenders, such as captain Virgil Van Dijk, Nathan Ake, and Matthijs de Ligt, who look on paper to be the three starters at the Euros should they be fit. They also have good backups in the experienced Daley Blind and Stefan de Vrij. Jeremie Frimpong and Denzel Dumfries can offer the perfect partnership as wingbacks.

The team is most powerful in the midfield with players such as Frenkie de Jong, Gini Wijnaldum, Xavi Simons, Tijjani Reijnders, Marten de Roon, Joey Veerman and Teun Koopmeiners.

Memphis Depay has rediscovered his form at Atletico Madrid and will carry the majority of the team’s goal-scoring burden. Donyell Malen will join him in the attack, leaving Cody Gakpo and Brian Brobbey to come off as substitutes.

This article is sponsored by Hiveloop

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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