Finally, football is back. The Euros kicks off today and the high hopes for the “Three Lions” to bring “it” home are more than ever. We have a young, balanced, skilful squad and should certainly do better than the last woeful tournament at the World Cup 2014. Here at Fresh Football writer Chris Baker and editor Oli Price-Bates give their verdict on what will happen in the coming weeks.
Who will win it?
Chris: I can only see one winner, France. Their squad is packed with natural talent and they are best equipped to win with a good group of young and experienced players. Home advantage will also pay a major part like it did in 1984.
Oli: It is hard to look past France, but I don’t like going with the norm. I think after a comfortable group qualification, Germany might just make themselves European as well as World Champions.
Chris: Belgium I feel will surprise a few people, the likes of De Bruyne and Hazard could set themselves up for a very successful tournament. Defensively they are solid and they have a great balance in their squad.
Oli: After a disappointing last few tournaments, I think Portugal could be right amongst it again. They’ve got some brilliant young talent coupled with the experienced duo of Quaresma and Cristiano up top. Getting through the group should be relatively easy for them and set them up nicely heading into the latter stages.
Chris: I can see Alvaro Morata having a very good Euros and I’m expecting big things from him. This will basically be an audition for him with Madrid looking to re-sign and sell on; could he prove his worth and stay with Madrid?
Oli: Following on from my last prediction, I think Cristiano Ronaldo will really excel in this tournament. Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann should also be influential.
Prediction for England
Chris: I look at the current squad and think yeah they could easily get to the final but we’ve been here before. We have been surreal in friendlies beating Germany and Portugal so I’ll be confident and I hope we can prove everyone wrong and win it, but I feel teams can get at our frail defence so I think at best semi-finals.
Oli: My heart says semi-final, my head says quarter-finals. I think we need to get to the last four for it to be a successful tournament so as an England fan I’ll say semis.
Chris: Call me crazy, but I have a slight feeling Germany might come undone at the Euros. They haven’t looked good in warm up games and have had some serious injuries to players. We all know Germany is a tournament team though but I’d keep an eye on how they do.
Oli: I’m also going for a big team, Spain. Like Germany they haven’t looked great as of late and their group isn’t the easiest.
Chris: Austria, Topped their qualifying group winning nine games and I have a feeling they could certainly be the surprise of the tournament. I was more confident before they got beat by Holland in their last game but I’ll put that down to Pre-Euro nerves.
Oli: For me it’ll be Switzerland. They’ve got some top quality in that squad and will be playing relatively close to home. I think they’ll get through the group and as they showed against Spain previously, they can beat the very best.
Chris: Leroy Sane, he was influential last season for Schalke and I can see him having a wonder tournament with Germany. He is a very gifted winger and with interest from Manchester City there is no better place to showcase the world why he is so highly rated.
Oli: I think Olivier Giroud could surprise as few and also Raheem Sterling if he starts. From the smaller teams I’m hoping Embolo can impress, a player I like a lot.
Chris: I’m backing France to win it so I think Antoine Griezmann will top the goal scoring list and help them do exactly that. Such a clinical finisher and will certainly run riot this tournament starting tonight.
Oli: It’s got to be Cristiano again for me.