This week sees the end of the Euro 2024 Qualifying fixtures as England progress comfortably through to the Euros topping their qualifying group and unbeaten in all eight games. England will make the trip to Germany next summer along with 19 other sides who have also secured their place alongside the hosts, while the remaining three places are yet to be secured. Teams alongside England already qualified include hosts Germany, France, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands to name a few. But who will reign supreme in the German Capital next summer?
Draws against Ukraine and North Macedonia were the only points dropped in England’s qualifying campaign as they marched through comfortably, and we are guaranteed to see them playing on the continent in June.
After a torrid 2022 Summer that saw England win no games in the UEFA Nations League including a 4-0 defeat at home to Hungary, it was looking very bleak for Southgate ahead of the World Cup. However, a respectable tournament saw them get to the quarter-finals where they were narrowly beaten by an inform France side.
After being unbeaten since then, things are looking up for the England manager with the prospect of triumph looming large at Euro 2024. With that said, the criticism for his ‘boring’ style of football is still very prominent and the calls for his sacking are very real. However, if he can deliver a European trophy at the second time of asking, surely all doubts will be forgotten about?
What about the other sides in the competition? As Scotland qualify for their second consecutive European trophy, there is excitement amongst Scots to see just how far ‘The Tartan Army’ will go after an impressive qualifying campaign. With only one defeat and a famous victory over Spain they look stronger than ever. It raises the question, could Scotland be the dark horses in Germany in 2024?
Unsurprisingly, France are the favourites for the championship in 2024, after an agonising World Cup Final defeat to Argentina last year. In what has been described as one of the best World Cup Finals ever, a 3-3 draw over 120 minutes of football ended with a penalty shootout as Gonzalo Montiel scored the deciding spot-kick to finish what was a fairytale World Cup for Lionel Messi. The Blues will be desperate to make amends and become the champions of the continent once again.
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Holders Italy have qualified, just, after a draw with Ukraine, going through as runner’s-up in the qualifying group. It hasn’t been all plain-sailing for the Italians after breaking English hearts two years ago with no World Cup qualification in 2022 and only four wins in the qualifying stages for the Euros this year. If they want to retain their title, manager Luciano Spalletti will have to turn their subpar performances around. One thing is for sure, you must never write off the Italians.
After another World Cup in 2022 that saw the Germans fail to make it out of the group, they will be determined to change the narrative in front of a home crowd at the Euros in 2024.
Their last major trophy came in 2014 when they were victorious in the World Cup Final courtesy of an extra-time goal via Mario Gotze to see off Argentina. Aside from that, their last Euro success was in 1996 when they beat Czech Republic to become Champions of Europe. Can they use the home support to their advantage?
Ten wins for Portugal, scoring 36 goals and conceding 2, they certainly can’t be ignored. The questions over whether starman Cristiano Ronaldo will play in Germany still remain. Currently, at 38 years old it will be impressive if he can remain their talisman next summer, however, it appears that the former Manchester United star is not letting up in this competition with 10 goals and 2 assists in the qualifiers. Can he steer Portugal to another European Championship?
Twenty-four teams, one European trophy and one winner. Going into an international tournament it’s always difficult to tell who will come out as champions, however, there are definitely some clear-cut favourites who stand out amongst the rest of the crop.
Will Southgate’s England be able to finally win that trophy that we have come so close to in the last 6 years? Want to see England live in their Euro preparations, why not watch them live from Wembley in the best seats in the house with Engage.