Football fans breathed a sigh of relief when they announced the European Championships would be postponed 12 months. Euro 2020 had initially been scheduled to occur across the continent last summer but had to be pushed back 12 months due to the coronavirus outbreak and resulting lockdowns.
The worry was the competition would be cancelled with an asterisk placed next to Euro 2020 winners in the history books. The show must go on and the biggest sporting event of the year will be played between 11 June and 11 July.
Wembley to host the finalUnlike with past competitions, there will be no host nation. Instead, this is a celebration of football to bring the biggest games and names to the public. Eleven host cities play their part as 24 teams aim to battle through the group stages and knockout rounds to reach the final. The host cities include London, Glasgow, Paris and Madrid.
Both semi-finals and the final on 11 July will take place at Wembley Stadium in London. The home of English football. But will England be there to enjoy the home advantage, or will the Three Lions end up nothing more than spectators, hosting the party but watching on from the sidelines? We'll find out soon enough.
England's only previous success came when winning the 1966 World Cup. That tournament final was played at the old Wembley, and the locals took full advantage. Fans will hope the current crop of players can live up to expectations. Despite ruling the world in 66, England has never won the European Championships. Their best efforts came when finishing third in 1968 and 1996.
Pressure on Southgate's picksAll the pressure is on manager Gareth Southgate to deliver. When the first whistle goes, it'll be on his players to give the nation something to cheer about, but the first primary task is picking the best squad—a group of players good enough to blaze a trail of glory into the history books.
They will play two friendly matches in June against Austria and Romania, both at home and both with fans in attendance. The squad will be finalised and set in stone before attention moves to England's opening game against Croatia on Sunday 13 June at 14:00 GMT. Who will make the cut?
There's so much interest in Southgate's selections that traders at major bookmakers are offering odds on individual players to be named in the squad. Bettors can pick one of the favourites or take a chance on a surprise pick, such as a rising star from the U21s to be thrown into the deep end. With the squads recently increased, there looks to be value.
The favouritesReading through the betting favourites to make England's Euro 2020 list is like a who's who of British football. All the top names are there, including Pickford at goal and from the first 15 or so players, they should be safe, almost certain to be handed a spot in the changing room. However, anything can happen at this late stage of the season, including injury in the Premier League.
Who are the leading names who can prepare for an extended season by representing their country at Euro 2020? Below you'll find a list of the ten betting favourites.
- Marcus Rashford 1/20
- Raheem Sterling 1//20
- John Stones 1/20
- Harry Kane 1/20
- Mason Mount 1/20
- Dean Henderson 1/16
- Phil Foden 1/16
- Harry Maguire 1/16
- Nick Pope 1/10
- Luke Shaw 1/10
The contendersYou don't have to follow the favourites and bet big to get something worthwhile back, of course. You can take a shot on one of the contenders available at bigger odds. If you are a follower of the Premier League with a keen eye for the form, you could turn your passion into a profit by selecting one of these dark horses.
Below are some contenders to make the squad who have decent odds attached to their name;
- Jordan Henderson 4/9
- Trent Alexander-Arnold 1/2
- Jack Grealish 4/7
- Kieran Trippier 4/6
- Eric Dyer 4/5
- James Ward-Prowse 6/5
- Ollie Watkins 7/2
- James Maddison 4/1
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka 6/1
- Michael Keane 6/1