When the coronavirus pandemic inevitably led to the postponement of Euro 2020, the already-qualified nations were left frustrated that they were unable to receive their reward for qualifying for a major tournament. While the year-long delay will not lead to many differences with regards to pre-tournament betting odds, the reality is that some nations are in a much better position than they were 12 months ago, a scenario which works vice-versa with some players not having age on their sides. With that in mind, which managers and countries stand to benefit or be put at a disadvantage now that the competition is scheduled to start in June 2021.
While defending champions Portugal head into Euro 2021 having failed to progress through to the UEFA Nations League Finals, they are now blessed with an array of potential long-term replacements for Cristiano Ronaldo. The likes of Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto all have the ability to fill the void which will eventually be left by the global superstar, but that does not necessarily mean that Portugal are better equipped to win this tournament. With long-serving Pepe turning 38 later this month and Jose Fonte now 37, there is a solid argument that A Selecao are weaker in defence, something which could make the difference in a group involving France and Germany.
Having failed to score in a double-header against Denmark at the back end of 2020, many England fans will feel that the Three Lions are not in good shape ahead of this competition. However, the delay has allowed the likes of Manchester City's Phil Foden to make the transition from a fringe prospect into a world-class talent, putting him in a position where he could be a difference maker. John Stones and Michael Keane have also improved considerably from the level of performances they were producing 12 months ago, particularly Stones who deserves huge credit for reestablishing himself as a main man in Pep Guardiola's backline at the Premier League leaders. Southgate has decisions to make regarding whether to use a back three or four, but it's a welcome problem to have given the lack of world-class defenders currently at his disposal.
Of the fringe contenders, Turkey may have been most relieved to have another year to prepare for this competition. The main issue last time around was the long-term knee injury to Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral, a key component to the team when goals had not always been forthcoming at the other end. With new Liverpool signing Ozan Kabak now also in contention, Senol Gomes has three world-class players for the middle of his backline, but playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu enjoying the best season of his career at AC Milan has given further reason for Turkish supporters to be excited about their prospects in this competition.
Scotland fans will simply be happy to be participating in their first major tournament since 1996, but that is not to say that Scotland cannot make an impact. Goals have been a major issue in the long term but Steve Clarke's side were able to put together a nine-match unbeaten streak to eventually qualify through the playoffs. This is also a nation which is yet to introduce Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour into the fold, and this squad and fanbase will relish the chance of competing against England, Croatia and Czech Republic as rank outsiders. body check tags ::