The 2020 European Championship kicks off Friday after being postponed for a year due to the COVID pandemic.
After months of waiting, a big international tournament is ready to go and we can’t wait.
France enter Euro 2020 as one of the favorites, but Portugal, Belgium and England are also strongly advised.
Fans will finally have something to celebrate because they will be allowed to attend the games, but not the full stadiums that we all dream of.
Superstar players and the knockout phase aside, this tournament will prove to be interesting with the promise of new heroes and new legends awaiting creation.
But what should we all be careful about? Here’s everything you’ll want to keep an eye on for Euro 2020.
Son of legends
We all know Kasper Schmeichel is back with the Danes to continue to create his own exceptional legacy.
He was exceptional at the 2018 World Cup, but another streak of aces will be at the European Championship in a bid to outdo the men who came before them.
Marcus Thuram – son of Lilian, the most capped French player in history – is looking to complete his three caps, while Federico Chiesa, will want to complete a feat his father Enrico has never achieved with Italy by winning the trophy.
Swedish ace Jordan Larsson is the son of Celtic icon Henrik, who has had legendary careers with Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United.
These are tough boots to fill, but Jordan has proven to be a quality striker in his own right, scoring 22 goals for Spartak Moscow this season.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic excluded from the competition due to injury, this could be his time to step out of his father’s shadow.
North Macedonia is the newcomer, in fact their icon Gorian Pandev is older than the nation itself.
The 37-year-old, who has 119 caps, helped them qualify for the Euro for the first time in their history.
Expectations will be low for the country, but with one of the weaker groups in the tournament anything can happen.
Meanwhile, Finland also managed to qualify for a European Championship for the first time.
The nation was ambitious and left nothing on the table in their attempt to reach the tournament and it paid off.
The Finnish war cry “Hakkaa paalle” meaning “Shoot them down” perfectly sums up the attitude of the country and watching them should be entertaining.
They will face their Scandinavian rivals, Denmark, in what will be a big Group B game.
30 is the new 20 it seems at Euro, with a group of experienced players having another shot at international glory.
Pandev, as mentioned above, is a beacon for his nation as seasoned defensive warriors Giorgio Chiellini (36), Pepe (38) and Jose Fonte (37) appear to be heading for one final hurray.
Former Chelsea left-back Yuri Zhirkov also continues to kick, along with goalkeepers Maarten Stekelenburg (38) and Andriy Pyatov (36), who hopes to reach 100 caps once the competition is over.
Premier League flops
If you’re a football fan you know not everyone is successful in the Premier League, that doesn’t mean they can’t have a career elsewhere.
There are several players who haven’t really shone in England who will appear in the Euros.
Fans are hopeful that none of them end up as former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga, who helped break England’s hearts at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
Swiss ace Edimilson Fernandes was not the best for West Ham, while Belgian center-backs Dedryck Boyata and Jason Denayer never entered the Premier League despite signing up for Man City.
Mario Pasalic was one of many convicted youngsters stuck in loan limbo at Chelsea, and the Croatian midfielder finally escaped their grip in 2020, leaving for Atalanta and playing well.
While Tomas Pekhart, who has never played a game for Spurs, has the potential to “make a Postiga” in Group D.
There is an incredible amount of young talent all over the world, and many starlets will be at Euro 2020.
Bellingham is one of two 17-year-old aces at the tournament as he seeks to become a Three Lions hero.
polish kid Kacper Kozlowski is the youngest player involved – who knew Bellingham might feel old at the tournament!
Heorhiy Sudakov is an 18-year-old Ukrainian star with just 10 pro games under his belt for Shakhtar Donetsk, while compatriot Illya Zabarnyi, also 18, has been playing high-level football for Dynamo Kiev since 2019.
Elsewhere, Czech star Adam Hlozek will be seen as a serious Euro option.
The striker has a remarkable 72 appearances to his name for Sparta Prague, with 25 goals to his name, and finished the season as the Czech Premier League top scorer this season. Crazy stuff.
Many English fans were disappointed when James Ward-Prowse was not selected to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold, mainly due to his David Beckham-style free kicks.
Matches can be won and lost on a good free kick and the underdogs will use this to their advantage in the hopes of stealing a point or three.
Ronaldo, former Spurs ace Christian Eriksen, Memphis Depay and Kevin De Bruyne will look to lead the way during the shoot.
But corners will be just as vital – England’s ‘Love Train’ to the 2018 World Cup was back in their recent friendlies and routines like this could be used by other nations as well.
We can’t wait to see the schematics get ready!
talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will have live commentary from EVERY Euro 2020 game. You won’t miss a thing as we provide you with 24-hour coverage, feedback and analysis from June 11 through July 11. Listen online HERE.
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