Monday, June 24, 2024

Who will win Euro 2024? Every team ranked

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We ran a predictor to determine how we think the tournament will pan out, who will go all the way and which teams you should look out for.

RadioTimes.com brings you our guide to every team at Euro 2024, including who we think will win the tournament.

Read more: Best football players in the world | Best football players of all time

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Albania

Group B

  • Key player: Armando Broja
  • Most capped player in squad: Elseid Hysaj (83)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2016)

Albania, managed by Arsenal hero Sylvinho, assisted by Manchester City icon Pablo Zabaleta, led by Slough-born Armando Broja. International football is great.

The Albanians are one of the teams with the longest odds to win the tournament, and find themselves in the unfortunate position of residing in Group B alongside Spain, Italy and Croatia.

However, they won their qualifying group against relatively stern opposition, Czech Republic and Poland, losing just one of eight matches and conceding just four times.

Without much creativity among their ranks to seriously threaten the big boys, they will attempt to become a rock-hard defensive unit and seek to frustrate opposition in every game. They won’t qualify for the knockouts, but they will have a really fun time trying to drag a big fish down with them.

Prediction: Group Stage

Austria

Group D

  • Key player: Marcel Sabitzer
  • Most capped player in squad: Marko Arnautović (112)
  • Last European Championship: Round of 16 (2020)

Former Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick boasts an exciting squad in what could prove to be the real Group of Death at Euro 2024.

Austria have defeated Croatia, Germany and Italy under his watch with an all-action style and plenty of goals. The Austrians should be fun to watch, and if they can snatch a draw against France or Netherlands, they could really mess with the complexion of the tournament.

Marcel Sabitzer is their main creative outlet with four goals and a couple of assists in seven qualifying games, while the squad is filled with Bundesliga talent aiming to make a name for themselves on the grand stage.

Prediction: Round of 16

Belgium

Group E

  • Key player: Kevin De Bruyne
  • Most capped player in squad: Jan Vertonghen (154)
  • Last European Championship: Quarter-finals (2020)

Nobody enjoyed Euro 2024 qualifying as much as Romelu Lukaku, with 14 goals to his name in just eight matches.

He will be flanked by the all-action, explosive pace of Jérémy Doku to his left and the incisive Leandro Trossard to his right, all quarter-backed by the one-man army, Kevin De Bruyne.

KDB has returned to fitness and form at the right time for Belgium, and will readily supply ammunition to the front three.

There’s a lack of star quality at the back, which may be exploited by top teams in the latter stages, led by 37-year-old Jan Vertonghen and Leicester centre-back Wout Faes, but the frontline will keep all opponents on their toes.

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Croatia

Group B

  • Key player: Luka Modrić
  • Most capped player in squad: Luka Modrić (174)
  • Last European Championship: Round of 16 (2020)

Death, taxes and Luka Modrić rocking up at major international football tournaments. The Croatia captain’s first taste of major finals came at the World Cup 2006 in Germany, so it’s both astounding and fitting that his ninth – and last – is likely to be Euro 2024 in Germany.

Croatia’s six most-capped players in their Euro 2024 squad boast 696 caps between them, offering experience and composure you simply can’t coach into players. Modrić, Ivan Perišić, Domagoj Vida, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović and Andrej Kramarić simply know the deal.

Of course, everyone has anticipated a Croatian decline for six or so years, but they just keep motoring on, their age and maturity proving to be a major asset rather than a hinderance.

It would be easy to tip the traditional elite, Spain or Italy, to win Group B, but we think Croatian know-how will see them through as top dogs.

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Czech Republic

Group F

  • Key player: Tomáš Souček
  • Most capped player in squad: Tomáš Souček (68)
  • Last European Championship: Quarter-finals (2020)

The streets will never forget Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004, Diego Forlán at World Cup 2010 or Renato Sanches at Euro 2016. Each international tournament throws up a cult hero out of nowhere. At Euro 2020, Patrik Schick was that man.

The unfashionable Czech Republic were the surprise package of Euro 2020 as they reached the quarter-finals and narrowly missed out on a place in the final four. Schick’s five goals in five games, including one struck from the banks of the Shetland Islands beyond David Marshall between the posts in Glasgow, were instrumental.

Since the tournament, Schick has struggled with numerous injury issues and scored just once for the Czechs in only four appearances. They lack star quality with an ageing core, and cannot be expected to progress here despite a favourable group.

Prediction: Group Stage

Denmark

Group C

  • Key player: Rasmus Højlund
  • Most capped player in squad: Simon Kjær (131)
  • Last European Championship: Semi-finals (2020)

The Danes are fine, but no more than fine. Stalwarts of international tournaments, Denmark usually sit in the ‘Europa League’ category of teams: solid, occasionally drifting through to the latter stages without being a serious, top-tier contender for decades.

The mood is subdued in Danish circles ahead of this tournament, there’s a feeling deflation with a need for more creativity and youthful energy through the squad.

They boast experience but lack a great deal of excitement beyond Rasmus Højlund, who has made a decent start to his international career.

Prediction: Group Stage

England

Group C

  • Key player: Harry Kane
  • Most capped player in squad: Harry Kane (90)
  • Last European Championship: Runners-up (2020)

The time is now. World Cup 2018 was a surprise, the start of a revolution; Euro 2020 was progress, the rise of the next generation; World Cup 2022 was a setback, due to the strength of France. Euro 2024 is a ‘no excuses’ tournament for England.

In Jordan Pickford, John Stones, Harry Kane, Kyle Walker there is vast experience in major tournament finals – they have never let England down.

In Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden, there is world-class talent. In Cole Palmer, Eberechi Eze and Adam Wharton, there is fresh blood. The ingredients are all there, the balance is right, the blend is right.

Whatever your opinion of Gareth Southgate right now, he has been the most successful and transformative England manager of a generation or more, but now it’s time to cash in for silverware.

England need to beat big teams to win big prizes. Our predictor suggests they will go through Group C, Slovakia, Spain and France to meet Portugal in the final. The elusive ‘It’ has rarely felt closer to genuinely ‘Coming Home’.

Prediction: WINNERS

France

Group D

  • Key player: Kylian Mbappé
  • Most capped player in squad: Olivier Giroud (132)
  • Last European Championship: Round of 16 (2020)

There is an argument to be made that this is the first tournament since 2018 where France’s squad is not the envy of every other team in the tournament. England and Portugal boast 26-man squads teeming with life, and while France certainly look strong, they have holes.

Injuries have led to 33-year-old N’Golo Kanté being restored to the squad, which doesn’t exactly scream depth, while 35-year-old Olivier Giroud, who is likely to lead the line, will retire from international football on his terms, rather than be forced out by a crop of young upstarts.

Of course, Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann have the ability and experience to carve teams apart on their day, while France boast four terrific centre-backs (all of whom would make the England starting XI), but the line-up will not look much different to tournaments gone by. That could be a great strength, but there’s a fine line between an experienced XI and a stagnant one.

Prediction: Semi-finals

Georgia

Group F

  • Key player: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
  • Most capped player in squad: Guram Kashia (112)
  • Last European Championship: Not previously qualified

Expect a groundswell of support for the underdog of underdogs, Georgia, as they enter their first ever international tournament finals led by a superstar name aiming to do the unthinkable and drag his team into the knockout rounds.

Napoli ace Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will hope to make himself as much of a problem for opposition defenders as he does commentators, with all of Georgia’s hopes pinned on his shoulders.

The Georgians will line up with five at the back and aim to funnel their entire gameplan through Kvaratskhelia. And guess what? It might actually work.

Boss Willy Sagnol will be keen to lift all pressure from his players, but this group does contain a pair of beatable teams. We’re backing Georgia to get a positive result, but it’s a tall order to ask for two good results and progression to the hallowed knockout rounds.

Prediction: Group Stage

Germany

Group A

  • Key player: Jamal Musiala
  • Most capped player in squad: Thomas Müller (129)
  • Last European Championship: Round of 16 (2020)

Porsche at the front, Volkswagen at the back. The hosts motor into this tournament as a lopsided unit, but one with plenty of potential to shine in front of partisan home crowds.

This is a Germany team in transition following two World Cup group stage exits and failing to go beyond the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

Boss Julian Nagelsmann has injected fresh verve into his squad, with rising sensations Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala set to play off the red-hot Kai Havertz up top. Their defence is solid, if unspectacular, while the experienced heads of Manuel Neuer, İlkay Gündoğan, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller will hope to keep the young pups grounded.

Expectations are measured, the shackles are off, and the feelgood factor is blossoming without the burgeoning weight of ambition. That’s a potentially potent blend.

Prediction: Semi-finals

Hungary

Group A

  • Key player: Dominik Szoboszlai
  • Most capped player in squad: Ádám Nagy (80)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2020)

Remember the summer of 2021, when half of Europe decided Turkey were dark horses for Euro 2020, only for them to swiftly lose three in a row and become the first team to be eliminated from the tournament? Hungary are the Turkey of Euro 2024.

The ‘dark horses’ tag has been firmly pinned to Hungarian chests following a stunning 4-0 victory over England in 2022, an admirable pair of draws at Euro 2020 in the Group of Death Total Annihilation containing France, Germany and Portugal, while they qualified without tasting defeat (admittedly against Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania and Bulgaria).

They are the archetypal awkward opposition, who will opt for five at the back with two holding midfielders in front of them, with a talismanic key player in the shape of Dominik Szoboszlai. However, he will be relied on to do all the heavy lifting in the creativity department, and they will run into traffic very quickly should they escape the group.

Prediction: Round of 16

Italy

Group B

  • Key player: Nicolò Barella
  • Most capped player in squad: Gianluigi Donnarumma (61)
  • Last European Championship: Winners (2020)

Italy could feasibly exit the competition following the group stages or they could win the whole thing. They really are the most unpredictable team going into this competition.

A vast number of their Euro 2020-winning squad has either retired or drifted into obscurity, others such as Federico Chiesa have failed to build on their form, while several next-gen stars including Destiny Udogie are ruled out through injury.

Like Germany, Italy are a team in transition, though the crucial difference between the two is that Germany boast an exciting crop of youngsters itching to make a impact. Italy do not.

The Italians are crying out for a reliable goalscorer to lead the line, with huge pressure on Gianluca Scamacca to finally step up for his country.

The Italians know they can’t afford to lose to both Spain and Croatia. At least a point against either, plus a victory over Albania, should see them through in third, but they’re unlikely to go much further.

Prediction: Round of 16

Netherlands

Group D

  • Key player: Virgil van Dijk
  • Most capped player in squad: Daley Blind (107)
  • Last European Championship: Round of 16 (2020)

There feels like a dearth of world-class centre-backs roaming the earth at the moment, with towering defensive titans generally fading into myth and legend. Almost.

Virgil van Dijk straddles the line between old-fashioned centre-back, with strength, cunning and mastery of the art of tackling, and a modern ball-player, with great composure. He is crucial to the Netherlands’ chances this time around.

The Dutch are a tall, physical team with Van Dijk, Nathan Aké, Stefan de Vrij and Micky van de Ven among their defensive options, while Cody Gakpo and Wout Weghorst continue the theme higher up the pitch. Xavi Simons will add flair.

Netherlands feel like dark horses to go all the way, but a potential quarter-final showdown with Portugal feels like a big hurdle to clear.

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Poland

Group D

  • Key player: Robert Lewandowski
  • Most capped player in squad: Robert Lewandowski (150)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2020)

It’s hard not to feel like Poland have completely blown their opportunity with one of the finest strikers in modern football history. Robert Lewandowski has netted 82 goals in 150 caps leading up to the tournament, but can you ever remember the Poles achieving anything of note on the world or continental stage?

They have scored just 10 goals in 11 games across three European Championships, plus five goals in seven games across two World Cup competitions during which Lewandowski has featured. They rarely play expansive football or capitalise on their greatest asset. Expect them to show up but fail to unlock their main man on the big stage once again.

Prediction: Group Stage

Portugal

Group F

  • Key player: Bruno Fernandes
  • Most capped player in squad: Cristiano Ronaldo (206)
  • Last European Championship: Round of 16 (2020)

Too many people are sleeping on Portugal. Their squad depth, their starting XI, the blend of youth and experience are all too great to ignore.

They were the standout team of qualifying in an admittedly weak group. They scored more (36) and conceded fewer (two) than any other team in Europe in 10 games.

Cristiano Ronaldo returns to lead the line and will be desperate to win the lot once again, Rúben Dias offers steel at the back, Rafael Leão has a terrific chance to kick on, João Cancelo is a creative force from deep and Bernardo Silva is a wily operator.

Pedro Neto, Diogo Jota, João Félix and Rúben Neves are not even guaranteed to start, proving the reserves they can call upon.

It feels quite incredible that Roberto Martínez has been handed the keys to the car despite an underwhelming six years guiding Belgium’s golden generation to… mediocrity, but there’s almost too much talent in this squad to fail.

Prediction: Runners-up

Romania

Group E

  • Key player: Radu Drăgușin
  • Most capped player in squad: Nicolae Stanciu (69)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2016)

Let’s be real, Slovakia versus Romania is unlikely to go down as a classic in the history books. The Romanians arrive at Euro 2024 having won their qualifying group, which included Switzerland and Israel among others.

Most impressively, they conceded just five goals in 10 games to make the finals, and will rely on a stern defence to give themselves a chance of progressing.

This may be the weakest group in the competition, so there is an opportunity for Romania, but it will still be a tough ask to stitch two big results together.

Prediction: Group Stage

Scotland

Group A

  • Key player: Scott McTominay
  • Most capped player in squad: Andy Robertson (70)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2020)

Scotland are aiming to be here for a long time, not just a good time. It’s fair to say the Tartan Army enjoyed their three outings at Euro 2020, despite it resembling more of a staycation with two matches in Glasgow and one in the far flung reaches of… London.

The Scots will jet off to Germany with well-founded optimism they won’t be dashing to catch an immediate return flight.

Steve Clarke’s men qualified comfortably ahead of Erling Haaland’s Norway, and recorded a famous victory over Spain in the process.

They are placing a lot of faith in John McGinn and Scott McTominay to provide goals from midfield without a prolific, proven goalscorer to lead the line, but there’s Premier League quality woven throughout the squad.

Playing Germany in the opening game is the best time to face the hosts, before they find their rhythm. Scotland have the talent to finish second or a strong third in the group to make the knockouts.

Prediction: Round of 16

Serbia

Group C

  • Key player: Aleksandar Mitrović
  • Most capped player in squad: Dušan Tadić (107)
  • Last European Championship: Quarter-finals (2000, as FR Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro)

Serbia compete in the European Championship finals for the first time as… Serbia, but there are low expectations they’ll make an impact.

Evergreen transfer rumour mill fodder Sergej Milinković-Savić is plying his trade at Al-Hilal alongside striker Aleksandar Mitrović.

While a move to the Saudi Pro League is not necessarily the sign of a washed-up star, it surely can’t be an easy transition going from domination in that context to underdog status at a major international tournament.

One key issue for Serbia is that two of their handful of top class players, Mitrović and Dušan Vlahović, are fighting over one position up front, with a patchy, unbalanced squad offering little in the way of inspiration beyond the frontline.

Prediction: Group Stage

Slovakia

Group E

  • Key player: Milan Škriniar
  • Most capped player in squad: Peter Pekarík (126)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2020)

Slovakia enter the tournament having only lost to one team, Portugal, in their 10 qualifying matches, albeit in a straightforward group. They also scored the only two goals Portugal conceded during the campaign.

Captain Milan Škriniar will marshal his troops to remain tight, compact and hard to break down against Belgium, but the big test for Slovakia will be seizing the initiative to try and win games against Ukraine and Romania in a favourable group.

Four points would likely see them through, an achievable total in Group E.

Prediction: Round of 16

Slovenia

Group C

  • Key player: Benjamin Šeško
  • Most capped player in squad: Jasmin Kurtić (91)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2000)

4-4-2. Defensively compact. Tight. Cagey. Counter-attacking. Simple. Effective. Sounds like a banana skin for England, right?

Slovenia could prove to be one of the surprise packages of the tournament, and arguably represent England’s toughest opposition in Group C. They are the classic ‘organised and hard to beat’ team Southgate’s side have often come unstuck against.

They boast world-class quality between the posts in the imposing shape of Jan Oblak, while Benjamin Šeško is lining up to be one of the breakout stars of this tournament.

The 6ft5in talismanic striker is not only a force in the air, but he’s got pace to burn on land. He is the definition of a handful, and will be a threat every time Slovenia purchase a set-piece.

Prediction: Round of 16

Spain

Group B

  • Key player: Rodri
  • Most capped player in squad: Álvaro Morata (72)
  • Last European Championship: Semi-finals (2020)

Spain are a nation seeking to find their place in the new world order following their dynastic dominance of the early ’10s. Andrés Iniesta, Xavi, David Villa and Carles Puyol are long gone, and their heirs to their thrones have not quite found their feet.

Pedri has threatened to take the world by storm, but an injury-riddled couple of years has stunted his growth, while Gavi is currently unavailable through injury and will miss the tournament.

Of course, there is talent among the Spanish ranks, none greater than Manchester City behemoth Rodri pulling the strings in midfield, but in calling up Jesús Navas, Ayoze Pérez and Álvaro Morata, there’s also a clear labour shortage. Lamine Yamal could make history as the youngest player to feature at a European Championship, aged 16.

But this is tournament football, and there is always hope. Spain should squeeze through Group B, where we have tipped them to face Scotland in the round of 16, but full restoration to their former glory feels like a stretch.

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Switzerland

Group A

  • Key player: Granit Xhaka
  • Most capped player in squad: Granit Xhaka (124)
  • Last European Championship: Quarter-finals (2020)

Consider this your biennial reminder of Xherdan Shaqiri’s continued existence. Switzerland are perennial qualifiers for major tournament finals, but rarely make their presence truly felt.

To their credit, they did eliminate France on penalties following a 3-3 thriller in the round of 16 at Euro 2020, but that game was an anomaly in their all-time record. They qualify, they make up the numbers, they depart and nobody really notices.

In Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schär and Granit Xhaka, they boast a solid core in theory, but results have been poor leading up to the tournament. They qualified five points behind Romania with just four victories in a poor group, with scarce signs of fresh talent coming through. They could exit without a whimper this time.

Prediction: Group Stage

Turkey

Group F

  • Key player: Hakan Çalhanoğlu
  • Most capped player in squad: Hakan Çalhanoğlu (85)
  • Last European Championship: Group Stage (2020)

Euro 2020 dark horse disasters Turkey will be determined to put in a better account of themselves than they did three years ago, with a mixed bag of form suggesting they’re likely to be one of the most turbulent teams in the tournament, capable of beating or losing to anyone.

Turkey defeated Germany and Croatia last year, but have lost to Hungary, drew with Wales and lost 6-1 against Austria in their most recent outings, with a draw against Armenia in their qualifying campaign.

They are fortunate to find themselves in a group with little quality beyond Portugal, but don’t expect any fireworks.

Prediction: Round of 16

Ukraine

Group E

  • Key player: Mykhailo Mudryk
  • Most capped player in squad: Andriy Yarmolenko (117)
  • Last European Championship: Quarter-finals (2020)

Ukraine are a stronger proposition than their last-ditch play-off qualification status suggests. They were unlucky not to make it through to the finals via conventional means after equalling Italy’s total of 14 points in a group that also contained England.

They lost just two of their eight matches and drew both of their home encounters against the top pair of teams above them.

Mykhailo Mudryk has all the hallmarks of a player who could relish the relative freedom international football can afford. Without being saddled with the rigours of being expected to shine for Chelsea on a weekly basis, Mudryk could be set to showcase his clear talent and rapid pace with pressure pushed to one side.

Prediction: Round of 16

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