A year later but with the same name, Euro 2020 is finally here! The domestic season only finished not that long ago and here we are with more football to savour. As the reigning world number one of Perfect Picks, I’ll be talking you through my confirmed picks for each Contest. So join me as I go over each match in my attempt to try and win a few Contests this summer.
Turkey vs. Italy
You’d be forgiven to think there is one clear favourite for this match, and you’re right. Italy have never lost to Turkey in a friendly or competitive match. Having said that, Turkey have only lost once since September 2020. They’ve been building momentum of late, with notable wins against the Netherlands and Norway. Italy on the other hand have developed a winning streak, even if their recent scalps include San Marino and Lithuania. I think Italy will maintain their unbeaten record against Turkey – I can’t see that changing at this summer’s championships.
Pick: Italy to win by 1
Wales vs. Switzerland
The Dragons had somewhat of a fairy tale run as they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016. Since then things have been somewhat mixed. Failure to qualify for World Cup 2018 was a massive disappointment. But with their talisman Gareth Bale at the helm they secured their presence at Euro 2020. Their opponents Switzerland are currently ranked 13th in the most recent FIFA standings. Under their manager Vladimir Petkovic they are, at times, a tough unit to beat. Neither side will want to start off with a loss and this match could be a cagey encounter. Pick: Draw
Denmark vs. Finland
This Nordic derby will kick off proceedings in Group B. Finland’s form has been patchy of late and they will know that they really need to step things up immediately if they have any chance of progressing to the knockouts. On the other hand, the Euro 92 champions, have been far more consistent with their form which has elevated them to the top 10 of the FIFA rankings ,in no small part due to the superlatives of Kasper Schmeichel. They’ve probably got enough class and experience in their ranks to see this match through. Pick: Denmark to win by 1 Belgium vs. Russia
This game features one of the favourites of the tournament against one of the rank outsiders. You just can’t look past Belgium. The reigning World Cup bronze medallists have an assortment of talent across their squad. They’ll be looking to better their Euro 2016 quarter finalist status this time around. As for Russia, they’ve lost three of their last six games and will need to find some form fairly quickly even if this match is being hosted in Saint Petersburg.
Pick: Belgium to win by 2 (Star Pick worth double points) England vs. Croatia
Had it not been for Croatia, football almost came home in 2018. Their team has gone through some transition and turbulence since then. In fact, between September 2020 and March 2021 Croatia lost 6 of their 9 games. On the other hand, England have maintained an average of fourth place in the FIFA rankings for more than 2 years, despite also experimenting with new players in their team. The Three Lions will want revenge for their World Cup 2018 exit and kick off the Euros with a statement of intent on home turf. Pick: England to win by 1 Austria vs. North Macedonia Neither of these teams will be expected to reach the advanced stages of Euro 2020, but this competition has also been known to throw up some surprises in the past. Provided Austria can get a win in this match ,and at least one more positive result against either the Netherlands or Ukraine, they’ll have a chance of reaching the second round. North Macedonia are making their debut in a major tournament and it’s an achievement in itself that they’ve made it this far. No doubt they’ll throw up some resistance but Austria seem like the favourites here. Pick: Austria to win by 1 Netherlands vs. Ukraine Since finishing as the bronze medallists at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Netherlands have failed to qualify for a tournament, until now. They’ve gone through a massive rebuilding exercise and even now they are far from being the final product. It’s all well and good thrashing the likes of Gibraltar, but questions still remain on how they will compete at an elite stage, especially after an absence of seven years. Ukraine on the other hand have struggled for wins of late with consecutive losses followed by consecutive draws. It seems as if the Oranje may have a reasonable chance of doing well in their opening encounter. Pick: Netherlands to win by 1