Friday, September 29, 2023

Three Surprise Sides Looking to Excite at Euro 2020

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We take a look at some of the more entertaining and attacking sides you’re likely to see who might have skipped your attention at this summer’s Euro 2020.

Three Surprise Sides Looking to Excite at Euro 2020

Ronaldo and Bruno to steal the show?

Current European Champions, Nations League holders, and currently home to a squad packed with talent that often goes under the radar. 

Most overlook the Portuguese before they’ve even got started, even if they’re holding all the silverware. With a population of just 10 million, they’re comparable in size to the likes of Austria, Hungary or Sweden but yet they regularly perform to the level of a France, Germany or Spain.

At odds of around 12/1 (13.0), a number of new customer betting offers would see a hefty return on backing Portugal who one of the most talented squads at this year’s tournament. Closer inspection quickly reveals a set of players with key tournament experience, and arguably an improvement on Euro 2016’s tournament winning troop.

Led at the top by Cristiano Ronaldo, his supporting cast of attackers would make most mouths water across Europe’s top teams. Hoping to break the tournament goal scoring record, the Juventus forward can call up the likes of Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, Liverpool’s Diogo Jota and Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix as his supporting cast.

Packed with Premier League experience, the midfield setup consists of Manchester United’s standout playmaker Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho of Wolves, as well as Lille midfielder Renato Sanches. 

It led Portugal to an impressive run of form continuing on from Euro 2020 qualifying. The Portugal of present day play a much more positive style of confident and steady football, helped by the likes of Bruno Fernandes assuredness on the ball. Less of a counter attacking side, Portugal will look to excite, to dominate, and to score by the bag full. 

Mancini stamps his mark on the Azzurri

Roberto Mancini finally has Italy ticking over. As the stats show from their opening game, Italy absolutely pelted a Turkey side that didn’t know what had hit them. True that Italy were bolstered by a boisterous home crowd in Rome, but the Italians had a self-assuredness that has been atypical of Italian sides of the last few years.

Roberto Mancini
Roberto Mancini coach of Italy during the UEFA EURO, EM, Europameisterschaft,Fussball 2020 Group stage – Group A football match between Turkey and Italy at stadio Olimpico in Rome Italy, June 11th, 2021. Photo Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto andreaxstaccioli

Mancini is arguably the only manager in the tournament who has top level experience as well as success at the club level. He’s turned Italy from down and out to a match-winning machine, and probably has the clearest idea of how this incarnation of Italy should be playing.

Possession dominant, easy on the ball and progressive, this Italian side is the sum of its parts. They don’t have a stand out star and the way Mancini has them moving the ball under pressure, they could be the surprise team of the tournament.

Turkey are not the world beaters of the tournament but the way the Azzurri dealt with them was so cold and calculated (24 attempts to 3, 8 on target to zero). They are unbeaten in 27 matches and could look to cause an upset and go further than initially expected. 

Unsurprising underdogs with a ferocious bite

He may admit to not speaking Ukrainian, but Andriy Shevchenko is without a doubt a Ukranian legend. 48 goals in 111 caps for his country, Shevchenko has been privy to many a team talk delivered by some of the nineties and noughties managerial greats. He also knows how he wants his side to play and that’s on the front foot with the pedal to the metal.

Without a doubt the most exciting match so far, Ukraine went up against the Netherlands and although they lost, they certainly showed everyone what they’re capable of. Hoping to emulate the golden generation of the late 90s, Sheva’s side are an all or nothing outfit. 

Form has been less than ideal going into the tournament but there is definitely belief in the Ukraine camp that they can get out of their group, and they’re not afraid to take the game to anyone. Watch out in particular for forward men Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk up top.

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