One of the most anticipated dates in the European football calendar will have to wait 12 months, with the European Championships now being rescheduled for 2021 in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will no doubt cause disruption to a number of teams that were scheduled to compete in the tournament in June, whilst also potentially having a knock on effect to World Cup qualifying, which was set to begin at the end of summer in 2020.
Gareth Southgate’s England were one of the teams looking to be competitive at the European Championships and could well have been in contention for their first major tournament victory since 1966. It may come as a bit of a shock to some, but England were actually the 4/1 favourites to win Euro 2020 prior to the postponement of the tournament for 12 months.
That is also despite the fact that the Three Lions had a number of injury concerns coming into the summer, with that including captain Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, who both faced a race against time to be fit for the tournament. That in itself left England short of options at centre forward, building up talk of a call-up for either Southampton’s Danny Ings or Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin if the other two were unable to prove their fitness.
So, how does the tournament date change affect England’s chances next year? Well, most bookmakers still have them as the favourites to win their first European Championship, with them being priced between 9/2 and 11/2 favourites with most bookmakers.
Wembley Stadium is the host of the semi-finals and final of the European Championship, which is one of the factors involved in making them one of the favourites. Additionally, both Kane and Rashford’s injuries will not be an immediate factor to be concerned about, while young talents such as Jadon Sancho, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Maddison have more time to get international experience under their belts.
England will be backed by most to make it comfortably through the group stages of the competition, having been drawn against Croatia, Czech Republic and one of Scotland, Serbia, Norway or Israel, depending on which team comes out of their four-team Nations League play-off semi-finals and final. Those matches will be played at a date that has yet to be scheduled.
Aside from England, reigning world champions France are second-favourites at 6/1, while Belgium and Netherlands are locked at 7/1. Germany and Spain follow them at a valuable 8/1, with Italy and Portugal making up the rest of the main contenders at 14/1 and 16/1 respectively.
We ultimately won’t know how drastic of an impact these changes will have on the tournament until football starts again, with it still unknown when matches in Europe will begin again and whether this season will be completed or not. Should this season be completed, it could then result in a shortened campaign in 2020/21.
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