EURO 2024

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR FOOTBALL PREVIEW: EURO 2024

The start of EURO 2024 is just around the corner with an exciting four weeks of action in Germany on the horizon.

As we prepare for the big kick-off, our football writer JOE CITRONE pens his final thoughts on the upcoming tournament and gives his view on which nation he thinks is set for glory this summer!

🔢 EURO 2024 GUIDE – GROUPS, SCHEDULE, VENUES

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The last two European Championships have ended in immense disappointment for France who were defeated by Portugal in the final of EURO 2016 on home soil and then, just over four years later, were dumped out of EURO 2020 by Switzerland at the round-of-16 stage, writes JOE CITRONE.

This year, they will be desperate to put those disappointments behind them; particularly after how close they came to glory in that incredible World Cup final in Qatar nearly two years ago.

France have an incredibly stacked squad of talent, but there is one man who is grabbing all the headlines in the lead-up to this tournament…and that’s Olivier Giroud. Just kidding.

Kylian Mbappe, set to finally join Real Madrid this summer after the world’s longest-ever transfer saga, was so unlucky to be on the losing side in Qatar at his last major tournament and won’t be too keen on this one ending in the same way.

His incredible pace, ball control, dribbling skills, and finishing ability will be an immense weapon for France at the top end of the pitch. It really is no surprise to see him as the 7/1 favourite for player of the tournament with starsports.bet.

But, like I said earlier, France have a lot more than just Mbappe in their arsenal with incredible depth all over the pitch. At 4/1 with starsports.bet, they look like an appealing bet to go all the way and win the tournament here.

England are the current 3/1 favourites with starsports.bet to lift that trophy in Munich, but not every Three Lions supporter seems to share the same confidence.

Gareth Southgate’s men were booed off in their final warm-up friendly as the Three Lions fell to a humbling, and rather embarrassing, 1-0 defeat at the hands of old foes Iceland at Wembley Stadium.

Not exactly ideal preparation, but it is debatable how much you can truly read into a friendly match, and England will also be taking a pretty stacked squad to Germany this summer.

In the forward areas, it’s an embarrassment of riches for Southgate with the likes of Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer, Jarrod Bowen and Ollie Watkins among others to choose from.

You only have to look at the players left behind – players like Marcus Rashford, James Maddison and Jack Grealish – to realise how strong England are in the attacking department.

However, there are question marks at the other end of the field which is set to look a bit makeshift with only natural left-back Luke Shaw struggling for fitness and regular centre-half Harry Maguire ruled out of the tournament completely. Ultimately, that may end up costing them.

It’s hard to know quite what to expect from Germany this summer, but in front of their home supporters, they will surely be able to exceed the achievements of their last three major tournaments – all of which have ended in disappointment.

They suffered some real turbulence at the beginning of Julian Nagelsmann’s reign, falling to disappointing losses to Turkey and Austria, but seem to be back on track now.

With Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz providing some exciting creativity going forward and the legendary Toni Kroos looking for a fairy-tale farewell to his international career before he hangs up his boots, Germany will be an interesting team to follow this summer.

Two teams who I have my eye on this summer, though, are Portugal and Spain who are both embarking on exciting new eras in their history.

The golden years of Vicente Del Bosque, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and co and their incredible success is well and truly in the past now for Spain, but their new generation of talent are now looking to build their own legacy.

Spain will be bringing an exciting young squad to EURO 2024, which will include Nico Williams, Pedri, Alex Baena and, of course, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal who will be looking to announce himself on the world stage this summer.

I am slightly put off by the route that they would likely have to take to reach the final, which could see them having to meet Germany in the quarter-finals and Portugal in the semis, and I also can’t help but wonder if they have quite enough experience.

However, I do firmly believe an exciting few years are ahead for Spain – watch out for them at the World Cup in 2026!

Portugal, on the other hand, I think are slightly better equipped for immediate success and could cause a splash at this summer’s European Championship.

Their qualifying campaign to reach this tournament was an absolute breeze as they routinely demolished sides – including a 5-0 hammering of Bosnia and a 9-0 thrashing of Luxembourg.

Roberto Martinez’s side have quality all over the pitch with the up-and-coming Antonio Silva and Goncalo Inacio manning the defence, Bruno Fernandes and Bernando Silva there to pull the strings and create chances in midfield, and the ruthless Rafael Leao up-front to finish them off.

Weirdly, my one slight concern is Cristiano Ronaldo. I hope that Portugal are not held back by nostalgia and the memories of the player Ronaldo once was by trying to shoehorn him into the side and are able to embrace their exciting new crop of talent.

If they can, I expect them to go well, and I like the look of a bet of them reaching the semi-finals at 6/4 with starsports.bet.

The holders of this competition, Italy, have been a weird team to follow in recent years with that EURO 2020 triumph at Wembley sandwiched in between two failed attempts to qualify for the World Cup.

They are also embarking on a new era with the legendary defensive partnership of Leonardo Bonnuci and Giorgio Chiellini now long gone. I’m not quite sure, though, that they are equipped for success just yet, even though I do really rate Luciano Spalletti in the hot seat.

As for the ‘dark horses’ of this tournament, there is a lot of talk about Austria and they have certainly been looking rejuvenated under former Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick.

The team I like the look of, though, is Hungary who I believe have the quality to progress through Group A (8/11 with starsports.bet) and possibly bloody a few noses in the knockout rounds as well.

They have been playing some nice football under Marco Rossi and picked up some impressive results, which included wins over England and Germany in the Nations League, and also went unbeaten in their qualifying campaign. At 10/3, I find myself appealed to a bet of Hungary reaching the quarter-finals.

My one hope for EURO 2024 though, like everyone I’m sure, is that we’re all in for another exciting tournament after a fantastically entertaining World Cup in 2022. Will we see a game as good as that final between Argentina and France? Unlikely. But something close would be nice!


RECOMMENDED BETS
BACK France to win EURO 2024 1pt each/way at 4/1 (⭐️ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Portugal to reach semi-finals 2pts at 6/4 (⭐️ ? CLICK TO BET NOW
BACK Hungary to reach the quarter-finals 1pt at 10/3 (⭐️ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (JUN 2024): -0.85 POINTS


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