Euro 2020 from an American’s Point of View

Italy and Turkey kicked off Euro 2020 earlier today with a rousing 3-0 victory for Gli Azzurri (The Blues, thank you Wikipedia). This is a very exciting time for soccer fans everywhere. Europe features most of the top tier Men’s National Teams in the world, and this is the next best tournament to the World Cup (outside of the CONCACAF Nations League, obvs).

This summer features each continents version of the same cup tournament. South America has the Copa America featuring Brazil and Argentina. North America will kick off the Gold Cup in July across the United States which might as well fast forward to the final between USA and Mexico. But…why am I discussing those when the title of this is Euro 2020? (Yes, that’s the name even though it’s being played in 2021.)

You could basically just visit this page and probably not read any more words I type here, but what fun would that be? You came for a casual-American-soccer-fans scorching hot takes! I will deliver!

First, the groups:

Groups are drawn for these tournaments and if you couldn’t already tell, someone was really mad that France won the most recent World Cup. Portugal, Germany, and France in the same group is just not fair to each other let alone poor Hungary. Their tourney is over before it ever began. Group F is clearly the “Group of Death” for Euro 2020, and it will be a big storyline to see who advances from those four squads.

Now for some picks!

  • Group A
    • Italy – Not really fair since I already know they won 3-0 today. What American wouldn’t pick Italy after this cinematic masterpiece?
    • Switzerland – The Swiss have the best player on Earth, Xherdan Shaqiri. Ok, fine, he is good, but nowhere near the best. However, my love for him is undying as I’ve been told by at least 5 completely random strangers unsolicited that I look just like him. It’s the nose and hair line, but then XS had to break my heart and go and get hair plugs. Alas, I’d like for the Swiss to advance anyway.
  • Group B
    • Belgium – These dudes are very good. Just trust me here. Plus those waffles.
    • Denmark – I’m basing this one of FIFA ranking (Denmark 10th place vs Russia 38th and Finland 54th), but I don’t have a strong take on the other 3 teams here. Belgium NOT advancing would be a huge shock.
  • Group C
    • Netherlands – I just love their uniforms. The Oranje! Been hooked on the Dutch ever since this wondergoal scored by Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
    • Ukraine (I guess) – toss up between Austria and Ukraine, but I’m going to with Ukraine due to their captain and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov. He has 97 caps, aged 36, and is captain. Compare that to Austria’s 3 GK: Alexander Schlager, Pavao Pervan, and Daniel Bachmann. A combined 15 caps amongst them. I recognize more Austrian players, but it seems like the GK difference might determine who advances to the knockout stage.
  • Group D
    • England – It would be embarrassing if England doesn’t advance. Scotland and Czech Republic are ok but nothing special. The Three Lions will no doubt have revenge on their minds as Croatia knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup. England has too much talent not to advance. They could easily win the whole thing.
    • Croatia – This could absolutely be recency bias as Croatia were runners-up in the most recent World Cup, but they are also clearly 2nd best team in this group based on FIFA Ranking.
  • Group E
    • Spain – I mean, duh.
    • Sweden or Poland – Poland have Robert Lewandowski, one of the most prolific scorers in all of Europe. Sweden do not have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, previously one of the most prolific scorers in all of Europe. The Blagult (Sweden) do have Sebastian Larsson, former Black Cat of Sunderland (my favorite club team). So I will officially pick Sweden to advance (I know, flawless logic).
  • Group F
    • Germany – Die Mannschaft will not be denied. (Don’t worry it just means “The Team”. Europeans are not very creative with their nicknames.)
    • France – Isn’t it dumb not to pick the defending world champions? I think Portugal have just as good a chance to advance as Germany and France. This group will be fun to watch. Once again, poor Hungary.

There you have it! Spoiler alerts for each group. If you made it this far, thank you for reading! Until the next international soccer star get hair plugs, Hambone signing off.

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