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Posted By Topic: SBOTOP: EURO 2024       - Views: 103
SBOTOP 07-Feb 2024 Wednesday 4:22 PM (128 days ago)               #1
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Euro 2024: Summer Spectacle in Germany Less than Six Months Away

It only seems a short time ago since we were witnessing the dramatic finale of Euro 2020 – although we can be forgiven for thinking that wasn’t four summers ago as the competition was, of course, held 12 months later than scheduled.

Yet here we are again and it won’t be too long before excitement starts to build all over again for another European summer showpiece.

This time it’s in Germany and pretty much all the big European nations will be there.

Euro 2024 takes place from June 14 to July 14 and, even though there are a few places which won’t be determined until next month’s play-offs, we know the general gist and what stands out.

The most eye-catching fixture from a British perspective has seen Scotland given the responsibility of opening the tournament against the host nation. That match will take place at Allianz Arena, in Munich; Scotland will also face Hungary and Switzerland in a tight-looking Group A.

If that is hard, spare a thought for Wales who, if they successfully navigate play-off ties against Finland and either Poland or Estonia in March, will slot into a demanding Group D alongside France, Holland and Austria.

Quite frankly, in the post-Gareth Bale era, I cannot see any of those nations emerging from that group with both Holland and France among the favourites to lift the silverware.

The French were run close by an improving Netherlands in Amsterdam during qualifying in October and a contest for first place may yet materialise if Ronald Koeman can harness the best from a bright new generation.

Other than Spain (2008 and 2012), no nation has ever recorded back-to-back successes and I don’t feel Italy are in the position where they can repeat that triumph.

Ironically, they have been paired with Spain in Group B, which also contains Croatia and Albania.

Are Euro 2024 highlights on the way or is this a bridge too far for Luka Modric? He is now 38 so if they can emulate their second and third place finishes at the last World Cup, they will have done well.

Toni Kroos is considering coming out of international retirement for Euro 2024 to help Germany

Toni Kroos is considering coming out of international retirement to play the Euro 2024 with Germany

Modric may not be the only ‘golden oldie’ midfield maestro on show this summer. His Real Madrid team-mate, Toni Kroos, although four years his junior, is reported to be considering coming out of international retirement for a final hurrah on home soil.

The nation Italy pipped to be crowned kings of Europe, England, have fared very well in the draw.

Without being complacent, a reunion with Denmark, who they were lucky to see off in the semi-finals last time, should not hold too many fears given the Danes are past their best.

Slovenia and Serbia also deserve respect and have threats but not the all-round talent of Gareth Southgate’s men in what will his swansong as national team manager.

Can he bridge the gap or will he be known as England’s nearly man?

Two groups that appear fairly straightforward are E and F.

If Ukraine qualify – by outdoing a combination of Israel, Iceland and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the play-offs – it will make a good news story and also bring another star name into the mix in the shape of their manager, former prolific forward Serhiy Rebrov (once of Tottenham Hotspur).

They would then join Belgium (new era), Slovakia (fine players but always underdogs), Romania (in fine form but a far cry from the Gheorge Hagi era) in Group E.

After an early World Cup exit, there will be plenty of eyes on Domenico Tedesco’s side who are only being tipped with the SBOTOP Euro 2024 betting odds as sixth favourites for the tournament.

Many of their ‘golden generation’ have now retired and, while this may ease the pressure on the Belgians, they are not serious contenders in my mind.

The former Belgium boss, Roberto Martínez, is now with Portugal who are favourites in Group F which they will contest along with Turkey, Czech Republic and a play-off winner.

With the ever-green Cristiano Ronaldo still their main man – this will be his final tournament – they qualified with a perfect 10 wins from 10. Turkey may be one to watch under the management of Vincenzo Montella who has caught the eye, particularly after recent away victories in Germany and Croatia.

As for predictions, it is always dangerous to embark on such a task – especially five months before a tournament when and when we don’t quite know the full line-up – but as I have been asked, here goes:

 

Teams to progress

Group A: Germany and Switzerland

Group B: Spain and Italy

Group C: England and Denmark

Group D: France and Holland

Group E: Belgium and Slovakia

Group F: Portugal and Turkey

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SBOTOP 20-Feb 2024 Tuesday 3:13 PM (115 days ago)            #2
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Euro 2024: Can Germany Give the Home Crowd Some Cheer?

 

Euro 2024 is just over four months away folks, and the best players in Europe are set to put on the best show on earth for 30 days between June and July.

Germany are the hosts and that automatically shifts the Euro 2024 betting odds in their favour, currently making them third favourites for the title despite them sitting 12th in the FIFA World Rankings below the likes of Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal. But home advantage gives Julian Nagelsmann’s team a great chance to add to their three European titles.

Champions of Europe on the last occasion in 1996 in England, Germany have been pretty rubbish in recent years, eliminated at the group stage of the last two World Cups and crashing out of Euro 2020 in the Round of 16. So the passionate German fans have a lot of pent up frustration in them, and there will be a national party if they can lift the trophy on 14th July.

The tournament kicks off on 14th June when Germany host Scotland at the Allianz Arena in Munich and climaxes a month later at the 75,000-capacity Olympiastadion in Berlin and, with Hungary and Switzerland making up the numbers in Group A, the hosts will expect (or hope) to progress through the first stage without too much drama.

Nagelsmann took over as manager in September and won his first game in charge, a 3-1 friendly win over the United States. But after drawing with Mexico in October, November defeats to Turkey and Austria have given the head coach plenty to work on.

He began his coaching career at TSG Hoffenheim, taking over as first team head coach in 2015 at 28 years of age and leading them to Champions League qualification.

In 2019, he was tempted by RB Leipzig, reaching the Champions League semi-final in 2020, and that led FC Bayern to fork out a record €25 million for his services in 2021. He won the Bundesliga title in his first season but was potted by the club in March 2023.

Nagelsmann is still one of the best young managers in world football, and he has a squad with a nice balance of youth and experience, able to play his high pressing, energetic style.

Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is in prime position to be the last line of defence, and the experience of Antonio Rudiger, skipper Ilkay Gundogan in midfield, and Thomas Muller in attack will be invaluable.

Ilkay Gundogan will lead Germany in their upcoming Euro 2024 matches

Germany’s Ilkay Gundogan in action during their friendly match against Turkey

Gundogan dictates the pace of the game for Germany and his close control, clever passing, and ability to support the attack means he is never far from the action and his consistent high standards allows the nation’s flair players to thrive.

Bayern’s Leroy Sane and Leon Goretzka will likely be starters too, while Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Brandt is another attacking midfielder who suits the manager’s style.

And Nagelsmann has some exciting youngsters coming through, with two of them sure to make their fair share of Euro 2024 highlights. 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen star Florian Wirtz has already made 97 appearances for Die Werkself, scoring 19 goals, and 20-year-old Jamal Musiala is another rapidly rising star with 28 goals in 105 games for Bayern.

 

The biggest threats to German dominance

While the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy are all backed to make the quarter finals, the nations with the best chance of taking the trophy away from Germany are France, England, and Spain.

France are twice European champions, World Cup winners in 2018, and runners-up in 2022. And with Kylian Mbappe a good bet for the Golden Boot, Les Bleus will be the team to beat. Ousmane Dembele has a bit to prove at international level, scoring just five goals in 42 games, while Antoine Griezmann remains a class act.

This SBOTOP writer is also looking forward to seeing Arsenal defender William Saliba in action, he’s a Rolls Royce of a player and, at 22 years of age, he has a big future ahead of him.

England’s talisman Harry Kane will be 30 when the Euros kick off, and he will fancy his chances too He won the World Cup Golden Boot in 2018 and has scored 62 goals in 89 appearances for the Three Lions, as his nation’s all-time top scorer.

Kane has been in the form of his life since his record move to FC Bayern, scoring 24 goals in his first 20 appearances, and he will be the key man if England are to end their 58-year trophy drought. Manager Gareth Southgate is under pressure to deliver with arguably the most talented squad in the competition.

Spain, captained by Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, are an exciting team to watch when they are on song, and they could have the breakout star of the tournament in Barcelona’s 16-year-old wonderkid Lamine Yamal, while the best defencive midfielder in world football, Manchester City’s Rodri, will be a dominant force in every game he plays.

Germany have a good chance to reward their fans in the summer, but if they show any weakness, their biggest rivals will pounce and the hosts will fall short.

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 20-Feb-2024 at 3:13 PM





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SBOTOP 20-Feb 2024 Tuesday 3:15 PM (115 days ago)            #3
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Euro 2024: Managerial Supremacy Could be the X Factor

As the whole football world already knows, the much-awaited Euro 2024 is just over four months away, where the best players from one of the most cutthroat football continents put on the best sporting event on the globe for 30 days.

The host nation, Germany, automatically put themselves in Group A and are expected to compete in the first match of the tournament, given that they’re also considered team A1. They’ll be aiming to become the first host nation to win the European Championship since France in 1984.

Currently, Spain and Germany are tied with three European titles, the most of any European nation. But Julian Nagelsmann hopes to give Germany their fourth European Championship, which will make them the winningest nation since the competition began.

Easier said than done, though, as the draw for the tournament placed them with a bunch of assassins, who are very capable of claiming their own bids for the 2024 title.

So far, this is what the groupings are looking like:

Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, and Switzerland

Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, and Albania

Group C: Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia, and England

Group D: Netherlands, Austria, France, play-off winner A

Group E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, play-off winner B

Group F: Turkey, Portugal, Czech Republic, play-off winner C

Tournament play-offs

Play-off A: Poland, Estonia, Wales, or Finland

Play-off B: Israel, Iceland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Ukraine

Play-off C: Georgia, Luxembourg, Greece, or Kazakhstan

As of now, France and England are the pre-tournament Euros 2024 odds favourites, and football fans all over the world are holding their breaths for a potential France vs England semifinal bout if they both champion their respective clusters.

Meanwhile, Julian Nagelsmann and Germany’s road to glory isn’t as straight forward as the other European giants. Clustered with Scotland, Hungary, and Switzerland, Germany will have a tough road ahead of them, and if they do win Group A, they will either face Spain or the defending champions, Italy, in the semifinals. Talk about getting the short end of the stick.

 

Can Nagelsmann lead the Germans out of a tough cluster?

As I’ve stated above, Germany is automatically placed in Group A, and with them are Scotland, Hungary, and Switzerland. This is a tough cluster to be in, to say the least, but SBOTOP still has the German squad as the favourites to conquer Group A.

Nagelsmann’s outfit has an abundance of talent, something the football world has gotten accustomed to. Germany have always been a football powerhouse in Europe and even the world. But this particular squad has been in a rut, losing five of their past eight matches.

Nagelsmann, who was appointed to the role just a few months back, is known for his role-driven football philosophy, using and exhausting every capability his player can offer in a certain role. And this kind of structure could be very potent, especially in the final third.

He would often opt to go with a central-heavy attack—a clustered, well-timed, and surgical attack that would often overwhelm the opposing defence. This type of holistic and role-driven style of play could only reach its effectiveness if it’s backed up by sufficient talent, and luckily for Nagelsmann and the Germans, their squad is stacked with talent.

Ilkay Gündogan, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sané, and Jamal Musiala, among others, will headline Germany’s squad. Not too shabby, if you ask me. They will face Scotland in the first game of the tournament, which is everything but a cakewalk for the host country.

Steve Clarke and his Scottish outfit have shown immense grit in the qualifying stage and finished in second place in Group A. Clarke is widely known for being a defencive-minded coach, but he’s adamant on not putting too much light on labels and just doing his best to win football matches with the personnel he’s given.

“With the fact we can win matches and play attractive football is down to the quality of the players.” Clarke exclaimed.

Germany’s clash with Scotland will surely be a grand opener for the much-anticipated tournament that will put the entire football world on notice.

 

Luis de la Fuente’s Spain vs Luciano Spalletti’s Italy

Italy coach Luciano Spalletti aims for a back-to-back championship for the Azzurri in upcoming Euro 2024

Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti reacts during the press conference ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier with Ukraine

At first glance, Group B could definitely have the moniker of the Group of Death in this version of the European Championship.

The decorated outfits of Spain, Italy, Croatia, and the underdogs Albania will all have to earn every point in the group stages as their cluster boasts, in my opinion, the most talent among every other group in the tournament.

But the marquee matchup to keep an eye on in this particular group will be the chess match between Luis de la Fuente and Luciano Spalletti.

De la Fuente, a 4-3-3 maestro, is keen on building on the fact that Spain beat Mancini’s Italy twice in the Nations League and qualified ahead of them in the 2022 World Cup. True to the Spanish style of football, de la Fuente also enjoys a possession-based, surgical style of play.

Meanwhile, Italy and their fans were stunned by the sudden departure of Roberto Mancini, their head coach, during their championship run in the last version of the Euros.

Mancini’s predecessor, Luciano Spalletti, now holds the reins for gli Azzurri and is hoping that his possession and attacking style of play will lead his team not just past Spain and the rest of Group B but also headline Euro 2024 news stories and claim back-to-back European Championships for the football-crazed nation of Italy.

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 20-Feb-2024 at 3:15 PM





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