The Euros will be starting soon and emotions are already running high.
Will Roberto Mancini get his first international trophy with Italy? Can the golden generation of Belgium win the Euros?
Can ageing Ronaldo and in-form Fernandes inspire Portugal to another international trophy?
Can Spain reborn their lost glory by winning their first trophy since their 2012 triumph?
Fans and pundits alike are weighing the options and getting set for the main event.
But much is left to be decided as the matches kick off this Friday. The coaches will play a huge role in determining the team's performance. As far as the Euros are concerned coaches can work magic. No one expected Greece to win the Euro 2004. But under the guidance of defensive tactician Otto Rehhagel, they brushed aside tougher sides like France, Czech Republic, and host Portugal first in the group stages and later in the final before their home fans. Despite not having a star-studded line-up, the Greek team won the championship and did not concede throughout the knockout stages. So, coaches can make a difference.
We will look at some coaches who have paid their dues over the years, and seem to be at the threshold of success at Euro 2020. Let’s check them out!
1. Roberto Mancini - Italy
Roberto Mancini is won the Serie both as a player and coach, and he is a Premier League winner with Manchester City. He guided Italy to a perfect 10 wins in 10 qualifying matches. He has been working on reviving an Italian squad that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and has already been given a contract extension through the 2026 World Cup. Italy has won the World Cup four times, but have only won the European Championship once, in 1968. Many do not believe Italy will challenge for the title yet. The team might even be lucky to the semi-finals, which they have a mere 30% chance to reach. That is why Italy has a 40% chance of winning the title.
2. Gareth Southgate - England
Southgate could make history as the winner of England’s first European championship this Summer. England have had a mix of missed opportunities and poor performances in recent years. The Three Lions have struggled in Euro tournaments for the past 20 years: they couldn’t qualify from their group in 2000, they got kicked out in the quarterfinal in 2004, they failed to even make the tournament in 2008, they were beaten by Italy in the semi-final in 2012, and got embarrassed by Iceland at the Knockout stage in 2016. But with a new crop of young players, things might be looking up for England. Southgate might just get the talents of Saka, Sancho, Rashford, and Kane together to get things right. He has a 16% chance of winning the trophy.
3. Roberto Martinez - Belgium
The Spanish gaffer Roberto Martínez took the top football job in Belgium almost 5 years ago. Before this role, he has warmed up with stints in the Premier League with Swansea, Wigan, and Everton. Martinez currently has in his arsenal some of the most talented players in Europe which includes Real Madrid stars Thibault Courtois, Eden Hazard, Serie A winner Romelu Lukaku, Premier League winner Kevin De Bruyne, English FA Cup hero Youri Tielemans, and La Liga winner Yannick Carrasco. If Martinez can get his tactics and strategy right, this team can do wonders. He has a 13% chance of winning the title.
4. Didier Deschamps - France
Deschamps captained France to the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euros, and is now looking to complete a similar double as coach of Les Bleus after guiding the team to the 2018 World Cup title. Deschamps could have been chasing a third consecutive title if he had not bottled the 2016 Euro final to Portugal. France is a favourite for another title. Nine years ago, Deschamps was named the new manager of the French national team. He guided his team to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, the final of Euro 2016, and he won the 2018 World Cup. He became the third man to win the World Cup both as a player and a manager. Little wonder why pundits around the world believe France has a 16% chance of winning the Euros.
5. Luis Enrique - Spain
Luis Enrique has won practically everything as coach of Barcelona, but he is aiming to show his versatility at the international level. He has a huge task of regaining the lost glories of La Roja form 2008 t0 2012 when they won the world cup, and the Euros twice. For the first time, Spain will have to do it without any Real Madrid players after Enriique dropped Sergio Ramos whose season has been plagued by injuries. Pundits generally do not consider Spain a major contender, and Enrique is estimate to have just an 11% chance of winning the Euros.
6. Joachim Low – Germany
Joachim Löw has managed more games at the Euros (17 and won more matches (11) than any coach in the tourney’s history. He has been in charge for nearly 200 games — the most memorable being a 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals. Germany then beat Argentina to win the World Cup. But this time around, expectations are low for his side. The likes of Ozil, Goetze, Schweinsteiger, Schürrle, Klose, Mertesacker, Lahm, and Podolski who made his team great all gone. And yes, the likes of Kroos, Muller, Neuer, Hummels, are still in the team, this is a very different German team from the one that won the World Cup in Brazil and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Little wonder why Coach Löw announced that he would resign after Euro 2020; perhaps the man has had enough. In the Euros though, the Germans will be playing some their group stage matches at home in Munich, and would likely bank on some home advantage. That is why they have an 11% chance of winning the Euros.