European Championship 2024

European Championship 2024


Just in case you thought that there would actually be a break from football during the summer, the European Championship finals are with us. Starting on the 14th of the month and taking us right through until the same date in July, the final will be played in Berlin after 50 matches in the group and knockout stages decide who has the right to be there.

I have no doubt that Germany will make a success of hosting the tournament as they have the infrastructure and transport system to do so. The drawback for us expats is that a large proportion of the matches, including the semis and final, will be played at 9pm local time, meaning 3am kickoff times here. A few “back to my place” late viewings with the required beers will be in order I’m sure!

It has been known for the occasional shock winner to come through in the tournament, Greece in 2004 spring to mind, but in general it’s one of the European superpowers who collect the trophy. Among the favourites this year are France, Germany, Spain and Portugal with England, runners up four years ago, being the outright market leaders.

England are well fancied for the tournament and rightly so, given the quality and depth of the current squad. Whether they can shine under the pressure and come through in a major tournament, or are allowed to do so, we will just have to wait and see. An abundance of talent in the attacking and midfield departments is tempered by the suspicion that the central defence may encounter serious problems against some of the world class attackers they will face here. Nonetheless England have some fantastic talent in the squad and may never get a better chance to end the search for that elusive trophy.

Germany must have a shout on their home turf and after being a virtual punchbag for everyone they played in 2023, they have changed managers and suddenly regained their form this year by beating both the Netherlands and more importantly France, well tipped up here, recently.

So along with England, Germany and France, Spain and Portugal are the other more fancied teams to win the competition, with the likes of Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands also not out of it according to the bookmakers.

Whatever the outcome, there are going to be some wonderful players on show and let’s hope that the teams are given the freedom to play the kind of football we know they are capable of. Things kick off with hosts Germany playing Scotland on the 14th and the action goes right through until the final the following month.

My fancy? I would be surprised if the winner doesn’t come from either England, France or Germany, and I think that home advantage will just shade it for the hosts. I think we can look forward to some excellent football whoever lifts the trophy as there are some excellent teams who are trying to do so.

Keep an eye out for kickoff times by the way, it’s 3pm, 6pm or 9pm local time for the group matches at least. Unfortunately every knockout round is either 6pm or 9pm local time so if your team progresses, be prepared for a few late nights!

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