England 5/1 Favourites For Euro2020 With Or Without Fans
March 23, 2021
With the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and Euro2020 on the horizon for England, the 26-man squad recently announced by Manager Gareth Southgate are full of confidence about their chances. Jack Grealish, Aston Villa and England midfielder, was recently asked on BBC’s MOTDx if England would win the Euro2020 tournament and his answer was an unequivocal “Defo!”. He justified his assertion, saying “We’ve got so much talent this year, especially the attackers”.
The bookmakers agree and England are favourite to win with odds of 5/1 available from most bookies just now, including William Hill and Paddy Power. France and Belgium are second and third favourites respectively with the 2016 tournament winners, Portugal, unfancied this time round with odds of 10/1 from Vbet.
When UEFA was planning the 60th anniversary of the Euro tournament, ambitions were sky high and officials planned a 12-city tournament, taking place across twelve European countries, to celebrate. The tournament, postponed from last year, is expected to commence with the Group Stage A match between Italy and Turkey which will take place on Friday 11 June in Rome. Wembley Stadium in London will host Group Stage and Round of 16 fixtures and the venue will then host the two semi-finals on 6 and 7 July, and the final on Sunday 11 July. Scotland’s national stadium, Hampden Park in Glasgow, is also hosting Group and Round of 16 matches.
But there is a big question mark as to whether these plans are achievable in their entirety – are all host cities in a position to host football matches and, if they are, will they be allowed by their governments to let spectators into their stadiums? All twelve Euro2020 host cities are suffering major restrictions just now and domestic league matches have been taking place without fans present. But UEFA’s President, Aleksander Cerefin, remains confident that the situation will be vastly different by early June. “We have several scenarios, but the one guarantee we can make is that the option of playing any Euro 2020 match in an empty stadium is off the table. Every host must guarantee there will be fans at their games.”
Host cities are more cautious about their prospects and the Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, poured cold water on Cerefin’s announcement, saying “It is simply not possible at this point in time to make a statement about whether or not the coronavirus pandemic will allow spectators in June or not”.
UEFA requires all twelve host cities to confirm their plans for fans by 7 April. Glasgow, Dublin and Bilbao are reckoned to be the cities with the most governmental concern about fans being allowed in their stadiums. Decisions are likely to go to the wire and Scottish fans will be hoping that the success of the vaccine roll-out programme will bolster their chances of seeing the national team playing at Hampden. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, says she remains “absolutely intent” on Glasgow remaining a host city but it remains unclear whether the Scottish government will be able to commit before the 7 April deadline. The Tartan Army must keep hoping!
There remains the possibility that the tournament template may need to be adjusted, depending upon the feedback from the host cities in a fortnight’s time. Will it be a deal-breaker if a significant number of cities are unable to commit to matches with fans present? If so, would UEFA then allow the tournament to be hosted in one country that is in a position to allow spectators? The FA has already offered to help out if required to do so and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has supported that stance, commenting “If they (UEFA) want any other matches hosted, we’re certainly on for that.”