What should we expect at Euro 2021?
April 13, 2021
The league football season may be approaching an end, with just a month and a half remaining approximately, but that doesn’t signify the end of the footballing action. From 11th June to 11th July, the world will be following Euro 2021. Below is a look at some of the things to expect at Euro 2021.
The tournament will be somewhat memorable for the fact that 12 different nations are hosting games. The opening game will get under way in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where Turkey will face off against Italy.
Twenty-four teams will be contesting the championship, with Portugal playing as the defending champions. The other countries that are hosting games will be as follows:
Netherlands – Johan Cruyff Arena
Azerbaijan – Olympic Stadium
Spain – San Mames
Romania – Arena Nationala
Hungary – Puskas Arena
Denmark – Parken Stadium
Republic of Ireland – Aviva Stadium
Scotland – Hampden Park
England – Wembley Stadium
Germany – Allianz Arena
Russia – Krestovsky Stadium
Will fans be allowed inside the stadiums?
The problems created by the pandemic and the fact that different countries are making different levels of progress fighting COVID-19 have made attendance by fans uncertain in some cases.
Some governments, such as Scotland, England, Italy and Rumania, have agreed they’ll welcome fans to the stadium. Depending on the size of the stadium and on the country, around 11 to 13,000 fans will be allowed in to cheer their side.
Other countries, however, have been quieter on the issue. Germany and Hungary haven’t announced their plans yet, Spain has decided not to let fans into the stadium and there are fears that the Republic of Ireland may pull out of hosting altogether.
Will the fewer numbers of fans have an impact?
There’s quite some discussion over the impact of fans, or of no fans as the case may be, in stadiums. It seems, if the Premier League is anything to go by, the presence of fans has quite an impact on teams.
Some managers have talked about shifts in motivation and changes in behaviour when there are no fans coming to support their teams. Others have talked of away teams benefiting from the lack of ‘intimidation’ that sides may feel when they visit the home side’s ground. The stats bear some of this argument out, with a comparison of away goals before and after lockdown showing that away teams scored more goals after the lockdown hit the Premier League.
Other research, however, suggests that the empty stadiums has no or little impact on the performance of teams. Analysts have commented that the absence of fans merely affects ticket sales. That being said, however… they did acknowledge that the very slight margins of impact on performance could count heavily when it comes to issues such as relegation.
Fixtures to look forward to
As always, the tournament has created some juicy fixtures. Here are a few to look forward to:
Finland vs Denmark (Group B)
This will be an intriguing fixture because its Finland’s first outing in a major men’s football tournament in 110 years. There may be some surprises, as the team is more capable of upsets than people imagine.
England vs Scotland (Group D)
The game will be Scotland’s first appearance in the Euro finals since they faced England in Euro 1996. Of course, that game didn’t go too well for Scotland. The Scots will be looking for revenge.
Portugal vs France (Group F)
This will be something akin to a clash of the titans in the tournament. The Euro 2016 winners will go up against the reigning World Cup holders. That alone makes the game one to watch.
Which team has the chance to win?
This is a big question and anyone who is looking to place a bet on the games will be studying the tournament and the teams’ performances in the run-up to it very carefully. However, some early favourites have emerged:
Despite the pessimism that seems to surround English international football, the team has some promising options when it comes to who to send to the tournament. Although the English international trophy cabinet might be embarrassingly bare, if the side can build up a momentum, they could go all the way in this tournament.
France are formidable and seem to play by their own rules, but when it comes to delivering on the world stage, they’re reliably consistent. They keep cool heads when it counts and are likely to go far in the tournament.
Spain were a hot, hot team between 2008 and 2012, but then went off the boil. The nation’s football fans will be pleased to see they’ve begun to rediscover that kind of form and we could see España.
A less obvious winner
Of course, the other winners at the tournament will be the British bookmakers. Sports betting has long been a part of British culture and the development of smartphone technology will allow the Brits to indulge this passion even more. Since Britain is home to some of the world’s favourite sports, such as rugby and football, betting on the outcome of games goes somewhat hand in hand with this natural enthusiasm for sport.
Euro 2021 will be an immensely exciting tournament, despite being a little different due to the reduced numbers of crowds and, in some cases, absence of them. Spectators at home, however, can expect the same levels of drama as always and, equally, a memorable tournament.