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Euro 2024: Who Are The Favourites?

Euro 2024: Who Are The Favourites?

Every four years, the UEFA European Championship pits some of the world's greatest international football teams against each other in a whirlwind month of high-stakes sporting drama. An iconic trophy is up for grabs, reputations are on the line, and bragging rights between nations are decided. This June, 24 European nations will gather in Germany for the latest edition of the tournament, and plenty of them will fancy their chances.

In this article, we'll be analysing which teams are most likely to win the competition, taking you through the bookies' favourites and exploring the key strengths of the sides being tipped as potential Euro 2024 champions. We'll also provide you with some extra context about the tournament as a whole, listing details about the current holders, the host stadiums, and all the key dates you need to know. But before we get into all that, we'll start off with a quick guide to the history of the Euros.

A Quick Guide To The European Championships

Taking place every four years, the UEFA European Championship (often simply called the Euros) is an international tournament in which European nations compete against each other to be crowned the best on the continent. It's the European equivalent of the Copa America, the Asian Cup, or AFCON, and past winners include Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Over the years, there have been some surprise victors, including Greece in 2004 and Denmark in 1992. But in the earlier years of the competition, only the biggest nations had a strong chance of even reaching the finals.

Association football began spreading across the world from Britain in the late 19th century, and in the following decades, international friendlies and regional tournaments became the norm in various different parts of Europe.

However, it wasn't until 1960 that the first official pan-European international competition was played, with France hosting the finals and the Soviet Union beating Yugoslavia in the final to lift the inaugural trophy. Back then, the competition was widely referred to as the 'European Nations Cup', with the term Euro [year] not being adopted until 1996.

In the early years of the European Championship, only four teams were allowed to compete in the finals; however, the tournament was expanded to eight teams in 1980, when a group stage was introduced. For Euro '96, hosted by England, 16 teams competed for the first time, and the latest expansion of the tournament was introduced for Euro 2016, when 24 teams played at the finals. This format has remained ever since.

Who Won The Last Euros Tournament?

The last European Championship took place in 2021, after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the international footballing schedule and caused Euro 2020 to be delayed by one year. To mark the 60th anniversary of the tournament, the 16th quadrennial championship was played in 11 different European cities, an unprecedented move that created some organisational difficulties for UEFA, plus plenty of travelling for players and backroom staff.

The host cities were Munich, Rome, Amsterdam, Budapest, Baku, Copenhagen, Seville, Saint Petersburg, Bucharest, Glasgow, and London, with the semi-finals and final all taking place in the English capital at Wembley Stadium.

The home crowds certainly propelled England forward (the only game they had to play away from London was a quarter-final tie against Ukraine in Rome, which they won 4-0), and they faced an electric Italy team led by Roberto Mancini in the final at Wembley.

That night, it was Italy who were victorious; the game was level at 1-1 after 90 minutes, but after a nervy period of extra time Mancini's side was calm and collected in the ensuing penalty shootout, dispatching three decisive penalties to break English hearts and win the Euros for the first time since 1968.

Remarkably, the defending champions almost failed to qualify for Euro 2024, but in the end they scraped past Ukraine and landed themselves in a tough group at the tournament with Spain, Croatia and Albania. Do they have what it takes to defend their title?

Who Are The Favourites To Win Euro 2024?

Most people won't be expecting Italy to make it two wins in a row this summer, particularly given the strength of their group. They are still one of the competition's stronger sides, but other teams have received far more attention when it comes to conversations about potential winners. So who are the Euro 2024 favourites?

England

Last tournament's finalists have arguably only strengthened since that dramatic loss to Italy, with star midfielder Jude Bellingham becoming one of the world's best players, Harry Kane continuing to bag tons of goals for club and country, and Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden growing in stature for Arsenal and Man City respectively.

According to The Telegraph, bookmakers bet365 have England as 3/1 favourites to win the tournament, and with the quality in their ranks and the defensive solidity that has allowed them to progress deep into the 2018 World Cup and the 2021 Euros, you can see why.

France

France squeezed past England in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but the Three Lions were arguably the better team on the night. That probably explains why the bookies have France as second-favourites to win the competition after England, at 4/1. However, it would be no surprise to see Didier Deschamps' side go all the way in this tournament.

He's already guided his country to a World Cup trophy (2018), a second World Cup final in 2022, and the final of the Euros in 2016. What's more, his squad is rammed with an unbelievable amount of talent, with players such as Kylian Mbappe, Aurelien Tchouameni, Antoine Griezmann, Theo Hernandez and Ousmane Dembele all likely to grace the European stage in Germany. France will be one of the teams to beat, without a doubt.

Germany

The German national team aren't coming into the competition in great shape; their poor form leading up to this year's tournament caused them to ditch former head coach Hansi Flick in favour of the promising young coach Julian Nagelsmann last year.

He'll be keen to prove himself at a high-stakes international tournament, and regardless of what state Germany are in right now, it would be foolish to write off the serial winners, who have a remarkable five World Cups and three European Championship titles to their name. Including wins for West Germany they're the most successful side in Euros history, and bet365 has them at 11/2 to win the tournament, giving them a 15% chance of victory.

Portugal

In terms of squad depth, not many sides can match Portugal at this year's tournament. Their roster of talented players includes Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo, and Cristiano Ronaldo, and experienced pros will be joined in the ranks by hotly-tipped youngsters like Goncalo Ramos and Rafael Leao.

The coach at the helm — Roberto Martinez — has plenty of experience at the top of the game too, hence the bookies' decision to place them as the fourth-most likely Euros winners, at 7/1.

Euro 2024: The Underdogs

The expansion of the Euros to 24 teams has given a number of smaller nations the opportunity to qualify for European football's premier international tournament. Iceland shocked England in the knockout stages of Euro 2016 despite having a squad comprised partly of semi-professional playeres, while the last edition of the tournament saw North Macedonia qualify and equip themselves admirably in the group stages against sides like Ukraine and Austria. 

This year, there are some more underdogs hoping to spring a surprise at the competition; the three lowest-ranked side are minnows Georgia (85th and at their first-ever Euros), Albania (66th and at only their second), and Slovenia (ranked 65th but with some European pedigree). It will be interesting to see what they're capable of.

When Does The Tournament Start? 

Over the coming weeks, the coaches and medical teams employed by the national associations of England, France, Germany, and Portugal will be praying that their players avoid injury and remain in prime condition for the Euros. But there are still some huge club fixtures set to take place before the Euros, including the FA Cup final (a Manchester derby scheduled for 25th May) and the Champions League final, happening the following weekend on 1st June.

Two weeks later, on Friday 14th June, Euro 2024 will begin, with the first match taking place between Germany and Scotland at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.

Nagelsmann won't have a huge amount of time to prepare his squad — particularly if key players like Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala are able to guide Bayern Munich to the Champions League final — so he'll be aiming to make the most of every minute on the training ground.

After kicking off on 14th June, the European Championships will last exactly a month, with the final set to be staged on Sunday 14th July at Hertha Berlin's Olympiastadion.

Where Will Euro 2024 Take Place?

Ten German cities have been selected to host matches at Euro 2024, with some grounds hosting only group stage matches while others will stage clashes in the latter stages of the tournament too. From Dortmund's 62,000-capacity Westfalenstadion (famous for its 'Yellow Wall' of BVB diehards) to the national Olympiastadion built for the 1936 Olympics and now used by Hertha Berlin, there are plenty of historic football grounds on show at this year's tournament.

Check out our guide to all the Euro 2024 stadiums for more information. You can also learn about the Fussballliebe, the Euro 2024 ball.