Euro 2020 Postponement | Winners and Losers
Euro 2020: Who Are The Biggest Winners & Losers From The Postponement?
Europe’s finest teams will have an extra year to prepare for their next major tournament after Euro 2020 was postponed until next summer. The announcement represented a blessing for some teams and a curse for others. These are the biggest winners and losers from the postponement of the European Championship:
The Netherlands squad is packed with exciting young players and they should benefit from an extra year to develop. Dutch football was in the doldrums after the national team failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup. The Royal Netherlands Football Association responded by axing Dick Advocaat, and the team has enjoyed a remarkable upturn in fortunes under new boss Ronald Koeman.
He built an exciting new team around the talents of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, and the Netherlands went all the way to the UEFA Nations League final last summer. They have a rock-solid defence, anchored by Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk. Partner Matthijs de Ligt has struggled at Juventus, but he now has another year in which to rediscover his form. Key midfielders de Jong and Donny van de Beek are both 23, and they will be closer to peak performance levels by 2021.
The greatest weakness for this Dutch team is the lack of a proven goal scorers up top, but Koeman now has another 12 months to run the rule over exciting youngsters Myron Boadu, Donyell Malen and Justin Kluivert before deciding who will lead the line at Euro 2021. The Dutch could be a force to be reckoned with.
The world champions endured a sluggish qualifying campaign, and they could do with an extra year to rediscover their peak form. They were invincible at the 2018 World Cup, and key men Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann will still be in their prime. It will give exciting stars like Ousmane Dembele and Aymeric Laporte to reach full fitness, while youngsters like Ferland Mendy, Matteo Guendouzi William Saliba and Jonathan Ikoné could kick on.
The extra year will also give manager Didier Deschamps more time to find a replacement for Olivier Giroud. The forward has struggled to break into the Chelsea team this season and he might not have made an ideal choice to spearhead the French attack at the European Championship. By 2021, he will be almost 35 years old, and his limited mobility will be further diminished. Deschamps can monitor the progress of Alassane Pléa, who could make an interesting replacement, or consider youngsters like Moussa Dembele. The alternative would be to trial a new formation, with Mbappe and Griezmann up front and more bodies in midfield, and Deschamps now has plenty of time to experiment.
The Three Lions were installed as Euro 2020 favourites in the football odds after enjoying an exceptionally prolific qualifying campaign. Players like Jordan Henderson have improved significantly over the past year, and England looked poised to carry a great deal of momentum into the big tournament. The semi-finals and final will also be held at Wembley, handing Gareth Southgate’s men home advantage if they make it that far. Everything aligned perfectly, so you could argue that they will rue the need to delay the tournament by a year.
However, England could be in an even better position to seize glory next year. Captain Harry Kane would have either been injured or lacking match fitness for Euro 2020 after suffering a ruptured tendon in January. The Spurs striker could be a chief beneficiary from the postponement. It also gives young superstars like Jadon Sancho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Marcus Rashford, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Declan Rice, Joe Gomez and Aaron Wan-Bissaka an extra year to develop. The younger crop looks similarly exciting, and the likes of Mason Greenwood and Bukayo Saka could be pushing for a start by 2021.
It also gives Southgate more time to figure out how to anchor the team. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has had a poor season for Everton, and Southgate may turn to Dean Henderson or Nick Pope if they excel over the next 12 months. John Stones has rarely looked comfortable alongside Harry Maguire in defence, and we could see Gomez and Maguire form a solid partnership in the next year, with Ben Chilwell and Alexander-Arnold completing a strong back four.
Germany are also blessed with many talented youngsters and they could benefit from an extra year in which to mature. Kai Havertz has more time to reach his full potential, Timo Werner and Serge Gnaby look capable of becoming world-class and it will be interesting to see how defenders Lukas Klostermann and Jonathan Tah develop over the next 12 months.
Luis Enrique has only recently retaken the reins with Spain, and he should be thankful for an extra year to mould the team in his image. Sergio Ramos may be on his last legs by 2021, but it does give time for the likes of Mikel Oyarzabal and Adama Traoré to prove their worth, and for Marco Asensio to return.
The Belgian golden generation looks past its sell-by date. Vincent Kompany has retired, while Spurs duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are the wrong side of 30 and their powers are waning. That leaves Belgium shaky at the back, as the younger players coming through do not look up to scratch. That could damage their chances of success at Euro 2021.
On the flipside, it does give Eden Hazard a chance to rediscover his best form. The former Chelsea forward has struggled at the Bernabeu this season, and he could be firing on all cylinders again by 2021. Kevin De Bruyne will still be brilliant in a year’s time, and Romelu Lukaku may continue his upward trajectory at Inter. Yet Axel Witsel could be a fading force, and Dries Mertens will be 34, so Belgium may well curse the need to delay the tournament.
Croatia have been in decline ever since they finished runners-up at the 2018 World Cup. They scraped through qualifying after a couple of scares, but England ripped them apart in the Nations League. Star striker Mario Mandzukic retired from international football in 2018, and they lack a ready-made replacement.
Star players Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are now 34 and 32 respectively, and they could be on the brink of retirement next summer. They may have been able to produce a Herculean effort in driving their team to success this summer, but it will be a big ask in 2021.
The reigning European champions limped into Euro 2020 after finishing behind Ukraine in their qualifying group. They look devastating going forwards, but their defensive capabilities look limited. Portugal have long been reliant on Pepe and Jose Fonte, but they are now 36 and 37 respectively, and it is hard to imagine them featuring next summer. Cristiano Ronaldo will also be 36 next summer, and the great man may finally be starting to show his age by then.
Playmaker Joao Moutinho will be 34 and he may not make the tournament. Portugal are blessed with plenty of tremendous young players, including Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Goncalo Guedes. Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Neves, Nelson Samedo, Joao Cancelo and Raphael Guerreiro will all be in their prime, but they need to find a strong spine over the next 12 months.
Italy breezed through their qualifying group with 10 wins out of 10 games, and they looked set for a strong tournament. Ciro Immobile has been in devastating form for Lazio this season, and they are always solid at the back. However, captain Leonardo Bonucci will be 34 next summer and Giorgio Chiellini will be 36, so they may not be capable of anchoring a strong Italian backline against young, dynamic teams like England, the Netherlands and France, while Immobile’s form may dip.
Dark horses like Ukraine, Poland, Turkey and Sweden may also see their momentum checked by the postponement of the European Championship. Yet there is plenty of time for new stars to emerge and the landscape could be very different in 12 months’ time, so keep an eye on the football spread betting and see how the markets develop.