My Euro2020 Predictions on final placings in Group A by Dan
Group A (Italy will play all group games in Rome, the other matches in the group will be in Baku)
After a lull period which saw them miss the World Cup, in Turkey they believe they are on the cusp of a boom period with the next exciting generation breaking onto the scene. Especially in defence which seems to be their strength.
It might not be a coincidence that this resurgence is being overseen by Senol Gunes, the veteran in charge when the country came third at the 2002 World Cup. The difference 19 years later is he’s made his back 4 a priority, no doubt because he can call upon Soyuncu and Demiral.
He made the brave decision to overhaul the squad with youth which saw them take 4 points off the World Champions.
In fact, Turkey’s biggest struggle is when the expectation is on them to win and have to break down an underdog, e.g. recent results include wins over France, Holland and a draw with Germany. Yet they failed to beat Hungary, Latvia or Guinea.
Despite so many young talents who might steal the show, keep an eye out for 35-year-old Burak Yilmaz who seems to be getting better with age. He’s just scored 18 goals and lifted the title in France.
9 years his junior Yusuf Yazici was equally impressive with Lille.
I saw bigger shocks than them getting a result against Italy?
It was strange not to see the Italians at the World Cup, the first time that has happened since 1958.
With the proud footballing nation in mourning, it forced the Italian FIGC to have a complete overhaul on and off the pitch.
Because of that, the form of the Italians has gone almost under the radar with Mancini unbeaten in 25 games (5 shy of a national record).
The former Man City boss has adapted tactics after the previous regime were accused of being behind the times. Like many of the modern coaches, he insists on playing out from the back and having his full backs as the main attacking outlet.
Apart from Chiellini and Bonucci (with over 100 caps each) this is a squad without too much tournament experience.
Retirements of the previous generation have improved the team spirit but how they react to the pressure of the competition – who knows.
They have home advantage in the Group but that will grow hostile quickly if they don’t deliver on the opening night.
By way if you think England overhyped Southgate’s squad announcement, go on Youtube and see how the Italians announced their squad of 26.
Maybe dark horses?
You would normally question if Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have had the seasons needed to help Wales repeat their feat of 5 years ago?
As we saw before though, those two are so patriotic it wouldn’t shock anyone if Bale (whose motivation continues to be questioned) shows up and steals the show against Switzerland. Equally how many times can those two turn their form on and off?
They have a brilliant youthful support cast, but you just sense it’s not quite the buzz of the class of 2016.
It’s not helped that while the other two British sides get home advantage, Welsh fans will have to go to Baku if they want to recreate the atmosphere they did in Paris. Even for such a passionate fanbase, it’s asking a lot when you factor in travel restrictions.
The Welsh FA have done well to keep the Ryan Giggs situation low profile. For the majority of the other 23 teams, your manager missing the tournament because he’s been charged with coercive control and actual bodily harm would be quite a big deal.
Where you sensed Chris Coleman had everything where it needed to be, you don’t get that feeling this time around.
Your captain is rumoured to be retiring, your manager won’t be there and you’re playing in the hardest part of Europe for fans to get too.
The Swiss have kind of earned a reputation of spoilers.
A team who can be well organised, do their job, and grind out results against a younger and fresher Turkey or Wales. The question is do they have the players to turn draws into wins?
Injury to Nati means they are again relying on Shaquiri to give them quality in the final third and he’s only been on the fringes with Liverpool, but they do have Granit Xhaka as captain and provider.
What you see with the Swiss is what you get. This is most likely to be this generation’s final Euros and World Cup, so they are not going to change their ethos now. Nor should they, as it has led to relevant success compared to previous eras.
They will be hard to break down and will use their know-how to get points but won’t be great to watch.
Where Turkey is at the start of a cycle, this Swiss team is coming to an end.
Who do you think will advance from Group A?
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Dan’s Euro2020 Predictions League Update
Like the last World Cup, I will also be using this platform as a diary for Euro 2020. So anyone who wants to write ‘It’s not about Arsenal’ please get it out of your system. I’m sure you can cope with a couple of weeks talking about something else.
In the next week I’ll be previewing the groups/ teams taking part in this summer’s European Championships. It’s a chance for those of you taking part in the Predictions League to do some research.
Just to clarify the groups as there was some confusion (read groups left -right, eg Phenom , HH, J Gunner and Dan Kit is one group)
Group A – Phenom HH J Gunner Dan Kit
Group B – Terrah Samson Shakir Sid
Group C – Ernie Blake Kenya 001 Davars Kadii
Group D – Sue Edu Me Sagie
Group E – Okobino Buchi SJ Dunchirado
Group F – Declan Dotash Easy Guys lykmatt.
I will try to avoid repeating myself, but I hate the rule that the 4 best third place teams qualify for the knockout stages.
It makes the Group stage uncompetitive and hard to get emotionally invested in, given a country can advance with one win.
UEFA will argue they changed the format in 2016 to involve more nations but don’t do it at the expense of the quality of the tournament.
If you really want to increase participation, then add more groups. I’d rather have 8 groups of 4 where the top 2 advance then the current version where it seems harder NOT to get to the last 16.
My final complaint is some sides having home advantage and others not.
While Euopre’s Governing Body will remind us this is to celebrate the 60th birthday of the competition (61 thanks to Covid) is that a strong enough reason for such an unbalanced schedule ?
How’s it fair for example that England play in front of their own fans but France don’t?
So when forecasting certain fixtures, be aware which country it’s being played in.