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Euro 2021 picks: Predicting who advances from group stages, overall winner

Which teams are most likely to make a major run at the European crown?

Belgium’s players run during a training session at the team’s base camp in Tubize on June 9, 2021 ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 football competition.
Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

After being postponed due to the pandemic, Euro 2020 will kick off in the summer of 2021 with 24 teams vying for the continent’s top soccer championship. Reigning World Cup winners France and reigning Euro champions Portugal will be in the mix, along with several heavyweights usually on the shortlist of championship contenders.

The tournament opens with the 24 teams broken up into six groups. The top two teams in each group advance along with the four third place teams with the highest point totals. Here’s how this summer’s competition is most likely to shake out.

Group A: Italy, Turkey, Switzerland

Italy is the favorite to win the group and should do so with relative ease. The Azzurri potentially have the best attacking unit in the tournament and are definitely contenders for the title. Turkey was excellent in Euro qualifying and has enough experience to finish second in the group. Switzerland might finish in third place, but they’ll be among the best third-place teams and should get into the knockout stage.

Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark

This is Belgium’s big chance to add a trophy for its ‘golden generation’. It is the heavy favorite in the group and should be able to coast through to the knockout round. Russia has the experience and attacking prowess to take second and Denmark will be is among the better third-place teams in the group stage.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria

Netherlands hasn’t quite recaptured the magic of the 2010 World Cup, but Memphis Depay has the potential to be the star of the tournament. The Dutch are well-coached and fundamentally solid, giving them an edge in this group. Ukraine was electrifying in the qualifying rounds and has enough going forward to take second place. Austria is not going to get many headlines, but should snag a spot among third-place teams.

Group D: England, Croatia

This group will feature a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semifinal, where Croatia ended England’s dream of bringing the trophy back home. England should finish first in the group and Croatia still has enough talent from the World Cup group to advance to the knockout stage.

Group E: Spain, Poland

Although this is a relatively inexperienced Spain unit, it should have enough to win the group. Poland doesn’t have much outside Robert Lewandowski, but he’s good enough to carry them out of the group on his own. Sweden could get some action to advance out of the group, but it is more likely to see the knockout round by placing higher than the remaining third-place teams.

Group F: France, Germany, Portugal

This is the “Group of Death” but due to the format of the competition, all three of France, Germany and Portugal should advance out of the group. This could’ve been a really bad draw for TV broadcasters with one of these teams not making the knockout round, but it seems all three will be safe. Hungary will be flying under the radar and will look to shock everyone.

Overall winner: Belgium (+750)

France is the favorite and with good reason. It has the most talent on the pitch and is coming off a World Cup win. England is also up there in terms of talent and a decent bench in the event of injury. Belgium is among the favorites but offers the best value at +750. This group is hungry for a trophy and Euro 2020 represents its best shot at doing so to date. Take Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne to win this tournament.