https://www.theguardian.com/football/article/2024/jun/13/euro-2024-fans-24-countries-preview-tournament-england-france-euros

Fans from across Europe share their predictions for the Euros. Most are tipping France or England to be champions

Germany fans cheer on their team during their friendly against Greece. Photograph: Christopher Neundorf/EPA

Germany

Germany have lost their opening match at the past three major tournaments, having only done so once before (1982) in almost 90 years of international football. On the other hand, when Germany get off to a flying start, the following weeks tend to be excellent. Am I confident? Ask me that question again after the Scotland match.

In their past two home tournaments, in 1988 and 2006, Germany reached the semi-finals and then lost to the eventual winners. If someone promised me this outcome today, I would accept it as not an exceptional performance but a very decent one. Home advantage in World Cups and Euros almost never pays anyway, at least when it comes to titles. Since 1980 only France have managed to win at home – in 1984 and 1998; the other 22 home teams were left with empty hands. And that’s OK – good hosts leave the best parts for their guests.

No German tournament is complete without its very special goalkeeper telenovela. So I expect a storyline where Manuel Neuer, after some further inexplicable shakiness, is finally replaced by Marc-André ter Stegen, who then has an excellent tournament, carrying his team through to the final, only to eventually honour the memory of Harald Schumacher and Oliver Kahn by committing the One Big Blunder in the final that will hand the title to the opposition.

The shape of the clouds, the flight of the birds and maybe even Octopus Paul’s descendants in Oberhausen tell us that this is England’s time. The team oozes talent, experience and hunger, and nothing beats a team whose time has come. The promise is England being England and winning it all with a sense of inevitability. The danger is also England being England and throwing it all away, so who knows. Kipkuhmi

Germany fans unveil a banner saying: ‘We will be European champions.’
Germany fans unveil a banner saying: ‘We will be European champions.’ Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Scotland

I’m not feeling very confident given our poor run of recent results and the injuries we have to key players. Reaching the knockout stages would be a success but I’m doubtful we will pull it off. John McGinn and Scott McTominay were excellent in qualification and probably carry our biggest goal threat. I think France will win it; Kylian Mbappé is unplayable on his day. Paul Thomson

Hungary

The coach, Marco Rossi, has been in my personal legends list ever since he brought a Leicester-esque Hungarian Championship win to my team, Honvéd, in 2017 and over the past six years he has built an incredibly likable national side, one that are much greater than the sum of their individual parts. Hungarians have good reasons to be confident.

While our squad on paper isn’t quite the same calibre as other dark horses such as Austria or Denmark, this team’s strength lies in their unity. Qualification was completed without a single defeat. Losing to a last-minute goal in Dublin recently was an unwelcome surprise, but it did serve as a useful warning against overconfidence and has perhaps taken off some of the pressure heading into the tournament.

We Hungarians are currently a pretty divided nation, and divisions permeate into sports as well: the Orbán regime’s quasi-takeover of Hungarian football has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many, including myself. Nevertheless, the national side is one we are able to associate with and support – even people who otherwise could not name a single player will be watching during the Euros, celebrating together in victory and commiserating together in defeat. We often joke that we are “a nation of 10 million national team managers”, quick to criticise and see fault, but in the past few years there has been a remarkable unity behind this group of players and the coach.

It is a sign of the recent progress that failing to make it out of the group would be a big disappointment – this was not at all the sentiment at the last two Euros. A strong start against Switzerland will be key. Scotland also look beatable and, if Germany crack under the pressure of playing at home, winning the group may not be out of the question for Hungary! Making it to the quarters and beyond is dreamland category, although we should note that these boys have shown in recent years that they beat anybody.

Dominik Szoboszlai is the main man. The current poster boy for Hungarian football always turns up and his leadership off the pitch has also put to bed the concerns about him taking the captaincy at such a young age. Look out for Dániel Gazdag, who could secure a move from Philadelphia in the MLS to one of the big European leagues. Up top, Barnabás Varga has emerged as the successor to the retired icon Ádám Szalai; he arrives in Germany in good form to lead the line. Dániel Kovács

Dominik Szoboszlai celebrates with the fans after Hungary’s 3-0 friendly win over Israel.
Dominik Szoboszlai celebrates with the fans after Hungary’s 3-0 friendly win over Israel. Photograph: Márton Mónus/Reuters

Switzerland

I’m not feeling confident. We should be satisfied that we qualify for tournaments but the demands are increasing. Our team’s attack is too weak. We’d like to swap one of our four world-class goalkeepers for a prolific No 9. Dear Brits, it’s finally time to recognise Yann Sommer as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Dan Ndoye is also a promising player for the future. We will reach the round of 16 (as always). England will be champions. Aurel

Spain

As usual, there is an air of excessive confidence in the Spanish media. Real Madrid’s brilliant season, excitement surrounding Barcelona’s young assets and satisfaction upon seeing La Roja shift away from the overindulgent tiki-taka has created a euphoric mood.

However, others are less confident. Despite the spark of Lamine Yamal, Nico Williams and Pedri, there is a serious lack in the striker department, as can be seen by the presence of Joselu (ex-Stoke), Álvaro Morata (ex-Chelsea) and Ayoze (ex-Newcastle and Leicester). Nacho and Aymeric Laporte are reliable centre-backs but the latter is under scrutiny after spending a year in a Mickey Mouse league and the former is playing his first tournament with the national team. Finally, Rodri is a splendid footballer for Manchester City but has rarely delivered for the national team.

To boot, Spain are in the group of death with Italy and Croatia. They should make it through, but Germany may await in the quarter-finals and this may be where the road ends for us. France are the team to beat. Edu

Nico Williams puts the burners on during Spain’s 3-3 draw with Brazil.
Nico Williams puts the burners on during Spain’s 3-3 draw with Brazil. Photograph: Mateo Villalba/Getty Images

Croatia

It is very difficult to put this team to bed in a big match. People keep pointing out their age but it is the footballers, and not their birthdays, who play. Plus, only three of the players are over 32, one of them being a 38-year-old footballing Mozart whose change of pace and agility would put most elite players to shame. A healthy mixture of hungry, up-and-coming youngsters and veterans with an array of Champions League and World Cup medals under their belts is not the worst recipe for a long tournament.

I see them going all the way. People are quick to dismiss us based on our qualifying campaign, but we barely made it to the 1998 and 2018 World Cups, and we were only spared from the 2022 playoffs by a Russian own goal in the dying minutes of the final qualifying match. Three World Cup medals later, here we are.

There are two exciting youngsters in the squad: Luka Sucic and Martin Baturina. As our coach is quite conservative, I don’t see them starting but I am confident you will see them dismantle their opposition in the dying minutes of matches (and, knowing Croatia, extra-time). Croatia, Italy and Spain are all in the same group and I think one of them will win the tournament. Lovro

Italy

I’m not particularly confident, but that is a constant in supporting Italy. They are the embodiment of the Malcolm in the Middle birthday meme: “I expect nothing and I’m still let down.” Naturally, having won the previous Euros, I really don’t expect that to occur again. Having lived through the highs of that victory and the World Cup in 2006, plus the lows of missing tournaments, has been a rollercoaster of emotions.

There are a number of reasons to be pessimistic. Roberto Mancini failing to make the World Cup and, ultimately, leaving in the run-in to this tournament to manage Saudi Arabia leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Luciano Spalletti is an intelligent coach but he lacks strikers. Also, being in a group with Spain, Croatia and Albania is frightening. Spain are flawed but talented; Croatia always show up on the big occasion; and Albania are the type of team that give Italy problems.

Our big players – Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolò Barella, Jorginho, and so on – have to play well for Italy to go far. But I think the tournament will be determined by Federico Chiesa’s creativity and Gianluca Scamacca’s finishing. Long may his good form continue. Oh, and the defence might help determine how far Italy will go: Alessandro Buongiorno and Riccardo Calafiori might not be the most well-known across Europe but they will shine if they play.

Ultimately, I think we’ll be beaten in the round of 16 or quarter-finals. France have the deepest squad by a huge margin and should win it. Filippo

Federico Chiesa passes the ball during a training session at Italy’s base in Germany.
Federico Chiesa passes during a training session at Italy’s base in Germany. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Albania

Albania will be one of the surprises at the tournament, even if we have been drawn in the “group of death”. Getting four points against Italy, Croatia and Spain still looks like a doable task, rather than an impossible mission. Making it out of the group would be a huge achievement for the team and country, considering it is only our second participation. If we beat the teams in our group, there is a huge chance we can do it against other big names.

The team’s best weapon is a strong midfield. Ylber Ramadani, Kristjan Asllani and Nedim Bajrami give the side balance. We have to work more on our set pieces though, as we give away too many goals from them. Jon Lumani

Slovenia

Our squad is good enough to live up to expectations and maybe even achieve a historic result. There are a number of players in the squad you should look out for: Benjamin Sesko, Jaka Bijol, Timi Max Elsnik and Adam Gnezda Cerin. I believe we will reach the round of 16, with France the eventual winners. Nik

Benjamin Sesko takes pictures with Slovenia fans.
Benjamin Sesko takes pictures with Slovenia fans. Photograph: Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images

Denmark

I’m not confident at all. Our manager, Kasper Hjulmand, isn’t a risk taker, so we are left with too many players who are past their prime. Our squad is devoid of creativity and young blood. I don’t expect us to be able to break down any opponent’s defensive structure.

Jacob Bruun Larsen and Mikkel Damsgaard are Hjulmand’s two wildcards in this tournament. He will have to show the fans why they, and not other prospects such as Matt O’Riley or Nicolai Vallys, were picked for the squad. Kasper Schmeichel has seemed slow and old in the past year, so expect questions to be asked about whether he should remain first choice in goal.

I think we will be knocked out in the group stage, with Netherlands going on to win the tournament. Jonathan Vigilius

Serbia

We will go out at the group stage. The coach, Dragan Stojkovic, hasn’t shown modern tactics and inspires no confidence in big tournaments. Player selection and formation have been questionable at best. Serbia only qualified thanks to the expanded format.

I also fear for the next tournaments after this one; if Stojkovic remains coach, which is likely, we will have the talent and quality but not the brains behind the operation. This is a talented team that needs modern tactics, good preparation and smarts.

I see England or France as the winners. England have a very strong team, with lots of confidence and experience. The same goes for France, but they are going through a mini change of generation. This could be England’s tournament, finally. This is Jude Bellingham’s time to shine. Milan

England

It’s been an interesting few weeks for England fans and I am attempting to keep my hopes and dreams in check. After seeing Jack Grealish, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford not make the cut, it leaves the squad in unknown territory with a lot of new additions and, after Friday’s defeat to Iceland, a blatant lack of international experience. However, our new young players are all exciting and, if they can find their feet in the squad and replicate what they have done this season, it could make for an England team to remember.

We have been lucky and drawn a relatively easy group, but this could work against us. As we have seen before, England tend to struggle against the bigger international teams and only facing those teams later in the tournament heightens the pressure put on the team. Jude Bellingham will be the player to watch for England, however Cole Palmer will also give the team a reassuring boost when going forward.

England will reach the semi-finals at least but I believe France will end up lifting the trophy. Once again they have the strongest team on paper, with incredible depth and a good mix of experienced and youthful talent. As we saw at the World Cup just 19 months ago, their players are at the top of their game. With Kylian Mbappé leading the line in this tournament, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Spain have a good chance but being in a group alongside both Italy and Croatia means it will be a difficult run from the outset. Harvey Simmons

Gareth Southgate will be looking to utilise Jude Bellingham’s skills in Germany.
Gareth Southgate will be looking to utilise Jude Bellingham’s skills in Germany. Photograph: Anna Szilágyi/EPA

Netherlands

I never thought I would see the day when the team’s defensive core is stronger than its attack, but here we are. And you know what they say about teams with a great defence? Well, it probably doesn’t apply to the Oranje.

It will be interesting to see how Gini Wijnaldum fits back into the squad after a year in the Saudi league. His absence from the last World Cup was glaring. The fitness of Memphis Depay will be a huge factor in how far the Netherlands progress.

Reaching the quarter-finals should be the minimum. After that, who knows? I think Germany are starting to find form at the perfect time. Possibly looking at Kai Havertz as well to emerge as player of the tournament. Ryan Hovinga

France

The favourites tag is always a bad omen for us and I feel it is not even earned this time around. Our depth is amazing but the first XI is not that great with key positions unproven: the fitness of Mike Maignan, the consistency of Ousmane Dembélé, the shaky and unestablished centre-back pairing, and the technical limitations at right-back and in the midfield.

Antoine Griezmann is irreplaceable and our only source of creativity in midfield, including our bench. We entirely rely on him being fit, Kylian Mbappé or not. I really fear the immediate post-Grizou period will be disastrous, like the post-Platini and post-Zidane iteration. Bradley Barcola could be this competition’s Ribéry kid-come-good story of 2006. I haven’t seen N’Golo Kanté play for ages but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to be one the players of the tournament. William Saliba should be our defensive linchpin but, like others before him (Patrick Vieira springs to mind), he has not brought his club game into the French team at this point in his young career. It should only be a matter of time (like it was for Vieira) but he just hasn’t performed at international level so far (and I say this as an Arsenal supporter).

Portugal look amazing on paper if Cristiano Ronaldo’s ego can be managed and they have the advantage of flying under the radar. England have the best team they’ve ever had on paper. Germany and Italy are always a nightmare to play regardless of their teamsheet. We should reach the semi-finals, hopefully, and then it’s a new competition where anything can happen. Ben

Antoine Griezman prepares to stick a free-kick into the mixer during a friendly against Luxembourg.
Antoine Griezman prepares to stick a free-kick into the mixer during a friendly against Luxembourg. Photograph: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP/Getty Images

Poland

I’m quietly confident that we can sneak into third place ahead of Austria and then mount a surprise in the first knockout game. Our manager, Michal Probierz, has the buy-in of the squad and, unlike in the run-up to previous tournaments, many of our players are in good form. Besides the eternal Lewa, look out for the young guns Kacper Urbanski of Bologna, and Jakub Kaluzinski of Antalyaspor. They have verve, the swagger of youth and strong technical skills. In terms of eventual winners, France seem in a league of their own, although Germany could do it on home ground. Jakub

Austria

I was feeling optimistic before we lost our goalkeeper Alexander Schlager, and our captain and best player, David Alaba, to injuries. Now I just expect to be pleasantly surprised. We’ve been drawn into a tough group with France, the Netherlands and Poland, so making the knockout stages would have been a big achievement even with our best players available.

Keep an eye on Christoph Baumgartner, who has recently turned into a goalscoring machine. Patrick Pentz spent seven years at my club, Austria Wien, and is a very modern keeper by Austrian standards. He will be key for us to get anything out of this tournament.

I’m tipping England to be champions (at some point it has to happen), but I wouldn’t rule out Spain or France either. Hopefully (with Austrian bias) it’s not Germany as their fans will be lording it over us if they do. Julia

Ukraine

There are a few reasons to be optimistic. We made it through the playoffs after a difficult group and have lots of talented players. With a bit of luck in the draw for the round of 16, another quarter-final appearance is a distinct possibility.

We have a few standout players. The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Heorhiy Sudakov will want to put himself in the shop window. Look out for his excellent passing ability and his reading of the game. Artem Dovbyk was the top scorer in La Liga this season and his Girona teammate Viktor Tsyhankov is also in good form.

England, France and Germany are the favourites. Maybe home advantage will help Germany. Petro Chymera

Slovakia

I’m definitely confident. The team was very solid in qualifying, finishing second to Portugal in the group, and pre-tournament friendlies suggest they are well prepared to fight hard.

The midfield lacks creativity but the attack is promising. Robert Bozenik and Lukas Haraslin seem to be in a very good shape, both physically and mentally. In addition, our defence kept two clean sheets in their last two games. I also very much welcome the coach’s decision to give young players opportunities.

A lot will be decided in the defensive ranks and goalkeeping position. So the most important names will be Martin Dubravka and Marek Rodak, followed by the pillars of our defence, Milan Skriniar and David Hancko. I expect the team to get through the group stage and I hope they do so with fighting spirit and by trusting young players. Rudolf Pilar

Robert Bozenik of Slovakia controls the ball during the international friendly against Austria in March 2024.
Robert Bozenik is in good shape going into the tournament. Photograph: Christian Hofer/Getty Images

Belgium

Our team is not as shiny or golden as it used to be but many of our younger players, especially in attack, have had good seasons. If everything clicks we can hurt any team. Though, given the state of our defence, any team can hurt us as well. Look out for Maxime De Cuyper, a stylish left-back who has arrived on to the scene.

We will reach the quarter-finals, with Germany the eventual winners. Florian Wirtz, Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala going at it on home soil? Good luck to the others. Maarten Bastiaensen

Romania

How can I be confident after we drew 0-0 with Bulgaria and Liechtenstein last week? I don’t think we will win a point, never mind get out of the group. We will lose 2-0 to Ukraine, 4-1 to Belgium and 4-1 to Slovakia.

Dennis Man and Radu Dragusin are the players to look out for, but they won’t do much. I think either England or Spain will be champions. Stefan

Portugal

I’m confident but with the mild fear that only history can provide. With an abundance of creative players, a lot of work is going to fall on João Palhinha to protect the backline and shore up the midfield. Teams usually win tournaments on the back of a strong defence and Palhinha will be crucial to that.

Otherwise, you have to hope that this tournament will be the first where our forwards who are not Cristiano Ronaldo rise to the forefront. I expect Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes to be our main creative forces and pull the strings for a new Portugal.

I think we will reach the semi-finals but that France will win the trophy. It’s hard to look past a team that have made it to the final of three of the past four international tournaments. They have fragilities but the individual and collective strength of their first XI, along with the depth of their squad, is unmatched by any other team. Jose Casares

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 130 goals for Portugal. His teammates need to step up.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 130 goals for Portugal. His teammates need to step up. Photograph: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images

Czech Republic

You can always be confident that our team will give their best and make the game hard for any opponent. Although, feeling confident about progressing in the tournament is another story. The expectations here are not very high. However, the same was the case three years ago before we overperformed and got all the way to the quarter-finals. Let’s hope it turns out the same way this year.

There is a good mood around our sports teams at the minute as our ice hockey team won the world championship at home just a couple of weeks ago. So I expect a lot of support from the general public for our footballers as well because everyone would love to see another Czech sports fairytale.

Progressing from our group – against Portugal, Georgia and Turkey – seems realistic, whether from second place or possibly third. I don’t see us beating a strong opponent in the round of 16 though.

Patrik Schick remains our biggest star. Vaclav Cerny on form is really fun to watch, a very good dribbler, but he hasn’t played much for Wolfsburg recently. Matej Jurasek from Slavia Prague is only 20 years old and should have a bright future. And Ladislav Krejci, who should sign for Girona soon, will get booked at least once for swearing at the referee. I’m tipping France or Germany (sorry Albion). Matěj

Georgia

I’m feeling confident, nervous, excited, ecstatic and, most of all, happy. This is our first Euros and we will give everyone a run for their money. It would be a huge success if we qualify from the group. I’m tipping Portugal to win it.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Giorgi Mamardashvili and Georges Mikautadze are the standout players, but keep an eye on Giorgi Chakvetadze and Giorgi Kochorashvili. Temo

Turkey

I’m feeling quite confident as this is one of our most technically talented teams in decades. On paper, we have a golden generation of rising stars. Our country hasn’t had even a lick of success since finishing third in Euro 2008, so we have a lot of hunger.

I reckon we could reach the semi-finals. Or finish dead last in our group. I don’t think it’s anything in between; it’ll either be a dream or a nightmare. That’s always what happens with “golden generation” teams. Ferdi Kadioglu is a shoo-in for left-back in the team of the tournament. But Arda Guler is obviously our dazzling wonder kid.

This tournament is Germany’s to lose given they have home advantage and a strong team that needs to shake off disastrous results in the last few major tournaments. Carmelo Kagan Konmaz

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