Euro 2020: 24 fans from 24 countries preview the tournament

The mood in Austria is carefully optimistic given our group. The Netherlands are far from playing their best football, and both North Macedonia and Ukraine are on a par with Austria. It all comes down to our opening game – a win against North Macedonia would significantly boost a team that have performed well over the last decade but lacked the killer instinct in crucial games.

Unfortunately, Franco Foda has not been able to eliminate this problem since taking over from Marcel Koller as manager in January 2018. Keep an eye on Sasa Kalajdzic, a 6ft 7in striker who is like Peter Crouch with a better first touch. Advancing to the knockout stage would feel like a huge achievement for Austria but we won’t go any further than that. Bernhard Oberngruber

With a better manager in charge we probably would have won Euro 2016. Combine that with our bronze medal at the last World Cup and anything less than a semi-final at Euro 2020 would be a major disappointment. If Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard are all fit, I fully expect us to reach the final.

Romelu Lukaku has been in excellent form all season and Thibaut Courtois will have a couple of world-class saves in him to spare the blushes of our ageing defence. But I’m most excited about Jérémy Doku. The only teen in the squad, he has impressed in previous games and might become the revelation of the tournament.

It’s time for this golden generation to finally bring home a trophy. I’ve been predicting we would win every major tournament since the World Cup in 2014. I haven’t been right so far, but fourth time lucky, right? So yeah, let’s start carving Belgium’s name on the trophy. Dieter Rogiers

Croatia can reach the semi-finals. Some pundits seem to think that Luka Modric, the main driver of the team that reached the World Cup final three years ago, is diminished but he is still more than capable of keeping the midfield working and exploiting gaps in the opposition. Croatia are familiar with their opponents in the group, having played England and the Czech Republic in the last two major tournaments, and they can match them in most positions fairly well.

I expect Ivan Perisic to be an important player for Croatia. He has finishing ability, a high workrate and a tenacity that gives him an edge in high-pressure situations – his equaliser and his assist to Mario Mandzukic in the World Cup semi-final against England being a prime example. I expect Croatia to reach the semi-finals but hope they avoid their bogey teams, France and Portugal. Tony Mikulandra

The expectations are quite high. Of course, we don’t have the golden generation of the 2000s – when we had Pavel Nedved, Tomas Rosicky, Karel Poborský and Petr Cech – but we have some good players in the top European leagues, especially Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal in England, Jakub Jankto at Sampdoria, and Patrik Schick at Bayer Leverkusen.

The mood at home was quite confident until we played Italy in a warmup game and lost 4-0, showing just how big the difference is between the top nations and us. We know we don’t have the quality to beat England or Croatia, but beating Scotland and finishing third place in the group looks compulsory. I think we will reach the last 16. Jan Pikous

Finishing second in a group that also contains Finland, Belgium and Russia seems very achievable and, due to the luck of the draw, we could reach the semi-finals without facing any of the giants. We have a path to go all the way, but we will have to squeeze wins out of close games.

Kasper Schmeichel will be crucial. He knows how to win against long odds and, if Denmark are to topple a giant or two in this tournament, it will probably be due to him hitting his best form. If he doesn’t, we won’t survive one round in the knockout phase.

We have done very well under the new coach, Kasper Hjulmand, who has the team playing fun, attacking football. While thrashing minnows doesn’t necessarily transform into matching giants, results like our 8-0 win against Moldova and 4-0 win against Austria show that this team is fun to watch. William Jansen

We could go all the way. With home support, a blend of experienced champions and exciting young players, and a shrewd (if somewhat pragmatic) coach, the sky is the limit. Detto ciò, there are injury doubts over key players and I fear leaving James Ward-Prowse at home could be a mistake, especially if Jordan Henderson doesn’t get up to speed quickly. As well as being incredibly reliable and versatile, the Southampton midfielder is also a real danger from set pieces.

There are so many potential highlights for this England team. It could be Harry Kane winning another golden boot, Phil Foden announcing himself on the world stage, or Jude Bellingham forcing his way into the team and keeping his place. After the Austria game, tuttavia, I feel like Jack Grealish has been waiting his whole life for the chance to show just how good he is on this type of stage. He has matured impressively over the past two seasons, adding another level of professionalism and determination to his game. If he makes a good start, he might just be undroppable.

If we make a good start (and especially if we win against Scotland), it will push the optimism through the roof – à la Euro 96 – and we can look forward to a memorable tournament. My heart says we will win it, but my head says that, if we do make it through the semi-finals, we will end up losing the final. Alex Irvine

We will struggle against Denmark and Belgium in the group but, if they turn up expecting us to roll over, they might be in for a surprise. A draw – or perhaps even a win on a good day – might be on the cards against Russia. Lukas Hradecky is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and he will have to be at his very best if Finland are to stand any chance in this tournament.

As first-time qualifiers, there are no real expectations on the team. Just making the tournament is a dream come true for generations and generations of football fans in Finland. Johan Prest

France have one of the strongest squads at the competition. The main hurdle will be the group stage. We tend to start tournaments slowly – as shown against Australia at the last World Cup. Starting against Germany and then Portugal will be difficult, but France have the potential to top the group. The experience from 2018 will help them pull through.

The Karim Benzema situation is also tricky, but he seems to be in really good spirits and the rest of the team seems to have welcomed him with open arms. He was also very good in the friendly against Wales.

His performances will be central to the success of the team but France have many potential standout players. N’Golo Kanté holds everything together; I hope he carries his form from the Champions league into the tournament. The fans are still on a high from the World Cup; the team is very strong; and they can win it. Olivier Sasseville

We have a very tough group, facing France and Portugal. The team seem to be in a bad shape and I do not expect much from the Euros. I would be surprised if we make it out of the group.

The team are strong in midfield, with İlkay Gündoğan, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, but there are many question marks on other positions. We do not have a world-class striker or full-backs and, even though the return of Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller has given people hope, I doubt that they will play a positive role in this tournament.

Many fans are optimistic for the future after the Euros, when Hansi Flick will take over from Jogi Löw. But few people are optimistic about this last act of Löw’s 16 years in charge, a tenure that has become very painful since 2018. Andreas Gleff

We were underdogs at Euro 2016 and won our group. Now we are even bigger underdogs, and every Hungarian fan will be satisfied if we win a single point in the most brutal group of the Euros’ history. We have to face the European champions Portugal, the world champions France, and Germany. If we win any of these games, the whole country will be over the moon.

Our only chance is the fully packed Puskás Aréna with 67,000 fans. We will be without a creative midfielder – both Dominik Szoboszlai and Zsolt Kalmár are injured – so don’t expect attractive, attacking football. But we have a well organised defence, with a good keeper, RB Leipzig’s Péter Gulácsi. All in all, Hungary will be a little boring, but full of fighting spirit. Aron Hegyi

Italy’s excellent recent form, combined with a clear identity on the pitch courtesy of manager Roberto Mancini, puts them in contention for the title. Even though there seems to be no real standout star, it’s a well balanced squad full of interesting young talents and experience.

As well as being strong at the back, as usual, Italy can count on decent attacking options in Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti, who will have Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne providing a constant threat behind them. In the middle, the Champions League winner Jorginho will be accompanied by the talented Manuel Locatelli and Niccolò Barella, who is creative, quick and clever.

The mood among fans is one of cautious optimism, as always. The general consensus is that this squad could go far – but we’re not talking too much about it. Carlo Abbona

Qualifying for our first major tournament has brought much needed unity within our country and unbridled excitement among fans and players. Euro 2020 will be a great opportunity to present Macedonia in a positive light for once.

Our team will surprise if we keep our main players fit for the three group games. The quality on the bench is lacking, so the starters must stay healthy. Playing three games in eight days is a concern. We do not have the ability to rotate without taking a significant hit, so the coaches and medical staff must be on top of their game.

I am bullish that we can reach the last 16. Austria and Ukraine have terrible track records at past Euros (one win, two draws and nine defeats among them in their prior Euros appearances), while the Netherlands are weaker under Frank de Boer than they were under Ronald Koeman. There is no reason to fear any team in this group. The underdog role also suits our players. There is no pressure, so the players can be relaxed and play without nerves. They have nothing to lose. Beating Germany in late March gave them enormous confidence and belief. It showed that, when our key players are available, we can play with any side in Europe.

The strength of this team lies in the unity, brotherhood and camaraderie among the players and coaches. They fight for one another and are willing to suffer for one another. The motto is one for all, all for one. This group has been together for years now and they are ready to take Europe by storm. Aleksandar Zlateski

Expectations are low, especially after the 2-2 draw against Scotland last week. I would be happy if we go past the group stage. We have some strong players. Memphis Depay is a real leader. He has so much talent and an amazing workrate. Then there is Frenkie de Jong, the player who is most able to break a team’s press and get the ball moving forward, as well as promising youngsters such as Ryan Gravenberch, Jurriën Timber and Cody Gakpo.

Although, even though the players should be able to do quite well, recent games have been either terrible or just drab. Frank de Boer is intent on playing 5-3-2 but it doesn’t seem to be working at all. Eduard van Dam

I expect us to advance from our group, after what should be a tight battle with Sweden for second place. If we can finish above Sweden, we may even have a chance of reaching the quarter-finals, as we would be playing the runners-up from England’s group. This would match our performance from Euro 2016 and would be a huge success.

A lot rests on Robert Lewandowski. His goalscoring record over the past couple of years at Bayern has defied logic, as he appears to improve with age. Lewandowski has proven himself to be a complete striker and a true leader for Poland with his selfless performances at Euro 2016, as well as scoring the goals that propelled us to a third straight major tournament. How he deals with being incessantly targeted by opposition defenders will go a long way to deciding our fate in the tournament. Other players have to step up and perform around Lewandowski and the loss of Arek Milik to injury is a blow.

My heart says we will reach the quarter-finals, but my head is settling for the last 16. Crashing out in the group stage would be a tragedy for us. Kuba Witkowski

I expect Portugal to be the contenders and would like us to play like we are contenders – although this is unlikely given the uber-pragmatic approach of our coach, Fernando Santos. This is probably our most talented squad ever, other than the golden generation of Luis Figo and Rui Costa.

It is difficult to pick a standout player. Cristiano Ronaldo is Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is too slow. Bruno Fernandes is great, but I fear for his form. João Félix should have played more and may be lacking in confidence. So I’m going for the Manchester City duo of Bernardo Silva and Rúben Dias: the former epitomises our brains and the latter epitomises our muscles. We are going to need both to stand out in the group stage to give us a chance of reaching the final.

In Portugal we are always optimistic deep down, but we are afraid to express it too much, for fear of karma falling on us. We know we have one of the best teams in the world, with talent in all areas of the field. Allo stesso tempo, we have a coach that, despite being very successful with the team, seems afraid to play on the front foot. Ma, let’s face it: we are favourites to win the thing and we should accept that. Martinho Lucas Pires

It’s very difficult to judge Russia based on their recent matches. Their performances in the Nations League games, friendlies and World Cup qualifiers have not been inspiring but one wonders whether this is because Stanislav Cherchesov has been trying to find a different way of playing. Throughout the qualifying process, they were a 4-2-3-1 team that played very directly. Now they are often using a 3-4-2-1 formation, which helps explain the abundance of midfielders in the squad.

Russia are strong from the midfield forward. Roman Zobnin is an excellent box-to-box centre midfielder who deserves more attention; the attacking midfielder Aleksandr Golovin is the star of the group; e, even though Denis Cheryshev has had injury problems at Valencia, he always plays better for Russia than his clubs. Aleksei Miranchuk is also a player on the rise. Despite not playing much for his new club Atalanta in Serie A, he is ready to break loose. And then, of course there is Artem Dzyuba at forward. He’s much more technical than people think. In general, Russia are starting to play a less direct and more sophisticated style of attack, which is promising. The greatest concern is the defence and goalkeeper.

Russians are tired of Cherchesov. His reluctance to bring in young players is concerning – as are the team’s results since they secured qualification. Cherchesov has always been a reactive manager. What helped Russia in the World Cup was that he had more time to train his team and prepare them tactically. If Russia make it to the quarter-finals, it will be a success. Matt M

I’ve seen a lot of fellow Scots talking about our prospects of going past the group stage. In all honesty I’m just happy to be there. I’m expecting us to put up a fight and score a couple of goals, but ultimately we’re in a group against two quality sides in Croatia and the Czech Republic, so we can’t be getting too carried away.

If we can beat the Czechs then who knows, but I’m not going to fall into the trap of expecting too much. Being there and competing will do me just fine. Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney are our best players, but that wee spin John McGinn does on the half turn gets us up the pitch and on to the attack. He’s also got a goal in him.

I’m really buzzing to be there. The fact there are games at Hampden is only hyping things up more. That moment when the national anthem is being belted out before the first game will be special. Chris Burnett

We are hoping to steal a point from Poland or Sweden but I expect Slovakia to finish last in the group. Even at 33, Marek Hamsik remains our most important player by far. If he isn’t playing well, there is no pathway to success for Slovakia.

Though Slovak teams perform best when they are considered the underdogs, it is difficult to see this team going past the group stage. Sweden and Poland are tough opponents, and while many fans remember our glorious 2-1 win over Spain from the qualifiers for Euro 2016, repeating it at a tournament is unlikely. As long as we finish with more points than the UK’s Eurovision entry, the tournament should not be a disappointment.

Slovakia’s sports fans are currently riding high after reaching the quarter-finals of the ice hockey world championships for the first time in eight years, which should lighten the expected disappointment from our football team’s performance at the Euros. Most people think we were quite lucky to qualify and, as the last of 2010 World Cup golden generation departs, it might be our last tournament for a while. Jakub Bobro

I expect Spain to reach the quarter-finals. We do not have an outstanding player who has the ability to turn a draw into a win in the least expected moment. The team is solid but without many recognisable stars, especially given that Sergio Ramos has been left behind.

The mood in Spain is, as always, focused on controversy: the players who are not in the squad, the personality of the coach and transfer gossip. If Spain do not win it – which I cannot see – I would like a team without previous silverware, like Belgium, to triumph. Diego Feduchi

We are good enough to get out of the group stage but not good enough to get over the final hurdles, so I expect us to reach the quarter-finals but to go no further. Alexander Isak is our standout player. He has performed well in La Liga for Real Sociedad and is the first real Swedish superstar in a while.

Most Sweden fans are cheery but this year is different. Playing England, Holland, France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal or Spain could spell disaster for us but, considering our decent run at the World Cup in 2018, one would forgive a Swede for being optimistic. Daniel Arvidsson

A lot will depend on our ability to put the ball in the net. We are solid in defence and midfield and our goalkeeper Yann Sommer will be our best player – not for the first time. He is a superb keeper and still underrated.

We will be hard to beat but our group is very tough. Italy are a dark horse for the tournament and, while Turkey and Wales are both beatable, there is not really a weak team in the group. We will have to hit the ground running against Wales and, if we pick up three points in that game, I would be fairly confident of progressing to the next round. And that is where our tournament will conclude in a realistic best-case scenario. Martin Flury

I expect to see defensive solidity and a team drilled in discipline instead of the typical Turkish flair and unpredictability. Our best players are at the back and going forward has been a little bit of a problem lately. I expect us to qualify comfortably from one of the weaker groups in the competition. What happens thereafter is a mystery as draw, injuries, suspensions and potential Covid-related issues will all play a part in how far any team can go in the competition.

Caglar Soyuncu is the skilled rock in what I’d dare call a star-studded backline, while Zeki Celik and Burak Yilmaz have had absolutely phenomenal campaigns for Lille in France. Fenerbahce’s Ozan Tufan, Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu and West Brom’s Okay Yokuslu have usually been very reliable for the national side in the middle of the park, and this could be the breakout summer for the Trabzonspor goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir, who is likely to attract attention from some big clubs with his cat-like reflexes and ability to play with the ball at his feet.

The fans have not been this optimistic for years. The dark years between 2009 e 2014, when the team were downright mediocre, and the “toxic” years between 2015 e 2018 when the national team players were mostly in newspapers for all the wrong reasons (Arda Turan, anyone?) contributed to an erosion of support for the national side. The situation has been reversed, though, with the rise of Soyuncu, Merih Demiral, Cakir, Celik, Umut Meras and Cengiz Under almost completely ridding the team of the old, and largely disappointing, guard. Fans are in love with the national side once more and, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Ozgur Celtikci

Ukraine qualified top of their group, with impressive results over Portugal, and were unlucky to be relegated from the top tier of the Nations League, so they have promise. They stand a good chance of qualifying from their group and have a number of excellent talents, including Ruslan Malinovsky, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Roman Yaremchuk. Look out for Malinovsky. He has had a stellar season at Atalanta and can score with either foot. Has has produced some stunning strikes.

We have a great coach in Andriy Shevchenko, who continues to develop the team. But expectations are not that high. Maybe there’s a freedom in that. Taras Bulba

We face a much harder group than we did at Euro 16, so it will be a successful tournament if we can reach the knockout stage. A run to the semi-finals might be a dream too far this time.

Everyone will be looking to Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey to come alive at the tournament and show their quality but one of the youngsters who has broken into the team over the last couple of years might surprise a few. My pick would be Neco Williams to shine.

The majority of Wales fans are just happy that we are at the Euros and will enjoy the tournament (albeit mainly from home). It’s still only our second major tournament in recent times, so there is still that novelty factor. tuttavia, after the success of Euro 16, expectations will be a little higher. My heart says quarter-finals but, with a younger and less experienced squad, my head says we will do well to reach the last 16. Edward Tobin

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