After being delayed for a year, Euro 2020 is slated to commence on June 11, 2021. The tournament will kick off with a Group A matchup between Turkey and Italy.
It was originally scheduled to take place in 13 locations, but that number was reduced to 11 as games originally scheduled to be played in Brussels were moved to London while the Dublin schedule was reallocated to St. Petersburg. The host cities are now:
- St. Petersburg
England’s Best Chance of Winning Since 1996?
One of the biggest beneficiaries of these venue changes is England as the team is in the enviable position of playing all of their group stage matches at home. While London’s Wembley Stadium will not host a quarter-finals match, it will host the semi-finals and the final. This advantage could go a long way towards England securing their first European Championship.
England have never really experienced a lot of success in this prestigious tournament. Perhaps their best chance came in 1996 when, as the host nation, bookmakers had them listed at 6/1 behind Germany and Italy who were both set at 5/1. After an impressive group stage and a victory in the quarter-finals, the Three Lions were edged out in the semi-finals by Germany, who would go on to win the tournament.
Teddy Sheringham was a key player in that 1996 England squad, and he has high hopes for England this year. Speaking to bookmakers.co.uk, he agreed that this is England’s best chance since ’96.
“It’s a big plus that we’re playing at home, which is a massive advantage, and if we win the group then basically all our games will be at Wembley – that’s a massive advantage.”
Sheringham knows what playing at such a high level in front of a friendly crowd means. “Hopefully there will be fans in the ground to cheer us on,” he said. “The players now can make themselves legends. We were close, but that’s all ifs and buts. It was a great tournament to be involved in at Euro 96 and we were nearly men, which is not good enough.”
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What Are The Bookies Saying?
As confident as Sheringham seems to be about England’s chances of winning, he is not taking anything for granted. He knows this incarnation of the Three Lions has a monumental task ahead of them.
Betting apps appear to be on the same page too. With just weeks to go, they have England and France both set at 5/1 while Belgium are 6/1. Germany chimes in at 7/1 while Portugal, the defending champions, are listed at 8/1. It’s a very competitive field.
Will Wembley Stadium Be At Full Capacity?
Having a sold-out crowd of 90,000 cheering on the home team is certainly intimidating for visiting teams.
However, current restrictions will mean that Wembley Stadium will only be at about 25% capacity throughout the group stage. That number could increase for the elimination rounds but as things stand Wembley will host 22,500 fans per game.
England Should Be Motivated
Even if they don’t lift the trophy, England know they must bounce back from an underwhelming showing in 2016. Elimination at the hands of Iceland in the last 16 was somewhat of an embarrassment.
Leading the redemption is Gareth Southgate, who has managed the team since replacing Roy Hodgson in the wake of that disappointing 2016 tournament.
Southgate was also on the 1996 team with Sheringham. In fact, the football history books could look a lot different had Southgate converted a crucial penalty kick in that fateful semi-final match against Germany.
When asked about his former teammate, Sheringham said: “It’s great that Gareth Southgate is involved having been involved in Euro 96 as well, so he can give a little bit of insight into what it’s all about, how the nation will get behind them, and how to focus on bringing that trophy home.”
Sheringham also had some words of advice for the 26-man squad, which is due to be announced by Southgate on Tuesday.
He said: “Take us to the next level, give it your all, sacrifice yourself for the month that the tournament goes on and go out and win it, make yourselves heroes to the rest of the country.”
They would also be heroes in the eyes of those who have had a bet on them at 5/1.