Euro 2021: The *Experts' View
By Andrew Broadley, Justin Wong, James Tapp *not experts
Football: the ultimate cult. To cry at a TV screen as overpaid men compete for a trophy in a country, or countries, that bribed their way past human rights violations to host an event that lines the pockets of the already wealthy is truly as absurd as it sounds. And we can’t help but do it. And in a little under a month we will do it again. Euro 2020, now Euro 2021, is set to kick off on June 11th, and here at Debate we couldn’t be more thrilled. So we grabbed a few of our armchair experts to make a few predictions, and a few irrelevant remarks, about a few of the teams. Stay tuned for Issue 5 where we will give our predictions for Groups D, E and F.
Justin: With Leicester’s Çağlar Söyüncü, Merih Demiral of Juventus, and attackers Burak Yılmaz and Yusuf Yazıcı leading Lille’s title challenge in France, don’t sleep on Turkey this tournament.
Andy: Turkey is a boring, bland meat, let’s hope that’s irrelevant...
James: I’m predicting quarter finals as long as Italy flops again.
Justin: Italy is rebuilding nicely after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and they should have few problems making it out of the group.
Andy: The Italy of my childhood was a fine Neapolitan pizza, the Italy of now is a Dominos. Not title contenders by any means.
James: Italy could do it this year! (get out of the group that is). I’m still expecting some top tier defending from the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, but that doesn’t get you goals.
Justin: Wales will fall at the first hurdle. Gareth Bale’s past his prime and manager Ryan Giggs won’t be there after being charged with assaulting two women. 2021’s not their year.
James: Wales = Gareth Bale, and I feel sorry for him, doing it alone. Won’t make a splash.
Andy: Finishing the group stage as one of the highest seeding third placed teams is their best hope of making the play-offs.
James: Switzerland could surprise. They’re not stacked, but they know what they’re doing.
Justin: Switzerland has been consistent for the past few tournaments but it will be a long shot for them to win any. They might inch past the group stages.
Andy: I’m as neutral on Switzerland as Switzerland is neutral. Maybe they’ll squeeze second place in their group, or maybe they’ll just quietly go home
James: The argument every two years: Is it Belgium’s year? Yes it’s their year.
Andy: For me Group B looks boring, barring Belgium, who are mesmerising on their day. I back them for a semi final spot (at the least) after cruising through this sluggish bunch.
Justin: The side hasn’t changed much from Russia in 2018, and attackers Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne have shone brighter since. Will surely be in the final, and could even win the competition.
James: Definitely one of the weaker teams. They’ll be an easy fry ;) for the likes of Belgium.
Andy: Don’t expect Finland to land many punches here. Early exit.
Justin: Teemu Pukki’s goals fired Norwich back to the English Premier League, but without proper service, the Finns’ maiden international campaign will Finnish very quickly (I’ll show myself out).
Andy: Last World Cup they reached the quarter finals, but that was an anomaly and they can’t be doping-uh-hoping for a repeat... but hey, never say Navalny...
James: Russia could be the team to watch? Maybe...
Justin: Russia defeated Spain in 2018, before being eliminated by eventual runners-up Croatia. That was in Russia though, probably won’t be on for them this tournament.
Andy: Sorry, one more. I’m not Putin my hopes in this squad... uWu
Andy: Denmark has some good players so let’s see if they can leave their... mark...den...round of 16?
James: I’m biased, but... go the Danes! A solid squad and the potential to shine.
Justin: Christian Eriksen and Kasper Schmeichel are stars in their own right, but this is a difficult group. They won’t make it far.
Andy: Austria? Australia? Doesn't matter... Equally uninspiring.
Rebecca: Australia isn’t even in Europe... I don’t think anyone confuses the two...
James: Who let Red Bull enter the Euros???
Justin: It’s a relatively easy group for Austria but they still haven’t won a game at any European Championship. Support at your own risk.
Andy: The first appearance for Macedonia, now North Macedonia despite not splitting into two and there being no South Macedonia... Good on them for getting here. Things will go south pretty quickly for them though so perhaps a South Macedonia after all...
Justin: The Lynxes stunned Germany in April, but it’s unlikely they will pass the group stage. The Macedonians probably won’t be too bothered about results.
James: I’d watch their games. The little guys are always entertaining. Either they’ll be big upsets or they’ll be thrashings, no in-between.
Andy: As a Dutchman I have to back us for a semi final spot. Even if Frank de Boer is a terrible manager, and our squad is inexperienced, lacking in depth and without main man van Dijk. Our kit also looks the like high-visibility Lycra cyclists wear to not get hit by cars... In all honestly our chances left with Koeman... Bring on WC 2022?
Justin: Chances for this young Oranje side to win are slim, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.
James: The golden days are gone. They’re lucky they got an easy group.
Justin: Slight chance of qualifying for the first knockout stage. After that? Nah.
James: I might be wrong, but I’d say they’re ones to watch. I can smell some upsets lurking. I’m saying quarter finals.
Andy: Maybe I shouldn’t have mugged off Group B... Group C really is a dull bunch. Good for me and my Netherlands though. Ukraine also has a horrendous kit, but that’s their flag colours so can’t be helped I suppose...