As you all know, the UEFA Euros are set to start soon from 11th June and this tournament is arguably the most prestigious international tournament after the FIFA World Cup for European countries. It provides an opportunity for nations to show their worth against opposing teams and also experiment with younger players and tactics in order to prepare for future games. Group A consists of Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, and Wales. I have also decided to add playing 11s for each country that I think will be their best squad in my opinion
It may be a surprise putting such a promising team dead last but I honestly feel the lack of experience in the squad may be their bane. The squad is quite young with most players playing around 10-15 games. Experienced players in the squad such as Chris Gunter’s performance have relatively declined and players in good form are too inexperienced. This sort of imbalance would not be very fruitful for them. Furthermore, key players of the team such as Ben Davies and Joe Allen are injured with a shinbone injury and hamstring injury respectively. The return of these players is uncertain and is a big blow to the team.
At the same time, few players are in very good form and I am quite interested in seeing how this young and old mixed attacking squad will play together. I really want to see how Tyler Roberts, the young Leeds striker plays with Bale on the right and Daniel James on the left. Harry Wilson is also in great form and I would love to see Giggs play him. The pace on the wing is incredible and the team is indeed very exciting but compared to other experienced teams such as Italy and Switzerland I think they won’t be able to succeed.
So I have been reading in a lot of places and Turkey seem to be the dark horse of the tournament with many gems in the squad and I completely agree. Soyuncu has been in incredible form, winning the FA Cup recently with Leicester and in my opinion the best player on the squad right now. The midfield trio of Calhanoglu, Kokcu and Tufan also look very dangerous and they have all been playing consistently well.
I think their weakness lies in the attack. With the likes of Akturkoglu, Under, Akbunar, Yazici, Unal, Dervisoglu, Yilmaz and Karaman I feel they have too many strikers playing really well and as the saying goes ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ I have a feeling that Turkey will play too much of an attacking team and that will backfire against them. I may be completely wrong but I have a gut feeling. Furthermore, I am certain that Turkey will play Under because of all the hype around him right now and Leicester’s success but he has been having a really poor season with 19 appearances for the club in all competitions and only 2 goals and 3 assists. I would really want to see Halil Akbunar, the winger from Goztepe, play instead of Under since he has been having a great season with 10 goals and 14 assists in his 42 appearances for the club. Unfortunately I do not think he will be getting the minutes he deserves. This placing has completely been done over gut feeling and I really want to see Turkey prove me wrong.
I believe Switzerland will have a fruitful result out of this group mainly due to the experience on the side. Switzerland has much more chemistry than most of the teams on the group with the likes of Shaqiri, Sommer, Schar, Ricardo Rodriguez, Xhaka, Mehmedi, and Seferovic playing over 50 games representing the country. The chemistry between the players is, in my opinion, the best by far in Group A. Furthemore, the likes of Kevin Mbabu, Remo Freuler, Manuel Akanji and Seferovic have been having great seasons at VfL Wolfsburg, Atalanta BC, Borrusia Dortmund and SL Benfica respectively. This team is not to be messed with.
However, most players have been having really poor seasons and in fact, while making the team it was really tough since I could find very less players who were playing comparatively well. The experienced players as I mentioned like Yann Sommer, Fabian Schar, and Xherdan Shaqiri did not play well this past season yet due to their importance on the team, they will have to be played. Take Shaqiri for example; Liverpool have not had the greatest season and even worse, Shaqiri has only scored 1 goal and given 4 assists in his 22 appearances for the team. Players like this really need to roll up their socks due to their importance in the squad
Surprise, Surprise who would have thought 🙂 Italy are the favourites to top the group and I completely agree. The quality of players in the squad are just insane and the range of options they have for each position is top notch. Bastoni, Di Lorenzo, Barella and Pellegrini are just some of the players who have been in great form through the season. The team has a great mix of experienced players as well as new comers which provides a range of tactics for Mancini to deploy. You have players like Chiellini and Bonucci who have more than 100 caps each for Italy, you have Immobile, Insigne, Verratti and Florenzi who have around 40 appearances for the country, and then you have young talents like Chiesa, Bastoni and Locatelli who are new to the squad. This combination is a dream. The range of players for each position is absolutely amazing. Take right wing position for example. You have Chiesa, Berardi, Politano, and Bernadeschi all available to play. 4 quality players in one position is incredible and I am really interested to see how Mancini is going to make use of all these players and who is going to shine
I do feel Italy are lacking a bit on the attack side. Striker-wise Italy only have Immobile and Belotti who have not been having the greatest season so far. Belotti has only scored 13 goals and given 7 assists in his 36 appearances for Torino FC. Immobile has played decent but we all know he can play so much better. A big blow to the squad is also Verratti’s knee injury. Sources say he will be able to return by June 21 which basically means he will miss the group stage completely. This is a big blow to the midfield but I think they have enough options to replace him
So these are my predictions for Group A. Please let me know down in the comments what your predictions are for this group and how they differ. I will try to upload all my group predictions before the Euros start. Thank you for reading!