What to expect from UEFA 2020 Championship

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The 12th June 2020 sees the start of what should be an exciting Euro 2020 Championship which is to be held across the continent for the first time in history, hosted between 12 European cities, with UEFA celebrating the 60th Birthday of the first European Championship, which was held in France in 1960. The opening match takes place at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on the 12th June.

The draw for the finals will take place on the 30th November with the 24 qualifying teams to be drawn into six groups of 4. Both semi-finals and the final will be held at Wembley in London. With Belgium, Italy, Russia, Poland, Ukraine having qualified already, plenty of other teams still have the chance to qualify over the next two weeks which will be the last of the group matches. The top two in each group with reach the tournament directly then 4 more countries will qualify via the new UEFA Nations league with the decisive play-offs to be staged in March 2020.

Every qualified host would be guaranteed two home games in the group phase, but there would be no such guarantee for the knockout stage. The strongest teams during the qualifiers have been Italy and Belgium who top their groups respectively with 24 points out of 24 so far, a very impressive qualifying phase, having won all of their matches with Italy only conceding 3 goals and Belgium with just 1 goal against them. Time will tell if they can take their form into the final stages and perform to this high standard against tougher opposition than that which they have faced in their qualifying groups.

I think it would also be impossible to rule out Spain from doing very well the Championships, after having a couple of years with a slightly weaker side, having lost Xavi and Iniesta, the heart of the midfield, they have had to find replacements to fill those large boots, and with a couple of years with the new younger team gelling, they could be ready for some more trophies in the cabinet sometime soon. It would also be wrong to rule out the likes of England, Holland and Germany who are all enjoying qualifying rounds and scoring plenty of goals each, with England being the 2nd highest scorers in qualifying so far with 26 from only 6 matches (only behind Belgium who have scored 30 goals but also played 2 more matches.

So far during qualifying the top scorers of the teams likely to qualify are Dzyuba of Russia with 9 goals from 8 games and England's Kane and Sterling both with 8 goals from 6 games, with Ronaldo (7) not far behind and with him in the team, Portugal are also a team to watch. All in all it is likely to be a very open Championship full of goals, i think, with a few of the smaller teams pulling out a few surprises and possibly progressing a long way in the competition.

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