Italy hopes, France dominates and England is the surprise
Stefano De Grandis and Alessandro Sugoni are two leading exponents of the Sky Sport editorial team and take stock of the 2020 European Championships for Gioco News.
by Cesare Antonini
Stefano De Grandis, Sky Sport
“The audience at the stadium is a ray of sunshine and Italy can believe it”
“It is like a ray of sunshine to think that some audience will return and to be able to return to seeing football as a joyful event with great participation. It is also a good feeling to think of Roberto Mancini’s Italy, a team that knows how to juggle and play football”. We begin our analysis for the next traveling European football championships, starting with the analysis of Stefano De Grandis, journalist of Sky Sport and analyst at Fabio Caressa’s Club and many other programs of the most important pay TV in Italy.
We are immediately curious: who will win the 2020 European Championships? “Italy, as mentioned, is an excellent team that has never lost in the qualifying groups and has never been dominated by anyone – De Grandis continues – the others, however, are very strong, especially in the offensive department where we choose Belotti, who scored only on a penalty in the last few matches and with the fully recovered Immobile”.
The favorites? Who are? “If we think of France’s offense, we must be amazed: Mbappé, Griezmann, Coman and Benzema called after the excellent season. An offensive package of this type puts the French in pole position. If we think of Italy we miss a bomber – Stefano De Grandis continues – Caputo del Sassuolo has not played anymore but there is Raspadori who, however, doesn’t have the importance of other strikers. The European Championship is a competition in which physical form and tradition are very important and Germany will hardly be subdued and should always be placed in the top four”.
Two other national teams seem to be able to achieve success: “England and Belgium can do really well. From the first selection everyone always expects a lot but in the main competitions they never manage to win a trophy. Also Belgium has an important offensive battery with Lukaku, Depay and even a certain Mertens, as well as a lot of quality throughout the field. We also remember that the European Championship is a competition in which surprises are never lacking, with winning outsiders such as Greece, Denmark and Portugal who have won past editions. While the unknown could be Spain”.
And what about the players? “I strongly believe in the final consecration of Debruyne, that could also enter the elite of the golden ball. A young man who could dominate – De Grandis continues – could be our Raspadori, the classic last minute bomber. Uncertainty reigns over Joao Felix, a Portuguese talent who has never exploded and who is playing little now”.
Alessandro Sugoni, Sky Sport
“England is looking for a good year, but the Italy’s chances have grown”
“First of all, see you all on Sky for this new traveling formula of the European Football Championships. It is difficult to make a prediction after this season, but Italy can have many more chances while Spain is no longer what it was a few years ago. And if France is very strong, this could be the year of the eternal incomplete England”. Alessandro Sugoni, another Sky Sport journalist and member of the transfer market team, goes straight to some national selections for the European Championships that should have been played in 2020.
Therefore, let’s get more specific: “Italy, as mentioned, can do well both for what they showed in qualifying and because they have a very easy group. Once qualified, it is possible to enter the top four. I would take into consideration France and the eternal incomplete England which, however, in this edition could finally arrive at the end and get their hands on that title that has been missing for too many years. Germany must always be put by default among the favourites, because it almost always arrives in the top four. Belgium is another important proposal, because it seems to have found the continuity and effectiveness it has been missing for some time”.
So, France and England at the first place, then Germany, Belgium and Italy. And Spain? “After ten years of supremacy and so many titles, the Iberians seem to have little chance, as Holland, which are also out of the favorites. The super surprise could be Shevchenko’s Ukraine”.
The year is particular, Covid-19, the itinerant formula: “There are many factors to take into account, such as the return of the fans but of a formula with many different locations – Sugoni explains – the final match will take place at Wembley and this could be a double-edged sword for England, that we put in the first place thanks to the offence with Keane, Sterling and Rushford. But it was a very particular season, that gave many surprises such as Lilla champion of France, Atletico Madrid in Spain and it was the year of the end of the great cycles, like that of Juventus in Italy. These are factors to take into account when analyzing the itinerant European Championship”.
Who will be the bomber of the competition? “For Italy it will be difficult, but only because the team plays a united game. The other teams include Keane, Mbappé and there is also Lukaku. Then it is clear that if there is an exploit in the group it is unlikely that in the most advanced phase the ranking can be overturned. However, I see Lewandoski is going down, even if he should always be considered among the best”.
The news is that the public comes back: “Many teams in the club season were penalized by closed-door stadiums, I am thinking of Juve and Liverpool, who have not lost at home for a lifetime. But Roma and AC Milan also paid a lot, and so did the rest of Europe. The fact that the fans come back, however, is something wonderful”, Sugoni ends.