Football fans were in for a treat this year. Around the world, regional FIFA competitions left sports fans plenty to chew on. In South America, we’ve seen Leo Messi leading the Argentinian national team to its first Copa America title in recent history.
Meanwhile, in the UEFA Euro 2020 competition, elite European national teams battled it out. Favorites heading into the competition, like France and Germany, were eliminated early. Meanwhile, other teams, from Denmark to the Czech Republic, surprised many by making it out of group stages.
For fans and analysts alike, this year’s Euro 2020 offered a sneak peek into next year’s FIFA World Cup, soon to be held in Qatar. Though head coaches have more than a year to rework formations and rosters to prepare for the 2022 tournament, some are already listing their favorites.
Pundits are selecting dark horses and analysts are tallying stats from Euro 2020. Even in areas like the US, which focus more heavily on American football and basketball than football (soccer), sports betting PA, NJ, and IL sites are gearing up their futures markets for European World Cup Qualifiers this November.
So, based on Euro 2020, which European squads are looking most prepared to make a meaningful push for the 2022 FIFA World Cup title?
France ‘Les Bleus’
In the time leading up to Euro 2020, Les Bleus were the top pick across a range of sources. The team has unparalleled talent on its roster, but head coach Didier Deschamps wasn’t able to arrange these pieces into a winning format.
However, should Deschamps find a way to slot the appropriate players into the correct positions, there won’t be any force strong enough to stop the French in Qatar. At the moment, the team’s primary concern should be finding a way to optimize Karim Benzema’s and Kylian Mbappé’s attacking formation.
Additionally, Deschamps will need to support the midfield, rather than relying on Antoine Griezmann to continually make magic for the team’s strikers.
England ‘Three Lions’
Though England eventually bowed to Italy in finals shoutouts in this year’s Euro 2020 competition, the Three Lions squad has a deep roster with multiple EPL stars. Unlike Les Bleus, head coach Garrett Southgate managed to arrange star players like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Phil Foden into a winning formation.
However, England lacked a crack offensive line. In the back and on the wings, the team looked cohesive and explosive. However, Sterling and other strikers weren’t able to capitalize on enough opportunities—even with a roaring, full-packed Wembley Stadium behind them. The team’s only regular goal in the final came from defender Luke Shaw.
Belgium ‘Red Devils’
The Belgian team was one of the most impressive and enjoyable to watch at this year’s UEFA Euro 2020 competition. The team is known for enjoying a ‘Golden Generation’ of talent, and it shows. The Hazard brothers stood out for their energy, with younger brother Thorgan providing crucial breaks up the wings.
Meanwhile, Kevin de Bruyne was also a dominating force in the midfield. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, Lukaku wasn’t able to make much headway as a striker. With Eden Hazard, de Bruyne, and Lukaku heading into their 30s, the team’s 2022 World Cup run will be an important one.