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England’s Quest for a First European Championship Continues at Euro 2024

England's Quest for a First European Championship Continues at Euro 2024
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Gareth Southgate and his men are yet again one of the favorites to win the Euros as England hopes to end their 58-year wait without a title. Since their World Cup triumph on home soil in 1966, the Three Lions have only managed to make it to the final of a competitive tournament once, doing so three years ago at Wembley.

However, England could not make the most of their home advantage, losing to eventual Euro 2020 winners Italy on penalties. The following year, the Brits could only go as far as the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup before they were knocked out by France, one of their likely opponents in the knockout round of this year’s Euros. 

This summer presents another opportunity for England to get their hands on a trophy finally, and Southgate will have the leisure of fielding arguably the most talented squad in the nation’s history. With the tournament only a few weeks away, England tickets are selling out fast as the world awaits incredible football from the British.

The Stakes are High for the England National Team

Expectations are through the roof for Southgate’s men to deliver silverware, and fans and pundits agree that they have what it takes to go all the way in Germany. Football expert Paul Merson had this to say about England’s title chances back in March, “England win the Euros. I’ll be shocked, amazed, if we didn’t win it. Who can beat us? Maybe France. But it was a close game when we played last time, with Harry Kane missing a penalty. If he scored that, there would have been only one winner.”

Many others agree with Merson’s sentiment, and there’s every reason to: this team is littered with some of the best players in the world on both ends of the pitch. However, if there’s one team that can pose the biggest threat to England, it is England itself, as history has shown us repeatedly. 

How Could England Line Up at Euro 2024?

While the world awaits Gareth Southgate’s final squad announcement for the Euros, the 53-year-old has many options. Southgate has experimented with a few formations since he was appointed manager in 2016, but his most preferred has always been 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.

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He used the former in seven of his side’s eight games during the Euro qualifiers, and with England going unbeaten in that stretch, it only makes sense to assume that he will be sticking to this formation in June.

England’s backline will inevitably feature the fast-paced Kyle Walker on the right wing. Walker has been Southgate’s most preferred right back over the years, although it remains to be seen if Trent Alexander-Arnold would play as a right back or in midfield at the Euros.

It’s more likely to see Kieran Trippier start ahead of Ben Chilwell on the left side, while Harry Maguire and John Stones are favored to retain their place at center back. Jordan Pickford should get the starting nod in goal, while Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone must settle for a spot on the bench.

Southgate has deployed Arsenal player Declan Rice at the defensive midfield position, which is bound to continue at the Euros. The other two players to complete England’s midfield will likely be Kalvin Phillips, who will support Rice at the back end, and Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham, who will be tasked with running the Three Lions’ attack from the center of the field.

This midfield lineup allows England to switch to a more defensive 4-2-3-1 formation against more attack-minded teams without taking away their offense. Against so-called “weaker competition,” we can expect to see a less defensive approach by England, with Alexander-Arnold replacing Phillips in midfield to drive the ball forward. 

England’s attack will, without a doubt, feature Harry Kane, who has had another phenomenal scoring season with Bundesliga side Bayern Munich.

Bukayo Saka should also start on offense on the right flank while the left-wing remains up for deliberation. Three of the finest attackers, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and Cole Palmer, are vying for a starting spot.

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After an impressive performance this year, Foden was recently named the Premier League’s Player of the Season, and he could have the edge over his other two competitors.

England’s Most Important Player at the Euros

One player who will be first on the list when Gareth Southgate makes his final selection is the team’s captain, Harry Kane. The No. 9 will yet again carry on his shoulders the weight of expectations from a nation desperate to win a trophy. 

Kane already holds England’s all-time goals record and has shown no signs of slowing down. He is Europe’s joint top goalscorer this season in all competitions, with a staggering 44 goals in 45 matches played. Kane was England’s leading scorer in eight games at the Euro qualifiers, netting eight goals. 

He was instrumental in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, scoring four goals in the competition, all at the knockout stage. If the Three Lions will get their hands on the trophy this year, they need Kane to have his goal-scoring boots laced up as he has done all year round.

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Another key player for Southgate this summer is Bukayo Saka, who will be England’s most reliable player on the creative end. Since turning pro in 2018, Saka has improved his gameplay every year at both international and club levels, and his ability to create scoring chances is vital to England’s success during this campaign.

This season, the 22-year-old helped Arsenal to a second-place finish in the Premier League, scoring 16 goals and providing nine assists. He scored four goals and gave nine assists in the seven games he played for England during the Euro qualifiers. 

In midfield, Southgate will rely heavily on Jude Bellingham’s driving runs from the center of the pitch. Bellingham has already surpassed expectations this season, finishing the year as Real Madrid’s top scorer in his first year.

He helped Los Blancos to another La Liga title, with a 15th Champions League crown in sight at Wembley, just before the start of the Euros. 

Aqeel Ahmad
the authorAqeel Ahmad
Aqeel Ahmad is a passionate sports fan who enjoys reading and writing about the most recent sporting events taking place all around the world.

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