At the moment, there isn’t much of a favorite for the tournament, as the majority of Europe’s elite nations all have seriously talented teams.
France, England, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Belgium all have a chance to win glory next summer, while Holland, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland and a few more nations will be called “black horses”.
It’s going to be one hell of a tournament and with the international break coming to an end this week, we thought we’d find a way to rank the best on the continent ahead of next summer’s showpiece.
We have therefore selected the nine best teams in Europe according to the official FIFA rankings and ranked them according to the quality of their squad.
To make things as fair as possible, we picked what we believe to be the best XI from each country and then selected only one replacement player for each position. Enjoy!
9. CroatiaThe Croatian team still depends on the members of the “old guard”, namely Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Dejan Lovren.
There are new faces in the form of Mislav Orsic, Josip Brekalo and Duje Caleta-Car, but the Vatreni have regressed a bit since arriving in the World Cup final in 2018.
It’s still not a team you’d like to draw in a major tournament, however, and in Andrej Kramaric, Croatia have one of the deadliest goalscorers in world football.
The Italian team does not have an X factor at the moment. Old warhorses Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini still hang around, but there’s just a glaring lack of superstar quality.
The likes of Manuel Locatelli, Stefano Sensi, Sandro Tonali, Nicola Barella, Federico Chiesa and Nicolo Zaniolo are all very promising talents, but the current squad are not the ones that create fear in an opponent’s stomach – for the time being.
However, in three or four years, this group of Italians has the potential to bring the country back to the highest echelons of international football.
Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay represent an exciting core of world-class talent within the Dutch national team.
However, there just doesn’t seem to be enough reserve to qualify La Oranje as one of the best in Europe at the moment.
But like the Italian team, there is serious potential here and this Dutch team can always mix it with the best – as they proved by beating Germany 4-2 in September 2019.
Belgium still have a good number of world class players with Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Dries Mertens.
But their team does not possess the same level of threat as during the peak years of the legendary “Golden Generation” of the Red Devils, especially in defense.
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have far surpassed their best, while the lack of quality left-back / left-back is still a noticeable issue in Roberto Martinez’s squad.
La Roja’s current squad and anyone named in the future will always be pale in comparison to the iconic set of players who dominated international football from 2008-2012.
But it’s still a very talented group. The world-class experience of Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Thiago Alcantara is perfectly complemented by the youthful exuberance of Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Adama Traoré and more.Cancel Spain at your own risk.
The England squad are loaded with quality right now and with Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, the Three Lions have arguably the most formidable selection of attackers on the international stage.
But the defensive options available to Gareth Southgate are a bit of concern at the moment, especially at left-back.
Ben Chilwell is the only quality option that fits naturally into the role, with Kieran Trippier having to fill in on the left against Belgium in the absence of the Chelsea man.
But overall, they’re probably the most exciting Three Lions squad in over a decade, especially if Jack Grealish is given a regular starting spot ahead of Euro 2021.
Die Mannschaft are struggling to win games under Joachim Low at the moment, but the depth of their squad is immense – at least on paper.
Germany are fortunate enough to be spoiled for wealth in all three attacking roles, while a midfield duo of Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich – with Leon Goretzka as cover – are roughly as good as it gets.
The only reason the 2014 World Cup winners don’t quite make the top two is due to their defense, which is still a work in progress in the absence of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.
However, there is still enough quality and potential deep in the back line and in Manuel Neuer they probably have the best goalkeeper in the world.
The French squad look as beautiful as ever and they’ve actually added to their depth since winning the 2018 World Cup.
Houssem Aouar, Ferland Mendy, Eduardo Camavinga, Anthony Martial, Dayot Upamecano and Clément Lenglet are now part of Didier Deschamps’ senior team.
The perfect marriage of a World Cup winning experience and up-and-coming young superstars, the Blues’ quality treadmill is simply breathtaking.
But they just miss the first place …
Omitting France from the top spot was a tough choice to make, but we just can’t get past the plethora of all-star qualities currently available for Portugal manager Fernando Santos.
Eight stellar options for the four attacking roles – including irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo – backed by a powerful midfielder who also possesses impressive depth? Not bad that.
The Portuguese defense is also stacked these days, Nelson Semedo, Joao Cancelo, Ricardo Pereira and Raphael Guerreiro are all revered as some of the best full-backs in the world.
Then you have the experienced Pepe, in the street, paired with the Rolls-Royce who is Ruben Dias in central defense. A Selecao team doesn’t have a single weakness at the moment.
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