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England’s Euro 2024 Prospects: No Room for Excuses

Explore England’s Euro 2024 prospects and why there’s no room for excuses as they aim for championship glory. Discover the team’s strengths and challenges.

Stadium with blending England flag. Source: Shutterstock/Trybex

As the Euro 2024 approaches in Germany, England stands as the team to surpass. This time, there are no more reasons or factors that can be used to explain Coach Gareth Southgate and his squad falling short.

England’s lineup comprises players with the caliber to secure a spot in any national team across Europe, including Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Jack Grealish, John Stones, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, and Kyle Walker. These players are either in their prime or rapidly approaching it, and they are gearing up for the Euro 2024 campaign.

England’s readiness for a major tournament has never been as impressive as it is now. While they’ve been subject to excessive hype in the past, this squad has elevated itself to a point where only securing the championship would validate their true potential.

France, guided by Kylian Mbappé and dominating their qualification in Group B with a flawless record and a budding Spanish team under the leadership of coach Luis de la Fuente, will be strong contenders. However, when it comes to depth and quality, no other European nation can rival England.

A win against Italy at Wembley next Tuesday would guarantee England’s qualification for Euro 2024, and even a draw might secure their place in the tournament. However, Gareth Southgate’s challenge extends beyond the formalities of progressing from Group C. The actual test for the England manager lies in maximizing the abundant talent at his disposal.

Building from Past Setbacks

England’s journey to this point has been a lengthy one, marked by a recovery from the embarrassment of their elimination by Iceland in Euro 2016. 

In the aftermath, they journeyed to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. They secured a spot in the final of Euro 2020, marking a significant milestone for the senior men’s national team as it marked their inaugural appearance in a major final since 1966.

In that Euro 2020 final, a heart-wrenching penalty shootout defeat to Italy at Wembley denied England their first European title. Nevertheless, the setbacks in 2018, Euro 2020, and the World Cup quarterfinal loss to France in Qatar last year can also be seen as stepping stones toward eventual success, provided Southgate can overcome his limitations and lead England to victory.

Competitive Landscape in European Football

To achieve success, every team requires certain foundational elements. It would help if you had both talent and experience to secure victories, and England possesses both of these qualities. Moreover, good timing is crucial, rising when your competitors are facing challenging periods.

Germany, currently grappling with a crisis that extends well beyond their group-stage exit in Qatar, where they had to replace coach Hansi Flick with Julian Nagelsmann, and Italy, the reigning champions, struggling to qualify after missing the past two World Cups, appear far from being contenders next summer. 

Meanwhile, the Netherlands is in a tight battle with Greece for runner-up qualification behind France in Group B. Croatia slipped out of the automatic qualification positions in Group D with a loss to Wales on Sunday.

Key Questions Surrounding Rival Teams

France, Spain, and Portugal are the most likely rivals for England next summer, but each of them faces their challenges. Can France figure out how to win without Kylian Mbappé if the Paris Saint-Germain forward is sidelined due to injury or suspension? 

Can Spain’s striker, Can Álvaro Morata, effectively find the net when facing top-tier teams?

Is it feasible for Roberto Martinez to formulate a game plan that not only ensures competitiveness against formidable opponents but also accommodates Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be approaching 39 when Euro 2024 kicks off?

England’s Strengths and Depth

England’s primary question revolves around Gareth Southgate’s tactical abilities and his willingness to take bold actions when necessary. 

However, the longstanding concerns about England’s depth and their ability to control a game from midfield have faded away. With Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice, Southgate possesses one of the most formidable midfield pairings in Europe, and he also has the incredible goal-scoring threat of captain Harry Kane up front.

Much like France’s reliance on Mbappé, England could face challenges in taking on top teams without the presence of Bayern Munich’s Kane. However, Saka, Grealish, Foden, and Rashford all possess the ability to pose unique threats to opponents, offering Southgate a range of alternatives in nearly every position.

Southgate have two superb players of the world’s best right backs named Walker and Kieran Trippier. When John Stones is in optimal condition, he brings a sense of poise and leadership to the center-back position.

Southgate is currently working on integrating James Maddison from Tottenham Hotspur as an attacking presence in midfield. Furthermore, players like Rico Lewis from Manchester City, Anthony Gordon from Newcastle United, and Ivan Toney from Brentford (once he returns in January following an eight-month ban related to gambling) could potentially earn their spots in the squad, offering exciting options for the team before the tournament commences.

The Path to Tournament Victory

A victory against Italy at Wembley on Tuesday would be a meaningful achievement, especially since England had previously won 2-1 in Naples during the qualification campaign. 

This becomes more significant due to their loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final. Nonetheless, the team’s progress is no longer solely judged by individual wins. Their primary focus now is securing a tournament win, and they have all the necessary elements in place to achieve this ambition.

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