Warsaw, Poland – The European Championships are around the corner and it will be a shop window for the greatest players from across Europe to demonstrate their talent. Over the last couple of decades, Western European nations have dominated the competition, but the Central European contingent are looking stronger than they have since the 1990s with the emergence of some key players in the biggest teams in the world.
Of course, it’s often prudent to check what the professionals predict will happen at the major championships and that’s certainly the case for Euro 2020 where the margins are much closer than they have been in the recent past. With some of the best players at Bayern Munich and Real Madrid representing the Central European sides in Euro 2020, there’s reason to be optimistic about potential wins and in this article, we’ll rate the best prospects from Central Europe to succeed at Euro 2020.
Poland will go into Euro 2020/2021 as 80/1 outsiders for the tournament, but bookies may well regret placing such a high price on this talented team.
Only suffering a minor 2-1 defeat in their latest match versus Euro 2020 favourites England, Poland have demonstrated they have the ability to challenge the best in the world. Paulo Sousa’s side were without their star player Robert Lewandowski for that fixture, so the addition of the reigning Best FIFA Men’s Player will only increase the side’s competitiveness when the tournament begins.
The Bayern Munich forward is the most complete, ruthless and polished striker of his generation and has been recognised by FIFA as the current best striker on the planet. Averaging more than one goal per game since the start of the 2019 campaign, The Body is dominating defences more than any other player in world football.
With a solid spine of Wojciech Szczęsny, Kamil Glik and Grzegorz Krychowiak behind Lewandowski, Poland has a side experienced at the top level of football and importantly, they have the familiarity of winning important games.
At 33/1 Croatia hold the best chance of Euro 2020 success of all the Central European sides and they’ll be looking to go one better than their runners-up performance at the 2018 World Cup.
Luka Modric won the Golden Ball in recognition of being the best player at the tournament and the Real Madrid central midfielder will lead the Croatia team into battle at Euro 2020. With 136 international appearances to his name already, the country’s all time most capped individual will captain Zlatko Dalić’s side in this year’s competition.
Boasting one of the best midfields in the competition, Croatia has an array of world class talent in the centre of the pitch and also on the wings. After his club’s emphatic Serie A victory, Inter’s Ivan Perišić will be full of confidence and be looking to add to the impressive 27 goals he already has for Croatia.
The Czech Republic side are going through a transitional phase and this squad doesn’t have the creativity or firepower we’re used to seeing from the nation. In the most recent squad only one player had managed to hit 10 or more international goals and that is a fair representation of the limitations within Jaroslav Šilhavý’s team.
There are a few players establishing names for themselves in the Premier League in Vladimír Coufal and Tomáš Souček, but the West Ham duo are the leaders of this inexperienced side. With many of the team still playing in the Czech league for Slavia Prague, many have not competed against world class performers and may struggle when presented with elite ballers from across the continent.
It’s possible that due to the like of Souček the Czech Republic will be a threat from set-pieces, but we shouldn’t expect them to dominate possession or the score-sheet. This tournament will likely be used as a development platform for the younger players ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.