Can Kane and Sterling fire England to glory at Euro 2020?

By on May 15, 2019

England have made an impressive start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign but can the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling fire Gareth Southgate’s side to glory next summer?

Off the back of an excellent 2018 World Cup that saw England reach the semi-finals, the Three Lions have continued their solid form by reaching the finals of the Nations League where they take on Holland in June while they won both their opening Euro 2020 qualifying games.

England kicked off with a resounding 5-0 victory over the Czech Republic at Wembley in late March before putting five past Montenegro three days later to put them top of Group A ahead of Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Southgate’s side have a relatively straightforward group so they should have absolutely no trouble finishing in the top two to qualify for the European Championship finals next year with bookmakers offering odds of just 1/33 on England winning the group. In fact, some bookies are offering 3/1 that England will win all 10 of their qualification games.

Favourites

The simplicity of Group A has led to England being tipped as one of the favourites to win the tournament outright with their odds cut to around 6/1 with many bookmakers following the opening two qualifying games.

All the usual suspects are expected to qualify for the finals and understandably World Champions France are currently the 7/2 favourites to win the Euro’s but none of the other big players are showing signs of being on top form just yet. Spain are priced at 7/1 but that’s probably generous considering how inconsistent they’ve been recently, and England would fancy their chances if paired with the Spaniard’s next year.

Belgium have a talented squad and at 8/1 are also heavily in the reckoning but England know from their meeting at the World Cup that they can match the Belgians so they would have nothing to fear at the Euro 2020 finals.

Italy, Germany, Croatia and Portugal will also be among the favourites but none are in their prime right now so this could be the year that England finally ends it’s long wait for a major International trophy.

Key players

Tottenham hitman Harry Kane is arguably England’s biggest threat and all eyes will be on the 25-year-old to lead the Three Lions to success at the Euro’s. Kane has scored 22 goals in his 37 caps so far and he won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup so Southgate will be relying on the Spurs superstar next summer.

Kane has endured a stop-start season as two ankle injuries hampered his progress but despite spending several weeks on the sidelines, he still managed to score 24 goals in all competitions for Tottenham and he’ll be a focal point for England at Euro 2020.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling is also going to be a key figure for England at the Euro’s as he’s developed into one of the best all-round attackers in world football. Sterling has progressed hugely under Pep Guardiola and he provided 23 goals and 17 assists in all competitions this season to help City reclaim the title.

Those figures make Sterling one of the most productive attackers in Europe right now and Southgate is expected to build his team around Kane and Sterling over the coming years.

With the likes of Marcus Rashford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, John Stones, Ben Chilwell, Harry Maguire, Ross Barkley, Jadon Sancho and Dele Alli also expected to be in the Euro 2020 squad, England have produced a new generation of talented young players that will be a match for anyone at Euro 2020.

New format

The new format could also aid England’s chances as this will be the first time the Euro finals will be held all over Europe with games being held in 12 cities across several countries including England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Holland and Spain.

However, perhaps crucially, the semi-finals and final will be held at Wembley Stadium in London, which is sure to give England a huge advantage should they make it that far in the tournament.

Expectation

The one major concern for Southgate will be the weight of expectation placed on his young squad’s shoulders. English fans are always praying that ‘football is coming home’ during any major tournament, but supporters will rightly be expecting big things at Euro 2020 after a World Cup semi-final appearance and reaching the Nations League finals.

Southgate has put his trust in youngsters like Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi so it will be interesting to see if they can cope with the pressure should England reach the latter stages of Euro 2020 next summer.

 

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