12 January, 2021 - 14:06

Euro 2021: A Guide on the Hosts, Locations & Dark Horses?

With Euro 2020 taking an unplanned sabbatical due to the pandemic engulfing the globe, the European competition has been shelved to June 2021. 24 sides will look to battle it out over 12 host cities for the ultimate European prize in a festival of football.

The powerhouses of European football are preparing to descend on to Europe with a locker-full of talent but what teams look up to the task? With the favorites already cemented, what unlikely nation will surprise at the competition this year?

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Where is Euro 2021?

The premise behind the pan-European event was to ‘stage a party all over Europe’ to celebrate 60 years since the inaugural tournament (61 years in 2021) and, for the second time in history, it will feature 24 teams. The following cities will be hosting the event.

• Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Johan Cruijff ArenA
• Baku (Azerbaijan) – Baku Olympic Stadium
• Bilbao (Spain) – San Mamés Stadium
• Bucharest (Romania) – National Arena Bucharest
• Budapest (Hungary) – Puskás Arena
• Copenhagen (Denmark) – Parken Stadium
• Dublin (Ireland) – Dublin Arena
• Glasgow (Scotland) – Hampden Park
• London (England) – Wembley Stadium
• Munich (Germany) – Football Arena Munich
• Rome (Italy) – Olimpico in Rome
• Saint Petersburg (Russia) – Saint Petersburg Stadium

Why is Euro 2021 Being Shared Across Europe?

The decision to expand the European Championship to span the continent instead of being confined to one host nation was made by UEFA in 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of the prestigious tournament.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who was the UEFA General Secretary, explained that “instead of having a party in one country, we will party all over Europe in the summer of 2020.”

“An opportunity like this, to give many cities and many countries the possibility to host even just one part of a EURO, is certainly an excellent thing, especially in times when you have an economic situation where you cannot expect countries to invest in facilities in the way that such an event requires,” said Infantino.

Of course, the governing body never foresaw that a deadly pandemic would sweep the globe bringing the majority of sporting events to a standstill, something that does not go hand in hand when hosting a competition across 12 different countries.

Where is the Euro 2021 Final?

The final of Euro 2021 will be held at Wembley Stadium in the heart of London, where the English national team play and is considered the home of football. Redeveloped and reopened in 2007, the-new-state-of-the-art facility has hosted a myriad of mainstream events and the original Wembley is where England lifted the 1966 World Cup.

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Wembley Stadium

When Will Euro 2021 Kick Off?

Euro 2021 is provisionally scheduled to begin in June 2021, after the tournament took a brief hiatus, but the viability of the tournament very much relies on external factors happening across the world.

The decision to postpone the tournament was made in the hope that other competitions would continue safely and complete their schedule, demonstrating that the Euros would be able to operate safely and at the revised time.

Euro 2021 Teams

Qualification for Euro 2021 adopted a new system, whereby the bulk of the teams qualified through the traditional group method and a further four places are decided through the UEFA Nations League.

Euro 2021 Favorites

England have emerged as the favourites to win the competition after being priced at 5/1 in the fixed odds markets. Belgium took a back seat after England flexed their muscles through qualification and even dismantled the Red Devils 2-1 at Wembley.

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England Team at 2018 World Cup

France and Belgium are the second favorites at 11/2 with both sides hitting their stride in the Nations League. While Germany, Holland and Spain narrowly trail the top three.

Euro 2021’s Surprise Packages

While we have covered the favorites above what of the underdogs in the competition that have the potential to cause an upset. Perennial dark horses Croatia can no longer be considered as such after the cohesive outfit reached the World Cup final in 2018, but who can?

Switzerland could be the dark horses to watch, they have reached the knockout stages of the last three major tournaments they have appeared at. They beat Belgium in the Nation Leagues 5-2 in 2018, displaying an unbelievable comeback and demonstrating the desire to win.

As with the Netherlands, Italy fans were forced to swallow the humiliation of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup despite being odds-on to do so. That alone is enough motivation to put fire into their bellies ahead of Euro 2021. Their performances have been strong in qualifying and they possess the services of Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Everton.

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Author: Mitea

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