Euro 2020 looks set to be postponed due to the continued spread of the coronavirus across the continent and the desire to complete domestic seasons.
The most likely scenario is that it will be shifted back a year until 2021. As frustrating and difficult as it is to postpone such a big event, it seems a necessary act at a time where the safety of Europe’s population is the only thing of real importance.
From a betting perspective, such a decision is bound to have an impact on the odds. When it comes to tournaments, European teams are looking to peak every two years, making adjustments and blooding new players in-between. Shifting a tournament back a year is a major disruption.
Belgium for example, are the current favourites to win Euro 2020 at [6.2], but their ageing defence is only going to be weaker in 2021. The holders Portugal are [19.0]. They have a fine generation of talent, yet remain reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo to score their goals. Ronaldo will be 36 come the summer of 2021 and though we think of him as superhuman, his standards have to slip eventually.
For other nations, putting back the tournament a year could be beneficial to their chances. Here are some countries that could profit from any postponement.
Germany – more time to rebuild
After a terrible showing at the last World Cup and finishing bottom of their Nations League group, it has been clear for some time that the German team needs rebuilding.
During the 2020 qualifiers, Joachim Low has opted for evolution rather than revolution. Low has introduced more young players, while preserving a core of experienced performers such as Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos. Germany finished above the much improved Dutch team in Group C.
The Germans are the fifth favourites at [9.6], but could be shorter in a year in which a young side can grow. Potential key players such as Niklas Sule and Leroy Sane have been out with long-term injuries and will be assets in 2021.
Netherlands – forwards could develop
Holland have made huge progress since failing to qualify for the last World Cup, reaching the final of the Nations League, as elder players reached their potential and a new generation of talent emerged.
Virgil van Dijk developed into the world’s best defender, at the same time as Ajax became Champions League semi-finalists with a team that featured a lot of young Dutch players. Already the fourth favourites at [9.4], the Netherlands may be even more fancied in a year.
If there’s a weakness in the Holland team it’s in attack. The Dutch lack a reliable striker and will hope that the next year will allow the likes of Myron Boadu and Donyell Malen to develop.
Norway – the Haaland effect
Norway have not qualified for Euro 2020 yet, with a tough play-off match against Serbia and a final to navigate before their place is booked.
Unsurprisingly then, they are long-shots at [251.0] to win Euro 2020. Yet any delay to the tournament scheduling will help both their chances of qualification and making an impact at the finals.
The veteran international manager Lars Lagerback is overseeing an exciting new influx of players of which Erling Braut Haaland is the standout member. Haaland has so far only played twice for Norway and has yet to score, but has the potential to make an impact similar to that of Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004.
England – time to recover
England do not look terribly good value as the [7.2] third favourites, but a postponement of Euro 2020 could help them.
Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are both out injured at the moment and were in danger of missing the tournament this summer. With the strength of the England team largely based on their brilliant attack, having two forwards of such quality struggling for fitness, was far from ideal.
Areas of concern for Gareth Southgate include the club form of Jordan Pickford, the centre of England’s defence and finding the right balance in midfield. If Euro 2020 kicked off in June, he would have precious little time to solve these issues. Now Southgate could have another year in which he can work them out in competitive World Cup qualifiers.