Euro 2024: Can You Pick a Winner?

The 2024 UEFA European Championships kick off in Germany in under four months, meaning no respite for the international players involved after the culmination of the domestic and European club seasons. Despite this, the players will be fired up and ready to take their nations as deep into the competitions as possible, with the goal being to hold the trophy high come Sunday, July 14, in Berlin.

In 2021, after COVID-19 delayed the 2020 tournament, it was Italy’s turn to do just that, beating the hosts England 3-2 on penalties at Wembley. This year, slightly under three years later, two teams will again contest the 2024 final, but which will they be? 

We’ll look at some of the favourites for this year’s competition according to the offered odds from some of the best online sportsbooks in the US.

England: 7/2 (+350)

If the English international team of the 2000s was known as the Golden Generation, perhaps Gareth Southgate’s current England squad should be the Platinum Generation. No England team has come closer to winning the country’s first major international trophy since Alf Ramsay masterminded its first and only FIFA World Cup triumph in 1966. 

Since taking over as England manager in October 2016, Southgate has taken The Three Lions to a World Cup semi-final and quarter-final while coming agonisingly close to England’s second major trophy in the Euro 2020 final defeat. The longstanding manager intends to step down after the upcoming Euros, so an overdue win at the tournament would form a fitting finale to his international career.

Like the Golden Generation, Southgate can call on a plethora of world-class talent for Euro 2024. His captain, Harry Kane, is nearing 400 career goals for club and country and is in prolific Bundesliga form for his current club, Bayern Munich, this season. With Kane playing in Germany, he’s even more suited to add to his record 62 goals for his country come June.

In Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Man City’s Phil Foden, England has two of the most promising up-and-coming international footballers in the world at its disposal while the enigmatic Jude Bellingham, still only 20, has scored and assisted at will in Spain’s La Liga this term, propelling Real Madrid to the top of the table.

With stalwarts Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford all in possession of over 50 English caps and midfield general Declan Rice nearing the mark, Southgate has the privilege of selecting a blend of youth and experience for his starting line-up. Youth, experience, form and pedigree mean this could finally be England’s year to taste long-awaited glory.

France: 4/1 (+400)

Although ranked second in the FIFA rankings, a position above England, Didier Deschamps’ French team is slightly behind the English in the Euro 2024 winner’s betting odds. Twice World Cup champions, France also has a European Championship pedigree, having won the prestigious tournament in 1984 and 2000. 

With the squad at Deschamps’ disposal and France’s recent form, there is every reason to believe Les Bleus will be taking in La Marseillaise before the kickoff on Euro 2024 final night in Berlin. 

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, France came irresistibly close to defending its 2018 title, taking the eventual champions Argentina to penalties with the score locked at 3-3 after extra time. French striker Kylian Mbappé, now one of the youngest international captains in history at 24, became the first player to score a World Cup final hat trick since England’s Geoff Hurst in 1966.

It is no secret that Deschamps models his side around Mbappé, and why wouldn’t he? The French talisman has over 320 goals in his career, with 46 coming for his country in only 75 appearances. Regarded as the best footballer in the world, Paris Saint-Germain is struggling to keep hold of its star player amid ongoing interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Despite Mbappé’s presence, there is much more to France’s squad than the PSG maestro alone. In his vice-captain, Antoine Griezmann, Deschamps has a young but experienced playmaker who, at 27 years old, already has 127 international caps. While Mbappé provides the killer instinct, Griezmann provides the creativity which, coupled with the tall and menacing presence of the experienced Olivier Giroud, is an asset to the French cause.

Defensively, France has been rebuilding over the past few seasons and now has a young but tactically astute group of defenders plying their trade internationally. Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konaté, Bayern Munich’s Dayot Upamecano, William Saliba of Arsenal, and Barcelona’s Jules Koundé are all in line to join Lucas and Théo Hernandez on the plane to Germany. France is certainly a Euro 24 contender.

Germany: 7/1 (+700)

Anybody who writes off Germany before an international tournament does so at their peril, especially considering the Germans host the European Championships in 2024. The four-time FIFA World Cup and triple Euro winner has not had the easiest few years and won’t benefit from a lack of prior qualifying competition. Bookmakers still make Germany the third favourite for the upcoming tournament.

With the young yet established head coach Julian Nagelsmann at the helm, Germany struggled to find form, with only two wins in its nine friendly games since June last year. Granted, Nagelsmann only oversaw the last four matches, but Germany’s youngest permanent international head coach since 1926 has only tasted victory in charge once.

Nagelsmann guided Die Mannschaft to a 3-1 win over the USA in his first match in charge, but a subsequent 2-2 draw with Mexico preceded defeats against Turkey (2-3) and Austria (0-2). The ex-Bayern Munich manager will be looking to prove the bookies right and his detractors wrong come June, with Germany without a major trophy since the 2014 World Cup and slipping to 16th in the FIFA rankings. 

Nagelsmann has tasted success domestically and has several star football players at his disposal. Critics believe Germany’s recent problems come from an over-reliance on some of its older statesmen, with Mats Hummels (35), Thomas Müller (34), and national captain İlkay Gündoğan (33) the focus of some recent negative press. 

Introducing more young players into a somewhat ageing German squad could serve Nagelsmann well, with only 20-year-old Florian Wirtz of high-flying Bayer Leverkusen and Arsenal’s Kai Havertz the only members younger than 25 in his last squad. 

With Milan’s Malick Thiaw, Dortmund’s Felix Nmecha, Kevin Schade of Brentford, and Bayern’s 20-year-old sensation Jamal Musiala all young, hungry and waiting in the wings, perhaps turning to youth amid the current experience would be Nagelsmann’s best route to Euro 2024 success.

Spain: 8/1 (+800)

Between 2008 and 2012, Spanish football experienced a Golden Generation of its own, winning three major trophies in succession. With teams including a proverbial who’s who of top footballers and legendary coach Vicente del Bosque in charge, Spain won its only FIFA World Cup in 2010 before taking the 2012 UEFA European Championship title. One of Spain’s previous coaches, Luis Aragonés had already masterminded the nation’s 2008 Euro win previously.

Fourteen years on, La Furia Roja remains a competitive side ranked eighth by FIFA but lacks the on-field aura of invincibility from back then. With Luis de la Fuente in charge of selection and tactics since replacing Luis Enrique after the 2022 World Cup, Spain qualified comfortably for Euro 2024 but did suffer a surprise 0-2 loss to Scotland en route.

Captained by Atlético Madrid’s Álvaro Morata, who averages around a goal every two games through his 69 internationals, Spain can rely on the experience of Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal and Barcelona’s Iñigo Martínez to provide defensive cover for in-form Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, while Real Sociadad’s Mikel Merino, Man City’s Rodri and the veteran Jesús Navas of Sevilla provide flair and stability in midfield.

de la Fuente has introduced several young stars to the national squad recently, with Barcelona’s Gavi (19) and Oihan Sancet of Athletic Bilbao providing the creativity for the precocious teenage talent of 16-year-old Real Madrid striker Lamine Yamal, scorer of two goals in his four internationals already. 

When you combine Yamal’s youthful talent with Morata’s all-round skillset up front, Spain has an attack formidable enough to threaten any defence. As the youngster grows in confidence and ability on the international stage, Spain will start reaping the rewards. Is it too soon for Spain at Euro 2024? Potentially, however, Yamal may be a player worth watching in individual betting markets.

Portugal: 8/1 (+800)

Like England, Portugal only has one major international title – the 2016 UEFA European Championship – and, after that tournament’s group stage, Portuguese victory was entirely unexpected. Portugal sneaked through to the knockout rounds courtesy of three drawn group results, qualifying as the penultimate third-place finisher. 

Portugal defied the odds with a series of extra time and positive penalty shoot-out results during the knockout phase, with the only game being decided in regulation time being the 2-0 semi-final victory over Wales. In the final, with Cristiano Ronaldo replaced because of injury before halftime, A Seleção das Quinas fought bravely to triumph through a 109th-minute Eder winner.

Ronaldo, one of the greatest players in his generation, will likely return to the Euros again this year as a 39-year-old and his nation’s captain. Alongside Manchester rivals Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes, Rui Patrício, Rúben Dias, Raphaël Guerreiro, and João Cancelo, the marksman capped 205 times for his country is only one Portuguese player boasting 50 caps or more.

With 40-year-old Pepe potentially facing a recall, Portugal could have the oldest squad at the Euro 2024 finals. This does not mean the Portuguese are out of the running for the title, however, as elite players dominate the squad, with Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, Barcelona’s João Félix, Al Hilal’s Rúben Neves and PSG’s Gonçalo Ramos adding to those already mentioned.

Head coach Roberto Martínez is an astute and wily campaigner, having already guided the Belgium side to the top of the FIFA rankings for four consecutive years. Martínez has a way to go to emulate this achievement with Portugal, with his side in seventh position, and certain pundits believe the 8/1 odds on offer for the nation are too short as the general belief is that Euro 2024 has come too late for many of the Portuguese players.

In Closing

Twenty-four teams will participate in the 2024 UEFA European Championships in Germany, from the favourite England to the 2000/1 rank outsiders Iceland. Although predicting a winner is always tough, the Euro 2024 winner will likely come from one of the five countries mentioned above. 

Belgium (16/1), the defending champions Italy (20/1), the Netherlands (40/1), and the 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia (40/1) should never be entirely discounted either, as the UEFA European Championships has a reputation for producing some unexpected winners, as Czechoslovakia in 1976, Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004 can attest to.