Ronaldo free-kicks, Celtic legend Larsson’s son, and fierce first-timers Finland – what to watch for at Euro 2020

Ronaldo free-kicks, Celtic legend Larsson’s son, and fierce first-timers Finland – what to watch for at Euro 2020

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The 2020 European Championship begins on Friday having been postponed for a year due to the COVID pandemic.

After months of waiting, a major international tournament is ready to start and we can’t wait.

All eyes are on Southgate as England head into the Euros as one of the strongest teams


All eyes are on Southgate as England head into the Euros as one of the strongest teams

France go into Euro 2020 as one of the favourites, however Portugal, Belgium and England are also being keenly tipped.

Fans will finally have something to cheer for too as they will be allowed to attend matches, although not the full stadiums we all dream of.

Aside from the superstar players and nail biting knockout stage, this tournament will prove to be interesting with the promise of new heroes and new legends waiting to be created

But what should we all watch out for? Here’s everything you will want to keep an eye on during Euros 2020.

Sons of legends

10. Peter Schmeichel kept 129 clean sheets during his Premier League career with Manchester United, Aston Villa and Manchester City

Peter Schmeichel won five Prem titles while at Manchester United and his son is now a huge star in his own right for Leicester and Denmark

We all know Kasper Schmeichel is back with the Danes to continue creating his own outstanding legacy.

He was exceptional at the 2018 World Cup but another raft of aces are going to be at the European Championship in a bid to outdo the men that came before them.

Marcus Thuram – son of Lilian, the most capped French player in history – is looking to add to his three caps, while Federico Chiesa, will want to complete a feat his father Enrico never achieved with Italy by winning the trophy.

Sweden ace Jordan Larsson is the son of Celtic icon Henrik, who had a legendary career with Celtic, Barcelona, and Manchester United.

Those are difficult boots to fill but Jordan has proven himself to be a quality forward in his own right, bagging 22 goals for Spartak Moscow this season. 

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruled out of the competition due to injury, this could be his moment to come out of his father’s shadow. 

New Nations

10. Goran Pandev has scored 27 goals in 78 Macedonia games – scroll through the gallery to see the other current top international goal scorers

North Macedonia will be hoping Goran Pandev can keep the good times coming

North Macedonia are the new kids on the block, in fact, their icon Gorian Pandev is older than the nation itself.

The 37 year-old, who has 119 caps, helped them secure a place in the Euros for the first time in their history. 

Expectations will be low for the country, but with one of the weaker groups in the tournament anything can happen. 

Meanwhile, Finland managed to qualify for a European Championship for the first time too.

The nation was ambitious and left nothing on the table in their bid to reach the tournament and it paid off. 

The Finnish battle cry ‘Hakkaa paalle’, which means ‘Cut them down’ perfectly encapsulates the country’s attitude and watching them should be entertaining. 

They face off against Scandanavian rivals Denmark in what will be a great Group B contest. 

Golden Oldies 

Chiellini is a club and international legend

Getty Images – Getty

Chiellini is a club and international legend

30 is the new 20 it would seem at the Euros, with a bunch of experienced players getting another shot at international glory. 

Pandev, as mentioned above, is a leading light for his nation while battle-hardened defensive warriors Giorgio Chiellini (36), Pepe (38), and Jose Fonte (37) look to be heading for one last hurrah.

Yuri Zhirkov, the former Chelsea left-back, is also kicking about still, along with goalkeepers Maarten Stekelenburg (38) and Andriy Pyatov (36), who will be hoping to reach 100 caps once the competition is finished. 

Premier League flops

Manchester City defender Jason Denayer set to return from loan spell at Galatasaray

Jason Denayer has been quality for Lyon this season and will likely play a big role for Belgium

If you’re a football fan, you know not everyone succeeds in the Premier League, that’s not to say they can’t forge a career elsewhere.

There are several players who didn’t quite shine in England that will be appearing in the Euros. 

Fans will be hoping none of them end up like ex-Tottenham striker Helder Postiga, who helped break English hearts at Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006.

Swiss ace Edimilson Fernandes wasn’t the greatest for West Ham, while Belgian centre-backs Dedryck Boyata and Jason Denayer never got going in the Premier League despite being on the books at Man City.

Mario Pasalic was one of the many doomed youngsters stuck in loan limbo while at Chelsea, and the Croatian midfielder finally escaped their grasp in 2020, leaving for Atalanta and playing well.

While Tomas Pekhart, who never played a game for Spurs, has the potential to ‘do a Postiga’ in Group D.


England star Jude Bellingham will be one of the youngest players at the tournament


England star Jude Bellingham will be one of the youngest players at the tournament

There is an incredible amount of young talent all over the world, and many starlets will be at Euro 2020.

Bellingham is one of two aces aged 17 at the tournament as he seeks to become a Three Lions hero.

Polish kid Kacper Kozlowski is the youngest player involved – who knew Bellingham might feel old at the tournament! 

Heorhiy Sudakov is an 18-year-old Ukraine star with only 10 professional games to his name for Shakhtar Donetsk, while compatriot Illya Zabarnyi, also 18, has been playing top-flight football for Dynamo Kyiv since 2019.

Elsewhere, Czech star Adam Hlozek will be looked at as a serious option at the Euros.

The striker has a remarkable 72 games under his belt for Sparta Prague, with 25 goals to his name, and finished the season as the Czech first division top goal scorer this season. Crazy stuff.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s stance while taking free kicks has become legendary

Cristiano Ronaldo’s stance while taking free kicks has become legendary

A lot of England fans were disappointed when James Ward-Prowse wasn’t selected to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold, mainly due to his David Beckham-esque free kicks. 

Games can be won and lost at the hands of a good free-kick and underdogs will be using this to their advantage in hopes of stealing a point or three. 

Ronaldo, ex-Spurs ace Christian Eriksen, Memphis Depay and Kevin De Bruyne will look to lead the way when shooting.

But corner kicks are going to be just as vital – England’s ‘Love Train’ at World Cup 2018 was back in motion during their recent friendlies and routines like this could be used by other nations too.

We can’t wait to see the schemes being cooked up!

talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will have live commentary of EVERY game of Euro 2020. You won’t miss a thing as we bring you round the clock coverage, reaction and analysis from June 11-July 11. Listen online HERE.

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