As the Euros get underway once more, most people will have their eyes on the big teams in an attempt to work out which of the established titans will be in with a shot of glory at the tournament.
However, there are also plenty of underdogs in contention this year; those national sides that do not have the same prestige or track record as their high profile counterparts, yet could still cause upset if luck is on their side.
Here is a look at a few of the dark horses of Euro 2020, any one of which might go the distance or at least slay some giants before being knocked out themselves.
If you are interested in Euro 2020 betting, the England team could be at the top of your watch list as it goes into the tournament ranked above all of its peers in UEFA’s official charts. Its neighbour Wales, meanwhile, is a far cry from this pinnacle, sitting in 50th place.
In spite of this apparent discrepancy, Wales is a side to keep a close eye on, if only because it managed to exceed all expectations during Euro 2016 by making it to the semi finals, where a loss to eventual tournament winners Portugal put paid to the nation’s dreams of undoing decades of missed opportunities.
As the delayed 2020 tournament gets underway, Wales faces an uphill struggle, competing in Group A alongside Italy, Switzerland and Turkey. Fans will be hoping that Gareth Bale is able to conjure up enough magic to swing things in favor of the Welsh side.
Republic of Ireland
Another Celtic nation hoping to cement itself as a force to be reckoned with at this year’s Euros is Ireland, and although like Wales it is a long way from the top of the current rankings, it has managed to impress onlookers in the qualifying stages for the tournament by keeping an unbeaten record of matches intact.
Indeed this tournament could be the last chance for Ireland to turn heads for some time, as the top players skew older and there could be a deficit of younger talent in the pipeline in future events like this. The players are no doubt aware of this, so could be even more motivated than their competitors during Euro 2020.
While ranked in the top 10, Russia is a team that still has a lot of ground to make up in terms of establishing itself as a major contender on the international scene, and the upcoming tournament is the ideal opportunity for it to set out its stall and shake things up.
This will no doubt be helped by the fact that its group is eminently winnable; only Belgium will likely give it any real challenge, with both Denmark and Finland posing less of a threat to its dreams of victory.
It may seem a little silly to call Germany potential dark horses of this year’s Euros, but only if you haven’t been keeping up with their form in recent years. Major losses and a run of poor form has put them in fourth place in the UEFA rankings, which does not really speak to the extent of the gap between them and the likes of Spain and England.
The weak link in Germany’s side is their defense, which might leave them exposed to a more volatile score sheet than their established rivals. Even so, they could still be in with a shot of surprising cynics this time around, and whatever happens, Euro 2020 should be a stellar tournament.