Euro 2024 – England’s route and chances assessed

4 July 2024

It’s been far from pretty from England at Euro 2024 this summer, but Gareth Southgate’s side remain in with a chance of winning the tournament, which would end a significant drought without a major trophy for the Three Lions.

England are set to take on Switzerland for a place in the semi-final of Euro 2024, in what is likely to be a tricky test for them, especially if they’re to play anything like they have done in the earlier stages of the competition. Switzerland have been the exact opposite of unconvincing, as Murat Yakin’s side are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions, which is an impressive run of form when they’ve come up against the likes of Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Italy during that unbeaten spell.

They comfortably saw off the challenge of Italy in the last 16, and if they’re anywhere near their best again, then they’re more than capable of springing another surprise in the quarter-finals, so it’s vital that England get on the front foot from the first whistle in their match on Saturday evening.

Southgate doesn’t seem to have decided on his ‘best team’, despite having some of the most in-form players in world football for their respective clubs. The likes of Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka have been hugely impressive for both Manchester City and Arsenal in recent seasons, but for one reason or another, it hasn’t clicked for England at a major tournament as of yet. Many claim that Foden should be given the licence to play a more central free role which we’ve seen him occupy for City under the management of Pep Guardiola.

Laboured performances against Denmark and Slovenia have been cause for concern, and if it wasn’t for a moment of brilliance from Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham with the final kick of the game against Slovakia in the last 16, England would be on the plane home from Germany already. However, Bellingham’s class sparked a response in extra time against Slovakia, and Kane’s close-range header saw England book their spot in the quarter-finals, although they’ve still got plenty of doubters to silence for the remainder of the tournament, and rightly so in some cases.

They’re getting the job done, but not in a convincing manner whatsoever. However, some will argue that if you’re not performing well and still picking up positive results, then that can only be a good thing, as when it does click on all fronts, then they’ll be tough to stop for any team that they come up against. Despite their struggles, England remain the favourites to win Euro 2024, which might come as a surprise to some, especially when the likes of France, Germany, and Spain are all still in the competition, and playing to a much higher standard to that of what we’ve seen from Gareth Southgate’s side.

It’ll be interesting to see how Southgate lines up his team against Switzerland, as there are plenty of players who caught the eye for the right reasons from the substitutes bench in the last few matches. Calls are growing stronger for Chelsea star Cole Palmer to earn a starting spot, with the midfielder’s forward-thinking proving a threat for England when he’s come off the substitutes bench. The central midfield spot alongside Declan Rice is another area which England don’t fully seem to have set in stone, although Kobbie Mainoo’s recent showing against Slovakia was a rare bright spark, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him given a chance to express himself once again. Southgate is forced into one change at least, with Marc Guehi being suspended having picked up two yellow cards in the tournament to date. Lewis Dunk and Joe Gomez are the like for like replacements, although Kyle Walker is another option to partner John Stones, which could see Trent Alexander-Arnold come back into the side in his familiar role of right-back. Alternatively, Luke Shaw has reportedly trained in recent matches, and could come into the starting XI, which would give Kieran Trippier more freedom at right-back in a role he plays for at Newcastle United.

If England can get through Switzerland, then they’ve got every chance of booking their spot in the final of Euro 2024, as they’ll face either Turkey, or the Netherlands, who up until their 3-0 win over Romania in the last 16, had looked as unconvincing as England. It’s set to be a nervous watch for England supporters, but this star-studded group of players can click on the pitch at any time, and that could be the catalyst for going on to end England’s lengthy wait without a major trophy.

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