Who are the favorites for EURO 2020?
After a year-long wait, it's finally time for the EURO 2020. As always a lot of people will try to predict the outcomes of the matches and ultimately predict who is gonna win it. But who are the favorites to win it this year? Will it be France, Spain, or Germany or will there be another team that is going to surprise us all during the tournament.
This will be the last of the three long-reads in total, where we are going to take a look at teams that always perform well at the European Championship and that we expect to perform again this year. In our first 2 long reads, we talked about Spain & Germany and now we will take an in-depth look at the French squad.
After winning the world cup in 2018, France is the top favorite to win the EURO 2020 as well. According to data from Hypercube France has a 15,5% chance to win the EURO 2020. France probably has the most options for every position out of every country. It will be interesting to see if France is going to play in the traditional 4-3-3 or a more attacking 4-2-3-1.
We will start by looking at the defenders, next up we will analyze the midfielders and lastly, we will discuss which attackers are likely to start in which formation.
France has a very good defense with lots of competition between them. At the left-back position, you have Lucas Hernández and Lucas Digne both competing for the spot. Digne was featured in our blog about the top 10 left-backs in the world. Another player that was also featured in the blog was Theo Hernández, who surprisingly did not get a call from Deschamps.
At center back, we have Varane, Kimpembe, Lenglet, Zouma, and the young talent Koundé all competing for the two available spots at center back. Koundé has won the most defensive duels with 72.28%, Varane comes in second place winning 70.68% of his duels. Kimpembe has the worst defending stats out of all five defenders, however he did start together with Varane in the last two friendlies that France played. We hope Koundé gets the chance to make his debut during the tournament, as he has the best stats out of all defenders and played a fantastic season at Sevilla.
The midfield will be determined by how France is going to play, they can play with two defensive midfielders or with three central midfielders.
The best defensive midfielders for France are Kanté and Rabiot, both have the best stats by far compared to the other midfielders. Rabiot has 9.51 successful defensive actions per match and wins 66.12% of his defensive duels, while Kanté has 11.48 successful defensive actions per match and wins 65.31% of his defensive duels. Kanté also has the most interceptions with almost 6 interceptions per game.
The most attacking midfielder is Pogba with 3.57 attacking actions per match and 12.36 offensive duels. Pogba will most likely start alongside Kanté and Rabiot when France plays in a traditional 4-3-3. Tolisso will most likely be the backup solution and could see some second-half substitutions.
France has a lot of attackers at its disposal, which allows the team to play in different formations. In the last 3 matches, they played a different system every time. Against Wales in a 4-3-1-2, against Bosnia-Herzegovina in a 4-4-2, and against Kazakhstan in a 4-2-3-1. With Benzema returning to Les Blues after six years, Deschamps has another option at striker
We will take an in-depth look at the attacking force of the French. First, we will see who the best passers are and after that, we will take a look at the best dribblers.
Passes vs Percentage successful
We start by analyzing who the best passers are because this gives us some insight into how the different players can be used. The first thing we see in the scatter below is that Benzema and Griezman are the best passers they can use this to hold the ball and link up with the wingers in a combination.
The two main strikers in the team will be Benzema and Giroud, and we see that Giroud is a classic example of a target man with his low number of passes and accuracy. Giroud will be way less involved in the passing game of France compared to Benzema, which makes Benzema more versatile.
Dribbles vs Percentage successful
France also has some attackers that are really good at dribbling and creating chances on their own. In the scatterplot below we see that Dembélé and Mbappé unsurprisingly perform well in this aspect however, we also see Thuram performing well with a higher success rate compared to Dembélé and Mbappé. Deschamps could use him as a late sub when France is behind.
It will be interesting to see how France will line up against Germany in the first game. If Germany decides to play with three at the back, it will not be surprising to see France starting with Mbappé, Griezmanm, and Dembélé so they attack the back three of Germany with speed and mobility.
Against teams that play in a normal four at the back system, France can use Benzema as the main striker with Griezman in an attacking midfielder role right behind him. On the wings, France will have a lot of options with Lemar, Mbappé, Dembélé, and Coman who can all play on either side of the pitch.
We have now looked at three teams that are all contenders for this year's title. We looked at the main strengths of the different country's and their squad depth, after analyzing we predict France to have the highest chance to win the tournament. They have superstars at every position in the team and a lot of options on the bench if things get tough. We look forward to seeing how the tournament will play out and who will win it in the end. Do you agree with our pick? Or do you think another country is going to win, let us know what you think!