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 like Belgium or England that is going to surprise us all during the tournament.
This will be the first 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. We will start by looking at how the Spanish squad is looking and what challenges they face.
Not that long ago Spain was the most dominant team in Europe and the world, winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 and the World Cup in 2010. According to data from Hypercube Spain has a 10,3% chance to win the EURO 2020.
We will start by looking at Spain's current defense and who are likely to play, after that we will have a more in-depth analysis of the midfield and we close it off by looking at the attack.
Spain currently has the best left-back in the world with Jordi Alba, we discussed this in our blog about the top 10 best left-backs in the world. One of the obvious absentees is of course Ramos, this is the first time since 2004 the Real Madrid defender has not been called up for the Spanish squad. It looks like Eric García will be one of the central defenders for Spain, as he played the last 5 matches. If we look at the stats of the five central defenders that Spain brought to the tournament, we see that Llorente and Azpilicueta have the best stats. Azpilicueta has not played a match for Spain since 2018, so it will be interesting to see if Luis Enrique will give him some playing time after he won the Champions League with Chelsea. Today the news came out that Llorente is the second player within the squad that has tested positive, which rules him out for the start of the tournament.
Yesterday, the news came out that Busquets tested positive for Covid-19, he will have to isolate at home for at least 10 days which rules him out for at least the start of the tournament.
Spain's main strength during the Euros will be its midfield, they have six or seven players who can all play on the midfield, but there are only 3 spots available. This is why we will take a more in-depth look at Spain's midfield. We will start by looking at through passes
Trough passes vs Percentage Successful
A through ball is a pass sent between 2 defenders, or through a gap in the defense, into open space behind the defenders and also out of reach for the goalkeeper. When executed properly, the ball will be in the path of your teammate who is already up to speed, thus creating a dangerous chance for the team when he is through on goal.
In the scatterplot above we see that almost all central and attacking midfielders from Spain score pretty good when it comes to through passes. Adama Traoré doesn't score well because he is the most attacking player out of all of them and usually receives a through pass instead of sending one. It is noticeable that Marcos Llorente scores the lowest in the scatterplot, he is predicted to start at right-back for the Spanish side. This means that we will not expect any through passes from the right side of Spain.
Passes to the box vs Percentage Successful
These are passes into the penalty area and are considered successful when the next player to touch the ball is a teammate. Succesful passes into the box will almost always create a dangerous scoring opportunity for the attacking team.
In the scatterplot above we can see a clear distinction between the more attacking and defending players. The three players on the left are the most defensive-minded players and the players with a high number of passes or success rate are the more attacking midfielders.
Now that Busquests has been ruled out for the start of the tournament it is almost certain that Rodri will start. It will be interesting to see who is going to play alongside him. Thiago and Ruiz are both more attacking players and Koke is a more box-to-box player. Another player that we will have to watch closely is the young Barcelona talent Pedri. At Barcelona, Pedri plays as a left midfielder or left-winger. this will be his first big tournament for Spain, so it will be interesting to see how he will perform.
Spain's attacking force is arguably the weakest part of the team, one of the players to watch out for is the young talent, Ferran Torres. The Manchester City forward has had a decent season, scoring 4 goals in 6 champions league appearances. He will most likely start on the wing if they play in the classic 4-3-3. His strength is that he can play as a right and left winger or wide midfielder if Spain plays 4-1-4-1. Álvaro Morata will be Spain's main striker during the tournament.
There are now two players within the Spain squad that have tested positive for Covid-19, there are now big concerns within the squad that more players will test positive in the coming days. Luis Enrique has now called up an additional 11 players that will train alongside the main squad in their own bubble. It will be very interesting to see how Covid-19 will further impact the team and how they will perform. Spain's first match is next Tuesday against Sweden, where two players also tested positive for Covid-19. We still predict Spain to get through to the final 16, but after that, it might get tough for them if the squad has to undergo a lot of changes.
Do you agree with this? Let us know what you think!