The end of the 2023/24 season is one fo those summers when it feels like the football doesn’t stop. From EURO 2024, to the Copa America and the Olympic games, sports will be on show for the next couple of months and we at the FootballCastle cannot wait to dissect it all.

The 2024 European Championship will be held on German soil for the third time in history and the blockbuster action is scheduled to take place from 14 June to 14 July. This tournament will involve 24 teams competing for the European crown, with Georgia making their debut in the finals.

Germany and Scotland face off in Munich in the opening game of a competition that has all the makings of a fascinating spectacle.

Indeed, there are several storylines that are worth following over the next few weeks from the contenders, the dark horses, surprise package, fallen heavyweights as well as the Ballon d’Or race.  

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With that in mind, we are offering a preview of what to expect from the top contenders. Here are the favourites to win EURO 2024.


Their resurgence began after being embarrassed out of Euro 2016 by Iceland and the last eight years have seen the Three Lions build strong team ethos under Gareth Southgate. Despite national pride being restored in the team, there is now palpable tension given their consecutive near-misses at major tournaments.

England have not won a major competition in 58 years and there is immense pressure on Southgate in what should be his final tournament. Although they have arguably the best attacking players, there is something to be said about their lack of recent success while Southgate has to deal with the fitness issues of key players.

There is uncertainty over who the third starting midfielder will be (after Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham) and Harry Maguire is missing through injury as Luke Shaw, who has been out since February, is the only natural left-back in the squad.

England were unstoppable in the qualifying series but a run of only one win from their last five games has further dampened the mood among fans.

Southgate must unleash the attack as his best form of defence but his pragmatism might become a hindrance, yet he can call upon some absolute superstars in the forward areas. 

Jude Bellingham has just enjoyed a fantastic debut season at Real Madrid and he is set to be one of their biggest influences from attacking midfield given his performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Further forward, Harry Kane and Phil Foden would also be instrumental to their team’s chances and they must be at their best to carry a team perhaps lacking inspiration. 


France are always favourites at every major tournament and the case remains the same this term, despite their recent form reading only two wins from their last five games following a serene qualifying campaign.

There was a 2-0 friendly defeat to Germany in March as well as a goalless draw with Canada in their most recent warmup friendly. Nevertheless, Les Bleus were finalists in three of the last four major tournaments as they are experts at turning up on the big stage.

It will be interesting to observe Didier Deschamps’ best pairing at the heart of defence between Ibrahima Konate, Dayot Upamecano and William Saliba, which is a very good problem to have. 

Yet, all eyes will be on Kylian Mbappe who leads France to his first tournament as captain after finally completing a long-awaited move to Real Madrid.

Mbappe was amazing at the 2022 World Cup and his newfound sense of liberation at club level could inspire him in Germany. The 25-year-old scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions last season and he is in top form, ready to lead France to their first European Championship triumph in 24 years.


Die Mannschaft may be hosts, but their recent performances have been poor as they haven’t gone past the Round of 16 of a major tournament since Euro 2016, while crashing out in the group stages of the last two World Cups.

There have been failed attempts at a resurgence since, and the aftermath of their Qatar 2022 exit saw Hansi Flick sacked and replaced by Julian Naglesmann. Germany lost five of the nine friendlies they played in 2023 – against Poland, Colombia, Japan, Turkey and Austria – and the identity of their victors will cause a few worries. 

They also have to deal with the lack of a top striker but home advantage and a kind draw should see them avoid humiliation in the early rounds. Yet, there is optimism under Nagelsmann even though a host nation hasn’t won the Euros in 40 years.

The former Bayern Munich boss masterminded back-to-back wins over France and Netherlands in March and seems to have found a working system with a flat back four, the inspirational Toni Kroos in central midfield, and Kai Havertz as a central striker.

Kroos is retiring when he still has a lot to offer and, after returning to the international fold in March, he will be desperate to bow out on a high – much like he did in the Champions League final.

The 34-year-old brings poise and control to the base of midfield and his calming presence will be vital when the pressure inevitably cranks up for Germany.

Florian Wirtz is another wildcard in the hosts’ ranks as one of their brightest talents in recent years takes in his first major tournament.  

florian wirtz

Wirtz was named the 2023/24 Bundesliga Player of the Year after playing a key role in Bayer Leverkusen’s incredible title-winning campaign as he racked up 18 goals and 20 assists in all competitions. A likely linkup in the attacking areas with Jamal Musiala is definitely one to watch.

Germany have the individual talent and will be well supported throughout EURO 2024, it’s left to them to rise up and be counted. 


After finishing their qualifying campaign with a 100% record, Portugal hit 36 goals and conceded only two but they are still not regarded as clear favourites. This is a dangerous proposition for all their rivals while they also have perhaps the best draw alongside Georgia, Czech Republic and Turkey in Group F, and a favourable knockout path.

Cristiano Ronaldo is still waxing strong despite a tearful exit from the Qatar World Cup and, at 39 years old, he’s looking to win his second Euros. Goncalo Ramos or Diogo Jota are likely to start ahead of Ronaldo but the ageing forward will be surrounded by wonderful professionals including Rafael Leao, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Diogo Costa and many more.

The most prolific player in the history of international football is primed for the perfect Portugal send-off while the rest of his teammates are good enough to be contenders on their own. Should all go well, they could find themselves among the last four.

And who knows? They were worse off when they shocked France in the EURO 2016 final. 


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.


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