Spain might be the favorite to win Group E, but La Roja have not fared well in an international competition since they were indisputably the best team in the world. No one could beat Spain from the late 2000s to the early 2010s. They won the 2008 European Championship, the 2010 World Cup, and the 2012 Euros, completing a treble that no other team has done. However, their performance in the last three major international competitions has been underwhelming. Spain failed to make it out of the Group Stage of the 2014 World Cup and only made it to the Round of 16 in the 2016 Euros and the 2018 World Cup.
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The big news for Spain ahead of EURO 2020 is Luis Enrique’s decision to leave Sergio Ramos off the roster for this competition. Ramos is the most capped player in Spain’s history with 180 appearances, but he is 35 years old, and his play has fallen off considerably over the last few years. Some thought that Ramos should get the nod due to his tenure and his captaincy, but instead Sergio Busquets will take the yellow armband.
There is no doubt that Spain is the most talented team in Group E. However, there are plenty of questions surrounding the favorites in this group. Alvaro Morata is going to be asked to be the primary weapon up top, but he has been hit or miss over the course of his career. Ferran Torres is too young to step into that role although he may be the primary forward in the future, and while Gerard and Adama Traore are solid players, they aren’t world class talents.
Busquets will be the leader as the only player selected with over 100 caps. He is a defensive midfielder that will steady the back line, but there isn’t a reliable playmaker in the midfield either. Thiago, Rodri, Koke, and Marcos Llorente all play for elite clubs, but they aren’t at the same level as the other top teams in EURO 2020.
The lynchpin of the back line is Jordi Alba. However, the most talented player is someone that has yet to play a game for La Roja. Aymeric Laporte played for France in his youth, but he never suited up for Les Bleus. That allowed him to declare for Spain, and FIFA signed off on the move last month. Laporte’s presence answers some of the questions in the back line.
There’s a ton of pressure on Robert Lewandowski to lead Poland to success. Lewandowski might be the best forward in the world, and he has netted 66 goals in 118 matches for the national team. However, opposing teams loaded up to stop him in the past, so other threats need to emerge.
Arkadiusz Milik might be ready to break through, and Piotr Zielinski is a playmaker in the midfield. There are concerns in defense, but Poland has two excellent goalkeepers in Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny.
Although there was mutual interest, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be part of Sweden’s EURO 2020 team. The country’s all-time leading goal scorer suffered a knee injury that will keep him out of this competition, depriving the Swedes of their best offensive weapon. We saw them outperform expectations at the 2018 World Cup though, and Marcus Berg, Sebastian Larsson, and Emil Forsberg can net some goals.
Most people will pick Spain to win this group, but Poland and Sweden stand a good chance of knocking off La Roja. It feels like the Poles are a better team than the Swedes, so they are a quality wager at +550 to win the group.
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