June 12, 2021


By Engerlund

This blog was supposed to be written following the England pre-match press conference, ahead of their opening game of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament. Whilst the pandemic has given us an extra year to contemplate just what is important in life, it was all brought into sharp focus when Cristian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch just before half-time, and ended up having CPR live on TV, with paramedics and doctors fighting an emergency battle for the players life.

In the circumstances, you can understand why England’s press meeting, which would have seen the usual platitudes dealt out (‘Croatia are a tough side to beat’, ‘we are looking forward to it’, ‘we are all working well as a team and are hungry’ etc, was cancelled in favour of a tweet saying that everyone’s thoughts were (and should be) with Eriksen and his family and team-mates. Life is more important than football.

But then, one of the things which brings joy to so many lives is football, so it is no wonder that so many are keen for normal service to resume – and the games and hyperbole to get going again as soon as possible. Which brings us neatly back around to discussing England’s chances at the Euros…

Whilst they have been drawn in what looks like a relatively simple group, their chances for the title hinge on one man – Harry Kane. If he is on goal scoring form, then he can help power the team to glory, but if he ends up having a few off days, England WILL struggle. International football tends to serve up a few more chances for strikers than a standard Premier League match, so Kane will be hoping he can top the goalscoring charts – and some boffins have calculated that it only takes 4 goals (on average) to win the Golden Boot.

After the World Cup in Russia 2018, Kane’s stock began to rise on the international scene, and he has been closely followed by the leading European managers, with many knowing that if they can find a way of disrupting and blocking Kane, they stand a reasonable chance of getting past England.

Whilst the Three Lions should be able to navigate a group that includes Czech Republic and Scotland, as well as Croatia, their championships will be shaped by how things fare in Group F. The group of death has France, Germany and Portugal fighting it out (arguably 3 of the 5 main favourites) and the winners and runners up will face the winners and runners up of England’s group – meaning England have just 3 games to get firing on all cylinders before they have to face a game that could be considered one of their finals.

All eyes will be on the Tottenham Hotspur talisman, who is also playing for his own future, having handed in a transfer request at Spurs. Some fans have likened this pitch to the ultimate spread bet, with Kane likely to get much more a week from any future club, the more goals he scores – score none and there will be less interest, but score 5 and win the Golden Bot and suddenly he’ll be flooded with offers (and money!) England holds it’s breath.