FILE – In this Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020 file photo, Spain’s Ferran Torres celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Spain and Ukraine at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain. Exciting talents like Phil Foden, Joao Felix and Ferran Torres are among a host of young players set to play their first major international tournaments at Euro 2020. UEFA has expanded squads from 23 players to 26 and that could encourage coaches to take a chance on more up-and-comers. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)
- Spain is the heaviest group favorites in any of the groups at Euro 2020, with odds of-286 to win Group E
- Sweden and Poland look set to battle it out for second, with Slovakia clearly the fourth favorite here
- Read on for a betting preview, full odds and a predicated order of finish for the group
Hard as it is to believe, it’s been nine years since Spain last won a knockout match at a major tournament finals, with the country’s 4-0 victory over Italy in the Euro 2012 representing the most recent time the three-time European champion achieved the feat at either the European Championship or the World Cup.
But as a clear -1250 favorite to finish in the top two of Group E and advance to the round of 16 at Euro 2020, the 2010 World Cup winner will be hoping to put what it would consider a significant run of underachievement behind it. Sweden and Poland are favored to battle it out for second in the group in the Euro 2020 odds, with Slovakia the betting favorite to be bringing up the rear.
Euro 2020 Group E Odds
|Team||Odds to Win||Odds to Qualify|
Odds as of June 6th from DraftKings
Spain’s Real Dilemma
Favorites or not, Spain’s Euro 2020 campaign marks a changing of the guard in the Spanish squad. The omission of Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos means that for the first time ever, the country will appear at a tournament finals without a single Los Blancos player in the squad. It is also one of the youngest teams in the tournament.
Youngest teams at Euro 2020:
🇹🇷Turkey – average age 25.0
🏴England – 25.3
🏴Wales – 25.6
🇺🇦Ukraine – 26.4
🇪🇸Spain – 26.5
🇨🇭Switzerland – 27.0
🇵🇱Poland – 27.1
🇳🇱Netherlands – 27.2 pic.twitter.com/0SzRrZz34y
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) June 3, 2021
Taking the place of Ramos will be Manchester City center back Aymeric Laporte, who spent his entire youth international career playing for France, but recently switched over and has made one appearance for the Spain.
Also, looks like Spain have retired Ramos’ number 15 shirt – Pedri wearing 26 in a 23 man squad pic.twitter.com/w1jDdnlV9i
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) June 1, 2021
He will form a new-look partnership in the center of defense alongside Villarreal’s Pau Torres, and it is the strength of that understanding that will likely determine just how far Spain goes in the tournament.
Spain Against Sweden … Again
The two teams favored to occupy the first and second spots in Group E have been drawn together once again. The two teams emerged first and second from their qualifying group, and have also been drawn together in the same qualifying group for the 2022 World Cup.
Thiago and Rodri making football look effortless in Spain training 😍
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 4, 2021
Still, it’s a burgeoning rivalry that is unlikely to rattle Spain too much, particularly with the injury-enforced absence of Swedish talisman and self-professed superhuman Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Spain managed a 3-0 home win and grabbed a 1-1 draw in Stockholm during the qualifying campaign, and in 14 head-to-head contests, has only ever lost three times, most recently 15 years ago in a Euro 2008 qualifying match.
Sweden Pins Hopes On Youth
With Zlatan gone, Sweden is left to focus on a nucleus of young talent that seems to be making strides as a unit. This team made the quarter-finals at the 2018 World Cup after all – again without Zlatan – and lost just one game in the 10-match Euro qualifying campaign.
Just Zlatan Things!#Zlatan #Sweden #Football #ibrahimovic pic.twitter.com/8vWjJvDj47
— Sky247 (@officialsky247) June 6, 2021
However, up against sterner opposition in a daunting Nations League group that included both the reigning World Cup winner and runner-up, it lost five of its six games to finish bottom. But Sweden has started its 2022 World Cup campaign in good form, winning both of its games last week.
The Sweden international with the most single-season La Liga goals is no longer Zlatan Ibrahimovic 🇸🇪
It’s 21-year-old Alexander Isak, who scored 17 times this campaign for Real Sociedad 🔥
Learned from the best 👊 pic.twitter.com/23gMLHXKBv
— Goal (@goal) May 27, 2021
Forwards Dejan Kulusevski and Alexander Isak will offer hope, but with both just 21 years old, this tournament has likely come a little too soon in their development curves.
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Can Lewandowski Lift Poland?
There is likely no more dangerous striker on the planet right now than Bayern Munich hit man Robert Lewandowski, who just fired home 41 goals to break Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record for goals in a season. But will that be enough to help his country break through at Euro 2020?
Pure class from Robert Lewandowski 👌
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 4, 2021
After all, he went scoreless in three matches at the 2018 World Cup, where Poland scored just twice and finished bottom of its group. That can’t happen again if Poland is to make inroads here, with goals in short supply across the squad. Krzysztof Piątek, who plays for Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga, was the only Polish player other than Lewandowski to score more than one goal in Euro qualifying.
Six players scored 30+ goals across Europe’s top five divisions, Champions League and Europe league in 2020/21.
Only Robert Lewandowski hit 40+. 🤜 🤛 pic.twitter.com/L7khevYGLP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 31, 2021
The team’s head-to-head record against the other teams in Group E is anything but inspiring too. Poland has lost all three matches played against Sweden, and has lost eight of 10 games against Spain, winning just once. However, it has three wins from five contests against Slovakia.
Can Slovakia Replicate 2016 Showing?
Slovakia comes into Euro 2020 as a heavy underdog, but it was no different five years ago, when it showed up in France for Euro 2016, and promptly beat Russia and drew with England to advance to the last 16, where it bowed out against Germany.
Marek Hamsik 🗝️pic.twitter.com/0kLsuSHYw6
— Divane (@Divaneyiz) May 29, 2021
Much will be expected – once again – from Marek Hamsik, the country’s all-time leading scorer with 26 goals. The IFK Goteborg midfielder is extremely influential for his country, particularly as Slovakia plays without a recognized No. 9. The midfield is the team’s strength, and with the likes of Juraj Kucka and Ondrej Duda, will be relied upon to get the lion’s share of goals for this squad.
Predicted order of finish:
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.