After reminiscing of the successful Greek side of 2004, it had me thinking.. would we ever see such an upset again?
During Euro 2004, I was an 8 year old boy in Portugal at the time of the championship. The Portuguese thought they had it won on their own turf. The parties had already begun before the Final had even kicked off.
But the Greeks had heart. Spirit. Determination. I’ll always remember the complete silence when Angelos Charisteas shocked the continent when he put Greece 1-0 up. The goal was enough to win the game, and the trophy was heading back to Athens.
Since 2004, shocks have been few and far between. But with the way the last two years have gone, would an upset this summer really be off the cards?
Let’s have a look at the 5 nations who could cause an upset and go all the way.
A nation steeped with footballing history, Hungary are steadily transforming back into a solid international side.
In the early 1900’s, Hungary were in fact one of the best sides in international football. Ferenec Puskas is widely regarded as one of the best footballers ever, and is still to this day, Hungary’s top goalscorer.
Since then, Hungary haven’t been a serious force at all, but a refreshed side mixed with youth and experience will be heading into the Euro’s with no fear.
Hungary have been handed a tough task however, being put in the ‘group of death’ alongside Portugal, France and Germany. But if they manage to qualify from that group, the sky is the limit.
Dominik Szoboszlai is one of the hottest prospects in Europe, and will hopefully be back fit and ready for the summer. Captain Adam Szalai will be leading the line with veteran goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi between the sticks. All 3 players will be vital if the Hungarians are to progress, but a bold showing really wouldn’t surprise me.
Denmark are a team who have slightly slipped under the radar in the build up to the tournament, however a bold 4-0 demolition of Austria in their final prep game for the Euro’s really showed how good the Danish are.
Ex Spurs legend Christian Eriksen is probably still the standout player, but the Danish side is full of stars.
2021 FA Cup winner Kasper Schmeichel is the Denmark number 1, with fellow Prem stars Andreas Christensen, Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Jannik Vestergaard also critical for the team.
Once again though, many top youngsters are flourishing in this Danish team. Andreas Skov Olsen and Jonas Older Wind are just a couple to name.
Another intriguing side with the perfect balance of youth and experience, Denmark are also in a tough group, alongside Finland, Russia and Belgium. I do however, expect them to qualify through the group stages, and who knows what might happen in the knockouts.
Now, Italy might not be quite as much an underdog as the other two in this article, however they’ve had a pretty rough last 10 years or so.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Italian supporters were at an all time low, but this new generation of players have the fans expectations raised.
Unlike many Italian sides of the past, this team doesn’t have many icons, but does have a lot of hardworking, gritty youngsters.
A midfield trio of Pellegrini, Locatelli and Pessina are all 25 and under, as are the centre half pairing of Mancini and Bastoni. We all know what an exceptional goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is, and add in the potent goalscorer Ciro Immobile, Italy suddenly have a serious hand going into the summer.
With a group consisting of Turkey, Switzerland and Wales, I fully expect the Italians to breeze through their group stage, and it really wouldn’t shock me seeing them end up in the semi final’s, or even the final.