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UEFA Euro 2020 Power Rankings: France, Italy lead the way after first round of games

The first round of games at Euro 2020 is done and dusted, a set of 12 fixtures that brought plenty of quality from the five goal thriller between the Netherlands and Ukraine to comprehensive wins for Belgium and Italy. In our power rankings below we’ll be placing every team from most to least likely to win the tournament. Let’s get to it.

1. France (1-0-0)

Whilst others rocketed up these rankings by showing what their ceiling could be France get no.1 for proving how high their floor might be. Their 1-0 win over Germany was a game where their frontline never really clicked, but Kylian Mbappe played a part in two offside goals, where they did not press with any aggression but Hugo Lloris had few if any saves to make. In the end they have two world-class midfielders in Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, who kept up his form from the final weeks of the season with Chelsea, and a defense that can repel a lot of pressure. That makes them clear tournament favorites.

2. Italy (1-0-0)

The way in which Turkey were put to the sword augurs well for Roberto Mancini’s side. One might level the same critique of their defense as we did at Belgium but Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini know what it takes to win silverware. Meanwhile Italy’s best player, Marco Verratti, is still to return to a midfield that looks capable of dominating possession against any opponent.

3. Portugal (1-0-0)

What to make of this team? Is their ability to keep going until the dying minutes to be admired or should we be underwhelmed that their pursuit of an opener took 84 minutes and that it only came thanks to a sizable deflection from Willi Orban? The same questions might be asked of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was a passenger in most of the game but is now level with Romelu Lukaku at the top of the scoring chart. We will know more when they have played France and Germany.

4. England (1-0-0)

For the first time in their history England have won their opening game at a European Championships and they did so in excellent fashion, rapier speed on the counterattack coupled with a robust defense that limited Croatia to just 0.3xG, according to fbref. Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden all look ready for excellent tournaments.

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5. Belgium (1-0-0)

To what extent a woeful Russia side tested Belgium is at best debatable but there is surely no better way to begin a tournament than with a thundering win where your talismanic center forward gets his Golden Boot campaign off to a flier. However until someone seriously tests them there will be doubts over a defense that looks long in the tooth.

6. Spain (0-1-0)

Yes their goalless draw against Sweden was the most potent tonic for Euros fever ever created but more often than not if you have that much possession of the ball around an opponent’s penalty area mistakes will come and you will score. If any country that’s a winning formula it’s Spain, who conquered the world with it a decade ago. Some real cutting edge in the final third would not go amiss but they have a formula for success.

7. Netherlands (1-0-0)

Three points on the board is nothing to be sniffed at but it would be fair to say that many more repeat performances of their opener against Ukraine and the Dutch will not be winners of Euro 2020. Their defensive line looked chaotic although their attack did too in the right kind of way, especially the excellent Memphis Depay. If (big if) Frank de Boer can tighten up at one without sacrificing the spark at the other maybe our assessment could change.

8. Slovakia (1-0-0)

That backline of Martin Skrtel, Lubomir Satka and Martin Dubravka will not be easily beaten on the evidence of their opener against Poland, whose goal was the result of some excellent one touch play. With Marek Hamsik feeding Robert Mak on the counter this Slovakia team could upset a few more opponents in this competition.

9. Germany (0-0-1)

Yes, yes, this is very high for a team that actually lost their first game but all the other 23 teams in this ranking didn’t have to play France. The Germans certainly aren’t even guaranteed to get out of Group F but for large parts of this game they played as well as the best team in the tournament and were let down by hurried finishing and poor decision-making in the final third. It seems unlikely that that will be a trend where the likes of Serge Gnabry and Toni Kroos are concerned.

10. Czech Republic (1-0-0)

Schik may well already have the goal of the tournament sewn up whilst at the other end Tomas Vaclik played like a man who will have plenty of suitors when he leaves Sevilla for free at the end of the month. Their set piece strengths weren’t entirely apparent against Scotland but the Czechs look like they’ll have at least one knockout tie in which to show them off.

11. Switzerland (0-1-0)

Impressive performances from Haris Seferovic and in particular Breel Embolo suggest there is rather more attacking punch to this Swiss side than previous iterations even if they were kept to one goal due to a marginal offside decision that went against them. Wednesday’s game against Italy could see them establish themselves as the real dark horses in Group A.

12. Austria (1-0-0)

Beating North Macedonia 3-1 was a curiously underwhelming way in which to claim their first win at the European Championships, the victory further soured by Marko Arnautovic’s celebrations for the third goal. Still Marcel Sabitzer began the tournament in good form, no player can match the seven passes into the penalty area the RB Leipzig man registered.

13. Finland (1-0-0)

How much can be taken from their victory over a bereft Denmark is debatable but Joel Pohjanpalo’s goal puts the Finns in a brilliant position to reach the knockout stages. It was also their only shot and the way in which their hosts ground them into their penalty area suggests the Eagle Owls are going to have a tough time over the remainder of this tournament.

14. Croatia (0-0-1)

Defeat to England was both a reminder of how effective Plan A – dominate the ball through Luka Modric can be – and how it could not hurt to have some alternative options. For a quarter or so of the game Croatia played England off the Wembley pitch but when they got to the final third they perhaps lacked invention or muscle to force their way to good shooting positions.

15. Wales (0-1-0)

There was fighting spirit aplenty in Baku from Rob Page’s side but even the most rabid of Wales fans would have to admit they were second best against Switzerland. Aaron Ramsey looked like a player who needs time Euro 2020 doesn’t offer him whilst Gareth Bale was a shadow of his best self.

16. Ukraine (0-0-1)

They may have no points to their name but no one will be taking Andriy Shevchenko’s side for granted having come from two goals down against the Dutch only to be undone by Denzel Dumfries’ late header. In that period they played their opponents off the park in Amsterdam, hitting a level that would be a test for almost anyone in the competition.

17. Sweden (0-1-0)

Alexander Isak already looks like a potential breakout star for this tournament but that aside there was little to admire in the obdurate way the Swedes held out for a point away to Spain. However that point means that one win against Slovakia or Poland will make it almost certain that Sweden will be in the knockout rounds, where one can only hope they do not reprise their game plan, or lack thereof, from Monday night.

18. Scotland (0-0-1)

Losing at Hampden Park was a deflating way to end a 23 year absence from major tournaments but the underlying numbers from their 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic were reasonably encouraging. They won the expected goals (xG) battle 1.7 to 0.9 although naturally a fair chunk of that came after Patrik Schick’s stunning second. Still Scotland proved themselves capable of creating chances throughout the game, next time Lyndon Dykes might just finish them.

19. Poland (0-0-1)

Had they not lost Grzegorz Krychowiak to a sending off Poland might be sitting far higher in these rankings but their defeat to Slovakia is a real headache for Paulo Sousa’s side, particularly with Spain up next in Seville. Their struggles supplying Robert Lewandowski at tournaments continued, he shot a lot but not from good positions whilst per fbref only 63 percent of the 46 passes aimed at the Bayern Munich striker found their man.

20. Turkey (0-0-1)

There is still reason to believe in Senol Gunes’ side, who might just have been unlucky to face one of the best teams in the tournament first up. They still have the excellent young players and a core from the French champions but the exhaustion that quickly enveloped Turkey in Rome is cause for concern.

21. Denmark (0-0-1)

Footballing matters almost feel redundant after the events in Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener and the footballing loss of Christian Eriksen to Kasper Hjulmand’s side is of no concern at all set against the knowledge that he is recovering. How his teammates will react on the pitch to losing their talisman remains to be seen, certainly the cruel circumstances in which they played out their defeat to Finland offered little insight into the quality of this team.

22. Hungary (0-0-1)

Obdurate defense that cannot quite hold on for the full 90 minutes threatens to be the story of Hungary’s involvement in Euro 2020. It might have been different if Szabolcs Schon’s run had been timed slightly better but in the end a 3-0 defeat to Portugal was more reflective of the game than a draw would have been. Without Dominik Szobszlai there is not enough guile in the Hungary side.

23. Russia (0-0-1)

A woeful start to the tournament, Russia were utterly overwhelmed by Belgium. All that is keeping them off the bottom spot is the simple fact that with another home game to come against Finland they have a strong opportunity to turn things around. Their performance in the opener would suggest that was beyond them.

24. North Macedonia (0-0-1)

For North Macedonia the triumph was always in making it this far rather than competing for the knockout stages. Still they proved in their opening game that they are not to be taken lightly and there were certainly moments around Goran Pandev’s goal when they looked like giving Austria a headache. However tougher tests may just lay ahead for these tournament debutants.