Euro 2021 winner
Who wins the Euro 2021?
2021 European Championships
One of the many unfortunate by-products of the global coronavirus pandemic is the suspension of mass gatherings. But certain mass gathering stick out more than others, namely football.
The beautiful game's role as the great distractor has never been more relevant. Over the coming months, I'm sure we will all come to miss it in ways we could never have imagined. When it returns, we will be eternally grateful. When it returns, however, is anybody's guess.
Officials from various organisations have been rescheduling all of football's competitions. The Premier League and Football League's governing bodies have expressed their commitment to finishing the rest of the season but have yet to come to an agreement over when this could be possible. The Champions League and Europa League have talked about the possibility of organising a mini-tournament to decide the winner of their knockout competitions.
International football is not so straightforward. It has to accommodate the domestic season rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, this has meant that the 2020 European Championships are to be suspended until the summer of 2021. This news has come as a devastating blow to fans, players and coaches alike, all of whom were deep into their final preparations for the tournament with less than a quarter of a year to go until the main event.
It is unavoidable, of course, but that doesn't make it any less agonising. Teams will not only have been preparing themselves physically but mentally too. Now they face the prospect of having to keep themselves in the same frame of mind for well over a year, and that task will be made much more difficult because of the precarious state the world finds itself in at the current moment in time.
There will be some for who the delay is arguably beneficial, however. Teams who would have been entering the tournament on the back of poor form now have 15 months to turn it around rather than a mere three. There will also be hundreds of young players who would not quite have been ready for 202 but, as they will be further down the line in terms of their development by 2021, stand a much stronger chance of breaking into the first team for their inaugural international competition.
Phil Foden of Manchester City springs to mind. His performances in 2019-20 have been superb but not quite enough to see him get into the England squad ahead of the likes of Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount or Ross Barkley. But now, with a long time to go until the next European Championships, his outside chance of being named on Gareth Southgate's team sheet will have turned into a much safer bet.