Saturday, November 28, 2020

Why fans should be excited about the UEFA Euro 2021 play-offs

Harry Kettle in Editorial, European Championships 12 Nov 2020

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Tonight is the night that will complete the official line-up for UEFA Euro 2021. While 20 nations have already been able to book their place in next summer’s international showpiece event, there are eight national teams out there who are attempting to make history of their own: Hungary, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Serbia, Scotland, Georgia and North Macedonia.

Right now the betting favourites to win the Euros next year are England with odds of 11/2 via 888sport. Alas, these four games are about a whole lot more than winning the tournament – because simply qualifying is a huge statement of intent.

Can Iceland do it again?

Hungary vs. Iceland

Despite having far more recent success than their opponents when it comes to international tournaments, Iceland are viewed by many as being the underdogs heading into the game against Hungary tonight. Still, if there’s anything we’ve come to learn about them as a nation it’s that they refuse to give up without a fight, and their determination alongside their expensive could easily see them through to Euro 2021 – where the winner will face Germany, Portugal and France in the Group of Death.

Irish hunters

Northern Ireland vs. Slovakia

Path B could’ve seen an all-Irish affair between the North and the Republic to determine who went to the Euro finals, but instead, Slovakia had other plans. They beat the Republic of Ireland on penalties and against Northern Ireland tonight, they’ll have the chance to complete the double and qualify for their third major tournament in the last 10 years.

The Auld Enemy

Serbia vs. Scotland

From a quality standpoint you’d have to imagine that Serbia are coming into their game against Scotland with a whole load of confidence, but on the flip side, the Scots seem to be building some real momentum as they prepare for arguably their biggest game in more than two decades. If they can cause the upset, they will book a date with the Auld Enemy next summer as they would be placed into Group D with England.

Underdog delight

Georgia vs. North Macedonia

One major benefit of the UEFA Nations League is that it has given smaller nations a chance to fight it out with the big boys on the main stage – as we can see by this encounter between Georgia and North Macedonia. After they were able to see off the challenge of Belarus and Kosovo in their respective semi-finals, they’ll both be trying to qualify for the Euros for the first time as an independent footballing nation. North Macedonia have been there before as part of Yugoslavia and Georgia as part of the Soviet Union, but now is the time for them to make some history of their own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harry Kettle


Harry is a University of Worcester graduate who has been writing professionally for the last two years. He specialises in several sports such as MMA, pro wrestling and athletics, with football being his primary love. He continues to dream of a life in the Premier League as a Wolves fan.

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