So as of this week Euro 2020 became Euro 2021. Another casualty of the global Coronavirus epidemic. But what does delaying this high profile event mean for some of the superstars of world football? Who are the winners and losers? We’ve done the graft, to save you the effort...
Cristiano Ronaldo - Loser
We realise the above are not words that normally go together, CR7 is the epitome of winner. One of the greatest footballers on the planet also appears to have defied the physics of Father Time so far but logic dictates he would have rather defended his European crown a year earlier rather than later. Ronnie will now be 36 by the time this tournament comes around and surely past his (ridiculously long) peak, but then again, people said the same four years ago. Other, more human-like players such as Luka Modric, will also be reaching the end of their careers. At least Ronaldo gets to keep hold of that trophy for another twelve months, hey.
Harry Kane and England - Winner
Racing to be fit for Euro 2020 was the only thing on the England captain’s mind as he attempted to comeback from a hamstring injury, but now, he can relax, focus on his recovery and be fighting fit for the Three Lions when the tournament does come around. With Marcus Rashford also out injured and Raheem Sterling not quite firing on all cylinders, Gareth Southgate could have a much better prepared attacking unit in twelve months time. Go on ‘Arry.
Women’s Football - Loser
Women’s football took a real step forward during the 2019 World Cup with record attendances, record viewing figures and a general excitement about the sport looking ahead to Euro 2021. However that tournament is now under stress with the men’s Euros set to be staged at the same time, or if the women’s Euros is postponed a year it will clash with the men’s World Cup.
Having a summer of their own to gain full media attention is a big bonus for the sport, and that has now almost certainly been lost. Phil Neville’s position as manager is now as insecure as ever as his current contract now does not cover the Euros while the Olympics may also be moved, leaving little football for him to prove himself.
Domestic Football - Winner
Clearly the 2019/2020 football season needed to be finished. There is too much money and pride at stake for the season for it to be voided 75% of the way through and with teams like Leeds on the brink of a return to the Premier League, it would cause chaos and damage the integrity of the sport if the season was unable to finish. With Euro 2020 having been postponed, that allows extra time for the games to be played and the season to be completed, even if it has to be behind closed doors.
Belgium - Losers
Belgium’s golden generation seems to have passed them by, boy do we know how that feels! This tournament and the following World Cup will be a last chance saloon for the tiny nation, as their star players begin to move away from their peaks.
Eden Hazard will be 30 before the tournament, while Kevin De Bruyne will turn 30 during the tournament. Defensive duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are both already the wrong side of 30, while midfielder Axel Witsel will be 32 when 2021 comes around. The World Cup in 2018 could well have been their last chance for this once in a lifetime group of players to win something.
Europe’s Young Stars - Winners
The alternate angle to the likes of Ronaldo and Modric ageing by another year is the fact that young stars across Europe will have another year of experience under their belts. The main man in European football at the moment is Erling Braut Haaland, and if he can inspire his side to a play-off win over Serbia in the play-offs then we could see an exciting Norweigian side. Martin Odegaard is finally living up to his potential while Kosovo’s Arber Zenelli will be given extra time to recover from his cruciate injury. Tasty.
Håland makes that look easy. It's not.
5️⃣ goals for Dortmund and he hasn't even played 90 minutes of football for them yet! 👏👏👏