The qualifying campaign for Euro 2024 begins this week in earnest and with the summer competition now just over a year away, thoughts are already turning to who will be crowned champions in Germany. But who are the favourites for glory and how are the odds shaping up? They are likely to change as qualifying gets underway so we’ve assessed the favourites to get ahead of the game.
The early favourites for Euro 2024 are the hosts, Germany. That is partly to do with the fact that they are the only major nation to have a guaranteed spot in the finals, but they are also likely to be difficult to beat on home soil. Since Hansi Flick got the job in 2021 they have improved since their shocking performance in Russia 2018, but they were again savagely dumped out in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup after losing to Japan and drawing with Spain.
It was an incredibly tough group, but they still fell short of expectations. Still, with the likes of Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz all emerging, they should have a handy squad to compete. However, it would be a surprise if they are outright favourites by the time the competition begins, given their lack of qualifiers.
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This seems like a good price for the best-performing European nation at the 2022 World Cup. They came within a couple of penalties of winning their second successive World Cup, and only a shock penalty shootout loss to Switzerland prevented them making real inroads at Euro 2020.
Still, Didier Deschamps boasts arguably the strongest squad in world football. It will be worth keeping an eye on new captain Kylian Mbappe, an appointment that has reportedly left Antoine Griezmann disgruntled, after Hugo Lloris’ retirement. France have been paired with the Netherlands in an intriguing qualifying group, but you’d back them to qualify with relative ease.
Is this the tournament England finally get over the line? They came so close at Euro 2020 although the majority of their fixtures were played on home soil. In Qatar, they were unfortunate to lose against France after that Harry Kane penalty miss. One thing is for sure, Gareth Southgate has transformed the national team from pretenders to contenders.
A qualifying group that contains Italy and Ukraine will certainly cause them problems, but if they can top it, it will give them new confidence heading into Euro 2024. Jude Bellingham has emerged into a key player, but the balance between international form and club game time will need to be sorted out if England are to succeed. The Three Lions are still lacking in elite centre-backs.
Another penalty shootout loss for a major nation at the 2022 World Cup. Spain got through that tricky group despite losing to Japan thanks to a 7-0 hammering of Costa Rica, but then came undone against Morocco. Luis Enrique lost his job as a result former u21 boss Luis de la Fuente has taken the main gig.
Too much passing and not enough penetration infuriated the fans under Enrique and it appears de la Fuente will adopt a more aggressive and direct style of play. Spain have a kind qualification group, with Scotland and Norway likely to provide the toughest tests, so it will be well worth keeping an eye on how dominant they are. With Pedri and Gavi both a year older, they could be a tough team to stop in Germany, should de la Fuente hit the ground running. A win in this summer’s Nations League finals could get his tenure off to the perfect start.
England’s first opponents on Thursday night are 9/1 to win back-to-back European Championships. Roberto Mancini’s men are the most difficult to place given their topsy-turvy form that has seen them miss the last two World Cups, but win the Euros that came in between.
They qualified for the Nations League finals this summer in a group that contained England, Germany and Hungary and are clearly a nation that is back to competing amongst Europe’s elite. Given the top two in each qualifying group make it into the finals tournament, you would expect both England and Italy to make it - but the order and result in those head-to-head games could see Italy’s odds shorten drastically. A good outside option to consider, although it feels as if this squad could be past its best.
Our outside tip for success at Euro 2024. Roberto Martinez has swapped Belgium for Portugal and even though his personal performance in Qatar contributed to a group stage exit, he has done enough on the international stage to be given another job. On paper, Portugal boast one of the strongest squads on the continent.
João Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Gonçalo Ramos, Rafa Leão, Ruben Dias, João Cancelo, João Palhinha and Bernardo Silva help make up a stacked squad. 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo is still knocking about and it feels like if Martinez is going to be a success, he must start to leave him out and make plans with this new crop of players.
It’s a tough call to make, but Portugal are not short of options and looked far better at the World Cup when he wasn’t on the pitch. Ramos dispatched a hat-trick against Switzerland in that 6-1 win to prove there was life after Ronaldo. Martinez can get to grips with and get the best out of his squad in this qualifying group. Come summer 2024, they could be firing on all cylinders and far shorter than the 10/1 on offer now.
*18+ | BeGambleAware