How the Bookies See it:
- Tournament Winner: Germany 3/1, Spain 3/1, Portugal 6/1, Italy 7/1 - Sky Bet
- Group A Winner: England 1, Sweden 13/5, Poland 4/1, Slovakia 6/1 - Paddy Power
- Group B Winner: Spain 1, Portugal 13/8, Serbia 11/2, Macedonia 12/1 - Betfred
- Group C Winner: Germany 1, Italy 2/1, Denmark 11/2, Czech Republic 6/1 - Ladbrokes
Group A - Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, England
There is a feeling of optimism about England’s future following the success of the Under-20 team at the recent World Cup in South Korea and Aidy Boothroyd has taken a talented squad to Poland, including Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and wingers Nathan Redmond and Demarai Gray. Sweden, champions in 2015, finished ahead of Spain in qualifying and have included a host of full internationals in their squad. Poland are the hosts but have traditionally struggled at Under-21 level, having not made a tournament since 1994. Slovakia were impressive in qualifying above the Netherlands but will have their work cut out in a difficult group.
Group B - Portugal, Spain, Serbia, Macedonia
Spain might have been pipped to top spot in their qualifying group by Sweden but there is a formidable look to their final squad, with Hector Bellerin and Gerard Deulofeu among the familiar faces to Premier League fans and Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez arguably the most exciting player in the tournament. Portugal’s Renato Sanches is another potential superstar of the future, who already has a senior European winner’s medal from 2016, and it will be hard for both a dynamic Serbia side and tournament outsiders Macedonia to challenge either of the Iberian nations.
Group C - Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy
Germany boasted a perfect record in qualifying with ten wins out of ten and seem to have a very balanced squad, including the likes of Serge Gnabry and Max Meyer. Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, a goalkeeper widely regarded as the long-term successor to Gianluigi Buffon, will be watched with interest by fans across the world, as will Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick, who was the top scorer in qualifying. Denmark only dropped a couple of points in qualifying but have an inexperienced group in terms of full internationals and will find it tough to advance to the semi-finals.
Germany have been installed as the favourites with bookmakers following a superb qualifying campaign and have a squad brimming with Bundesliga experience, although there is not the star quality of some of the other teams. In a tournament where finishing second in the group might not be good enough to progress to the semi-finals, Germany will also be wary about being in a group with the exciting Czechs and defensively disciplined Italy.
England and Sweden look strong in Group A but not at the same level as Spain, who should have the class to come through from Group B in first place. They may not have been scintillating in qualifying but if a mouth-watering midfield of Saul Niguez, Denis Suarez, Marco Asensio and Gerard Deulofeu can gel quickly, they could prove impossible to stop.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Spain to win - 3/1 at Bet365
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.