Euro 2020 news, England, starting line up, injuries, latest, start time, where to watch Australia, transfer news, gossip rumours

Euro 2020 news, England, starting line up, injuries, latest, start time, where to watch Australia, transfer news, gossip rumours

Traditionally, Australians and the English don’t get on particularly well when it comes to sport.

Picture Jonny Wilkinson in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, or Greg Norman and Nick Faldo battling it out in the 1990s, or any of the eight Rugby League World Cup finals the two nations have faced off in, or Stuart Broad in just about any situation with the Barmy Army behind him.

Australians, along with the likes of Argentina, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Germany and few others, are usually core members of the ABE Club (Anyone But England).

Yet, with the delayed European Championships kicking off this weekend, it’s harder to dislike England than ever before.

They are team of young, vibrant, intelligent men with fresh ideas and the confidence to stand up for what they believe in – and that’s before they even get onto the field.

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Euro 2020 news, England, starting line up, injuries, latest, start time, where to watch Australia, transfer news, gossip rumours
England will need to lean on their attack. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)Source: AFP

How can you not love Marcus Rashford for single-handedly taking on the British government over their refusal to provide free meals for children of families who couldn’t afford to feed them outside of school time?

He was the most charitable sportsperson in the UK last year, and fifth on the list was Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, another who has used his voice over issues such as foodbanks, the LBGT+ community and racism.

Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire are two of the others who have used the platform they have for the greater good.

Their head coach, Gareth Southgate, has given many a speech about society and those booing his players for taking the knee in the face of racism and social media hate.

In short, they’re a group of extremely likeable and grounded young men – and they could be about to end a 55 painful years of international heartbreak.

Since England last won an international tournament at the 1966 World Cup, they have been a constant disappointment, overpromising and underdelivering.

Even a team featuring David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Gary Neville and Ashley Cole could never make it past quarter-finals so why should this team?

Well, this team arguably has the most exciting attacking outfit in the whole competition and it really is a lottery as to who starts where.

Harry Kane, who scored 23 goals and added 14 assists in the Premier League last season is a certainty but Southgate is spoiled for choice around him.

Rashford has just had his best ever season for Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is set for a big-money move to join him while Jack Grealish is attracting high praise from the best manager and player in the Premier League in Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne.

The scary thing is all three of those players are likely to start on the bench with Premier League winner and Champions League finalists Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling on the two wings and Champions League winner Mason Mount starting in the No.10 position.

Then with x-factors like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored 25 goals in 48 games in all competitions last season, and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka there is plenty of attacking excellence to enjoy.

Grealish and Rashford likely won’t even start. (Photo by Lee Smith – Pool/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

After that, it gets a little less exciting however.

Despite having five of the best full backs in the Premier League – six if you include the injured Trent Alexander Arnold – the spine of the team looks a little weak. Harry Maguire is struggling for fitness and without him, John Stones doesn’t look as sturdy with Tyrone Mings next to him. It will probably push Southgate to go three at the back and sacrifice an attacker as a result. That’s how much of a blow the Manchester United captain’s recent injury could be.

England have a nice group. Croatia aren’t the same team that knocked them out of the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and while Scotland are capable of a massive upset because of the emotion involved for both countries, it looks unlikely.

Although winning the group is a bit of a poisoned chalice. Win, and they face the runner-up of the dreaded Group of Death – meaning either France, Germany or Portugal, or the current World Cup holders, the previous World Cup winners or the current Euros holders.

Finishing second would put them on the other side of the draw and while a more fanciable last-16 draw against probably Poland, the winner for that Group of Death will be waiting in the quarter-finals.

There is an argument that it is more difficult to win the Euros than to win the World Cup because you can’t avoid good teams at any stage of the tournament, meaning there are always a couple of big names that are cut far earlier than they should be.

That’s why the pressure and expectation isn’t perhaps as high as they usually are, and exactly why they could perhaps finally end the now 55 years of pain.

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