EURO 2020: Young Stars, Home Comforts Boost England Hopes

A squad bristling with young and exciting talent. Home advantage through the final. A strong recent tournament record.

England has much going in its favor heading into the European Championship, putting one of the world's underachieving soccer teams among the favorites.

Can the nation that invented the sport end a 55-year wait for a major title? England coach Gareth Southgate could hardly have a better chance.


Phil Foden. Mason Mount. Reece James. Jude Bellingham. Jadon Sancho. Mason Greenwood. The list goes on and on.

Southgate already had a solid platform on which to build after leading England to the World Cup semifinals in 2018, but the number of youngsters who have emerged since then, especially in the last 12 months, has been staggering and is the envy of many of England's rivals.

Bellingham is an assured, 17-year-old midfielder who has established himself as a regular at Borussia Dortmund, alongside the 21-year-old Sancho. Attacking midfielders Foden (20) and Mount (22) are already stars for the clubs — Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively — who played in the Champions League final on Saturday. James, a 21-year-old Chelsea right back, was one of the best players in that final and is likely to keep out Trent Alexander-Arnold. They could all be the sparks to drive England to the title.

Greenwood, a 19-year-old striker at Manchester United, is out because of an underlying injury but can expect to be involved in many major tournaments in his career.


England will play all of its group games at Wembley Stadium, while the team's last-16 match will be staged there if it finishes at the top of its group.

With the semifinals and final also being held at Wembley, there's the possibility that England would only have to play one game — in the quarterfinals — away from home.

England has won 18 of its 24 homes games under Southgate since he took charge late in 2016, losing twice. England also won its only major title, the World Cup in 1966, on home soil and reached the England-based European Championship semifinals in 1996, losing on penalties.

Southgate has also talked up the benefits of his squad being based at St. George's Park, England's plush national soccer center, around matches.


England's major flaw at the last World Cup was the midfield's inability to retain possession and manage games, highlighted in the way Croatia gradually overwhelmed the team in the semifinals.

Central midfield has been a work in progress — and remains the team's weakest link — but there are signs Southgate has found a formula. Declan Rice is now established as the holding midfielder and Mount as the creative force further upfield. They just so happen to be best friends.

The other place is likely to go to Jordan Henderson, Liverpool's Premier League and Champions League-winning captain, although he has had fitness issues.

That trio has a bit of everything — leadership, energy, drive — but there is a dip in quality among the backups, headed by Kalvin Phillips of Leeds and James Ward-Prowse of Southampton, which could bite England if injuries strike.


England might not have ended its long wait for a title but the team has been going deep in competitions under Southgate, giving players experience in pressure matches.

The run to the World Cup semifinals was England's best performance at a major tournament since 1996 and included the team's ending its so-called curse in penalty shootouts, against Colombia in the last 16.

England also reached the semifinals of the inaugural Nations League tournament in 2019, losing to the Netherlands in extra time.


England captain Harry Kane was the top scorer at the last World Cup, finished as the top scorer in this season's Premier League, and has added an extra edge to his game by showing off his ability to drop deeper and be the link-up man in attacks for England and Tottenham this season.

His goals come from all over — close range, outside the area, right foot, left foot — and he might be peerless as an all-round striker.

With 34 goals since his England debut in 2015, when he scored with his first touch, Kane looks certain to break Wayne Rooney's record national team total of 53 if he stays healthy.


TURIN, Italy — Coveted striker Dušan Vlahović was undergoing a medical at Juventus on Friday to complete what is expected to be one of the biggest moves of the transfer window.

Top Stories


ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Choir of NY held its first meeting of 2022 and shared best wishes for the New Year with their annual cutting of the traditional vasilopita at Dionysos Taverna in Astoria on January 24.


BRONX, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the traditional cutting of the vasilopita was held by the Northern Chios Society of Pelineon Agia Markella in the community hall of Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx on January 23.


ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.


Human Chain Formed to Help After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse

PITTSBURGH — A 50-year-old bridge spanning a ravine collapsed in Pittsburgh early Friday, requiring rescuers to rappel nearly 150 feet (46 meters) while others formed a human chain to reach occupants of a dangling bus.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.