Euro 2021

Euro 2021: How Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain's line-ups could change

An additional year will change their starting XIs for these tournament favourites, but by how much?

9:00am on Wednesday 2nd September 2020
By
Robin Bairner

The decision to postpone Euro 2020 for a year is set to have a profound effect on the leading candidates to lift the trophy.

In our first piece we looked at how England, Belgium, France and Germany could see their line-ups evolve. Here, we will look at the other leading candidates.

Italy

It’s been eight years since Italy last made a significant splash on the international scene with their run to the final of Euro 2012, where they were ultimately undone by Spain.

There is hope, however, an up-and-coming generation may be able to bring back some positive impetus to the national team. That is most evident in midfield, where there is much excitement about several rising stars, led foremost by Sandro Tonali but followed closely by Gaetano Castrovilli and Lorenzo Pellegrini. Tonali is the likeliest to make an impression before next summer.

In attack, Nicolo Zaniolo, who would have missed Euro 2020 due to serious injury, could well play should his recovery continue to go smoothly.

19 yrs - DM, M (C) - Brescia
74
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2041
Played matches
23
1
5
Shots P90
0.84
Shots On target P90
0.22
Successful passing %
74%
Final third passes P90
13.89

The Azzurri, meanwhile, have long been noted for their defensive attributes but the centre-back combination of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgi Chiellini is long in the tooth. At 37 next summer, Chiellini will be hard pushed to retain his spot, with Francesco Acerbi and Alessio Romagnoli likely to have usurped him by that point.

Without strong options at full-back, meanwhile, Roberto Mancini will hope there is a breakthrough talent in that area, with Juventus’ Luca Pellegrini, who spent time on loan at Cagliari, perhaps the player with the best prospect of featuring.

Possible starting XI:

Italy - Football tactics and formations

Netherlands

Buoyed by the exploits of the young Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19, the Netherlands have rediscovered their swagger after a brief spell in the international wilderness that saw them miss out on World Cup 2018 qualification.

They reached the final of the UEFA Nations League and have built a promising young squad that will need little alteration before next summer, should everything pass smoothly.

Memphis Depay’s return to fitness is likely to be their biggest boost. The Lyon man had been working ferociously in a bid to get fit for this summer but that would surely have come too soon for him and now he looks to be back to his best.

26 yrs - S, AM (C) - Lyon
94
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1022
Played matches
13
9
2
Shots P90
4.23
Shots On target P90
1.85
Successful passing %
78%
Final third passes P90
17.98

Equally, Steven Bergwijn and Jetro Willems will return to boost the team, though the latter has suffered three serious injuries in the last six years and other options will be assessed.

The main problem at the moment is the dugout; Ronald Koeman's departure for Barcelona leaves a gap and it remains unclear at the time of writing who the replacement will be.

Possible starting XI:

Netherlands - Football tactics and formations

Portugal

Defending champions Portugal have a squad that is ageing in certain areas, but while no-one doubts that Cristiano Ronaldo will still be an elite player in 12 months, that is unlikely to be the case for Jose Fonte and Pepe in defence.

As such, head coach Fernando Santos, whose sides thrive on grim defensive solidarity, will look to promote Ruben Semedo alongside Ruben Dias in defence.

25 yrs - D (C) - Olympiakos
69
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1055
Played matches
12
AVG Rating
6.4
Tackles Won P90
1.04
Aerials P90
2.33
Interceptions P90
0.65
Successful passing %
84%
Clearances P90
1.94

Renato Sanches’ resurgence in Lille should bring him into contention to play in midfield, but the former Bayern Munich man will not feature ahead of the established players. Joao Felix may have had a difficult first season at Atletico Madrid, but his presence in the starting XI is not to be doubted.

Possible starting XI:

Portugal - Football tactics and formations

Spain

European champions in two of the last three editions, Spain have fallen off their pedestal as one of the very best international sides, though there is no doubt they remain a force to be reckoned with.

Before next summer it would be surprising to see an overhaul of their starting XI. Jose Gaya could feature ahead of Jordi Alba at left-back, while in midfield veteran Sergio Busquets will be flanked with the more energetic Saul and Fabian Ruiz.

24 yrs - D (L) - Valencia
76
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1678
Played matches
20
SUCCESSFUL PASSING %
79%
Touches P90
59.91
Tackles P90
2.36
Aerials P90
2.74
Successful passing %
79%
Duels won P90
6.17

Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal are two players who will hope to breakthrough further forward, though the former has hit a more difficult period after a bright start at RB Leipzig, while the return of Marco Asensio from injury should mean that he features on the left.

Possible starting XI:

Spain - Football tactics and formations

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