Euro 2020: Turkey, Croatia, Denmark and Poland are dark horses looking to spring


It’s clear the Euro 2020 favourites will be the usual suspects. World champions France will be backed by the bookmakers with England, Belgium and Germany all viewed as potential winners.

But the European Championship has a long tradition of teams upsetting the established order and even going all the way – Denmark in 1992 and Greece in 2004 won the tournament, while the unfancied Czech Republic reached the final in 1996.

So who will follow in their footsteps this time? We take a look at the nations who could spring a surprise on the favourites and get to the business end of the Euros.

Euro 2020 gets underway on Friday and there will be plenty of underdogs looking to surprise

Euro 2020 gets underway on Friday and there will be plenty of underdogs looking to surprise 

TURKEY

It’s fair to say Turkey blow hot and cold at tournaments. They reached the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup and also Euro 2008 but were also dire at Euro 2016 and failed to exit the group stage.

This time, they undoubtedly have dark horse potential. Not only is the coach who guided them to that 2002 success, Senol Gunes, back at the helm, but many of their players come into the tournament in great form.

Gunes has made clear his ambition to top Group A ahead of Italy, Wales and Switzerland, which would be an achievement.

Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz (left) celebrates one of his three goals against Holland in March

Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz (left) celebrates one of his three goals against Holland in March

But nobody will faze this Turkish side after some eye-catching results in recent times. They duffed Holland 4-2 in World Cup qualifying in March with the evergreen 35-year-old striker Burak Yilmaz scoring a hat-trick.

They also took four points off France in qualifying for this tournament and it was only dropped points against Iceland that prevented them pipping the world champions to top spot.

There are faces familiar to English-based fans, not least the Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu and Liverpool’s Ozan Kabak, who has overcome the injury that curtailed his Anfield loan.

Senol Gunes was the man who guided Turkey to the World Cup semi-finals back in 2002

Senol Gunes was the man who guided Turkey to the World Cup semi-finals back in 2002

The Juventus man mountain Merit Demiral will likely partner Soyuncu at the heart of defence and a bit more resilience is required after they leaked too many goals in the autumn internationals.

At least Demiral and Kabak will be there – had the tournament been staged when it was supposed to be 12 months ago, they’d both have been sidelined through injury.

Turkey actually have the youngest average age of any of the 24 nations – about 25 years – and even that’s skewed by the presence of Yilmaz.

The veteran is in sensational form after his 16 goals and five assists guided Lille to a stunning Ligue 1 title win.

Leicester's Caglar Soyuncu will be marshalling the Turkey defence during the tournament

Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu will be marshalling the Turkey defence during the tournament 

Turkey sides are usually entertaining to watch and this one won’t be any exception. Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan created more chances than anyone else in Serie A last season and is an accomplished set-piece taker.

Then there’s Yusuf Yazici, also of Lille, who scored 14 times from…



Read More:Euro 2020: Turkey, Croatia, Denmark and Poland are dark horses looking to spring