Euro 2020 tips: Top scorer? Winners? Finalists? Thommo, Ince, Paddy & Petit have the answers

Paddy's premium panel discuss everything Euro 2020.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

It might be a year late, but Euro 2020 is finally upon us – yeah, it’s 2021, but UEFA want to pretend the last year hasn’t happened and, frankly, who could blame them? With the big kick-off imminent, Paddy’s rummaged through his little black book to assemble a premium panel to ponder the possibilities ahead of this Europe-spanning celebration of the beautiful game.

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Our football ambassador Phil Thompson, “The Guv’nor” Paul Ince and Arsenal and France great Emmanuel Petit have locked horns to deliver their verdicts. And, because his name’s above the door, Paddy’s thrown his oar in as well. He might not have the medals and accolades, but that’s not going to stop him giving an opinion or four.

The lads were pressed for answers to the burning questions every punter wants to know – who’s making the final? And who’s winning the whole thing? Who needs a space on the mantelpiece for a Golden Boot? And who’ll be the star of the show?

And as long as it’s not VAR we’ll all be happy.

There’s plenty of contenders for each with England having a real hope of success with their talented young squad, just don’t mention penalties and a potential meeting with Germany in the second round. France are still basking in the glory of their 2018 World Cup win while Belgium are, somehow, the No.1 ranked team in the world. Can the tactical genius in brown brogues, Roberto Martinez, go better than a third-placed finish in Russia?

The countdown is on ahead of Turkey and Italy raising the curtain on the footballing fiesta on June 11th. So, sit back, relax and take on board these top tips from our selection of sage soccer brains – and Paddy… We’ll start with an easy one.

Which two teams are definitely going to the final?

THOMMO: France and Belgium

If you look at the groups and things work out as expected for them there, I’d expect to see Belgium playing France in the final, with England beaten semi-finalists again, sadly.

INCE: France and Belgium

I have to agree with Thommo – if I’m totally honest I think they’re the two best teams in the tournament. Belgium should definitely get to the final, and they’ll play the French.

PETIT: England and France

I hope that the final is France v England. I would love to see it with both teams full of exciting attacking players. Plus, we’re tired of playing against Germany, Spain and Croatia all of the time, we’d like a different challenge.

PADDY: Belgium and Netherlands

I have to go with something different, just to be awkward. Both Belgium and the Netherlands have benefitted from a decent draw so, barring accidents, they should get fairly deep in the knockout stages at least and anything can happen once you’re there.

And then who’s you’re pick to win it?

THOMMO: Belgium

Their time is nigh – it’s got to be the Belgians for me. They’re a bit like with France; the bigger the game the better they play. They’ve got plenty of goal scorers, lots of depth, a strong defence and have been knocking on the door at the last few tournaments. They’ll finally do it this time.

INCE: France

I’d expect England to get to the semis but I think France will win it. They’ve got the best squad in the tournament and have won a major tournament before, so they know what to do.

PETIT: France

Where is the English pride? But Paul is right, obviously – it will be France! What else do I need to say?

PADDY: Netherlands

Ah, there’s too much of a French love-in here – I know they never win anything, but the Netherlands are in Group C, which is rubbish, so they should win that handy enough without needing to hit peak performance and hopefully they’ll build towards a successful knockout stage.

So, who’s going to nab the most goals then?

THOMMO: Romelu Lukaku

I look at Belgium’s group and they have Denmark, Finland and Russia. I expect Romelu Lukaku to score a few goals at that stage anyway, and if they get to the final you have to expect Lukaku to end up with a few more at least. That should make him top goal scorer.

INCE: Kylian Mbappe

I think Kylian Mbappe will be the top goal scorer. He’s just class in everything he does and if France do win it, he’ll have to be among the goals.

PETIT: Harry Kane

Phil and Paul have not gone for England’s best goal threat, so I will. Harry Kane will be top scorer for me because his record is very impressive in big tournaments and, even as an Arsenal man, I have to admit he is great striker.

PADDY: Memphis Depay

I’m doubling down on The Netherlands with Memphis Depay. If he doesn’t fire on all cylinders, they probably won’t be winning much, so I may as well go all in on him and hope that he gets a few in the bag in the easier group games.

romelu-lukaku

Who will be player of the tournament?

THOMMO: Kylian Mbappe or Phil Foden

I know I’m picking the obvious one, but I love watching Kylian Mbappe. You see the way he moves, he’s so quick off the mark, he’s one of the great talents in the world right now. I want France to go far in this just to see him play. And I hope Gareth Southgate has faith in Phil Foden too. He’s got goals in him and that creativity we’ve lacked since Paul Gascoigne. I think he’s got to play, no matter how Southgate shoehorns him in

INCE: Phil Foden

I hope Robert Lewandowski is on form for Poland because he’s one of the great strikers of all time and I want to see him in action, and there’s always going to be some player who bursts on the scene at a tournament like this, but I’d agree with Thommo, Phil Foden is the one that excites me. He’s still such a young age and can only get better. People use the word “great” too easily, but I think he is going to be a great player and he’ll show it at the Euros this summer.

PETIT: Ousmane Dembele

I’ll go for a French player, but perhaps not the one you’ll expect. Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona has had so many injuries in recent years and has yet to make a big impact with the French team. This competition is a huge opportunity for him, and the way he has been playing in the last few months in La Liga, I still think he can be a big player for France. Everyone expects Griezmann and Mbappe to do well, but Dembele is the one to watch for me.

So there we have it, Thommo’s all over the Red Devils – of Belgium, not Manchester – while Incey’s been won over by the reigning world champions, and Manu is typically bullish about France’s prospects too.

Meanwhile Paddy is going out on a limb on the unpredictable but sometimes brilliant Netherlands.

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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