How Potential Super League Ban Could Affect Euro 2020 Contenders
With Euro 2020 just around the corner, the continent has been rocked by the emergence of the European Super League, which could shake the European game to its very core.
UEFA, the sport’s European governing body, has come out strongly against the plan of the 12 clubs behind the Super League to break away, going so far as to threaten banning players of ESL clubs from participating in the Euros and other international competitions.
With so many of Europe’s biggest stars concentrated within those 12 clubs, a potential ban of those players could completely turn Euro 2020 on its head. Top contenders such as England, France, and Belgium would suddenly see their star-studded squads decimated.
Granted, it remains to be seen whether UEFA will actually follow through on such a drastic and unprecedented move, especially with the much-awaited tournament just a few months away.
Nevertheless, it would be an interesting experiment to see exactly what Euro 2020 would look like without many of the biggest stars. So without further ado, SBOTOP takes a look at how five of the tournament’s top contenders would fare without their Super League players.
Some Euro 2020 odds have France in a three-way tie with Belgium and England as co-favourites to win the tournament, and others have them slightly behind. But if UEFA proceed with their ban of Super League players, there is an argument to be made that the French would claim the title as sole favourites.
For one, they would still have PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, who has shown in the Champions League this season that he is still among the very best players in the world.
But perhaps more importantly, France can also still field the most formidable defence in the entire tournament, with Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern) and Lucas Digne (Everton) playing behind keeper Steve Mandanda (Marseille) or Alphonse Areola (PSG).
Les Bleus’ deep stable of attackers will be limited by the ban, but with the likes of Marcus Thuram, Eduardo Camavinga, Jonathan Bamba, and Wissam Ben Yedder still available, they should have more than enough talent to produce some Euro 2020 highlights alongside Mbappe.
Perhaps no nation would be hardest hit by the potential ban than Belgium. The Red Devils have relied heavily on their spine of Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Romelu Lukaku, and they would struggle to be a title contender without all of them.
Dries Mertens and Jan Vertonghen are both too old to carry the team at this point, and Youri Thielemans, Thorgan Hazard, and Michy Batshuayi are unlikely to make up for the massive absence of De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Lukaku in attack.
England, which have six of the 12 clubs in the Super League, would also be one of the hardest-hit teams; they could have some 22 players unavailable, the most for one country.
But such is the Three Lions’ strength in depth that Gareth Southgate might still be able to cobble together a somewhat decent squad despite those absences.
England manager Gareth Southgate gestures towards his players in their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Poland
In attack, they can still rely on the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ollie Watkins, or Leeds’ Patrick Bamford to lead the line.
Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho will be one of the most talented players left in the tournament along with Mbappe, and 17-year-old BVB team-mate Jude Bellingham could also earn a call-up.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish can provide a ton of creativity with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips forming a capable midfield duo.
Granted, England’s already suspect defence will be even weaker without many of their full-back options as well as top centre-backs Harry Maguire and John Stones. But if they can get enough out of their forwards, they might not need to defend all that well to win.
Spain would also be seriously affected by the ban, especially with many of their core players playing for the 12 Super League clubs.
Their remaining squad without those players would be well short of top-class talent. The likes of Gerard Moreno and Mikel Oyarzabal will need to lead the attack in the absence of Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres, while Dani Olmo and Fabian Ruiz will pull the strings in midfield without Thiago and Koke.
But the defence without David de Gea, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets will be severely lacking in experience, which will be a major issue. With that squad, Spain would struggle to survive deep in the tournament.
Germany are always a threat to go deep in any tournament, and they would be a strong contender in this one even without a few of their stars.
Granted, goalkeeper will be a tricky position to fill with Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen out. Kevin Trapp will need to play almost by default.
But at least the defence won’t be missing anyone significant, with Matthias Ginter, Niklas Sule, and Emre Can, and the Leipzig pair of Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg always likely to play big parts.
The midfield will lose the influence of Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan, but the Bayern pair of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are more than good enough to step in.
Meanwhile, the absence of Chelsea’s Timo Werner and Kai Havertz could force Joachim Low to bring Thomas Muller back into the fold alongside the likes of Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and 18-year-old Jamal Musiala.
That squad is not nearly as strong as the Germany side that won the World Cup in 2014, but it might be good enough to come out on top in the Euros.
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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 22-Apr-2021 at 3:37 PM