1 to the Euro

The start of Euro 2024 is just days away. While the teams are settling into the hotels where they will spend a few weeks, football fans are counting the minutes. Considering the catastrophe that will be unleashed from Friday onwards, this is the quietest time to talk about the teams, the standouts, the favourites and the placings. With GOLDENHAS editors’ preview of the tournament, we say “hallo” to both the Euro and the blazing summer of 2024 with the Copa America, the Olympics and the transfer season.

Is the host one of the favourites?

Author: Ebrar Topuz

Excitement is at its peak in the group where Germany, Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland will compete. Germany has a great advantage as the team participating in EURO 2024 from the host quota without qualifying. This advantage will undoubtedly continue with the great support they will receive throughout the tournament. All four teams in the group stand out with their ambitious squads and high performance expectations for the tournament.


With 4 FIFA World Cups, 3 European Championships and 1 Confederations Cup championship in its history, Germany is one of the teams with high expectations in Euro 2024. Germany, who last lifted the trophy in the 1996 championship, has been longing for the trophy for a long time. This prepares the audience in advance for the struggle they will show in the tournament. With an estimated market capitalisation of 851 million euros, the team has surpassed Switzerland, Scotland and Hungary. There are also 2 players from the team among the 11 players with a market value of 100 million euros or more. Florian Witz is on the list with 130 million euros, while Jamal Musiala has a market value of 120 million euros. Turkish-born Ilkay Gundogan will captain the team under the direction of Nagelsmann. Germany will have one of the largest and best-equipped midfield rotations of the tournament, with J. Musiala and Florian Witz with their high market values and Toni Kroos, who will return to the national team for Euro 2024 and will end his career afterwards. Kimmich, who currently plays for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, is also among the names with high expectations. Their biggest flaws are their absence in the last 3 tournaments and the poor quality of the centre-back rotation compared to the rest of the squad.


Hungary completed the preparatory matches they played under the coaching of Marco Rossi within the scope of Euro 2024 preparations undefeated. They are also in the role of a team that has been undefeated for 14 matches and is thought to show a successful performance with this process and sign surprising matches in the tournament. In the last tournament, despite being relegated to the group of death, they played well and drew against Germany and France. The team, captained by Ádám Szalai, will be led by Dominik Szoboszlai, who played for Liverpool in the qualifiers, and Barnabas Varga, who scored four goals in the qualifiers, while Milos Kerkez and Roland Sallai are among the key players. They want to forget their unlucky group from the last tournament and this time they want to qualify for the next round.


Scotland, who participated in the tournament by finishing second in the qualifying group before EURO 2024, had not advanced beyond the group stage in any tournament of the 1992, 1996 and 2020 European championships. The team, which will take part in the Euro for the fourth time, could not be very effective in qualifiers and friendly matches. Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay with 7 goals in the qualifiers and Aston Villa’s John McGinn with 3 goals are the key players of the team, followed by Andrew Robertson and Billy Gilmour. Captain Robertson has a very important role for the team under the management of Steve Clark. Robertson will captain a team that has few players with good crossing, technique and accuracy, so the players will need to be better organised on the pitch and be able to maintain this throughout the three matches.


Switzerland has shown remarkable performances in recent tournaments, especially at Euro 2020, when they surprised and eliminated the last World Champions France. The team seems to have a squad that will be short of goals with Shaqiri’s advancing age and a striker like Embolo injured for the season. In this squad, expectations will be high from good centre-backs like Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schär. Thus, Switzerland is seen as one of the teams that will challenge Germany in the group. Granit Xhaka, who will be the captain of the team, will meet Florian Wirtz, his teammate from Leverkusen, in different teams this time in the fight between Germany and Switzerland in Euro 2024. Xhaka is seen as the brains of the team and has a key role as a constant passing option, while experienced goalkeeper Yann Sommer, Manuel Akanji and Zeki Amdouini are also at the forefront. Switzerland, coached by Turkish-born Swiss Murat Yakın, is seen as a team with the advantage of a strong defence line and a strong goalkeeper, making it difficult to concede goals.

Mediterranean Air

Author: Utku Karayakali

When we look at Group B, even though the tournament will take place in Germany, we can say that this group has a Mediterranean atmosphere. The members of the group offer us a feast.


Our first member is Spain. Spain, which swept the major cups with its prime period between 2008-12, has been having more stable tournaments away from the old successes for a while. Especially in the last two World Cup tournaments, the Spaniards were eliminated on penalties in the last 16 rounds, and in Euro 2020, they lost the chance to win the trophy by succumbing to the defending champion Italy on penalties in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, the Spaniards, who are one of the important champion candidates of the tournament with their rejuvenated squad and talented generation, have important stars. Barcelona’s young star 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, City’s backbone Rodri, who lost his 74-match unbeaten streak with City’s FA Cup final, Joselu, one of the critical men who won Real Madrid the Champions League, especially with his performance in the semi-final, and of course Nico Williams from Athletic Bilbao, the flash team of the year. Obviously, it can be said that the Spaniards have a good chance both in the group and in the tournament.


Another team, the champion of the last tournament, is Italy. After suffering a blow in the World Cup qualifiers when they were surprisingly eliminated by North Macedonia, the Blues have changed their coach, but with the arrival of Spaletti, the champion coach of Napoli, instead of Mancini, they are progressing in a stable manner, just like Spain. Although they do not seem to be great favourites for this tournament due to their inability to protect the champion generation, they are still an important team to watch out for. Donnarumma, who is still in goal in 2020, Barella and Di Marco, two names from Serie A champions Inter who had career seasons, and Atalanta’s in-form striker Scamacca continue to spread fear.


The standout member of the group is Croatia, the modest team of every tournament. The Balkan team, which finished third in the last World Cup, may say goodbye to some of its big stars in this tournament. Starting with the 2018 World Cup, the fairy tale that began with the 2018 World Cup will probably be captain Luka Modric’s last major tournament in the national jersey. Old-timers like Perisic and Brozovic are likely to join the bandwagon, but they have a tremendous generation in the defence. With the tandem of Ajax’s Sutalo and City’s half-goal scorer, half-defender Gvardiol, they have a wall of flesh. In goal, Fenerbahçe’s net keeper Livakovic, who came to the fore in the 2022 World Cup with his superiority in penalties, should not be overlooked. They will be a fearful dream, especially for Spain. Although they are not seen as the leading champion candidate, we should not forget the possibility of making a surprise again.


If we look at the last team of the group, which is seen as the weakest link on paper, Albania seems to be a little bit burnt in this table of wolves. After qualifying for the tournament for the second time after 2016, they have fallen into a difficult group, but we know that the ball is round. Also, it should not be forgotten that they conceded only 4 goals in their qualifying group. Anything can happen at any moment in football. Rey Manaj, Sivasspor’s striker, is a tough squad of mostly Serie A players. The hard football they play together with Sylvinho and his formation is capable of challenging all the opponents in the group.

The Group B competitions, where we will enjoy Mediterranean breezes and quality football, will start on 14 June. It is necessary to follow this group, which may contain 3 semi-finalists and maybe a champion, carefully.

Is Football Coming Home?

Author: Öncü Özer

While the European Championship, which is considered as the 2nd most important tournament of world football at the national team level and even more difficult than winning the World Cup according to Mbappe and many others, is just days away from the start, we have analysed Group C, perhaps the most curious group of the tournament.


As in every tournament in recent years, the English have been shown as favourites by the media in this championship as well. With a market value of 1.52 billion Euros on paper, the Three Lions are the “most expensive national team”. Although they have not won any trophies in the tournaments they have participated in recent years, we certainly cannot say that we are watching a team that has failed. In 2022, in Qatar, they managed to comfortably qualify for the last 16 round with 2 wins and 1 draw in 3 matches in the group. The English, who passed the Senegal national team with 3 goals in the last 16 round, faced France, which was shown as the favourite of the tournament by everyone, in a round that could perhaps be seen very early. The French sent the English home early in a closely fought match. Perhaps the closest they had come to winning a trophy in recent years was the previous European Championship. The Three Lions, who took the tournament by storm, could not maintain their superiority at home in the final and lost the trophy to the Italians.Although they have longed for a trophy at the national A level since 1966, they have an incredible generation, especially Jude Belligham and Harry Kane. They are the biggest favourites for the cup and of course for Group C.


Even though we remember the Danish national team for the bad football they played in the 2022 World Cup, we should not forget the fairy tale they wrote but could not complete in the 2020 European Championship. The dynamites, who were shaken by Eriksen’s heart attack in the first match and defeated Russia in the last match despite losing the first 2 matches they played, won the last 16 ticket. In the last 16 round, they overcame the obstacles of Wales and then Czech Republic in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final, they were defeated by the British, with whom they would fight in the same group in this championship, and said goodbye to the tournament. Their biggest trump card in this tournament is Rasmus Hojlund, who was the leading scorer in the qualifiers. They also have big players like Christensen, Hojberg, Damsgaard and Andersen. It is a matter of great curiosity what kind of football the dynamites, who are the second team most likely to get out of the group behind the English, will show us.


Serbia, who have attracted attention in recent years with their attacking line of star players, have given their countrymen and football fans some very disappointing tournament performances, but unlike this very talented front line, it is obvious that the back line harbours many question marks. At the last World Cup, Serbia only managed 1 point in their 3 group matches and with this poor performance, they finished last in the group and were one of the teams that said goodbye very early. Unable to qualify for the 2020 European Championship, the Serbs will want to make their fans forget their poor tournament performances in recent years with a squad starring Dušan Vlahović, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Tadic.


The Falcons, who have one of the most modest squads not only in Group C but in the whole tournament, will be looking to surprise in this tournament. Having failed to qualify for the last two major tournaments, the Slovenians have qualified for a major tournament for the first time since 2010. Slovenians, who have only Jan Oblak as an elite level footballer in recent years, will come to this tournament with a new star candidate. That name is undoubtedly Benjamin Sesko, born in 2003. The Slovenian striker, who has scored 14 goals in 31 Bundesliga appearances, will try his best to put an end to his country’s poor national team record. They are clearly the weakest squad in the group, but their victory over Portugal in March and the fact that they finished the qualifiers on the same points as Denmark keeps the possibility of a surprise alive.

Secret Death Group?

Author: Dilara Yegin

Austria, the Netherlands, Poland and France are in the group and each team has its own balance, difficulties and talents. While one team is the favourite, another team can surprise us. Poland coming from the play-offs, Austria being the second best team of the qualifiers, France being the favourite and Netherlands having young talents make this group one of the secret death groups.


France, which participated in the European Championship for the 10th time, has 2 championships: 1984 and 2000. Although it has been 24 years since the last championship, they lost the championship by losing to Portugal in the final at home in 2016. They are the favourites of both the group and the tournament because they are ranked 2nd in the FIFA world rankings and they completed Group B undefeated in the qualifiers. In group B, France collected 22 points and achieved 7 wins and 1 draw. Their most notable win in the qualifiers was undoubtedly the 14-0 defeat of Gibraltar. In addition to the team’s general achievements, it is quite easy to comment on player-specific achievements. Mbappe, who can be among the best players in the world, scored 9 goals and 5 assists in 8 matches. In addition, his hat-trick in the World Cup is also admirable. From another point of view, the abundance of France’s centre-forwards Giroud, Thuram, Kolo Mani is also a great advantage for the team.


This year they will be participating in the European Championship for the 11th time and they have only won the championship in 1988. The fact that they finished 2nd in Group B, only 6 points behind 1st place France and both of their 2 defeats in 8 matches were to France makes us look forward to the meeting of the two teams with excitement. However, although Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners’ absence from the squad due to injury may reduce their motivation, they may not feel the absence of two players when they have Virgil van Dijk, Depay and Gakpo, one of the stars of the last World Cup.


Austria, ranked 25th in the FIFA world rankings, have only 1 point between them and Belgium, 1st in Group F. 6 of their 8 matches resulted in a win, a defeat and a draw. And they scored 17 goals in these qualifiers, 3 of these goals were penalties, one was a free kick and 4 were head goals. Gregoritsch’s header in the 48th minute of the match against Turkey is a proof of how successful they are in scoring head goals. Although it is difficult to say that they can get out of the group at first glance, they will be in the race for the 3rd place.


Poland is participating in the championship for the 5th time this year and they have only made it out of the groups twice. While Albania and Czech Republic in the qualifying group had 15 points, Poland had only 11 points. In the match against Wales played on 26 March, they could not take a single accurate shot in 120 minutes. However, they made 5/5 in penalties and their goalkeeper Szczęsny saved Wales’ penalty shot. Another disadvantage is the constant change of coaches and the lack of balance in the team, as well as the fact that there are too many centre forwards in the team but their impact is insufficient. However, even though Poland is the team with the lowest claim in their group due to the circumstances, names like Lewandowski, Szymanski and Frankowski in their squad may surprise us.

Weakest Group of the Tournament

Author: Öncü Özer


Belgium is undoubtedly the most prominent team in Group E in terms of experience and quality. Although they have not won a trophy in the tournaments played in recent years, the football they played especially in the 2018 World Cup is still in the minds of all football lovers. The devils, who completed the group with England as the leader with 9 points in 3 matches, then overcame the obstacles of Japan and Brazil, perhaps one of the favourites of the tournament, and managed to write their names in the semi-finals. In the semi-final, the devils, who fought fiercely with France, could not get their teeth into the French and said goodbye to the cup. In the third place match, the devils, who faced the British again in the third place match, managed to defeat the British once again and get the third place medal. In the last European championship they participated in, the Devils, who succumbed to the champion of the tournament, the Italian national team, said goodbye to the tournament in the quarter-finals. It is obvious that they have lost their golden generation of Kompany, Mertens and Hazard in recent years. However, the performance of the Devils, who have managed to raise new stars such as Jérémy Doku, Leandro Trossard and Loïs Openda, especially an experience like Kevin de Bruyne, is a matter of curiosity for football fans. After all, Lukaku and Courtois remain one of the best strike-catching duos in the tournament.


Many things can be said about the Ukrainian national team, but we should definitely start with their difficulties. The blue-yellows, whose country has been under occupation for almost 3 years, are undoubtedly coming to the tournament with a very different psychology than the remaining 23 teams. Although they come under difficult conditions, the quality of the blue-yellows’ squad should not be underestimated. Although they were unable to participate in the 2022 World Cup due to the war they experienced, they managed to reach the quarter-finals at Euro 2020, the last tournament they participated in. In the quarter-finals, they bowed to the English national team and said goodbye to the tournament. With Mihaylo Mudryk, Andriy Lunin, Artem Dovbik, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Roman Yaremchuk in their squad, the blue-yellows will be extra motivated to put a smile on the faces of their compatriots. Considering their group, they are one of the surprise teams of the tournament.


The Slovaks, who have had great difficulties in raising top-level footballers in recent years, are coming to the tournament with a modest squad. After failing to qualify for the last World Cup, the Slovaks failed to qualify for the 2020 European Championship with only one win in a group that included Spain, Sweden and Poland. This time, the Slovaks, who come to the tournament without Marek Hamšík, perhaps the most important footballer in the history of the country, as well as its greatest captain, will have a difficult task. Milan Skriniar is the biggest star of the team and the captain of the post-Marek Hamšík era. They will also be looking for chances with important players like David Hancko and Stanislav Lobotka.


Since the 2016 European championship, the Romanian national team has not been able to qualify for any important tournament, and in the 2016 European championship, they said goodbye to the tournament in the groups with 1 point in 3 matches. It is certain that they are looking for the golden generation with Popescu, Hagi and Illie and in terms of squad quality, they are relatively the weakest team according to media writers. We will witness together whether the Romanian national team, led by Radu Drăgușin, their only elite level footballer, will surprise everyone and write a fairy tale in Group E.

Our hearts go out to our nationals

Author: Öncü Özer


Our national team, which went to the last European Championships as the team expected to surprise the world the most, returned home with the worst performance in the history of the European Championships according to most media organisations. Qatar 2022, which did not qualify for the 2022 Qatar, technical director changes and footballers who left the national team, but this time, the increase in the number of players playing in top European teams and the fact that we are a team accustomed to playing ball at the European level and that we are leading the qualifiers for the first time excites us again. Under the leadership of Hakan Çalhanoğlu, we will compete against familiar opponents. In the 2008 European Championship, we will play 3 matches against the youngest team of the tournament, the Czechs and the Portuguese, and the national team of neighbouring Georgia, which will take the stage in this arena for the first time. Even though we will play against familiar opponents in the tournament, we came back empty handed from the 4 friendly matches we played for the tournament. Regardless of the scores, Ozan Kabak, who got injured in the match against Italy, caused our already out of form centre back tandem to weaken even more. We have high hopes for our young players born in 2005 such as Arda Güler, Kenan Yıldız and Semih Kılıçsoy. The biggest goal of our national team will be to relive the good memories of 2008.


In the 2016 European Championship, the Portuguese, who emerged as the 3rd best team with 3 points in the group with 3 points in 3 matches, were entitled to play the host France in the final after pushing Poland and Croatia and then Wales out of the tournament. In the final, despite the early injury of Cristiano Ronaldo, the greatest footballer in Portuguese history, they overthrew the hosts France in the match that went into extra time and gave CR7 his first major cup victory. In the last World Cup, the Portuguese, who were shockingly eliminated by the Moroccan national team in the quarter-finals, sent off Fernando Santos. This time with Roberto Martinez they will aim for a much further round. The Portuguese, who are the most in-form team of the tournament in terms of preparation and qualifying matches, are the undisputed favourites of Group F. Although they have a superstar like Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad at the age of 39, they are also one of the favourites of the tournament with important players like Bruno Fernandes, João Félix, Rafael Leão, Bernardo Silva, Pepe and Ruben Dias.


The Czechs have always been the favourites of the European Championships. Even though they have been in decline recently, they managed to get 4 points from the group with England, Croatia and Scotland in the 2020 European Championship and shocked everyone in the last 16 round and managed to push the Netherlands out of the cup with a clear score of 2-0. But in the next round they would realise that they were the object of a fairy tale, not the subject. The Czechs, who could not make a dent in Denmark, the main character of the fairy tale, were defeated 2-1 in the quarter-finals and returned home. The Czechs, who have top players such as Patrik Schick, the top scorer of the last tournament, Tomáš Souček and Adam Hlozek in their squad, will fight to repeat the pride they have brought to their country at the 2020 European Championship and this time to be the main hero of the fairy tale.


The Georgian national team, which will be participating in an international tournament for the first time in its history, is not a weak team, even though it is seen as a team not given much chance by the media. After knocking Luxembourg and then Greece, the 2004 champions, out of the tournament in the play-offs to qualify for the European Championship, the Georgians have secured the vacant slot in Group F. With 2 superstars in their squad, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Giorgi Mamardashvili, playing elite level football, the Georgians will be looking to prove to the tournament and to the media that they are not a bad team and to gain as much experience as they can from their first tournament.

Favourites, Plates, Dark Horses

Author: Yigit Şen

Even though the European Championships are always a tournament full of surprises, we rarely witness fairy tales ending with a championship. Denmark and Switzerland in the last tournament, Wales in 2016 and us in 2008 were among those who exceeded expectations. Greece in 2004 remains in our memories as the last tournament where a fairy tale ended with a trophy. Therefore, let’s act a little early this time and compress the teams that are likely to make a name for themselves in the tournament into a pyramid.

The top step of the pyramid is of course the favourites. France and England are undoubtedly the two biggest title contenders of this tournament. We can say that no other team can win this tournament and England and France can lose. The unfortunate thing is that it is very likely that these two will be paired in the semi-finals and the tournament followers will watch the early final. The only team that can be placed half a click below this rung and among the favourites is the hosts Germany. The reasons why they don’t seem to be clear favourites are their poor performances in recent tournaments and their goalscoring problems. However, they have a squad of at least as high quality as France and England and, as the return of Kroos shows, they will be more than happy to play at home.

The bottom rung of the pyramid, the placers, consists of 3 former champions who have problems in combining their former successful generations with their young stars. Italy, Portugal and Spain, the champions of 2020, 2016 and 2012 respectively. They will certainly need some star performances, a strong coaching talent and a bit of luck to become champions. But let’s not forget that they are still three very strong football schools. They’ll be looking for mistakes from the top.

We could call the third tier the Dark Horses. Or surprise candidates. Their championship chances are quite low, but we can see some of them in the last 8 or last 4. If we have to divide them into three groups, Belgium, Netherlands and Croatia will secretly progress and look match by match. Belgium have time to sharpen their playing system in an easy group. Netherlands also looked quite ready in the friendlies. I am not sure what to say about Croatia. It is very difficult to say that they will fail because they have a full tournament team. However, they have a very difficult task in that group. Even if they don’t have a great tradition of success, Denmark, Turkey and Ukraine are the teams that will chase the top spot out of the corner of their eyes. At least one of these three has the potential to make a mark in the tournament. They have young, hungry and quality players. We hope that our team will have a successful tournament and make its mark.

First Time Players and Last Tournament Stars

Authors: Yiğit Şen and Öncü Özer

The tournament has given birth to many young stars in the past. We still remember the special names, the Torreses and the Ozils who made their mark here. However, 2024 will also see the farewell of many stars to the European Championships.

2003-born Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko is arguably his country’s most expected player at this tournament. The Slovenian striker, who drew attention with his extraordinary performance for Leipzig in the Bundesliga last season, managed to increase his market value up to 50 million Euros.

Another 2003-born starlet is Rasmus Højlund, Denmark’s top goalscoring prospect. The Danish striker, who first attracted the attention of Atalanta and then Manchester United officials with his performance in the Copenhagen youth system, contributed 10 goals and 3 assists in the premier league for Manchester United this season. He will also make his Euro debut.

Young wing Lamine Yamal, who is the youngest player in the history of the European Championships after Martin Ødegard, is the most expensive player in this list with a market value of 90 million euros. One of the brightest stars of Barcelona’s youth system, Yamal is the player whose talent Spanish fans need the most despite his young age. The young player made 37 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 5 goals and 8 assists.

Arda Güler, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest individual talents in the history of Turkish football, was transferred to the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, last season after a great season with Fenerbahçe. Arda made the best use of the limited time he played for Madrid and managed to catch the eye of Don Carlo coach with his 6 goal performance in 10 games. Especially with his performance at the end of the season, he is the most eagerly awaited player by the Turkish public for the tournament.

The most important player who will play his last tournament is Cristiano Ronaldo, who is now 39 years old and preparing for his 6th tournament. He is by far the most capped and top goal scorer in the history of the tournament. He is also a winner with the trophy in 2016. Of course, we know that he wants to play another World Cup, but it is unlikely that we will be able to watch him in 2028 at the age of 43. Speaking of Ronaldo, it is also the last tournament for his compatriots Pepe and Patricio.

Modric and Kroos, who dominated the midfield in the golden years of Real Madrid and won 6 Champions Leagues in 3 consecutive years, are now the last European Championships for their countries. Perisic, one of the Croatian golden generation, may also hang up his boots until 2028.

Another farewell for the Germans could come from 38-year-old net keeper Neuer and 35-year-old Müller. They have played 4 European Championships since 2012 and it is time for them to say goodbye. We will witness the farewells of Schmeichel and Kjaer, who made a difference for Denmark with their great performances in 2020, and Eriksen, who returned first to football and now to the European Championship despite a heart attack in the first match. For the French, Olivier Giroud will say goodbye