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Why Euro 2020 Will Be Better Than The 2018 World Cup

The 2018 World Cup finishes this Sunday, with the final being contested by Croatia and France. Cue the sad violin music, because no one wants this month-long festival of soccer to come to a conclusion.

But alas, all good things must eventually come to and end. This World Cup has reminded everyone about the joys of the game, and why waiting four years for each World Cup is absolutely worth it.

Despite many fans considering this one of the most exciting World Cup tournaments of all time, I implore you to think two years into the future. Why? Well, the Euro 2020 tournament is going to be even better. I’m here to tell you why.

Purely based off of the 2018 World Cup, the soccer landscape of Europe is as dominant as ever. The final four teams competing — France, Croatia, Belgium and England — are all from Europe. Ten of the 16 teams that made the Round of 16 were from Europe. Six of the eight teams in the quarterfinals were from Europe. See what I am getting at? 

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No other continent boasts as many nations that can compete at the World Cup. Comparing it with the other continents around the globe, South America had four in the round of 16 (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay), North America had Mexico in the Round of 16 and Asia was represented by Japan. 

Uruguay and Brazil were the teams that made it the furthest out of the non-European nations, as both were eliminated in the quarterfinals by France and Belgium, respectively. 

If we take a look at the average ages of the teams competing, European nations comprise of six of the 10 youngest nations competing at the World Cup. They include England (average age of 26), France (26), Serbia (26.8), Denmark (27.1), Germany (27.1) and Switzerland (27.2). 

Considering France has a chance to win the World Cup and England will finish in either third or fourth place, it demonstrates that these teams will gain an incredible amount of experience despite the youthful nature of their teams. Knowing what it feels like to play in a World Cup will no doubt bring plenty of positives when it comes to Euro 2020, especially for the Three Lions. 

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There are loads of interesting storylines and questions from this World Cup that will potentially see some closure in two years’ time. Was this just a small hiccup for Germany, or is its dominance for the past decade or so truly coming to a close? Was this England side a complete fluke, or could they “bring football home” in their own backyard (more on that later)? Will Belgium’s golden generation take advantage of what might be its last chance as a group for some silverware? So many questions, and hopefully many more answers.

The format of Euro 2020 is very interesting too. After the success of a 24-team tournament at Euro 2016 in France, UEFA has continued with this number of teams for the next edition of the tournament. But, what might be the most special component of Euro 2020 is that it is not set in one country. In fact, 12 countries will collectively host the tournament.

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For the 60th anniversary of the European competition, former UEFA President Michel Platini said he believed it would be a special way to celebrate by spreading out all of the matches to various countries. 

The host countries and cities consist of Azerbaijan (Baku), Denmark (Copenhagen), England (London), Germany (Munich), Hungary (Budapest), Italy (Rome), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Ireland (Dublin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (Saint Petersburg), Scotland (Glasgow) and Spain (Bilbao). 

Countries have either a standard package or a finals package. A standard package consists of hosting three group-stage matches along with a Round of 16 match or a quarterfinal match. The finals package will see a country host the semifinals and the final.

After Belgium’s proposed new stadium in Brussels was put on hold, England picked up its standard package, so Wembley Stadium will play host to three group stage matches, a Round of 16 match, the semifinal and the final. So, if you’re picking a city to base yourself in for the European championships, London would be your best bet.

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Given England’s form at this World Cup, maybe football will actually come home. Imagine the Three Lions winning the Euros on their own turf. The videos on social media alone would make for a lifetime of entertainment.

Wouldn’t it be amazing for a World Cup to be held in a similar format? Europe would be an easy place to host in terms of the distances to travel, but one in Asia or South America that sees multiple countries host matches would be a sight to see. 

Obviously the 2026 World Cup will be the first time that we see three host countries, with the United States, Canada and Mexico all sharing the hosting duties. However, the United States is the country hosting the vast majority of the matches. 

It is hard to believe Euro 2020 is two years away, but time flies by very quickly, and before we know it, the tournament will be on our televisions. I for one can’t wait!

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