Starting 11 June and climaxing in the final at Wembley on 11 July, Euro 2020 is finally here a year later than planned.
The tournament will be played across 11 countries with one venue in each.
Differing Coronavirus rules and regulations across the respective nations will impact the numbers of spectators allowed at each game, with the majority being able to house crowds around a quarter of capacity.
The list of stadia being used and their reduced approximate capacities for the tournament are;
Wembley Stadium, London 22,500
Hampden Park, Glasgow 13,000
Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam 13,250
Stadium La Cartuja, Seville 18,000
Allianz Arena, Munich 14,000
Stadio Olimpico, Rome 17,500
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen 9,500
Puskas Arena, Budapest 67,000
Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg 34,000
Arena Nationala, Bucharest 14,000
Olympic Stadium, Baku 34,500
The stand-out is the Puskas Arena in Budapest with Hungary’s rules allowing for a full capacity of 67,000 although the maximum expected is 61,000.
Wembley’s hopes of being allowed to increase the number of fans attending games after the initial group stage will likely depend on the Government’s decision around the final roadmap date of 21 June.
The expectation was for an increased capacity of 40,000 for the knockout stages and even a potential full house for the showpiece final.
Concerns over the current rise in the Covid Delta variant cases across England may well scupper those plans.
The England team are finding themselves favourites in many people’s eyes. Whilst the home advantage afforded them is a huge positive (should England make the final they will have played all their games bar one at Wembley) the likes of Belgium and France look stronger prospects on paper with a few other countries emerging from a few leaner years.
The injury concerns in defence for England need to be overcome. Harry Maguire’s place in the squad doesn’t alter the fact it’s still unknown whether he’ll be able to play a part. Trent Alexander Arnold’s late exclusion due to a devastating injury in one of England’s final warm up games at least comes in a position on the pitch that the squad looks well covered in.
Many fans are hoping that Gareth Southgate abandons his more cautious tag and allows some of the exciting young players to go out and express themselves in an attacking formation.
It remains to be seen whether he will trust the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, and Jadon Sancho to be thrown into the mix all at once.
Local round up
Friday saw the funeral of Blades legend, Len Badger, who died at the age of 75 on 20 May 2021.
Widely recognised as one of the best right backs never to gain a full England cap, Len played 458 times for Sheffield United between 1962 and 1976.
Part of the iconic early 70’s team he was still a regular at games until the Covid enforced postponement of games last year.
United stopper, Aaron Ramsdale, is apparently attracting attention from the Premier League in the form of Spurs and Wolves.
The player of the year at Bramall Lane made it into England’s provisional squad for the Euros and after the way he performed in the second half of last season, most fans will be hoping nothing comes of the interest.
An old new face arrived at Oakwell this week. Barnsley have signed Devante Cole (son of former prolific striker Andy) from Motherwell.
The striker was on loan at the Tykes seven years ago and scored his first professional goal for the club.
Rumours in Suffolk are suggesting that Ipswich Town are interested in signing Matt Crooks from Rotherham United. The Millers’ midfielder is about to enter the final year of his contract at the New York Stadium.
The season is finally over for Chesterfield after a heartbreaking finish to their play off game at Notts County. The Spireites, who led twice in the game, were hit with a last minute sucker punch at Meadow Lane to lose the game 3-2 and miss out on a chance to get back into the Football League.
Despite the disappointment, the way the team’s fortunes have turned around since the end of last year should provide much optimism for next season.