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Euro 2024 | England is right at the sweet spot now, says Chhetri

 Sunil Chhetri breathes football. Barely days after he hung up his international football boots, the former skipper will be back on the television screens, this time as an expert for Euro 2024, which begins this Friday in Germany.

Chhetri is most excited to see England, which finished a worthy runner-up to Italy in the last edition. “You can’t go beyond the usual suspects, you know, France, Germany, England etc.,” Chhetri told The Hindu on Tuesday when asked about the favourites.

“But I feel England is right at the sweet spot now. The likes of [Phil] Foden, [Jude] Bellingham… prodigies once, are world leaders now. If you can leave out the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, you can imagine the kind of talent England has.”

In 2016, Wales was a surprise semifinalist, and in Euro 2020, it was Denmark’s turn. Chhetri believes that the conditions are ripe for another fairytale run.

“I think Hungary and Turkey can be those teams. I’m saying purely on all the action that I’ve seen in the last one-and-a-half years and their qualification performances. They have been outstanding.

“Talent matters. Big names matter. But sometimes in big tournaments, form matters. You don’t have the luxury of waiting for six, seven games,” Chhetri added.

Last hurrah

The tournament is also expected to be the last of the big events the likes of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (39) and Croatia’s Luka Modric (38) will be part of. German midfielder Toni Kroos (34), who recently won his fifth UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, has already announced that Euro 2024 will be his last bow.

“The thing that keeps them going is their love for the game,” Chhetri said. “For Modric to win the Champions League [with Real Madrid for the sixth time], and still come for training, get elbowed and get tackled… If you don’t love the game you won’t do it.”

(Watch UEFA EURO 2024 from 15th June 2024, 12:30 AM IST onwards, LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 2 SD & HD).

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