Style, Celebrations And Mr Cristiano Ronaldo: 10 MR PORTER Predictions For Euro 2020
Mr Cristiano Ronaldo during the FIFA World Cup match between Portugal and Spain, 15 June 2018, Sochi. Photograph by Offside/L’Equipe
An unhinged football season of empty stadiums, crashed Range Rovers, goal-scoring armpits and Leeds United deserves a competition advertised with the wrong date to punctuate its end. And so, we look forward to Euro 2020 with feverish (slightly delayed) anticipation. What will happen? No one knows, especially this year (or should we say last year?) and, least of all, us. None of which has stopped MR PORTER from compiling this list of 10 very serious predictions for what might occur in the multi-city-hosted tournament, which kicks off today. In all, 24 teams (including nations unaccustomed to life at the top table, such as North Macedonia, Finland and, it says here, Scotland) will play for a shot at taking home the Henri Delaunay Trophy. Whether you’re a diehard football (yes, Americans, we mean soccer) fan or you’re looking for clothes and you clicked the wrong link, there’s something for everyone.
Yes, we Kanté
Messrs Didier Deschamps and N’Golo Kanté during the FIFA World Cup Semi Final match between France and Belgium, 10 July 2018, Saint Petersburg. Photograph by Mr Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
An outbreak of Covid in the French camp infects all but midfielder Mr N’Golo Kanté, who decided against flying with the squad in favour of running to the opening fixture against Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Forced to field a team of just one player, Les Bleus make it through the Group of Death regardless, courtesy of two nil-nil draws and a dogged 1-0 victory against Hungary.
Mr Jack Grealish provides an influential style moment
The flamboyant, most-fouled Premier League player gets crocked by a crunching tackle from veteran midfielder Mr Milan Badelj in England’s opening fixture against Croatia. No matter, because what he can’t influence on the pitch, he can influence from the stands. Sales figures for fluffy pink Nike onesies go nuclear, which kickstarts a trend throughout Europe and makes a mockery of Mr Gareth Southgate’s impact on the spike in M&S waistcoats back in 2018.
Masks are the new scarves
Half-and-half scarves provoke fairly robust opinions from football fans, but remain popular among tourists who simply want a memento of a match. It seems pretty likely that in the first major tournament of the Covid era, face masks will become the new divisive accessory. Expect dual-nationality versions to get short shrift while more partisan fans use their face coverings more creatively.
The return of Mr Gareth Bale’s golf-swing goal celebration
Messrs Wayne Hennessey and Gareth Bale ahead of the UEFA Euro Semi Final match between Portugal and Wales, 5 July 2016, Lyon. Photograph by Mr Kieran McManus/BPI/Shutterstock
Despite his prolific goal rate (when he’s in the mood and actually on the pitch), Welsh talisman Mr Gareth Bale’s loyalties have often been called into question. With rumours of his impending retirement from international football, he can soon get back to his first interest (clue: it’s not his club team, Real Madrid).
Mr Marcus Rashford will star (but not in the way you think)
After scoring a hat trick in a triumphant final victory against Portugal, Mr Marcus Rashford logs on to Twitter to celebrate his world-beating feat. (He casually announces he has been in talks with the leaders of Europe and has persuaded Mr Boris Johnson to do a U-turn on Brexit.)
England fields a team composed entirely of right backs
Mr Gareth Southgate has done his best to stifle unrealistic pre-tournament expectation – by submitting a 26-man squad largely made up of defensive players, including four right backs. So, when Liverpool star Mr Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced out due to injury, it gave the England manager the opportunity to bolster his forward and midfield options. His solution: another defender.
Crowd chants go high-concept
Iceland fans clap during the World Cup match between Iceland and Croatia, 26 June 2018, Rostov-On-Don. Photograph by Mr Khaled DeSouki/AFP via Getty Images
Emboldened by Iceland’s thunderclap – aka the celebration that punctuated England’s painful European exit in 2016 (no, the other one) – one nation will attempt to forge its destiny with an over-the-top crowd gesture. With stadiums set to be less than 20 per cent full, we expect it may involve a complicated array of props and careful choreography. Our money’s on Denmark.
It’ll be the year of the fashion football kit
The hype Nigeria kit for the World Cup back in 2018 raised the style stakes for football garms to almost unmatchable levels, but in 2021, nations are going a step further in their search for fashion credentials. Croatia, Holland, Germany and Austria are making like fans of the dark side – Christian Dior, SAINT LAURENT and Ms Rei Kawakubo – going all-black everything with their inscrutable, moody away kits.
… And black football boots
With many of the main boot makers offering murdered-out versions of their cleats (see: Nike Mercurial Vapour), we predict this year’s competition will witness the official death rattle of ostentatious boots. Gone are the days of Mr David Beckham and his golden adidas Predators and Mr Cristiano Ronaldo’s silver Nikes. The new flamboyance is a millionaire nutmegging a defender in boots fit for that football match in Kes.
The Mr Cristiano Ronaldo show
Messrs Fernando Santos and Cristiano Ronaldo during the UEFA Euro Final football match between France and Portugal, 10 July 2016, Paris. Photograph by Mr Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images
Portugal’s ageless mascot is living proof that ego, an obnoxious quality in normal life, remains a powerful elixir in professional sports. Injured and substituted in the early stages of the 2016 final, Ronaldo took it upon himself to marshal his team to victory from the sidelines – a job that actual manager Mr Fernando Santos had been doing perfectly well up until that point. If injury strikes again, we expect him to hop into the commentary booth.