Portugal, England and France: My main contenders at the Euro 2024 By José Mourinho

Portugal, England and France: My main contenders at the Euro 2024 By José Mourinho

Pulse Sports Team 08:12 - 13.06.2024

Part of an exclusive series of articles from Jose Mourinho, brought to you by Football.com

Soon we'll hear the starting whistle for the Euro 2024, the second-most-watched tournament in the world. In Germany, the 24 best European teams will be competing in six groups for a place in the final in Berlin.

I see Portugal as one of the favourites, but there are other teams that can win the European title, such as England and France.

These are the three teams that have higher-quality players, and that's why I place Portugal among the favourites. I would remind you that my country's team has qualified impeccably, winning every game in this phase. 

3 teams capable of pulling a surprise - José Mourinho 

However, I recognize that the same thing happened to Belgium, also coached by Roberto Martinez - they were a powerful team that also won every game in the initial phase, managed to reach the semi-finals, but didn't go any further and lost the competition. Let's wait and see if this is not repeated.

But in addition to these three teams, there are always those that traditionally appear capable of becoming champions, such as Germany, who, on top of everything else, are playing at home, Spain and even Italy. 

Any of these teams may come as a surprise, as they have the quality to do so, but I still consider the three I mentioned before to be the main contenders for the European title.  

Mourinho lists Bellingham and Mbappe as stars to watch at EURO 2024

With regard to top players, I still think that, given the season in which the clubs competed, the players who stood out the most were Vinicius Júnior and Jude Bellingham, both from Real Madrid, who have recently won the Champions League. 

It's a shame that the Brazilian will be missing out on the Euro for obvious reasons, but Bellingham, who for me is the best young player in the world, will be there. 

As will Kylian Mbappé, with the France shirt on and the Real shirt on his bag. But at the age of 25 (the English player is only 20), he can only be considered a young player with goodwill and, in addition, his season has been far below expectations and his real worth. 

What I don’t like about the EURO 2024 - Mourinho

There's something I don't like about this Euro, and that's the fact that the best third-placed teams in each group qualify for the round of 16. 

I understand the purpose of this option and the dynamics it implies, but from a sporting point of view I don't like it, because in practice it turns the qualifying games into “pro forma" games, since there is no longer that pressure that used to be felt on the teams, who could miss out on the competition if they lost a game. 

I recall that Portugal, for example, became European Champion without winning a single game in the group stage. In other words, the third qualifying round gives the big teams a lot of room to qualify more easily and to get to the knock-out stage. 

In my opinion, this should happen right at the group stage, with only the two top teams going through to the round of 16. And that's why I disagree with the third-placed play-offs, because with them, there's no pressure. 

And I will also be keeping a close eye on the innovations at the refereeing level, as happened for example at the World Cup with the extra 10/15 minutes. Believe me, I'm curious to see what will happen in this field.