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EURO2020.com's expert panel make their predictions

David James, Gianluca Zambrotta, Nuno Gomes, Steffen Freund and Gaizka Mendieta on their tips for the tournament.

David James, Gianluca Zambrotta, Nuno Gomes, Steffen Freund and Gaizka Mendieta will be imparting their wisdom on EURO2020.com throughout the tournament. We gauged their opinions on the eve of the finals.

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David James
EURO 2004 quarter-finalist with England

David James at EURO 2004
David James at EURO 2004Getty Images

Winner: England
I’m going for England. Whether I believe it or not, I always go for England.

Player of the tournament: N'Golo Kanté
He’s one player I’ve followed this season for different reasons – the guy's amazing and he proved that in the Champions League final. This is a guy that if he got player of the tournament, he’d shake hands, say ‘thank you’ and walk back into the changing room. What a wonderful person and a wonderful player.

Young player of the tournament: Jude Bellingham
Bellingham’s only 17 – he ticks all the boxes. This is a guy who’s won a cup in Germany; he’s been fantastic for Dortmund and fully deserves to be in the England squad. Despite the fact he hasn’t had a long career by any stretch, having met him he just seems so upbeat. I know his coach as well and he says exactly the same thing. No one knows what his limit is because they’ve pushed him to try and find his limit and he just keeps going.

Top scorer: Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku
Harry Kane would have to be the favourite from an England perspective, but Lukaku has had a fantastic season in Italy.

Dark horses: Austria
I know England beat them 1-0, but Austria have got some players – David Alaba and Marcel Sabitzer, just to mention two.

Highlights: England 1-0 Austria
Highlights: England 1-0 Austria

Breakout star: Kevin Nisbet
I can see him doing really well (hopefully not against England). This is a young lad who’s fought his way into the Scotland reckoning and scored in their friendly against the Netherlands.

Top tip for players at a major tournament
I think the key is dealing with time. Even though the games come thick and fast, there’s a lot of downtime. There’s a lot of time to read a book, read something on your iPad – the point is about managing that time, keeping focus and not letting the occasion get to you.

Greatest EURO memory (playing)
Not because of the result, but my debut, the first game. As a player, being able to walk out in a major tournament was special. That was 2004, 14 years after my professional debut.

Greatest EURO memory (watching)
I’ve watched EUROs in different countries and the beauty of it is that it’s not just a European competition, it’s a global event. I’ve been out in India to cover the EURO for Indian television and everyone’s interested.

Where/how you will be watching
I’ll be going to some of the games – I’ll be covering them for Indian TV and a lot of English media.

Current EURO player you would most like to play alongside
That’s not fair! The game has got quicker and faster technically, players have got so much better. I don’t actually miss playing in a sense.

Gaizka Mendieta
EURO 2000 quarter-finalist with Spain

Gaizka Mendieta scores against France at EURO 2000
Gaizka Mendieta scores against France at EURO 2000Popperfoto via Getty Images

Winner: France
I would love it to be Spain, but going into the tournament France are favourites. They are the reigning world champions, they have the same core as 2018 and have added Karim Benzema, making a sensational squad even stronger.

Player of the tournament: Kylian Mbappé
There are so many. Looking at our lads, I would like it to be Pedri, Álvaro Morata, Gerard Moreno or Ferran Torres. However, if you are just looking at someone on an individual level who stands out for both their ability and how they work in a team, you have to say Mbappé.

Young player of the tournament: Pedri or Phil Foden
Pedri and Foden are two players I really like, but we will have to see how much playing time they get with their respective countries. João Félix could stand out with Portugal.

The EURO record Mendieta shares

Top scorer: undecided!
I would like to see Gerard Moreno or Álvaro Morata up there among the favourites. You obviously need to mention Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Mbappé, Harry Kane, Antoine Griezmann – although with Benzema's return perhaps he might not get too many. Kai Havertz could also be a candidate given the strength of the Germany team.

Dark horses: Turkey
The league there has improved a lot, with a lot of players coming through and strengthening the national team. Then there are Belgium, who would not be that much of a surprise, but I do not see them in the favourites' category.

Breakout star: Burak Yılmaz
At 35, the Turkey striker is not exactly a youngster, but he might be the surprise package. He is in great goalscoring form and plays for a side who I reckon could be dark horses. Every team has players who could be important but might not be guaranteed starters, like Foden, or even Kingsley Coman and Ousmane Dembélé of France.

Top tip for players at a major tournament
For me the squad, how you integrate and get on day-to-day, is really important. You are in each other's pockets, so need to be surrounded by people with whom you can be comfortable. Then I would tell them to do what they do with their clubs. Players should not lose sight of what got them selected in the first place.

Greatest EURO memory (playing)
The comeback against Yugoslavia at EURO 2000. I think it is one of the greatest comebacks the EURO has ever seen.

EURO 2000 highlights: Yugoslavia 3-4 Spain
EURO 2000 highlights: Yugoslavia 3-4 Spain

Greatest EURO memory (watching)
I remember as a youth watching the Spanish generation of Míchel, Martín Vázquez. I have great memories of EURO '96, where a lot of my team-mates played. Then there's 2008 and 2012 that we won. I also fondly remember Paul Gascoigne's England, Michel Platini's France, Lothar Matthäus's Germany and that Netherlands team with Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten.

Best thing about playing at a EURO
It was a dream come true to play at a major tournament. Lots of players play in qualifiers for the EURO or FIFA World Cup but do not get to the tournament. Games are seen all over the world now; it was not like that back in the day, and it was a chance to put yourself on the world stage, showing your skills to a global audience.

Where/how you will be watching
I will be working for different television channels and also with UEFA. I will, in general, be watching from home and television studios; unfortunately, I will not be pitchside.

Current EURO player you would most like to play alongside
I would love to play in the national team with any player, because it means you are playing at a major tournament! There are the likes of Mbappé, Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Benzema, Foden, Kane, Jack Grealish: all great players I would love to share a pitch with.

Gianluca Zambrotta
EURO 2000 finalist with Italy

 Gianluca Zambrotta in action at EURO 2000
Gianluca Zambrotta in action at EURO 2000Bongarts/Getty Images

Winner: Italy
I hope this is Italy’s year after such a long wait, but France have a sensational team.

Player of the tournament: Federico Chiesa
It is easy to name household names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Robert Lewandoski, but I hope it will be Chiesa. He has really impressed me this season.

Young player of the tournament: Federico Chiesa
Chiesa again! He is only 23!

Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku
It is difficult to look beyond Lukaku, who spearheaded Inter’s march to the Scudetto and plays for a very strong Belgium side.

Plot the finals yourself in Tournament Predictor


Breakout star: Phil Foden

Foden has really caught the eye this season, and the way [Manchester City boss] Pep Guardiola talks about him, he must be special.

Top tip for players at a major tournament
Experience the tournament in a calm, measured way with your team-mates. In finals like these, the way a squad gels on and off the pitch really makes a difference.

Greatest EURO memory (player)
My debut in 2000. I only broke into the national team in 1999 under Dino Zoff, and the following year I went to the European Championship in Belgium and the Netherlands. A great memory.

Turkey v Italy EURO 2000 highlights
Turkey v Italy EURO 2000 highlights

Greatest EURO memory (watching)
The last EURO under Antonio Conte in 2016 was very good. The last-16 victory over Spain really sticks in the mind, when Giorgio Chiellini scored the opener.

Current EURO player you would most like to play alongside
I was lucky enough to play with Lionel Messi at Barcelona. If I have to think of a current talent, I certainly think of Mbappé. Playing with him every day and understanding his development day by day would be really nice.

Nuno Gomes
EURO 2004 finalist with Portugal

EURO 2020 ambassador: Nuno Gomes
EURO 2020 ambassador: Nuno Gomes

Winner: Portugal
I have to back my country, but we are serious candidates. I think Portugal are in a group of favourites with France and Germany. 

Player of the tournament: Cristiano Ronaldo
I hope it’s a Portuguese player, and Cristiano is definitely a candidate. Kylian Mbappé and Kevin De Bruyne will run him close.

Young player of the tournament: Phil Foden or Mason Mount

Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku or Karim Benzema

Dark horses: England, Italy, Belgium

Breakout star: Diogo Jota
The Liverpool man is yet to really cement his place in the national team. Now could be the time.

Top tip for players at a major tournament
Always keep your focus, concentrate on your tasks and don’t waste your opportunities.

Greatest EURO memory (playing)
The goal against England at EURO 2000, in a game we won 3-2. I also fondly remember scoring the only goal against Spain at EURO 2004.

EURO 2000 highlights: Portugal 3-2 England
EURO 2000 highlights: Portugal 3-2 England

Greatest EURO memory (watching)
France against Portugal at EURO 2016 was my best moment as a spectator. Then there's always Marco van Basten's goal in 1988 or Jordão’s strike against France in 1984. That game [France vs Portugal in 1984] marked my childhood and made me aspire to be a player.

Best thing about playing at a EURO
To be part of a EURO is the pinnacle for a professional player, it's the top of the pyramid. You’re in a final tournament with the best of the best.

Where/how you will be watching
As a EURO ambassador I expect to be at some venues. It will depend on travel restrictions. The other matches I plan to watch in Portugal, at home, and for some of them I'll be working for Portuguese TV.

Current EURO player you would most like to play alongside
I've played with the best of them, Cristiano Ronaldo! From the Portuguese team I would have liked to play with João Félix and Bernardo Silva – as a striker, I’d have been well-served by those two. I would also have liked to play with Mbappé and N’Golo Kanté.

Steffen Freund
EURO '96 winner with Germany

Steffen Freund in action at EURO '96
Steffen Freund in action at EURO '96Bongarts/Getty Images

Winner: France
They have the best squad by far and the individual qualities that can be decisive. There is a back-up for every top player in their squad so every player can be swapped out – this is a very important factor after such a long season.

Player of the tournament: N'Golo Kanté

Young player of the tournament: João Félix

Top scorer: Harry Kane

Dark horses: Germany

Breakout star: Robin Gosens

Top tip for players at a major tournament
Anticipation during the build-up can lead to tension if you want things too much.

Greatest EURO memory (playing)
The EURO '96 semi-final against England. The atmosphere was unbelievably moving. When 80,000 people start singing and don't stop until the match is over, it's difficult to grasp.

EURO '96 semi-final highlights: England v Germany
EURO '96 semi-final highlights: England v Germany

Greatest EURO memory (watching)
Michael Ballack scoring with a fantastic free-kick against Austria in 2008.

Best thing about playing at a EURO
You develop a feeling that you have made it to the very top as a footballer.

Where/how you will be watching
I will watch all matches as a pundit or fan and will be thrilled to watch the action.

Current EURO player you would most like to play alongside
Joshua Kimmich because he is the complete package – creativity, defensive qualities, determination and ambition.