A year after the fact, Euro 2020 is finally set to get underway, with 24 nations vying for the crown of Europe's best.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy has leaped back onto the main stage, entering Euro 2020 with legitimate title credentials. The Azzurri's midfield makes a strong case as Europe's best, and that's without Marco Verratti, who suddenly appears on track to return to fitness for the tournament. It would be an incredible boost for Roberto Mancini to have the PSG man available alongside Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, and Manuel Locatelli.
A dominant midfield trio will allow Italy to dictate the run of play in every given match, alleviating pressure on a strong backline and helping it to generate more attacking opportunities. The question surrounding the Azzurri is where the goals will come from, as they've lacked a prolific striker at the international level for years. But the scoring-by-committee approach has worked well under Mancini, as Italy enters the tournament on the back of a 27-match unbeaten run dating back to September 2018.
Denmark might not be the most enjoyable squad to watch, but Kasper Hjulmand's side will be a tough out. The team is in the midst of its prime years and has all the makings of one capable of architecting a run at European glory. The Danes are disciplined and structured with a strong spine. It doesn't hurt that many of their key players are entering the tournament in terrific form.
Playing all three group matches in Copenhagen is an added bonus, and it gives them a real shot at beating Belgium for the top spot. Regardless, a top-two finish in the group ensures they avoid a first-place finisher in the last 16 and provides a clear path to the quarterfinals, at which point their makeup is perfectly suited to grind out results in knockout football. The Danes' title credentials were on display across two matches against England in 2020, as they beat the Three Lions 1-0 at Wembley in October after drawing them 0-0 in Copenhagen in September.
There will be an aura of desperation surrounding Belgium at Euro 2020 in what feels like the final chance for this renowned golden generation to chase a major trophy. There's plenty of reason for optimism given Belgium's lost just once in its past 22 matches and it recorded a plus-37 goal differential during qualifying.
But there are reservations to be had, especially at such a short price. An aging backline is a legitimate concern, as it places added pressure on Axel Witsel to provide cover. However, he faces a race against time to be fit for the start of the tournament. What sort of form will Witsel be in after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in January?
Kevin De Bruyne also faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering a facial fracture in the Champions League final; he's already been ruled out of Belgium's first match. Without De Bruyne, and with Eden Hazard struggling for form, it feels as though the Red Devils are coming into the tournament a bit overhyped.
Spain is a nation in transition. The legends of the previous generation, which captured three successive major tournaments, give way to lesser replacements one by one. While the future remains bright, the present lacks the same star power we're used to seeing from La Roja. Sergio Ramos is the latest departure, as his controversial omission has left supporters up in arms - for the first time ever, there's no Real Madrid representation in the Spanish squad.
Ramos' exclusion was puzzling. Both his ability and leadership will be missed by a Spain backline that leaves something to be desired. But the true issue is in attack, where Luis Enrique lacks a reliable option up top - Alvaro Morata was booed off the Wanda Metropolitano pitch in Friday's goalless draw with Portugal. This edition's squad doesn't pack the same punch as previous ones, and a likely quarterfinal date with one of England or France is enough to keep me off La Roja at this price.
Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.