Tag: Kylian Mbappe

We Predict… UEFA EURO 2020

It’s here! It’s finally here! A year later than scheduled (don’t worry, we won’t get into all that) European football finds itself at the starting line of a month-long football feast: UEFA EURO 2020 is upon us!

It’s safe to say this tournament will be unlike any other that has come before it with the competition to be played in twelve different host countries, some of which will have stadiums at full capacity, others which will not. Quite frankly, it’s all new. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exciting. In fact, the bizarre makeup of this tournament is probably likely to throw up more shocks than ever before. So what we’re trying to say is: don’t rule out an Austria v North Macedonia final…

And so that brings us to the Icons.com staff predictions. We’ve learned over the years that predicting the future, as it turns out, is pretty difficult. But that’s not going to stop us from trying!

And, of course, be sure to check out our fantastic range of official UEFA EURO 2020 signed memorabilia from stars past and present – available right now on Icons.com. Now then, let’s get to it…

There is no shortage of talent among the French ranks, UEFA EURO 2020’s favourites

Edward Freedman, Non-Executive Chairman

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: FIFA World Cup winners FRANCE have a whole host of technical players who are just excellent.
Runner-up: GERMANY always do very well in tournaments.

Golden Boot winner: France’s ANTOINE GRIEZMANN has the quality to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.
Player of the Tournament: Germany’s UEFA Champions League-winning talisman KAI HAVERTZ will impress at his first major tournament.

Notable overachievers: With a relatively straightforward group, the NETHERLANDS will go a long way despite being written off in some quarters.
Notable underachievers: Sadly, this will be ENGLAND.

England will… not do very well. I don’t see them making it past the quarter-finals.

Random bold prediction: Led by Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Denmark will go deep in this competition.

With Ronaldo, Fernandes, Felix, Dias, Jota and more, Portugal look especially strong

Dan Jamieson, CEO

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: With a forward line made up of Icons – Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo – PORTUGAL will retain it. Half of their defence comprises PFA Team of the Year honourees led by a coach who knows what it takes to win. And, of course, my Liverpool boy Diogo Jota!
Runner-up: At a tournament like this, having an ability to not concede is often more preferable to an ability to score tons of goals – just look at Portugal in 2016. With that in mind, I’m going with ITALY.

Golden Boot winner: Portugal’s DIOGO JOTA carries his domestic form on to the big stage.
Player of the Tournament:
Another Portuguese star, BRUNO FERNANDES, seizes his opportunity to clamber into the pantheon of world class players.

Notable overachievers: Now that Christian Eriksen has found form, expect DENMARK to go far.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY can’t escape the clutches of that Group of Death.

England will… get to the quarters then go out to the first decent team we meet. The FIFA World Rankings put us third best in Europe and we’re basically at home this summer but unless the draw opens up and we get Sweden again it’ll be the last eight for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

Random bold prediction: Scotland draw with England but drop out of the tournament at the group stages after celebrating too much.

Opinion is divided on a Netherlands team that will look to Georginio Wijnaldum for influence

Ben Soley, Sales and Marketing Manager

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: FRANCE. The FIFA World Cup winners can can be triumphant once again.
Runner-up: I’m backing the NETHERLANDS to go the furthest in a UEFA EURO tournament since the great team of Marco Van Baste, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard in 1988.

Golden Boot winner: With an easy enough group to get a good head-start on likes of Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe, ROMELU LUKAKU wins this.
Player of the Tournament:
Does a 26-year-old BRUNO FERNANDES have enough left in the tank after more games than any other player in Europe in 2020/21?

Notable overachievers: With a reliable keeper, strong centre-back pairing and Eriksen, Thomas Delaney and Hojbjerg in the middle creating a strong spine, DENMARK not only have a talented quite but a more than manageable group. I just worry if Martin Braithwaite, Yussuf Poulsen and Andreas Cornelius can get them the goals. 
Notable underachievers:
BELGIUM have the oldest squad in the tournament, Kevin De Bruyne has broken eyes, and they have to travel to Baku and back again. Although it’s an easy group I think they’ll get knocked out in the quarters or earlier.

England will… come up against tough competition en route to the latter stages and scrape to the quarters. But anything less than the semi-finals would be deemed a failure.

Random bold prediction: Wales to score the team goal of the tournament (I’m convinced after Harry Wilson’s goal vs Belgium). Goran Pandev to score three goals at his first UEFA EURO finals match with North Macedonia. There will be at least one five-goal thriller in Group F.

UEFA EURO 2020 will be Scotland’s first major tournament appearance since 1998

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: There’s no reason to overthink this: FRANCE have the strongest team on paper, with multiple world-class players in key areas and depth beyond belief. The return of Karim Benzema should not be overlooked – he is the outstanding out-and-out centre forward Les Bleus didn’t quite have before (my sincere apologies to Monsieur Giroud).
Runner-up: With the likes of Foden, Mount and Grealish, ENGLAND have an explosive young squad tempered by the steady guidance of Gareth Southgate. Fitness is a concern, but don’t underestimate the fact they will likely have home advantage in all but one of their games – right up to and including the final.

Golden Boot winner: Only Cristiano Ronaldo had more shots than LORENZO INSIGNE in Serie A this season and with Group A looking relatively straightforward for Italy, the Napoli man – and Golden Boot outsider – will have this sewn up by the Round of 16.
Player of the Tournament: Now that he has hair like Gazza, PHIL FODEN will emulate the great Geordie legend and prove he is among the world’s very best players with a series of show-stopping displays.

Notable overachievers: Sometimes you just have to let your heart rule your head. This is one such occasion. Give me SCOTLAND to defy expectations and reach the quarter-finals. Because why not?
Notable underachievers:
It’ll be quite the shock when the NETHERLANDS are not able to qualify from their group. Remember, third place won’t be enough for two unlucky teams.

Scotland will… be to UEFA EURO 2020 what Wales were to UEFA EURO 2016 – a joyous underdog story. If Che Adams or Lyndon Dykes can find the net, the likes of Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and John McGinn have enough quality to ensure progress beyond the group stages. Third place in Group D may actually set them up quite kindly in the Round of 16… and you may now stop laughing.

Random bold prediction: No UEFA EURO finals match has ever been won by more than five goals. That will change at this tournament.

COVID-19 concerns still loom large over UEFA EURO 2020

Jamie White, Online Content & Social Media Producer

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: It’s a toss-up between France and PORTUGAL. But I fancy the idea of Ronaldo and Fernandes taking them all the way in the competition.
Runner-up: FRANCE have the strongest team on paper, in my opinion. But the strongest team doesn’t always win the whole thing. Just look at 2016.

Golden Boot winner: Bit of an obvious choice but I’ll go KYLIAN MBAPPE. He is a world class player and, crucially, he loves an international competition.
Player of the Tournament:
BRUNO FERNANDES is a top quality player. It’s just unfortunate that he plays for United. The playmaker has a fantastic attitude and I believe his desire to win for his country will show through this summer.

Notable overachievers: SWITZERLAND have had a good run of results in the lead-up to this tournament.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY will be the casualty of a very difficult Group F.

England will… win it! Only joking, I was really optimistic for England, with our young exciting squad. But after watching the warm-up games we looked to struggle to create many chances. I think Southgate will be a little too cautious with his team selection. I’m saying we will go out in the quarter-finals but I hope I’m wrong. Jack Grealish will be our stand-out player.

Random bold prediction: The Indian variant of COVID-19 cancels the whole thing!

There are high hopes for Jack Grealish to have a breakout tournament with England

Will Franklin, Head of Customer Support

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: This has to be FRANCE. Their players and manager are serial winners on the big stage and I think they’ll be too much for anyone else to handle this year.
Runner-up: With a fairly ‘easy’ route to the latter stages, if things go to plan for them, BELGIUM have enough to beat the likes of Portugal, England (unfortunately) et al.

Golden Boot winner: ROMELU LUKAKU should easily net some goals in the group stages. If they reach the final, you can expect him to be up there.
Player of the Tournament:
N’GOLO KANTE. One of the best players in world football right now and his ‘under the radar’ work ethic is starting to be rightly appreciated. 

Notable overachievers: I think TURKEY have some great players who are in good form so they have the potential to go far.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY (I hope). Let’s have a repeat of the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stages, please.

England will… be undone on the day by other top teams. That said, this is probably the most excited I’ve been before an international tournament for some time. We have a young, talented squad with a massive future. We could be gone by the Round of 16 with the route being as it is, but if not I’d expect us to get to the semi-finals.

Random bold prediction: Jack Grealish will be England’s best player by a country mile.


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We Predict… The 2018-19 Season

You do realise that it’s been nearly one whole month since the FIFA World Cup finished, right? Three-and-a-bit weeks have passed since France dismantled Croatia in Moscow, which in our minds means we’ve been deprived of top class football for far too long. It’s about time the 2018-19 season kicked off and we get back to what really matters. Cast aside the mundane pre-season tours and friendlies for the real, proper, competitive, edge-of-your-seat drama acted out by the best players football has to offer.

After all, that’s what we’re all here for. The big leagues and the big names. And in 2018-19 those big names have a lot to answer for. There’s a mouthwatering title tussle in England while Cristiano Ronaldo sets out on his new adventure in Serie A, Steven Gerrard is the main story in Scotland and, as ever, the likes of FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus are bearing down on Real Madrid to steal their European crown.

With just a handful of days until the big kick-off we, the staff of Icons.com, are back again to answer (or at least attempt to answer) the burning questions on everyone’s minds ahead of the season opener at Old Trafford on Friday night. But don’t just take our word for it, send us your predictions for the season ahead on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages. You can hardly do much worse.

And, of course, be sure to check out our fantastic range of signed items from Premier League stars past and present – available right now on Icons.com.

Manchester City and Liverpool are strong favourites to contest the Premier League title.

Edward Freedman, Non-Executive Chairman

Premier League winners: MANCHESTER CITY are the strongest team with a great coach. There’s no reason that Liverpool can’t win it but City have strengthened with the addition of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. It’ll be close.
2nd – Liverpool 3rd – Manchester United 4th – Tottenham Hotspur
Relegated: Cardiff City, Fulham and Crystal Palace
Golden Boot: SERGIO AGUERO looks fit and on form with lots of support from City’s myriad creative talent.

Serie A winners: Cristiano Ronaldo will change his role by coming deeper and be as good as ever. He has a lot of supporting acts at JUVENTUS, who should take the title easily.
La Liga winners: FC BARCELONA have strengthened while Real Madrid have disappointed during the summer. Madrid have already lost Ronaldo and if Luka Modric goes too that will be a seismic a blow.
Bundesliga winners: BAYERN MUNICH. It’ll be the same old, same old in Germany, which, admittedly is quite boring.

UEFA Champions League winners: The arrival of Arturo Vidal to FC BARCELONA will bring Real Madrid‘s three-year dominance to an end. Barca have an excellent coach who can pull it off.
UEFA Europa League winners: SEVILLA have a decent team and are well experienced in winning this competition. I like them out of the frontrunners.

Signing of the season: The very attacking RIYAD MAHREZ will only grow under Pep Guardiola alongside much higher quality teammates.

My team, FC Barcelona, will… be stronger at the back with a superb goalkeeper in Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti growing in stature. They’re now a real team and not just an attacking force.

Mark my words… Zinedine Zidane will be managing Manchester United before Christmas. More of the old school of English managers will be replaced by younger continental coaches.

There’s a new face in Turin. You may already know his name.

Dan Jamieson, CEO

Premier League winners: MANCHESTER CITY haven’t gone backwards so should retain the title under Pep Guardiola. That said, key component Fernandinho must stay fit.
2nd – Liverpool 3rd – Tottenham Hotspur 4th – Arsenal
Relegated: Newcastle United, Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town
Golden Boot: SERGIO AGUERO is the biggest goal threat in the league’s best and most creative team.

Serie A winners: It’s not just the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo that makes JUVENTUS favourites. It’s also the capture of Emre Can and the return of Leonardo Bonucci.
La Liga winners: Lionel Messi and FC BARCELONA win the league title for fun but is another league and cup double really enough?
Bundesliga winners: I’ll go with RB LEIPZIG just for the fun of it.

UEFA Champions League winners: From a tactical standpoint, LIVERPOOL are more suited to winning on the ultimate stage than in domestic competitions.
UEFA Europa League winners: Unai Emery knows how to win this competition and he’ll bring that nous to ARSENAL.

Signing of the season: NABY KEITA is like Roy Keane on steroids mixed with Paul Ince on fast forward.

My team, Liverpool, will… be pipped to the post by a Manchester City team who have more experience. But teams coming to attack allows us to counter with extreme pace so it should be another exciting campaign at Anfield.

Mark my words… Manchester United will implode, leaving Jose Mourinho to pack his bags and leave his hotel just in time for Christmas. England‘s youth players will start to break in to first teams across the country – the future is bright for 2026. Fulham (who have bought very well over the summer, by the way) will stay up with a surprisingly entertaining brand of football.

Jose Mourinho is into his third season at Manchester United…

Ben Soley, Sales and Marketing Manager

Premier League winners: Out of sheer hope as much as expectation, I’ll say LIVERPOOL.
2nd – Manchester City 3rd – Manchester United 4th – Chelsea
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Crystal Palace
Golden Boot: HARRY KANE will finally break his August duct and, despite being exhausted from his FIFA World Cup exploits, the Englishman will win this honour yet again.

Serie A winners: Could you imagine JUVENTUS not winning the title now?
La Liga winners: FC BARCELONA will surely be Spanish champions again.
Bundesliga winners: The obvious choice in Germany is BAYERN MUNICH.

UEFA Champions League winners: Isn’t it FC BARCELONA‘s turn again?
UEFA Europa League winners: With a mere 50 hours left of the transfer window at the time of writing CHELSEA have only to keep their squad together to walk this competition.

Signing of the season: NABY KEITA gives Liverpool a new famous number eight as well as a proper number one.

My team, Liverpool, will… start strong but find themselves in second place after a tricky spell around Christmas time. Still, dare I say it’s our year? In the end they’ll have the league won with two games to spare.

Mark my words… Jose Mourinho will be gone by this time next year while at the same time the world transfer record will be broken once again and Liverpool will have won silverware. I also predict that I will have changed my mind about most of the above within the first two weeks of the season.

Liverpool’s Naby Keita is much-fancied to be a hit in the Premier League.

James Tildesley, Head of New Business

Premier League winners: No surprises here, really. I can’t see anyone beating MANCHESTER CITY. The only thing that I can see upsetting their dominance is an injury to Fernandinho as they don’t have a quality replacement at the time of writing.
2nd – Liverpool 3rd – Arsenal 4th – Tottenham Hotspur
Relegated: Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace
Golden Boot: The metronome that is HARRY KANE wins this while Mohamed Salah does well again… but not as well as last season.

Serie A winners: AC Milan will run JUVENTUS close.
La Liga winners: With Real Madrid in transition, FC BARCELONA retain the title.
Bundesliga winners: If anyone gets near BAYERN MUNICH expect the Bavarian side to buy their key players at the end of the season.

UEFA Champions League winners: FC BARCELONA will beat Manchester City in the final.
UEFA Europa League winners: If CHELSEA embrace the playing style of new manager Mauricio Sarri, they’ll be excellent in Europe.

Signing of the season: NABY KEITA is exactly what Liverpool need and he suits their playing style perfectly.

My team, Aston Villa, will… reach the play-offs at best. They need to rebuild after last season and the new owners will help with that. But to galvanise the team enough to put consistent performances across 46 gruelling games and win that league is a step too far.

Mark my words… Burnley will drop like a stone with the addition of European football to their fixture list. They’ll finish 17th. Manchester United will have a horrendous season with Jose Mourinho gone in January. Losing Assistant Manager Rui Faria is massive – it’s going to be a hard watch for United fan this season.

Steven Gerrard is the big story in Scotland as he looks to topple Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic.

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

Premier League winners: LIVERPOOL have just about enough to topple Manchester City. Either way this will be an enthralling title race that goes down to the wire. Buckle up, this is going to be a classic.
2nd – Manchester City 3rd – Tottenham Hotspur 4th – Chelsea
Relegated: Cardiff City, Bournemouth and a Rafa-less Newcastle United
Golden Boot: Another season among Europe’s top scorers cements HARRY KANE‘s place among the Premier League greats.

Serie A winners: Carlo Ancelotti pulls off the mother of all upsets in bringing the Scudetto back to NAPOLI.
La Liga winners: Arturo Vidal gives FC BARCELONA much-needed backbone. La Blaugrana won’t be stopped in Spain – unless they find themselves twelve yards from goal, of course.
Bundesliga winners: John Williams’ Imperial March plays as BAYERN MUNICH sweep their rivals aside once again.

UEFA Champions League winners: Those of us who had at least one eye open during the FIFA World Cup will have seen just how fearless and seemingly unstoppable Kylian Mbappe is right now. Under the astute guidance of Thomas Tuchel, this is the year that PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN finally get it right.
UEFA Europa League winners: Rangers storm to success in Baku… only joking. Not even Stevie G can pull off a miracle of that magnitude. I’ll play it safe and go with perennial UEL winners SEVILLA.

Signing of the season: Tottenham’s capture of… wait… what? Oh. Oh my. Okay, in that case, I’ll go with ALISSON. The keeper will prove his distribution is as assured as his brilliant shot-stopping.

My team, Cambridge United, will… finish so aggressively mid-table that they may even break the league in two. My other team, Rangers, will close the gap on Celtic, win at least one Old Firm derby and snag the Bhoys’ Treble Treble by claiming one of the cups. All aboard the Steven Gerrard bandwagon – the Gers are on their way back.

Mark my words… the pressure on Premier League officials to implement VAR will prove all too much after a campaign riddled with refereeing mishaps. Ryan Sessegnon will be snapped up by a top six side in January amid fresh calls for his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England squad but the most exciting home-grown prospect will break through down the road at Chelsea. Callum Hudson-Odoi, remember the name.

Lionel Messi’s FC Barcelona are expected to retain the Spanish title.

Brett Sinclair, Warehouse Manager

Premier League winners: MANCHESTER CITY‘s very talented squad will cruise to the title if they stay fit.
2nd – Tottenham Hotspur 3rd – Liverpool 4th – Chelsea
Relegated: Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Fulham
Golden Boot: This is tough one with some of the world’s best footballers playing in the league this season but I hope PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG’s pace gets the service it deserves.

Serie A winners: I expect great things from JUVENTUS after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. Juve will be closely followed by Napoli.
La Liga winners: FC BARCELONA take the title with Real Madrid not too far behind.
Bundesliga winners: No-one will come close to BAYERN MUNICH as they glide to victory.

UEFA Champions League winners: JUVENTUS will push through. For their sake, I hope the officials are more switched on this season.
UEFA Europa League winners: CHELSEA will focus on winning this.

Signing of the season: FELIPE ANDERSON will do great things for West Ham United.

My team, Leicester City, will… finish fifth this season. There’s not much else they can do. It would be great to see a repeat of their title-winning exploits in 2015-16 but it’s best to be realistic.

Mark my words… Arsenal will not lift a trophy this season or finish in the top five. Sorry to all the Gunners out there.

Paul Pogba is now a world champion – can he shine at Old Trafford?

Daryl Angel, Head of Customer Support

Premier League winners: MANCHESTER UNITED
2nd – Liverpool 3rd – Manchester City 4th – Arsenal
Relegated: Southampton, Cardiff City and Brighton and Hove Albion
Golden Boot: ROMELU LUKAKU shares the honour with HARRY KANE.

Serie A winners: I would love to see one of the Milan sides back on top but I don’t think it’s possible after CR7‘s move to JUVENTUS.
La Liga winners: FC BARCELONA, no doubt about this.
Bundesliga winners: I would love to see BAYERN MUNICH toppled but I don’t think anyone has the squad to do so.

UEFA Champions League winners: MANCHESTER UNITED will face JUVENTUS in the final with Paul Pogba scoring the winner… but for whom I don’t know yet.
UEFA Europa League winners: Having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stages, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN treat the UEFA Europa League as the most important trophy of the season.

Signing of the season: 35-year-old Lee Grant at Manchester United… or Jack Wilshere for West Ham United. JEAN MICHAEL SERI to Fulham could also be one of the coups of the summer.

My team, Manchester United, will… either win the league or crash and burn ten games into the season and sack Jose Mourinho before Christmas. I hope Mourinho’s third season curse is about to change.

Mark my words… everybody will see that £70million for Allison is ridiculous and Liverpool fans will be singing for the return of Loris Karius by Christmas. Rangers will finally challenge Celtic in the SPL. Paul Pogba will either become Manchester United club captain or be gone by this time next year.


So, that’s what we think will go down during this season’s campaign. But what do you think? Send us your predictions by getting in touch via our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages!

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