Ex-Everton Stars' European Championship Guide

Italy and Turkey meet in Rome on Friday to kick off the delayed 2020 European Championship – and we have asked a host of former Everton players to preview the intriguing 24-team competition.

Leon Osman, Don Hutchison, Anders Limpar, Mark Pembridge, Sylvain Distin, Stuart McCall, James Vaughan and Gavin McCann all provide their tips and thoughts on what is set to unfold across the next month.

The Wembley final takes place on Sunday 11 July.

Leon Osman (capped twice by England)

Winners? I am split between France and Belgium, two teams full of top-class players.

Top scorer? Sticking with those two sides, either Olivier Giroud or Romelu Lukaku.

How do you expect the three home nations to fare? I think England will reach the last four, then fingers crossed from there.

Scotland and Wales to both get as far as the last 16.

Potential surprise package: Italy. They are not being spoken about a great deal but I expect them to be in the mix.

Player to watch: I can’t separate the three exciting England talents; Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.

And our [Everton] players, of course.

What are you most looking forward to? I am excited about all of it.

Don Hutchison (26 caps and six goals for Scotland)

Winners: France.

Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku.

Potential surprise package: I'm another who fancies Italy to do well under Roberto Mancini.

Player to watch: Nicolo Barella from Italy – a top young midfielder who will be full of confidence after winning Serie A with Inter Milan.

What are you most looking forward to? England v Scotland.

Mark Pembridge (54 caps and six goals for Wales)

Winners: England. They have a fantastic squad, plenty of youth and players with experience of going to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

The World Cup was heavy on set plays, which are a strength of this England team, and I think this competition will be the same.

Top scorer: If England do as well as I expect, it's hard to look beyond Harry Kane.

What are you expecting from Scotland and Wales? I think Scotland will struggle to get out of their group.

They have some talented individuals but it is their first tournament for a long time and they have a tough draw (England, Croatia and Czech Republic).

I think Wales could reach the quarter-finals. They are defensively strong – they've had nine clean sheets in their past 13 matches – and have players capable of producing goals.

Potential surprise package:
Holland have not featured prominently in a tournament for a while and need to do something – and there is a lot of young talent emerging in the country.

Player to watch: Phil Foden, he is an absolutely fantastic player; good close control, comfortable on the ball, always knows what he's doing with it and has end product.

What are you most looking forward to? Watching three games a day, with fans in the stadiums. It’s a shame there won’t be full houses but supporters creating proper atmospheres will be fantastic for the tournament.

Anders Limpar (58 caps and six goals for Sweden, played at 1992 European Championship and World Cups in 1990 and 1994)

Winners? Belgium.

Top scorer? Harry Kane.

How do you expect the three home nations – and Sweden – to fare? Sweden to the quarter-finals and England one step further, into the last four.

I don't see Scotland getting out of their group but Wales to reach the last-16.

Potential surprise package: Czech Republic.

Player to watch: Kevin De Bruyne

What are you most looking forward to? Watching Spain play football. And it would be nice to see England playing Sweden in the last-16.

Sylvain Distin (210 Everton appearances)

Winners: France.

Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku.

How will England fare? I can see them doing very well – until they meet France, of course.

Seriously, though, it’s a young squad but full of quality and very dangerous offensively.

Potential surprise package: No one seems to be talking about Belgium.

I appreciate it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team doing well but because of the lack of noise around them, they’re my choice.

Player to watch: I really like Kalvin Phillips, he is good at everything.

What are you most looking forward to? Everything. I am not too good with predictions and don’t want to jinx it for France but I am excited about the whole competition.

James Vaughan (Represented England at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels)

Winners: France.

Top scorer: Harry Kane.

How do you expect the three home nations to fare?: England to reach the semi-finals, Scotland can get through their group but Wales out before the knockout stage.

Potential surprise package: Scotland.

Player to watch: Jude Bellingham, if he plays. I think he is going to be a star. If Bellingham's not playing regularly, then Phil Foden.

What are you most looking forward to? England v Scotland. I remember Euro ’96 [2-0 win for England] and, hopefully, it can be as good as that.

Gavin McCann (capped once by England)

Winners: France. I am hoping England but the French have so many good players.

Top scorer: Karim Benzema, Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane will all be in the running. Serge Gnabry from Germany, as well. I'll go for Lukaku.

How do you expect the three home nations to fare? England can reach the semi-finals or final. 

Scotland are a good side, strong in midfield with Scott McTominay and Billy Gilmour. It'll be a big ask to get out of that group, though.

If Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are fit and perform, Wales could go anywhere. They'll get out of their group, I'll say quarter-finals.

Potential surprise package: 
I think Sweden are a strong side. But hardly anyone has mentioned Spain, so I am going to say them.

Player to watch: You can't beat watching Kevin De Bruyne. I hope he's fit after that knock in the Champions League final.

And look out for Eden Hazard, he's been struggling with injuries and must be itching to show what he can do.

What are you most looking forward to? I am excited about seeing Phil Foden and Jack Grealish in England's team, the way they both move and take and handle the ball is a joy.

And, fingers crossed, I might have a ticket for England v Scotland. You can't beat going to the big games.

Stuart McCall (40 caps and one goal for Scotland and former national team assistant coach, played at 1992 and 1996 European Championship finals and World Cup in 1990)

Winners: If Portugal come through the Group of Death (also featuring Germany, France and Hungary), I think they can retain the trophy.

Top scorer: Harry Kane, if he stays fit through the tournament.

How do you expect the three home nations to fare? England are good enough to reach the final.

I am anticipating both Scotland and Wales getting out of their groups – and Scotland going on to the quarter-finals.

Potential surprise package: It will be a surprise to everyone if Scotland get to the knockout stages, so they are my choice.

Player to watch: Billy Gilmour, if he is picked, will shine. But I'll take Phil Foden to be player of the tournament.

What are you most looking forward to? Atmosphere. Having fans back in stadiums, singing, clapping and even jeering, will make us believe normality is – hopefully – edging nearer.