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Students weigh in on 2024 UEFA Euro

The UH soccer team improved to 4-2-1 on the season with Sunday's win to Tulsa. | Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Houston Fans are excited to tune in to soccer magic across the globe. | Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

The 2024 UFEA Euro is underway in Germany, and Houston students weighed in on the matches.

In every tournament, there is always a team that fans consider to be a dark horse, a team that is given no expectations at all by fans. They are just there to fill up a spot, lambs to be slaughtered so that the top dogs can take over.

But through sheer willpower, they defy the odds and go on a run for the ages. And while most of the time they don’t go on to win the entire thing, they will capture the hearts of the fans and maybe shock the world, and the students who tune in from Houston.

Who are these dark horses?

Denmark knows this all too well, having finished Euro 2020 as semifinalists while dealing with an incident involving one of their star players, Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field. Denmark isn’t one of the favorites this year, but you can bet they’ll cause a few shocks.

“Denmark will make a good push to the quarterfinals,” real estate finance junior Juan Bustamante said.

Scotland is another team that some people see as dark horses. Sure, they got their stars like Robertson, McTominay, Tiereny, etc., but when you’re in a group that includes Germany and Switzerland, your chances are slim to none.

Trust me, aside from drawing England, nothing else spectacular happened to Scotland for the rest of the tournament. But hey, that doesn’t stop people from rooting for the Scotsmen.

“Scotland will make the quarterfinals and if I’m wrong, sue me,” sociology junior Arturo Martinez said.

Who will be the MVP of the tournament?

Some world-class players participating in the Euros are Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Phil Foden, Rodri, Jude Bellingham and Pedri.

It’s incredibly hard to single out who will win the prize so why not just list all the worthy contenders as Public Relations senior Joshua Ferreyra did?

“Whoever wins the award, I’m sure they’ll deserve it,” Ferreyra said. The Cougars are just letting it play out, knowing that the tough contests will pave the way for a historic tournament.

Which nation will be the biggest disappointment?

You have your dark horses, and then you have your disappointments. When it comes to disappointments, it is usually the teams that have such high expectations on their shoulders. And while many top teams do indeed fit the bill, there is only one team that the students think will not live up to them: Belgium.

“Belgium is still ranked one of the best teams in the world, yet they can never make a statement in one of these competitions,” Bustamante said.

Since 2018, The Red Devils have been considered one of the best teams in the world, even holding the No. 1 spot in the FIFA rankings a couple of times and reaching tournament highs. But despite this, they can never seem to take that extra step to be a truly elite team.

“Belgium will put up a stinker at the Euros. I can see them struggle in their group too,” Ferreyra said.

Who will be crowned champions of Europe?

At last, the big question everyone wants to know: who will win the Henri Delaunay Trophy and receive bragging rights for the next four years? Will Italy retain, or will a new country claim its right to the throne?

There were plenty of answers, but there was a consensus around one team.

“The French have superstars in every position and the bench. With Mbappe in his prime, they will inevitably win the whole thing,” Bustamante said.

While there are some favorites to win, some outside teams won the attention of Houston Fans.

“France needs their lick back from the World Cup,” Martinez said. “I say England at first every time, but then their fanbase acts so spoiled and annoying.”

Anything can happen in a tournament like this, so all the nations participating should have a fierce, and fiery battle out in Germany.

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