Rome, June 11: Euro 2020 is all set to kick off on Saturday (June 12), after it got postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2016 Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal had won the cup in France.
This time the tournament will be hosted across 11 unique venues across the 11 European nations. Amsterdam, Baku, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Bucharest, Budapest, London, Munich, Rome, Saint Petersburg, and Seville will be hosting the league stage, a round of 16 and quarterfinal games.
The semifinals and the final will be played at the Wembley Stadium in London. Top footballers from Europe will be eager to make a mark. Here is six hottest strikers from Europe.
1. Kylian Mbappe (France)
France will be eager to make amends for not winning the Euro in their own backyard four years ago. Mbappe will have a huge role in France's ambitions as since the last three years, he has been touted as one of the best marksmen in the world. Speed. Control. Dribbling. Aim. Mbappe has everything a striker need. The Paris St Germain forward is the top-scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 27 goals, seven more than countryman Wissam Ben Yedder. Along with Antoine Griezmann, Mbappe might just form lethal pair.
2. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
Belgium are the world's top-ranked team and are leading contenders to win a first major tournament, three years after finishing third at the World Cup in Russia. Their hopes will depend to a large extent on the fitness and form of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, but they will need Lukaku to put the ball in the net.
Having made his senior debut aged 16 for Anderlecht, it feels like Lukaku has been around forever. Now 28, he is in the form of his life, fresh from scoring 30 goals in all competitions for Inter Milan, including 24 in their run to the Serie A title. He is Belgium's record goal-scorer with 60 in 93 appearances for his country, including four at the 2018 World Cup and seven in just five appearances in Euro qualifying.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Ronaldo is 36 now, so this could be his penultimate appearance at a major international tournament. His role in Portugal's Euro 2016 triumph was actually limited -- he scored just three goals, albeit including the opener in the semifinal against Wales, and he came off injured in the first half of the final against France.
Ronaldo's importance to Portugal may not be what it once was either given the wealth of talent spread throughout their team. However, he is still coming off a season in which he scored 36 goals for Juventus, and the Portugal skipper is now eyeing the all-time international scoring record of 109 held by Iran's Ali Daei -- Ronaldo is currently just five shy of that figure.
4. Harry Kane (England)
Kane's build-up to the Euro has been overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding his future at club level after he indicated last month that it might be time for him to leave Tottenham Hotspur. However, the 27-year-old England captain will need to put that to the back of his mind to focus on Euro 2020 as he prepares to lead Gareth Southgate's attack.
The top scorer at the 2018 World Cup with six goals, Kane went on to score 12 times in Euro 2020 qualifying and was the top scorer in the Premier League in the season just finished with 23 goals, despite playing in an underperforming Spurs team.
Given the qualify of players around him creating the chances, it could be another prolific summer for Kane.
5. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
At 32, Lewandowski is at the peak of his powers, fresh from breaking Gerd Mueller's long-standing record for the most goals in a Bundesliga season as he netted 41 times in 29 appearances for Bayern Munich.
Had the Ballon d'Or been awarded last year, Lewandowski would have been a worthy winner. His chances of winning it this year probably depend on how he performs at the Euro for Poland, and Lewandowski has not done well at recent major tournaments -- he netted just once at Euro 2016 and not at all as his country limped out of the last World Cup in the group stage. But the Polish man has the bearings to make an amend.
Black horse: Karim Benzema (France)
The return of Benzema to the France squad was sensational news, the Real Madrid striker ending five and a half years in the international wilderness. He had not played for his country since a blackmail scandal over a sex tape involving his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena broke in 2015.
His hopes of a recall seemed to recede in January, when French prosecutors said they had decided to send Benzema and four others for trial. However, coach Didier Deschamps could no longer ignore Benzema's form after a season in which he scored 30 goals Real. His addition further strengthens an already fearsome France side.