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Will Home Advantage Help England Win Euro 2020?

Will Home Advantage Help England Win Euro 2020?

It's not easy to win any trophy in football, and especially not a trophy as highly sought after as the European Championship. You need all the help that you can get. With lucky decisions now no longer part of the equation (thanks to VAR), the concept of home advantage has risen to prominence. England's matches have and will largely take place at Wembley, making this a de facto home tournament. And so far, so good. Raheem Sterling is among the favourites to be the top goalscorer at the tournament because of the goals he just keeps on scoring at Wembley. Would he have scored quite as many if England had been playing in Seville or Copenhagen? It's not a clear no, but you'd have to think that's probably the answer.

In this blog, we're going to dive deep into the ‘home advantage factor' that may or may not contribute to England's Euro 2020 success.

Happy Scheduling

England will be happy that the majority of their games will take place at Wembley. This was not necessarily going to be the case. If they do end up lifting the trophy, they'll have played all but one of their matches in London. The only game that they'd have played outside of the capital will be the quarter-final match, which will take place in Rome. What will really make the competition feel like a home tournament is that both the semi-finals and the final will take place at Wembley. There were other contenders, but Wembley won the right. You can imagine that should England compete in those games, they'll have an advantage over their opposition.

Not that Wembley hosting these matches is down to luck. The stadium is recognised as the best in Europe; indeed, one of the best in the world. It makes sense to host the matches there.

Pressure to Perform

Of course, while playing at home can bring its advantages, it's not always a walk in the park. It's probably only an advantage when you're playing well. In some of the earlier group games, we saw how playing in front of your fans could be a disadvantage. With England struggling to hit their rhythm, the fans expressed their displeasure by booing. All sides can go within themselves a little when they're playing in front of their fans, especially during such a big tournament, in which they are one of the favourites. But England are especially susceptible.

The good news for England is that they would have to play especially poorly to receive such treatment again. In the early days of the competition, England were expected to not only win but win in style. At the business end of the tournament, fans won't care how entertaining the match is. They'll just care about the result.

Easy Travels

Home advantage doesn't just have an impact during the matches. It also has an impact before and after the games, too. Plane travel within Europe is not as tiring as inter-continent travel, but it's far from relaxing. Some teams have had to zigzag their way across Europe every few days. England will only take two flights: one that'll take them to Rome, and one that'll bring them back. After their games in London, they can just get on the coach and make the easy trip back to base. Other teams need to board a flight. This will likely only bring a slight advantage, but in such a highly competitive tournament, a slight advantage can make all the difference.

Will England have home advantage in Euro 2020?

What Others Say

What are the advantages of home advantage, exactly? In part, it's because you're playing in a stadium where you already know the changing rooms, the area, the pitch, the quirks and problems, and so on. You can just focus on the game, because you've been at the stadium many times before. And then there's the passionate support, which can make all the difference when the team needs an extra dose of motivation.

But the other advantage is the effect that it can have on the opposition. Take, for example, what Luka Modric had to say about so many of England's games taking place at Wembley. He said it was "unfair." It could be that he was just responding to a question, rather than something that he felt all that strongly about. But when a player or team begins making excuses before the game has happened, that usually suggests a losing mentality. Or at the very least, it's not a comment that inspires confidence.

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez also thinks the Wembley factor will influence the tournament. “By playing at home, England has an advantage,” he said. This could be a tactic to heap more pressure on one of his rivals, but he's also probably not entirely incorrect. There is an advantage. Whether the advantage is big enough to take England to glory is another matter, however.

The Limits of Home Advantage

Of course, nobody wins a tournament because of home advantage. It can give an edge, but it can't catapult a side to glory. The good news for England is that they're playing well. That means they'll be in a pole position to make the most of the advantage. It's only an opportunity; the team will have to take the opportunity!

England: The Most to Gain

The home advantage factor cannot be discounted. The key detail is that both the semi-final and final will take place in London. Will that feel like anything other than an obvious home game for England, should they make it that far? It's impossible. Wembley is their home! And for the opposition, it will not feel like a neutral venue (on the basis that it's not). It'll feel like a home game for England on the pitch. But it's also important to think about before the match, too. The coaches will be applauded by passionate England fans. The weather will be England-appropriate. Some teams travel well. England play better in London.

If football's coming home, it's coming to Wembley. And Wembley will have played a role in the journey towards success, too.

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