By 90Min
September 10, 2019

The international break might bring a far from popular two-week break to domestic football, but over the last fortnight, fans have been able to catch a glimpse of sides who could be in action at next year's European championships.

The competition next June will be played across 12 different countries in Europe, with venues ranging from Wembley Stadium and the Allianz Arena to stadiums in Hungary and Romania.

All eyes are still on the usual suspects ahead of Euro 2020, but the most recent rounds of qualification have shown that there could be some new dark horses next year, including some nations returning to major competitions and even a new one altogether.

Here are six of the teams that could cause quite the upset at Euro 2020 next summer.


Poland

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Last Major Tournament: World Cup 2018

With Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski leading the line for Jerzy Brzęczek's side for what might be the last time at a major tournament, Poland's best ever goalscorer will be going into the competition with a point to prove.


AC Milan's emerging Krzysztof Piątek offers fantastic depth at the top end of the pitch, while a blend of experience and youth elsewhere could see the Eagles come closer than ever before to matching their golden era during the 1970s and 1980s.


11 players have been handed international debuts since the start of last year to help freshen up the squad, including former Arsenal star Krystian Bielik and versatile forward Dawid Kownacki.


Player to Watch: Sebastian Szymanski (Dinamo Moscow)


Austria

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Last Major Tournament: Euro 2016

Just like Poland, Austria are among a group of countries who are just outside what most would consider the elite group of international football.

Household names like David Alaba and Marko Arnautović are joined by some of the most exciting talents coming through the ranks both in the Austrian top flight and its natural stepping in the Bundesliga.

They've only got a combined 14 appearances between them, but Stefan Posch, Konrad Laimer and Xaver Schlager will cement their place in Austria's first-team before next summer, helping to bring more balance to a top-heavy side which all too often struggles to show up against international football's heavyweights.

Player to Watch: Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)


Kosovo

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Last Major Tournament: N/A

As a team who only became part of UEFA and FIFA in 2016, Kosovo are on track to make an appearance at next summer's European championships - either through standard qualification or the Nations League play-offs.

They lost nine out of their 11 opening matches since becoming part of UEFA and FIFA, but Kosovo are taking an unbeaten run which has lasted for almost two years into their Euro 2020 qualifier with England on Tuesday.

Top goalscorer Arbër Zeneli, a former Sweden Under-21 international, will be a major threat next summer in an exciting attacking system that also includes ex-Manchester City star, Bersant Celina.

Player to Watch: Milot Rashica (Werder Bremen)


Republic of Ireland

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Last Major Tournament: Euro 2016

Ranked 32nd in the world by FIFA, the Republic of Ireland could cause quite a stir next summer if they can maintain their form from qualifying.


They're among 10 sides out of the 55 who are taking part in Euro 2020 qualification who are still unbeaten, having drawn against Group D favourites Denmark and Switzerland.

They caused a few headaches at the Euros three years ago by getting results against Sweden and Italy, as well as taking hosts France down to the wire, but with an average age of just over 27, Mick McCarthy's side is crying out for an injection of young players to give them a much-needed facelift. 

Fortunately, exciting talents like Adam Idah and Troy Parrott could still break into the senior team before the competition next summer.

Player to Watch: Callum Robinson (Sheffield United)


Italy

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Last Major Tournament: Euro 2016

Italy will be coming into the competition with a serious point to prove after their rebuilding process in recent years, having failed to get past the quarter-final stage of a competition in seven years, where even then they were thumped 4-0 by Spain at the European championships.

Manager Roberto Mancini has made a number of changes since he was appointed last year, handing almost 20 new players their international debuts for the Azzurri, including Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma), Nicolò Barella (Inter) and Brazil-born full-back Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea).

Mancini has lost just twice since taking over Italy and is currently on a seven-match winning run, with his side scoring 19 goals and conceding just three.

Player to Watch: Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina)


Ukraine

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Last Major Tournament: Euro 2016

A side who no longer have Brazilian imports as their biggest stars, football icon Andriy Shevchenko has taken qualification by storm after developing an exciting generation of players at both ends of the pitch with Ukraine.

They've conceded the fewest amount of goals (one) out of the 55 teams taking part in the qualifiers - level with Belgium and England - and are averaging more than two goals per game.

Their 5-0 win over a star-studded Serbia side earlier this year earmarked Ukraine as a potential dark horse for Euro 2020, especially as it built on Shevchenko's run of just one defeat since November 2017.


Player to Watch: Viktor Tsyhankov (Dynamo Kyiv)

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