FA chief executive Martin Glenn believes England should be aiming to lift the trophy when Wembley Stadium hosts the final of Euro 2020.
Glenn was speaking at London’s City Hall where the branding for Euro 2020 was unveiled – an event hosted by London mayor Sadiq Khan and representatives from the 12 other European cities that are hosting games in this one-off version of the competition.
With Wembley staging the two semi-finals and final of the event, new FA chairman Greg Clarke said during his welcome speech that England should try to “at least replicate” the team’s achievement the last time the country hosted the Euros in 1996, when they reached the semi-finals.
But when asked later if that was ambitious enough, Glenn said: “We’ll turn up to every tournament as contenders. That has to be our expectation.
“You can never say you’re going to win it because everybody else wants to win it too.
“But that is our ambition: to turn up to every tournament as a reasonable favourite and take it from there.”
While some will applaud Glenn’s willingness to set a bold target for the team, others will point out that targets have to be reasonable for them to mean anything. And England’s dire record in recent tournaments, including this summer’s defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016, suggests this goal may be too much of a stretch.
Earlier this month Clarke described his predecessor Greg Dyke’s infamous countdown to World Cup glory in 2022 clock at the FA’s St George’s Park training base as “daft”.
Predictions of success on home turf in four years’ time also imply the team will definitely reach Euro 2020, which is not guaranteed as all 24 places are up for grabs in qualifying.
But, in keeping with the innovation of sharing matches at the finals around Europe, the qualifying format is also different for Euro 2020, with a new UEFA Nations League effectively replacing the play-offs as a second chance for four nations to reach the final competition. The first 20 places will be settled as usual via qualifying groups in 2019.
Glenn admitted England should take “nothing for granted” about qualifying but said that “doesn’t appear to be the issue for us”, as experience would suggest England’s troubles start once the competition gets stiffer.