Euro 2024 Predictions: This could be the one for Scotland - and Kylian Mbappe

Here are our football writers predictions for the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

How far do you predict Scotland will go at Euro 2024?

Mark Atkinson: This is a really difficult one. On the form Scotland showed in qualification, there should be optimism that this group of players can be the first to make it out of the groups. Germany, Switzerland and Hungary is a reasonable group, given none of the teams are ranked in the top 15 - this is technically the weakest pool at the Euros. But with injuries to important players such as Lyndon Dykes and neither first-choice right-back available, plus just one win in nine matches, the Scots’ case is weakened. The experience of the last Euros should help the squad and with that in mind, I'll predict a third-place finish and advancement to the last 16, where the journey will almost certainly end against one of the bigger fish in the pond.

Graham Falk: Further than they ever have done before. Their experience at Euro 2020 is going to really help the squad, who now know what it takes to get out of the group stages. The game against Germany is a real tough ask, but there’s absolutely zero reason that Scotland can’t beat Switzerland in Cologne next week. Hungary isn’t easy, but surely this time Steve Clarke’s side can qualify as one of the best third placed teams? I’m tipping Scotland to make the last 16.

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Alan Pattullo: This could be the one. Last 16, via a third-place finish in the group.

Matthew Elder: While Scotland have regressed since qualification for the Euros was secured, there is still reason to be optimistic over their chances of progressing beyond the group stages for the first time. With the four best third-placed teams entering the last 16, just one victory and a favourable goal difference could be enough, and this should not be beyond them. While defeating hosts Germany in the tournament opener would be a tall order, Steve Clarke's side should fancy their chances against Switzerland and Hungary. The middle game against the Swiss is the key one for me. Scotland don't want to leave themselves with too much to do in the final match. I don't see Scotland going any further than the first knock-out game.

Who are your three players to watch at the Euros?

Mark: No real surprises here. Kylian Mbappe is the best forward in the world with his pace, athleticism and finishing prowess. He will be hurting after the World Cup final defeat and has the ability to single-handedly fire France to the title. England's Jude Bellingham has experienced an exceptional first season at Real Madrid and has the potential to be England's game-changer. And now Cristiano Ronaldo isn't on our screens as often as usual since moving to Saudi Arabia, I think we may see a blockbuster performance from him. He knows he does not have many more - if any - major competitions left in him and this Portugal team has the potential to go deep.

Graham: I absolutely love watching Jude Bellingham and I believe he could be the difference for England this summer. We’ve seen the likes of Wayne Rooney and Paul Gascoigne light up major tournament for England before - but Jude just seems to have a mentality that matches his talent. Elsewhere, France’s young midfielder Warren Zaïre-Emery is just 18 and a regular starter for Paris Saint-Germain while Netherlands’ midfielder Xavi Simons has really matured over the last few years. These three are my players to watch.

Alan: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Georgia’s talented Napoli winger, playmaker Dani Olmo of Spain and Florian Wirtz, the young Germany attacking midfielder who has been such a star for Bayer Leverkusen this season.

Matthew: Jude Bellingham has had an unbelievable debut season with Real Madrid and will carry the hopes of England on his shoulders at the age of just 20. France superstar Kylian Mbappe will look to live up to his galactico tag ahead of his move to Real Madrid, while Arsenal's Kai Havertz will be Germany's dangerman on home soil.

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Who is your Euro 2024 dark horse?

Mark: I don't think there will be too many surprises in these Euros and the cream will almost certainly rise to the top come the quarter-finals. I would keep an eye on Ukraine, though, who are a resolute team that showed their fortitude by coming through the play-offs. They have two very proficient strikers in Roman Yaremchuk and Artem Dobvyk and I'd expect them to come out of a navigable group that includes Portugal, Romania and Slovakia

Graham: Can we class Belgium as a dark horse? So often tipped for big things, people seem to think they don’t stand much of a chance now the so-called ‘golden generation’ are no longer part of the squad. However, I think they have a great mix of world class talent and hungry new players in their squad, combined with a group they should win. I think the Belgian’s can surprise some. I feel like Slovenia might do something this year too with Benjamin Sesko arriving on the world stage.

Alan: Sadly, Hungary – one of Scotland’s Group A rivals.

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Matthew: Scotland's Group A opponents Hungary go into the tournament with just one defeat in their last 15 matches - and they were very unfortunate to lose their unbeaten record to Ireland in injury-time last week. They are one of the form nations in Europe and have a genuine match-winner in Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai. They will fancy their chances of causing a few upsets in what is their third consecutive Euros appearance.

Who will win the Golden Boot at Euro 2024?

Mark: It's always worth looking at players who have 'cannon fodder' in the group, Georgia and Romania fall into those categories for me, so Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku are of interest. However, it is hard to bet against Kylian Mbappe, given France will be on the premises and have Austria and Poland in their group. Harry Kane will no doubt run him close in England colours.

Graham: I am tipping Dortmund’s Niclas Füllkrug to claim it. He’s scored 12 in 29 in the Bundesliga and I think Germany are going to do really well in this tournament. He is likely to be their number nine, so he should get plenty of opportunities in front of goal. I think Kai Havertz could also be there or thereabouts for this one after finding his shooting boots last season for Arsenal. Keep an eye on Sesko too, depending on how far Slovenia go.

Alan: Kylian Mbappe.

Matt: Penalty takers are often there or thereabouts at major finals - particularly now with VAR now in operation - so it is hard to see past Kylian Mbappe, who is just as dangerous from open play as he is from the spot. Harry Kane will run him close.

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Who are you predicting will win Euro 2024?

Mark: France. They have the best all-round team and a manager who knows how to win tournaments. Honourable mentions to England, who certainly have the attacking armoury to go very close, and Portugal, but if the French fire on all cylinders with the most dangerous forward in the world on song, they will be hard to stop.

Graham: They’ve fallen at the group stages in the last two World Cups and were knocked out in the last 16 at the last Euros - so I think Germany are due a good run in a major tournament and I am backing them to win it. We’ve all seen the difference Bundesliga fans can make and they’ll all band together for Julian Nagelsmann’s side this summer. I believe it is likely they’ll meet England at some stage, which will be a real test for them, but I really think the trophy has Germany’s name all over it.

Alan: France.

Matt: France. The bulk of the squad who reached the World Cup final in Qatar remain and, with talisman Kylian Mbappe leading the attack, they will be hard to stop. England should be major contenders with the talent at their disposal while Germany could go as far as the final with their home fans behind them.

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