Joe Cole believes England will win the Euros because it’s about time the 'gods were on our side.'

Serial underachievers England are still widely considered favourites for glory in Germany this summer despite failing to register a win over Brazil and Belgium in the March internationals.

An expert in heartache, Cole’s three major international tournaments ended in penalty and ‘ghost goal’ agony, so he feels it’s time the Three Lions had the rub of the green.

Asked if he thinks England will the Euros, Cole said: “Yeah, I do. What you have to remember is that we’ve had so much bad luck in tournaments.

“Our era will hold our hands up, we weren’t good enough tactically, but we could still have won something if the gods were on our side.

“This England team, at some point, are going to win a knockout game where we get a bit lucky, maybe someone else will get a soft red card.

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“We’re good enough in every area, we just need the gods.”

Even under current manager Gareth Southgate, England have endured some pretty painful tournament exits.

Penalties were again their undoing in Euro 2020 against Italy and in the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, but Cole is confident the hard luck stories will end this year.

“I’ve watched the journey of this team and I feel like it’s as good a chance as we’ve ever had,” said Cole, speaking to promote the launch of the Topps official trading cards and stickers for UEFA EURO 2024.

“When you look at recent history, we just fell short against Croatia, we were a penalty away in Euro 2020 and if it went to penalties again I’d be quite confident.

“The ball strikers we’ve got, Ivan Toney, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer. In all aspects of where you think England could fall over, we’ve improved.

“You need a bit of luck, but we’ve got a great shout.”

As a pundit for Channel 4, Cole got a good look at one of England’s possible challengers when Belgium came within seconds of a famous win at Wembley before Jude Bellingham ’s last-gasp leveller.

Nations League holders Spain are also likely to be in the mix but Cole suspects it’s two of England’s oldest foes who pose the greatest threat.

“I thought Belgium were good, they’ll be there or thereabouts,” said the 42-year-old. “They impressed me more than I had anticipated.”

“There’s France, obviously, and Germany at home. Don’t underestimate the Germans, they know how to get it done and they’re playing at home too.

“Results have picked up for them over the last few games so they’ll have a better feeling going into it. I think the winner will come from England, France or Germany.”

Should all go according to plan, England’s path to glory will include a semi-final against France in Dortmund on July 6.

Given England’s defensive shortcomings and current injury casualties, a fully firing Kylian Mbappe would make for an ominous final four opponent.

Southgate is far from replete with options in defence and so Cole has urged England fans to put their trust in Harry Maguire despite his lack of playing time at Manchester United.

“There’s no perfect team out there,” said Cole. “If you look at France, or Germany, they’ve all got frailties and so have we.

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“Harry Maguire has been unbelievable for England, he’s never let us down.

“I think Gareth will start Harry again, he’s very loyal to players who have done well and when you look at what he’s done for England, he could say he’s as good as England have had at centre half for decades.

“He was in the team of the tournament at Euro 2020 and could have been in the one for the 2018 World Cup too and people forget that.”

And while past England teams have wilted under the weight of expectation, Cole believes the key to success this summer is playing with freedom.

“We need to play on the front foot, play high and get on the ball,” he added.

“We will concede chances but we will out score other teams.”

“We have an abundance of attacking talent, they will all defend and have their own responsibilities and that’s how we’re going to win the Euros.”

Joe Cole was speaking to Jacqui Oatley at an event to mark the launch of Topps’ official UEFA EURO 2024™ sticker collection, which launches of April 4th