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A summer of high-stakes soccer officially kicks off on Friday, when Germany take on Scotland in the first game of the Euros.

Some of the sport's top talent will duke it out for Europe's top prize in the international game, three years after Gianluigi Donnarumma-led Italy won the Euros for the first time since 1968. The Azzurri's big win means that a handful of stars arrive in Germany with the hopes of winning the trophy for the first time, including France's Kylian Mbappe and England's Harry Kane. It sets up for a month full of competitive matchups, as well as a chance for several teams to prove their worth on the big stage provided by a major international tournament.

There will be plenty of questions to answer over the next month. Can Italy successfully defend their title? Will England live up to the hype and snap the 50-plus-year trophy drought? Can Germany rebound after several years of disappointment? Will the favorites to win the 2026 World Cup emerge from this tournament?

Ahead of the first game of the Euros, the CBS Sports team takes a stab at answering those questions the only way we know how – by making some pre-tournament predictions.

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Euro 2024 predictions

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James Benge
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
Who advances from group stage?Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Croatia, England, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, Portugal, Turkiye, Romania, Georgia, Serbia, HungaryGermany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, England, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Portugal, Czechia, Croatia, Denmark, Austria and Turkiye
Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, England, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Portugal, Czechia, Croatia, Denmark, Austria and Turkiye
Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Croatia, England, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Portugal, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czechia, Hungary
Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Croatia, England, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, Portugal, Czechia, Italy, Serbia, Poland, Romania
Golden BootKylian Mbappe, FranceKylian Mbappe, FranceHarry Kane, EnglandKai Havertz, GermanyHarry Kane, England
Breakout starMaximilian Mittelstädt, GermanyFlorian Wirtz, GermanyJoshua Zirkzee, NetherlandsXavi Simons, NetherlandsArtem Dovbyk, Ukraine

Why Slovenia are going to go through
By Jonathan Johnson
Echoing their Euro 2000 hype, Slovenia are ones to watch in Group C given that so many people will write them off automatically. England, Serbia and Denmark have much greater individual talent but the Three Lions suddenly seem a little off, the Danes a little past their prime and anyone with a passing interest in European soccer knows that Serbian talent has not always translated to on-field success in major international tournaments. Superb in qualifying alongside the Scandinavians and with genuine quality in the likes of Jan Oblak and Benjamin Sesko, as well as the mercurial Josip Ilicic, do not sleep on Matjaz Kek's men sneaking through. 

Why Kai Havertz will win Golden Boot
By Chuck Booth
Heading into Euros, Julian Nagelsmann seems set to have Kai Havertz lead the line following a strong end to the season in the same role for Arsenal. While Havertz has been a talented player, he hasn't been someone who has had a consistent run in the same position since leaving Bayer Leverkusen until now, and while he's not a prototypical number nine, getting more time in the position with strong creators behind him for the German national team will give Havertz a great chance at taking home the Golden Boot. Add in that he gets to play against a few weak defenses in the group stage while also playing in his home country, and it's the perfect time for Havertz to show the world that he can be a nine at the highest level while leading a team that has as good of a chance as any to win the entire tournament. 

Why Joshua Zirkzee will turn heads and be the breakout star
By Francesco Porzio
The Bologna striker was not meant to play in the UEFA Euro 2024 as he was not called up for the tournament but then Ronald Koeman called him up after the injury of Brian Brobbey, and he's one of the talents to watch this month. Zirkzee had a wonderful season at Bologna and he's now in talks to join AC Milan with the Rossoneri ready to pay the $40 million euros release clause. However, until the Italian giants trigger the release clause, the Euros can become a dangerous spot for other clubs to hijack the deal for the talented Dutch striker. 

Why France will win the tournament
By Jonathan Johnson
Twenty-four years on from their last Euro triumph, eight years on from their near miss on home soil and following on from their premature exit in 2020, this is the year that Les Bleus get it right. Kylian Mbappe's future is sorted, the French are stacked across all positions at all levels and Didier Deschamps knows what he expects from his squad as his players do from him. Everything is set for France to be extremely strong with only possibly Germany's wildcard factor or England finally getting it right in an international tournament standing in their way. Qualifying with an exceptional unbeaten record has set the tone for what could be a dominant summer for the French.  

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