Euro 2024 is almost upon us, with Europe's finest preparing to battle it out to be crowned continental champions in Germany.

It all gets under way on Friday as Julian Nagelsmann's hosts face Scotland at the Allianz Arena. 

It seems remarkable to think Die Nationalelf – the most successful national team in Europe – have gone eight years without a knockout win at a major tournament, and they will be desperately hoping home advantage inspires a better run this time around.

England, meanwhile, will be looking to bring football home and end 58 years of hurt in the country their captain Harry Kane thrived in last season.

The Three Lions' 2022 World Cup hopes were ended by France, who are again among the favourites. There is plenty more intrigue elsewhere, from defending champions Italy being drawn in a 'group of death' with Spain and Croatia to Cristiano Ronaldo leading Portugal into a sixth edition of the Euros.

And who could forget Georgia's first tournament as an independent nation, or Scotland's attempts to upset the odds in Group A?

As Euros fever grips the continent, we run through the main storylines and contenders, pick out some underdogs and breakout stars to watch and take a look at the Opta supercomputer's predictions.

THE HOSTS

This will be the first edition of the Euros to take place solely in a unified Germany, though the Allianz Arena hosted games at Euro 2020 and West Germany staged the 1988 tournament – won by the Netherlands as Marco van Basten scored one of the most iconic goals in history against the USSR in the final.

This will be Germany's fourth major tournament as sole hosts overall, and they have always gone far on home soil, winning the 1974 World Cup and going out in the semi-finals at Euro 1988 and the 2006 World Cup.

Hopes were not high for them in late 2023 as a dismal run of friendly results saw Hansi Flick become the first Germany coach to be sacked. However, Nagelsmann has restored optimism and has a supremely talented group of players to work with.

Florian Wirtz's emergence as one of Europe's best attacking midfielders offers cause for excitement – the 21-year-old scored 11 goals and added 11 assists during Bayer Leverkusen's unbeaten Bundesliga title-winning campaign to claim Player of the Season honours.

Wirtz, Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan will likely support Kai Havertz in a fluid attacking quartet, while Toni Kroos' presence in midfield will be a major boost to a team that averaged 59.3 per cent possession at Euro 2020 – second only to Spain (66.8 per cent).

Kroos – who won his sixth Champions League with Real Madrid this month – played more line-breaking passes (214) and passes leading to final-third entries (69) than any other player in Europe's premier club competition in 2023-24.

The major question mark could pertain to Kroos' partner, with Germany having lacked a true midfield enforcer for some time.

They have conceded at least one goal in their last 12 major tournament games, last keeping a clean sheet against Slovakia in the last 16 at Euro 2016. Will that soft underbelly cost them again?

THE FAVOURITES

England

England's Euro 2024 preparations have been far from perfect, with defensive mainstay Harry Maguire missing out through injury and their final friendly ending in defeat against Iceland. However, Gareth Southgate's side enter the tournament as the Opta supercomputer's favourites.

It is not difficult to see why. In Kane, England have a striker whose tally of 44 goals in 2023-24 was only matched by Kylian Mbappe among players from Europe's top five leagues.

In Jude Bellingham, they have the outstanding player from Madrid's double-winning side, recording 36 goal involvements (23 goals, 13 assists) in his debut season in Spain. 

And in Phil Foden, Southgate can call upon the Premier League's Player of the Season, who produced talismanic performances against Manchester United, Aston Villa and West Ham to cap Manchester City's fourth straight title success. 

With Southgate thought likely to depart whatever the outcome of England's campaign, this tournament must be the culmination of their development into genuine contenders. Penalty shoot-outs excluded, England have only lost one of their last 18 Euros games (10 wins, seven draws) – against Iceland in 2016. 

With Marc Guehi now likely to partner John Stones following injury-disrupted campaigns for both players, the key may be Southgate's ability to protect his backline. 

Across the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and Euro 2020, England conceded just 0.59 goals per game and allowed opponents a paltry 0.72 expected goals (xG) per match – a figure only bettered by France (0.67) among the leading European teams to make each tournament. Reproducing that kind of solidity will be crucial. 

France

Didier Deschamps is eyeing history in Germany, where he could become the first person to win the World Cup and the Euros as both a player and a manager. 

Having reached the final at three of their last four major tournaments, Les Bleus are right up there among the favourites again.

The likes of Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema may be gone, but France still boast an incredible depth of talent, with Mbappe leading from the front as captain.

Mbappe endured a terrible tournament at Euro 2020, failing to score from chances amounting to 1.7 xG in four games, before missing the vital penalty as France were beaten by Switzerland in a last-16 shoot-out. 

Coming into this tournament on the back of a 44-goal season with Paris Saint-Germain and with his long-term future decided, few expect a repeat from Madrid's newest Galactico. 

Among the more interesting selections from Deschamps is a recall for N'Golo Kante, who was missed at the 2022 World Cup but failed to prevent Al-Ittihad from finishing a lowly fifth in the Saudi Pro League in 2023-24. With Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni also included, opposing midfielders are in for a tough time. 

A difficult group-stage draw means France will be tested from the very off, though. If they can top a pool containing the Netherlands, Austria and Poland, they could be on course to meet England in a titanic semi-final. 

Spain

Spain are the only nation to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, bookending their golden era by triumphing in 2008 and 2012. Since then, La Roja have won just two knockout ties at five major tournaments, with a 2022 World Cup exit to Morocco their nadir.  

Luis de la Fuente is the man tasked with bringing back the good times, and victory in the 2022-23 edition of the Nations League represented a decent start.

However, La Roja have been drawn into what is surely the toughest group at the Euros, with Croatia and Italy their first two opponents before they face Albania.

Spain's attractive, possession-based brand of football won them plenty of plaudits at Euro 2020 and the Qatar World Cup, but it did not win them enough games, with Italy, Japan and Morocco all keeping them at arm's length at those tournaments.

As well as averaging the most passes per sequence during Euro 2024 qualifying (six), Spain averaged the most sequences of 10+ passes per game (28.5). Adding an end product is now the aim of the game.

Alvaro Morata must step up after missing a tournament-high six big chances at Euro 2020. He did score 15 goals in LaLiga last term, though, and exciting wide duo Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams should provide him with plenty of service.

Spain's key men in midfield will be Pedri and Rodri.

Man City star Rodri saw his 18-month unbeaten run ended by Manchester United in last month's FA Cup final, but he developed into more than a midfield enforcer in 2023-24, scoring nine goals and adding 14 assists. 

Pedri, meanwhile, netted twice in a dominant 5-1 win over Northern Ireland last week, and is back to form after an stop-start season with Barcelona. His Blaugrana team-mate Gavi will be absent through injury, however.

If La Roja are to add punch to their possession play, this pair may need to be the driving force. 

Portugal

Portugal are the fifth team to be given more than a nine per cent chance of glory by the Opta supercomputer, as Cristiano Ronaldo heads into his 11th – and potentially final – tournament. 

Injury limited Ronaldo to the role of cheerleader when Portugal won Euro 2016, but he has already written his name into the competition's record books and can underline his legacy further in Germany.

Ronaldo holds the records for most games (25), most goals (14), joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) and most editions with at least one goal (five) at the Euros. 

His place was called into question at the Qatar World Cup, but Roberto Martinez has built around him since taking over last year, with the Selecao plundering 36 goals in 10 qualifiers and conceding just two.

With the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Rafael Leao, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto all making their squad, Portugal have one of the most exciting attacking line-ups at the tournament. 

A kind group-stage draw – pitting them against Czechia, Turkiye and tournament debutants Georgia also plays into their hands – and the Selecao also know topping Group F would put them on the opposite side of the draw to England and France, should they also win their groups.

Lionel Messi's triumph at the last World Cup will only have heightened Ronaldo's desire for more international silverware. With a strong supporting cast behind him, he should not be written off.

THE UNDERDOGS

Scotland

Scotland fell flat on their first tournament appearance of the century at Euro 2020, but there are reasons to suggest the Tartan Army might have more to cheer this time around. 

Steve Clarke's side were promoted to the top tier of the Nations League in 2022-23, while a famous 2-0 win over Spain at Hampden Park – courtesy of a Scott McTominay double – set the tone for their successful qualification campaign.

Having lost Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson and Lewis Ferguson to injury, Clarke's men face a difficult first test against Germany. However, one win could be enough to qualify under the 24-team format, and they might just fancy their chances of upsetting Hungary or Switzerland. 

Austria

Looking to bloody the noses of France and the Netherlands in Group D are Austria, tipped by many to be something of a surprise package under Ralf Rangnick.

Austria finished just one point behind Belgium in qualifying, Rangnick needing little time to implement his high-pressing style. They allowed opponents just 8.3 passes per defensive action (PPDA) in qualifying – the fewest of any team.

Austria also attacked with the highest direct speed (2.03 metres per second), and if their Group D opponents do not match their intensity, they could spring a surprise.

Georgia

One of the stories of the tournament can be found in Group F, with Georgia featuring at a major tournament for the first time as an independent nation – they are the only Euros debutants in Germany.

They failed to qualify directly - their Nations League performance teeing up a penalty shoot-out victory over Greece in the play-offs. They were the only team to reach the tournament while posting a negative goal difference (-6) in their qualifying group.

When it comes to one-off games, though, they do have match-winners. Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia completed the joint-most dribbles of any player in qualifying (44), alongside Jeremy Doku, also scoring four goals and providing one assist.

Georgia also have international pedigree in the dugout, with Willy Sagnol their head coach. The former France right-back only lost one of his 12 games at major tournaments as a player (six wins, five draws).

THE BREAKOUT STARS

All eyes may be on Kane, Mbappe and Ronaldo, but major tournaments are often defined by breakout stars, those players who earn big-money moves or become household names within a matter of days.

Slovenia's Benjamin Sesko could be a candidate, having attracted interest from several of Europe's biggest clubs, though he has now signed a new deal with RB Leipzig. Bellingham (19) was the only player aged 21 or younger to better his 14 goals in Europe's big five leagues last term. 

The Netherlands, who are shorn of Frenkie de Jong, may need to spread the goals around in the absence of a top-class number nine, and Feyenoord's Lutsharel Geertruida – who has played at centre-back, right-back or in midfield – had 13 goal involvements in the Eredivisie last term (eight goals, five assists).

Defending champions Italy are being overlooked by many as Luciano Spalletti oversees a period of transition. Inter midfielder Davide Frattesi could emerge as a star for the Azzurri, having scored five goals in 15 caps – more than any team-mate since his debut in 2022.

This tournament has been touted as something of a last dance for Belgium's 'Golden Generation', and PSV winger Johan Bakayoko is the Red Devils' next big hope. Only seven players bettered his 164 opposition-half take-ons in Europe's top six leagues last term, with fellow Belgium wide-man Doku (171) among them.

The supercomputer's prediction

According to the Opta supercomputer, football may finally arrive home on July 14. 

England emerged triumphant in 19.9 per cent of Opta's 10,000 tournament simulations, making them favourites ahead of France (19.1 per cent).

There is then a significant gap to the third favourites, with Germany victorious on home soil in 12.4 per cent of projections, ahead of Spain (9.6 per cent) and Portugal (9.2 per cent). 

The Netherlands (5.1 per cent) and Italy (5.0 per cent) are next, with tough group-stage draws working against them. Belgium (4.7 per cent), Denmark (2.2 per cent) and Croatia (2 per cent) round out the top 10.

Lewis Morgan believes Scotland can surprise Germany ahead of their Euro 2024 opener against the hosts this Friday. 

Steve Clarke's side travel to Munich in search of their first victory over their opponents since 1999, having failed to beat Die Mannschaft in their previous four encounters.

The New York Red Bulls winger was a late arrival in Scotland's provisional squad after it was announced Ben Doak had to withdraw through injury, and made it into the travelling group of 26. 

Morgan ended his six-year absence from the international stage with a substitute appearance in a 2-2 draw against Finland at Hampden Park last week to earn his third cap for his country, 2,193 days since his last. 

The 27-year-old has scored nine goals in 16 MLS appearances so far this season in the Eastern Conference, and believes his side have every chance of starting their Group A campaign with a victory. 

"Absolutely, stranger things have happened in football," Morgan said about the possibility of Scotland upsetting the host nation.

"We've got a really, really talented squad here, a good group of players playing at the highest level in world football.

"There's no reason why we can't go there and get something, but we can only do that if we give the best version of ourselves and stick to the game plan."

Following Friday's fixture against Germany, the Scots will face Switzerland before concluding their group campaign in Stuttgart against Hungary, with the hopes of reaching the knockout stages of an international competition for the first time in their history. 

Lewis Morgan believes Scotland can surprise Germany ahead of their Euro 2024 opener against the hosts this Friday. 

Steve Clarke's side travel to Munich in search of their first victory over their opponents since 1999, having failed to beat Die Mannschaft in their previous four encounters.

The New York Red Bulls winger was a late arrival in Scotland's provisional squad after it was announced Ben Doak had to withdraw through injury, and made it into the travelling group of 26. 

Morgan ended his six-year absence from the international stage with a substitute appearance in a 2-2 draw against Finland at Hampden Park last week to earn his third cap for his country, 2,193 days since his last. 

The 27-year-old has scored nine goals in 16 MLS appearances so far this season in the Eastern Conference, and believes his side have every chance of starting their Group A campaign with a victory. 

"Absolutely, stranger things have happened in football," Morgan said about the possibility of Scotland upsetting the host nation.

"We've got a really, really talented squad here, a good group of players playing at the highest level in world football.

"There's no reason why we can't go there and get something, but we can only do that if we give the best version of ourselves and stick to the game plan."

Following Friday's fixture against Germany, the Scots will face Switzerland before concluding their group campaign in Stuttgart against Hungary, with the hopes of reaching the knockout stages of an international competition for the first time in their history. 

Steve Clarke hopes to take Scotland into the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time at Euro 2024, with their target simply four points to progress.

Scotland have failed in their previous 11 attempts across the World Cup and European Championship to make it past the group stages.

Hosts Germany await in the Group A opener for Clarke's side on Friday before clashes with Switzerland and Hungary.

With the top two sides progressing, as well as four of the best third-placed finishers, Clarke made his ambitions clear for the upcoming UEFA tournament.

"The bottom line is we need four points to come out the group, that guarantees that you'll come out of the group almost forever," Clarke told BBC Sport.

"That always happens. Three points and a zero goal difference would probably get out of the group so that's what we have to look at – every game in isolation, make sure that we're competitive in every game and realistically you go into the last game with a chance to qualify.

"Hopefully, we've done it before that with the points tally from the first two games but if we get to the last game like we did in the last tournament, we had to go to Wembley, we had to get at least a point against England, we gave ourselves a chance going into the Croatia game.

"Okay, we didn't quite get over the line but at one each in the Croatia game you've got a chance, you've always got that hope, that expectation that you might do it."

Scotland will appear at their fourth European Championship, after 1992, 1996 and 2020, having failed to reach the knockout stages in each of those tournaments.

Clarke's side have just two wins in the finals of the tournament's history, against CIS in 1992 and Switzerland in 1996, and have not found the net in six of their nine matches.

The Scotland manager will become just the third to lead his nation to consecutive international tournaments, along with Andy Roxburgh (1990 World Cup, Euro 92) and Craig Brown (Euro 96, 1998 World Cup).

His message to the players is clear: take it to the last game.

Clarke added: "We play against Hungary in the last game, that's where we want to be – in a similar situation where we know we can get a result and we can qualify."

As for Scotland's starting line-up in Munich, captain Andy Robertson and Lawrence Shankland returned to training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Tuesday. 

"I've probably got two in my mind that I'm still mulling over and we'll work on that in the next couple of days," Clarke concluded.

Toni Kroos urged Germany to embrace the "special" pressure of hosting Euro 2024, as Julian Nagelsmann's side prepare to launch the tournament on Friday.

DFB will host their first major international tournament since the 2006 World Cup, where they finished third after losing to eventual champions Italy in the semi-finals. 

Germany launch their campaign against Scotland at Munich Football Arena on Friday, while also facing Hungary and Switzerland in Group A.

And Kroos, who will retire from football after the tournament, wants his team-mates to enjoy the "great honour" of playing in their home event.

"At every tournament on home soil [there is pressure]. It is even more special," the midfielder told reporters during a press conference.

"We know the pressure is there, we don't want to brush it aside, but we have to enjoy this pressure. We want to influence the atmosphere positively, and we have to make amends for past tournaments.

"We know what this is about, but it is also a great honour and joy to play this tournament. How many players do get to play a home tournament?"

Germany are hoping for an upturn in fortunes in major tournaments after suffering back-to-back World Cup group-stage exits, while they were beaten by England in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

Nagelsmann's side have also endured mixed form in the lead-up to this tournament. Their final warm-up matches brought a goalless draw with Ukraine, and a narrow 2-1 victory over Greece.

Kroos knows the hosts need to up their game, but feels they have the perfect stage on which to address their form.

"You know what is possible when you see the squad quality we have," he added. "But we also see that during some phases in matches, there is room for improvement.

"There is no better opportunity to show in a tournament that we can play well. That is the task.

"If we want to play a good role then it is inevitable that we must minimise these phases when we don't play well as a team. There are teams coming [in the tournament] that will punish us and then the tournament is over."

Late Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer will be honoured during the Euro 2024 opening ceremony on Friday, UEFA has confirmed.

Beckenbauer, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, passed away in January at the age of 78.

Affectionately nicknamed 'Der Kaiser', he captained Germany to glory at the 1972 European Championship and 1974 World Cup, and was manager as his nation triumphed again on the global stage in 1990.

Each of Germany's record-equalling three European Championship successes will be represented during the ceremony at Munich Football Arena, before the hosts kick off the tournament against Scotland.

Beckenbauer's wife Heidi will bring the Henri Delaunay trophy onto the field with Bernard Dietz and Jurgen Klinsmann, who skippered DFB's winning sides of 1980 and 1996 respectively.

Germany, who are aiming to become only the fourth host nation to win the European Championship, will also face Hungary and Switzerland in Group A.

Scotland assistant coach John Carver has confirmed that Andy Robertson will return to training on Tuesday after leaving their first training session in Germany as a precaution. 

The Liverpool full-back was escorted off the pitch at the Stadion am Groben in Bavaria as Steve Clarke's men took part in an open training session ahead of the opening game of Euro 2024 against the hosts on Friday. 

Lawrence Shankland was another player that also came off early having scored in the Scots' friendly fixture against Finland having been found by Robertson at the back post.

However, assistant coach Carver is confident both players, who have 80 international caps between them, will be ready to feature in Munich on June 14. 

"Robertson is fine. It's just a precaution really," he said. "I spoke to him. The ball just caught his ankle and he will train tomorrow. "He'll be fine. At this stage we're being extra cautious. He's okay and looking forward to tomorrow.

"It's never nice, especially with the luck we've been having lately. As soon as training finished I popped across and had a chat with him and he's in good form."

"He had a little bit of a niggle from the other night. He's in that process and he had quite a bit of game time in the two games we played (against Gibraltar and Finland) so we're just protecting him as well.

"Everyone's got their own programme coming back. He's fine, everybody's good."

Scotland thrashed Oman for a seven-wicket victory at the T20 World Cup on Sunday, boosting their chances of reaching the Super 8 at England's expense.

Brandon McMullen hit an unbeaten 61 as Scotland needed just 13.1 overs to chase down their target of 151, the victory taking them top of Group B.

Safyaan Sharif had figures of 2-40 on his 200th international outing, bowling Aqib Ilyas lbw and having Mehran Khan caught as Oman finished 150-7.  

McMullen wasted no time in helping the Scots overhaul that figure, slamming his 61 runs off just 31 deliveries, hitting nine fours and two maximums.

After seeing their opening match against England rained off then beating Namibia on Thursday, Scotland sit top of their pool with seven points ahead of next week's clash with Australia.

A victory in that match will guarantee Scotland escape the group, while they could even advance with a defeat. England will need to win both of their matches and overhaul Scotland's strong run rate to progress. 

Data Debrief: McMullen leads the way

McMullen's score of 61 was his highest in a T20I since he managed 68 against Ireland in Edinburgh last June. 

He still trails team-mates Michael Jones (87) and George Munsey (89) in the total run-scoring charts at this World Cup, with only eight players bettering the latter's tally overall.

Craig Gordon and John Souttar have been cut from Steve Clark's Scotland squad for Euro 2024.

Gordon made history in the Tartan Army's 2-2 draw with Finland on Friday, coming on as a second-half substitute to become the nation's oldest-ever international.

The 41-year-old replaced Angus Gunn at half-time to earn his 75th cap, 20 years on from his debut.

Following the game, Clark confirmed that Clark was one of the players dropped, with Rangers defender John Souttar also missing out on a place in the final 26-man party.

Scotland had already lost Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson and Lewis Ferguson to injury before the provisional squad was named.

Since then, Lyndon Dykes and Ben Doak have withdrawn, with Tommy Conway and Lewis Morgan called up as replacements, and they both make the final squad. 

Final squad: Angus Gunn (Norwich City), Zander Clark (Hearts), Liam Kelly (unattached), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Real Sociedad), Jack Hendry (Al-Ettifaq), Ryan Porteus (Watford), Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Scott McKenna (Copenhagen), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Anthony Ralston (Celtic), Ross McCrorie (Bristol City), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Billy Gilmour (Brighton), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Stuart Armstrong (unattached), Ryan Jack (Rangers), Che Adams (Southampton), Tommy Conway (Bristol City), James Forrest (Celtic), Lewis Morgan (New York Red Bulls), Lawrence Shankland (Hearts).

Finland came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Scotland at Hampden Park as their Euro 2024 preparations concluded. 

The hosts had to wait until the 54th minute to find the breakthrough having dominated the ball in the first half, as Andy Robertson, who captained Scotland for a record 49th time, saw his searching delivery turned home by the unfortunate Arttu Hoskonen. 

The Liverpool full-back had broken a 67-year record previously held by George Young, and he was at the heart of the action again four minutes later as Anthony Ralston's attempted cross fell kindly into his path, taking his time before picking out Lawrence Shankland to head beyond Viljami Sinsalo. 

Scotland rang the changes, with Craig Gordon replacing Angus Gunn in goal to become the Tartan Army's oldest player at 41 years and 159 days, but he would endure an outing to forget. 

The Motherwell goalkeeper would pick the ball out of the net three minutes after his introduction as substitutes Oliver Antman and Benjamin Kallman combined, with the latter heading the ball into the bottom corner. 

Finland then clinched a draw late on as Gordon was adjudged to have fouled Tomas Galvez inside the box, with Antman stepping up and placing the ball down the middle.

Data Debrief: Scotland denied late on

Scotland maintained their record of having never lost a match against Finland in their nine meetings (six wins, three draws). They have now only faced the Faroe Islands (11 games) more often without losing in their international history, also facing Cyprus on nine occasions without losing.

However, Steve Clarke will have been frustrated by their late collapse, and similarly generous defending will certainly be punished by Germany in next week's Euro 2024 opener. 

West Indies slow left-arm orthodox bowler Gudakesh Motie is reaping the benefits of his consistent performances in recent times, as he has been shortlisted for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Month awards, which celebrates the outstanding performers from international competition in May.

The Guyanese, who is currently on duty with the West Indies at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, is joined by Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Ireland's Lorcan Tucker on the men's list released by ICC on Friday. The women's list is headlined by Sri Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu, with England's Sophie Ecclestone and Scotland's captain Kathryn Bryce, the other nominees.

Motie, 29, earned a nomination after his Player of the Series exploits in West Indies whitewash series triumph over South Africa. Similarly, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi enjoyed a prolific wicket-taking month in his side’s T20I tours of Ireland and England last month, while Ireland's wicketkeeper/batsman Tucker recorded consistent scores against Pakistan, Netherlands and Scotland in his side’s preparations for the T20 World Cup.

Like Motie, Afridi and Tucker are both on duty at the T20 World Cup being hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

Meanwhile, two stars from the recently concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE are nominated in the Women’s Player of the Month category, alongside an England spin sensation.

Sri Lankan skipper Athapaththu is nominated for the second month in a row after topping the run-scoring charts in Abu Dhabi and hitting a sparkling century in the final match. She is joined by Scotland skipper Bryce, who led her side to an historic first qualification for a women’s World Cup event thanks to memorable individual contributions. England’s Ecclestone is the third name in contention, nominated for more wicket-taking feats as her side overcame Pakistan in both shorter formats last month.

An independent ICC Voting Academy and fans around the world will now be invited to cast their votes to decide the winners, which will be announced next week. Fans are now able to vote for their favourite performers at icc-cricket.com/awards.

Shaheen Shah Afridi

ICC Men’s Player of the Month Nominees for May:

Gudakesh Motie (WI)

The West Indies’ left-arm spinner enjoyed plenty of success in the home series against South Africa in May, taking eight wickets across three matches at an average of 8.50, as the hosts sealed a statement 3-0 victory in Jamaica. Motie took three for 25 in the opening contest to restrict the tourists’ chase and he backed that performance up with another impressive spell of three for 22 to stifle the middle order in the second fixture. Another two wickets in the final match turned the tide in favour of the hosts once more and allowed the 29-year-old to claim the Player of the Series accolade.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (PAK)

Pakistan’s frontline pacer is nominated for the second successive month after another blistering spell of fast bowling in May. Afridi took ten wickets in his five T20I contests during the month, which included three consecutive three-wicket hauls. Spells of three for 49 and three for 14 against Ireland helped Pakistan overturn a series deficit to win in Dublin, before the 24-year-old followed up with three for 36 against England in Birmingham. The three-time nominee has never won a Men’s Player of the Month award but has a strong case to claim his maiden prize.

 

Lorcan Tucker (IRE)

The wicketkeeper-batter aims to become the first Irish winner of the Men’s Player of the Month award since Harry Tector in May 2023, and is nominated thanks to explosive run-scoring feats during a busy month of international competition. Tucker top-scored for Ireland in the second and third matches against Pakistan with successive quickfire scores of 51 and 73, and carried that momentum into the tri-series against Scotland and Netherlands, hitting 40 and 55 as Ireland sealed confidence boosting wins ahead of their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign.