AstaCP Jun 15, 2021

Euro 2020: Group Stage Preview

Updated: 6/25/2021 You better be ready for a whole summer of entertaining football. The Euros are here, after being postponed one year due to the pandemic. And the fans will be happy to know that they can finally attend the stadiums and create a proper atmosphere. Let’s get the ball rolling and look at UEFA Euro 2020: Group Stage Preview


Updated: 6/25/2021

You better be ready for a whole summer of entertaining football. The Euros are here, after being postponed one year due to the pandemic. And the fans will be happy to know that they can finally attend the stadiums and create a proper atmosphere. Let’s get the ball rolling and look at UEFA Euro 2020 groups.

The Euros kicked off last Friday, after being one year on hold due to the pandemic. Now, despite some restrictions, fans are able to gather in half-full stadiums and bring back some of the atmosphere that we all missed.

Turkey and Italy kicked off on Friday with an entertaining match in Rome that smiled to the Italians. The team coached by Roberto Mancini got the best of the game with a 3-0 result, all goals scored in second half.

So far we are midway through matchday one, but there are already some entertaining matches to remember and some episodes to forget.

There will be much more to watch throughout this competition, which concludes on July 11th in Wembley (London). Before, we have 6 groups with 24 nations involved trying to get a place in the next stage.

The first 2 of each group progress and the 4th best 3rd places, a total of 16 teams, will be lining up in the next round.

Who will succeed to Portugal as champions of Europe?

UEFA Euro 2020 teams

Group A

The group that kicked off the Euros is the one that includes Italy, Turkey, Wales and Switzerland.

Italy returns to a major competition after being absent on the last World Cup, being kicked out by Sweden in the deciding play-off.

They won the Euros in 1968 and the World Cup 4 times (the last of which in 2006).

Their team is coached by experienced manager Roberto Mancini: three times Serie A winner and one-time Premier League champion, Mancini is definitely one of the managers with the better resume in the Euros.

If Italy is the major contender for the top place in the group, Turkey and Switzerland are most likely fighting for the second spot. Even though the Turkish side disappointed in the starting match, they boost enough talent in their ranks to outclass the opponents.

With a partnership of young defenders – Soyuncu and Demiral – they also have 3 recent Ligue 1 winners in the team. Yazici, Celik and Burak Yilmaz, a 35 year old striker who scored 16 goals for Lille.

The outsiders

Switzerland is always one of the teams that most people sleep on, but they recently never fail to deliver at the big stage.

Mostly due to the experience of Vladimir Petković who manages the Swiss since 2014 and has taken them to the round of 16 in the Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018. They also were in the semi-finals of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

Finally: Wales. The Welsh will need to pull a miracle to get past this group, as their team is individually much weaker than the rest. An aging Gareth Bale is definitely not enough to carry the team again like he did in 2016, so their best chance is hoping to end in 3rd place.

Our prediction by order: Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, and Wales. Switzerland x Turkey in the last matchday should be a decider for the fate of both these teams.

Calendar Of Group A:

11-JuneTurkey 0 x 3 Italy
12-JuneWales 1 x 1 Switzerland
16-JuneTurkey 0 x 2 Wales
Italy 3 x 0 Switzerland
20-JuneSwitzerland 3 x 1 Turkey
Italy 1 x 0 Wales

Group B

We couldn’t go over this group without starting to address the horrific situation that happened on Saturday, on the match between Denmark and Finland.

Christian Eriksen, Denmark’s attacking midfield and key player, collapsed on the pitch, but thankfully the medical staff was able to save the player and avoid a tragedy.

Talking about happier things, Denmark who was one of the favorites to at least get a 3rd place in this group saw their chances drop considerably.

Not only they lost one of the most important keys of their team, since it’s unlikely that Eriksen returns to the fields this Summer, but they also lost the game to debutants Finland.

For Finland, the opening victory gives them hope to pull out a similar scenario to Iceland in 2016. Getting through to the next stage would be a major victory for the nation that is participating for the first time in an international football competition.

We deposit our expectations on Finland to succeed over Russia, who looked very pale on their opening match against Belgium. Sure the opponent was no easy task, but they seem to lack creativity in midfield and Dzyuba looks quite lonely upfront. Do they have enough firepower or will they be a massive disappointment?

The Favorites

And to conclude, the most obvious group winner as shown by their performance on Saturday. Belgium is not an underdog anymore as they have enough talent in their roster to be contenders to win the competition.

Lukaku showed once again why he is one of CoinPoker’s favorites for the tournament golden boot with a brace in the opening match.

The Belgian forward is still 28 years old and already has 62 goals for the Red Devils.

Our prediction: Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Russia. Inspired and motivated by Eriksen’s messages of encouragement, we believe the Danish will qualify as one of the best 3rd placed teams.

Calendar of Group B:

12-JuneDenmark 0 x 1 Finland
Belgium 3 x 0 Russia
16-JuneFinland 0 x 1 Russia
17-JuneDenmark 1 x 2 Belgium
21-JuneFinland 0 x 2 Belgium
Russia 1 x 4 Denmark

Group C

Sunday’s games were the perfect appetizer to show you how open and entertaining this group will be. Both opening matches of Group C had lots of goals, comebacks and emotions for football lovers.

Group C contains the other debutant in the Euro 2020, along with Finland: North Macedonia. It’s the first tournament for the North Macedonians and also for their national legend Goran Pandev, who scored the country’s first goal ever in an Euros.

Pandev debuted with the national team 20 years ago, but he had to wait until he was 38 years old to play at the Euros. It’s likely that the North Macedonians won’t get past the groups, but they still will put on a show and be the underdog that neutral fans cheer on.

Meanwhile, Austria and Ukraine are probably going to fight for the 2nd and 3rd spots. The Austrians are much better than they were in 2016, with some new faces added like Sasa Kalajdzic, who scored 16 goals for Stuttgart last season.

They also have some experienced names like David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic in their ranks.

As for Ukraine, they topped a qualifying group that had Portugal and Serbia. They didn’t lose any game, drawing only once against the Portuguese.

Managed by Ukrainian legend Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine has a legitimate chance of pulling the underdog card here, with a fresh generation of young players that will be looking to show off under the Euro’s spotlight.

The Favorite:

We aren’t too confident on this one, honestly. Netherlands have failed to qualify for the last two major tournaments (Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018). It’s definitely NOT for lack of talent, as they continue to produce players to supply the biggest clubs in Europe.

However there are two things that play against them: they lack a leader in the center of the defense, since Van Dijk ruled himself out to recover completely from last season’s injury.

Plus, their manager, Frank de Boer, doesn’t boast the best resume: he holds the record of worst campaign by a manager in the Premier League, being fired after 4 consecutive defeats back in 2016. He was also sacked in the MLS with Atlanta United.

Will the Dutch get past the group stage? Most definitely yes, but we don’t expect them to go much further.

Our prediction: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia. We choose Austria as another one of the best 3rd placed teams.

Calendar of Group C:

13-JuneAustria 3 x 1 North Macedonia
Netherlands 3 x 2 Ukraine
17-JuneUkraine 2 x 1 North Macedonia
Netherlands 2 x 0 Austria
21-JuneNorth Macedonia 0 x 3 Netherlands
Ukraine 0 x 1 Austria

Group D

Not only this group has two teams who faced each other in the last World Cup semifinals, but it also has a historical clash between two countries in the United Kingdom. What more could you ask for?

Scotland are back to a major competition for the first time since 1998’s World Cup. It took them almost 20 years to get back into the big stages and most of that is due to the addition of some top class players, like Champions League winner Andrew Robertson.

McTominay and Tierney are two other names who ring a bell if you follow the Premier League. The Scottish will be thrilled to finally watch their national team in a major tournament, especially since the games will be played at their home turf, in Hampden Park.

However, their lack of a proper goalscorer and overall consistency makes them a huge contender to end last on their group. To arrive at this stage they had to defeat Israel and Serbia in the playoff, beating both teams in a penalty shootout.

Czech Republic is the next in line. Although they have some talented players in their ranks, including midfielder Tomas Soucek who scored 10 goals for West Ham this season, the Czechs aren’t strong enough to progress in this group, unless they pull a surprise.

Croatia looks slightly weaker compared to their 2018 World Cup team that arrived at the final of the competition, against all odds. Mostly due to the absence of a certain Mario Mandzukic, who was a vital part of that team.

The Croatians have been struggling to find a replacement for Mario and neither Rebic, Kramaric or Petkovic seem capable of filling his shoes. We still expect them to qualify second, as they are much stronger than Czech Republic and Scotland.

The Favorites:

English fans might be already chanting ‘It’s coming home’ and they have a reason to do so. The Three Lions broke the penalty shootout spell in 2018, reaching the semifinals of the competition for the first time since 1990.

Yes, it was a disappointment how it ended, but two 3 years later the squad is more experienced and has enough quality to go all the way. Gareth Southgate has enough options in the attack – Kane, Rashford, Sterling – and also the best young midfielder in Premier League – Phil Foden.

It’s too soon to say if they will get far in the Euros, but they should progress easily in first place.

Our prediction: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland. Czech Republic to finish 3rd, but NOT qualify to next stage. Sorry Czechs!

Calendar of Group D:

13-JuneEngland 1 x 0 Croatia
14-JuneScotland 0 x 2 Czech Republic
18-JuneCroatia 1 x 1 Czech Republic
England 0 x 0 Scotland
22-JuneCroatia 3 x 1 Scotland
Czech Republic 0 x 1 England

Group E

Another quite balanced group, Spain surges as one of the contenders to win the competition, after the major letdowns in the last tournaments. Guided by former Barcelona’s boss Luis Enrique, they bring a mix of experienced players and young talents to the Euros.

As for the outsider of this group, Slovakia appears to the favorite to be left at the bottom of group E. They qualified to this tournament at the expense of Ireland, in a penalty shootout.

When your biggest reference is still Marek Hamsik, who is 33 and has just moved to Trabzonspor, it shows how they lack some firepower to make an impact.

Just as former teams that we have doomed to the last non-qualifying place, Slovakia also lacks a goalscorer to step up on the right occasion.

Poland and Sweden will be fighting for the 2nd place to qualify directly, but we believe the Swedes will edge Poland.

Polish national team is basically putting all their hopes in Robert Lewandowski, but if Sweden and Spain manage to neutralize the big Polish striker they should have no problem in defeating Poland.

Their defense is old and quite slow and will definitely struggle against the pace of a young Swedish squad and the speed of Adama Traoré and Ferran Torres from Spain.

Sweden – who didn’t call Zlatan Ibrahimović – is one of those teams that might edge the opponents if they use their cards right. Isak and Kulusevski have been on incredible form this season and they have enough quality to rip the defenses apart.

The Favorite:

The won the Euros in 2008 and 2012 and are always tipped to win it again. Spain’s team includes some ‘old age’ players, like Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, mixed with interesting young ones like Ferran Torres and Pedri.

However, the absence of their captain and leader Sergio Ramos can be an important point to consider going forward. Will Busquets take that role for La Roja?

Our prediction: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia. The chances of Poland going through in 3rd place are quite dim, but if they win their game against Slovakia it’s not totally impossible. However, we are ruling them out.

Calendar of Group E:

14-JunePoland 1 x 2 Slovakia
Spain 0 x 0 Sweden
18-JuneSweden 1 x 0 Slovakia
19-JuneSpain 1 x 1 Poland
23-JuneSlovakia 0 x 5 Spain
Sweden 3 x 2 Poland

Group F

It’s the last group and the one that any team would like to have avoided. Tell that to Hungary who is stuck between three former Euro winners.

The odds of having two major powerhouses in a group were high, but having three is definitely an unusual event. France, Germany and Portugal will face each other in this group and one might even go home sooner than expected.

First, let’s talk about the unlucky one who ended up in this group. Hungary certainly doesn’t fancy their chances of going through and furthermore, they lost the best player, Dominik Szoboszlai, due to an injury.

Their defensive duo of Orban and Szalai is quite strong, but is it enough to stop attackers such as Ronaldo, Mbappe, and Gnabry?

We select Germany and Portugal as the two teams to fight for second place. As for the Portuguese, current holders after the Euro 2016 win, they should be worried after star right back João Cancelo was ruled out due to COVID-19.

If Germany and France can explore their right flank with the talented players they have, they might be in trouble. However, Portugal’s team is stronger than in 2016 with the additions of Ruben Dias and Bruno Fernandes, alongside their captain – 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.

Germany is a question mark. The recent thrashing against Spain (6×0) in a friendly match brought some concerns. Also, Joachim Low has already confirmed he is leaving the Mannschaft after the Euros.

They are a wildcard – either they can be left out in the groups or go on and win it all. You know what they say: “Football is 22 players and in the end, Germany wins“.

The Favorite:

Not only the favorite to win this group, but to win the whole thing. France is the current World Cup winner and they want to avenge the defeat at the Euro 2016 final.

France’s national team is so good they could probably assemble 3 squads to compete in the Euros.

Didier Deschamps can also count on the return of Karim Benzema, who was absent since 2015 and the Real Madrid forward will be a useful addition to linking up with Mbappé and Antoine Griezzman.

Our prediction: France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary. We predict Portugal to sneak in 3rd place like they did in 2016.

Calendar of Group F:

15-JuneHungary 0 x 3 Portugal
France 1 x 0 Germany
19-JuneHungary 1 x 1 France
Portugal 2 x 4 Germany
23-JunePortugal 2 x 2 France
Germany 2 x 2 Hungary

Final Thoughts

To sum up, these are the teams we predict to progress to the next stage: Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, England, Croatia, Spain, Sweden, France, Germany, and Portugal.

Do you agree with our predictions? Do you have some bold guesses on who will top each group? Who will be the dark horse of this tournament?

Head on to CoinPoker‘s sportsbook where you can bet on all the groups, top goalscorers, and every match of the tournament. To celebrate the Euro 2020 CoinPoker also gives you one Free Bet (login and find it credited in your account).

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