Euro 2020 Final line-up revealed4 min read
Scotland, Hungary, Slovakia and North Macedonia came through play-offs on Thursday to book their spots at the rescheduled Euro 2020 and complete the 24-strong field.
So how will everyone fare next summer in the country-hopping extravaganza?
We take a look at each group.
Host venues: Rome, Italy and Baku, Azerbaijan
Group A kicks off the action on June 11, with Turkey and Italy meeting in Rome. Italy are certainly the favourites to reach the round of 16, buoyed by home advantage, but there are some intriguing match-ups here.
Turkey will have two games in Azerbaijan, their neighbouring country with whom there are strong linguistic and cultural ties, and showed their pedigree by beating France in qualifying. With the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, Wales cannot be ruled out as a dark horse once again, having reached the semi-finals four years ago, and Switzerland have a compact defence and only lost one game in qualifying. It promises to be an open group.
Host venues: Copenhagen, Denmark and Saint Petersburg, Russia
Sitting atop the FIFA rankings, Belgium are the overwhelming favourites to progress in first place from this group and it is no surprise, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku at their disposal. But the battle for second could well be interesting. Russia surprised many with a good run on home soil in the 2018 World Cup and they will be similarly boosted by home support next summer.
But Denmark also have their own supporters in attendance (hopefully) and went unbeaten in qualifying, finishing second in their group behind Switzerland courtesy of one too many draws. Finnish fans will undoubtedly make the pilgrimage to their Nordic neighbours and a win over France in the November international break hints at a team capable of causing a surprise or two.
- North Macedonia
Host venues: Amsterdam, Netherlands and Bucharest, Romania
While the Netherlands appeared to have turned a corner after failing to qualify for the last World Cup, Frank de Boer’s appointment after Ronald Koeman took the Barcelona job has stalled results, with the former Ajax and Inter manager winless in his first four matches in charge.
That opens the door for other teams. Ukraine bettered defending European Championship and Nations League champions Portugal in qualifying, finishing their group unbeaten, and recently beat Spain, spurred on by their frugal defence. Austria have a worthy talisman in David Alaba and are looking to get out of the group stage for the first time in their history. Meanwhile, North Macedonia have qualified for a major tournament finals for the first time ever and will be unfancied.
- Czech Republic
Host venues: London, England and Glasgow, Scotland
With all of their group games at home and an exciting array of young talent, England are the favourites for the group, along with Croatia, the team who ended their World Cup dream at the semi-final stage in Russia.
But Scotland will undoubtedly look to spoil their neighbours’ party, appearing in their first major tournament since 1998. The Czech Republic will have their work cut out and recorded the worst defeat in their history against England at Wembley in qualifying just 20 months ago.
Host venues: Bilbao, Spain and Dublin, Republic of Ireland
On paper, Spain are certainly the favourites but have hit an unsteady patch of form in recent weeks, having recorded just one win in their last four. They still have talent in spades and while there is still a soap opera involving their management, their preparations will surely be better than it was ahead of Russia 2018, when Julen Lopetegui was dismissed hours before the tournament.
The second spot is likely to be filled by either Sweden or Poland. The latter dropped just five points in qualifying, spurred on by the goals of Robert Lewandowski, and the Swedes faced Spain in qualifying and almost beat the 2008 and 2012 champions in Solna, with the visitors needing a stoppage-time equaliser to claim a draw.
Host venues: Munich, Germany and Budapest, Hungary
A group that truly needs no introduction. Between them, France, Germany and Portugal have won every major tournament they were eligible to win since 2014. Joachim Low’s side, disappointing in the last World Cup, will be desperate to put their group-stage exit in Russia behind them, and have a new-look squad, with the long-serving manager having dispensed with some mainstays in the last two years.
France are, of course, the world champions and beaten finalists last time out. With the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Paul Pogba, they possess some of the world’s best players and there will be huge names left at home by Didier Deschamps. Portugal are still dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo but some of the attacking slack will be taken off the evergreen Juventus star by the emergence of Joao Felix and Diogo Jota.
The outlook looks bleak for Hungary, though they were of course close to eliminating Portugal at the group stage in 2016, were it not for a Lazarus act from Cristiano Ronaldo, who helped his nation rescue a draw with a brace.