With star-studded lineups and world-class teams, I think it is safe to say that this international fiesta of football is going to be one of the best in history. Particularly because for the first time the tournament will be played in the whole of Europe. Teams that are competing in this tournament are the very cream of the crop in international football. many have faced off before and some are still finding their stride among the top guns of international football. Football fans should be excited to see some top-class football and some of the most cracking and most awaited matches that fans should have an eye on are defined in this article.
Italy vs Wales, 20 June 2021, Stadio Olimpico:
Wales will be looking to make a statement again just like last time around in EURO 2016 when they managed to reach the semi-finals. Italy is not the top team they once were a decade ago and is seeking redemption for not qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Wales who are led by the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey would look to capitalize on the young inexperienced Italian team and progress to the latter stages of the tournament. Will Italy be able to attain redemption or will Wales complete their humiliation yet again? Time will tell!
Belgium vs Russia, 13 June 2021, Krestovsky Stadium:
Having met two times before in a European Championship, Belgium and Russia will lock horn again this year. The world’s number 1 ranked team however has the edge over Russia with 2 wins to nil. Belgium will be looking to make a statement and announce their dominance to the world by winning the whole tournament and their journey will begin on the 13th of June in Saint Petersburg against the hosts Russia. The star-studded line-up of Belgium will have a tough task against the strong Russian side and beating them would surely be a strong message to the rest of the contenders in the tournament.
England vs Scotland, 19 June 2021, Wembley Stadium:
The last time England were EURO has in 1996, their subsequent game was their first in a significant competition against Scotland. That Wembley experience was a work of art, Alan Shearer striking from the get-go in the second half before Gary McAllister had a penalty saved, laying the ground for Paul Gascoigne’s significant cherry on top. This is Scotland’s first EURO finals appearance since then, with their last FIFA World Cup finals coming only two years later. In their 115th meeting with England, they will be hoping for a famous win to help get them past a major tournament group stage for the first time in 11 attempts.
Portugal vs France, 23 June 2021, Puskás Aréna:
In a sort of UEFA Super Cup, the EURO holders are facing the World Cup holders. This is just the second time the EURO champions have met the World Cup holders in history, the Netherlands having started the trend when they crushed World Champions Germany in their last 1992 group game. Portugal had lost ten straight games against France before they reversed the situation with that 1-0 extra-time win against the hosts in the EURO 2016 Final. From that point forward France has lifted theWorld Cup and ousted Portugal in the UEFA Nations League, a 0-0 home draw and 1-0 win in Lisbon taking Les Bleus to those finals. Who will beat the victorious this time?
France vs Germany, 16 June 2021, Allianz Arena:
This Group F opener is a repeat of the UEFA EURO 2016 semi-final, won 2-0 by France two years after Germany had beaten them in the last eight of the FIFA World Cup. Both teams have frequently featured in the knockout stages of recent editions of the UEFA European Championship, although with holders Portugal – who beat France in the 2016 final – also in Group F, the importance of a solid start will not be lost on either side. As defending world champions, France can become the first country to hold the world and European titles at the same time twice, having ended Germany’s hopes of doing likewise in 2016. France and Germany have met three times since that UEFA EURO 2016 fixture, including their first-ever fixture in Munich – a goalless draw in the UEFA Nations League on 6 September 2018, Les Bleus’ first outing since their World Cup triumph in Moscow. France has won 14 of the sides’ 31 fixtures, compared to nine victories for Germany and the stage is set for another cracking match between these fierce rivals.
Spain vs Poland, 20 June, San Mamés:
Robert Lewandowski knows all about the burden of expectation on co-hosts Spain: in 2012, he buried the opening goal of the tournament for Poland on home soil in Warsaw. Now heading into his third EURO, Lewandowski faces sky-high expectations of his own, and he will hope to transfer some of his stellar form against Liga teams in the UEFA Champions League to this encounter. Surprisingly, these two nations have only met competitively twice before – ahead of the inaugural EURO finals. Contesting a round of 16 ties in 1959, Spain triumphed 4-2 away and 3-0 in Madrid, Alfredo Di Stéfano scoring three goals across the two games. Who will leave their mark on this encounter?