It seems that all the underdogs have been placed into a single group. All of these countries have something to prove, and we are here to witness it. The group consists of Turkey, Italy, Wales, and Switzerland, with Italy and Turkey the two powerful pitted against each other.
The one-time tournament winner (1968) and two-time runner-up (2000 and 2012) will be forced to be reckoned with outstanding managing by the 56-year-old Roberto Mancini who took over the manager role after the disastrous event of 2018 when the Azzuri failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World cup. After taking over he completely reshaped the team from the ground up and made the Azzuri able to qualify for the EURO cup 2020. The diminutive midfielder Marco Verratti is currently Italy’s star player with the hopes on his fans and country resting on his shoulders, joining him are some familiar faces such as Captain Giorgio Chiellini, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa, and the up-and-coming prospect Nicolo Zaniolo. It seems as though Italy is here for redemption and it won’t back down without a fight.
On the other hand, we have Italy with a lineup of strong offensive players and then we have Turkey with a rock-solid defensive lineup. The squad is currently under the management of 68-year-old Sunol Gunes who aims to take Turkey to the finals. The team has one of the best defensive plays with Caglar Soyuncu of Leicester City, and Merih Demiral of Juventus are leading the defense with the so-called “the Turkish wall” and with the assistance of the goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir after he overtook Mert Gunok as the number 1 after keeping 13 clean sheets in the Turkish Süper Lig it seems impossible for the opposing team to barely cross the defensive line. With the noteworthy player being the up-and-comer Centre-back Ozan Kaba of Liverpool. Surely this might be the year that the Turkish finally etch their name into the history books as champions.
Wales will enter their third major tournament this year after a long 57 years wait. This is the country’s second UEFA European tournament with the first one being in 2016 where they had successfully reached the semifinals but lost to Portugal in a humiliating 2-0. The group at first were defined as failures, a deer in the tiger’s den, but something seems refreshing new about the current team. Currently, under Ryan Giggs, the team had a sluggish beginning which resulted in Wales against Hungary in the qualifying rounds fighting an uphill battle described as “Champ brings home all the glory match” which Wales. In terms of player Ryan Giggs has announced a squad of 26 for the opening matches against Finland and Bulgaria.
Switzerland this year seems to have come in ready for the tournament. Currently managed by the 57-year-old Vladimir Petkovic with a major title under his belt after he won the 2013 Coppa Italia with Lazio. Under him, the team is sighted to be on the track to victory. The Switzerland team’s most top most player is the captain of the group Granit Xhaka of Arsenal F.C. playing as the midfielder with noteworthy players being Xherdan Shaqiri from Liverpool F.C., Remo Freuler of Atalanta B.C., Breel Embolo from Borussia Monchengladbach and Yann Sommer, and Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji. With a roster filled with highly talented players and a highly experienced team captain, the team appears to head into the tournament headstrong.
This group features the country of Denmark, Russia, Finland, and Belgium. Out of the four countries in this group, only Denmark and Russia have a championship title under their belt with Russia attaining the title while it was still the Soviet Union and Belgium with the overall best performance in the qualifiers. Surely Finland has to bring their best performance. The two rivals Belgium and Denmark are pitted against each other after the latter lost two matches in the Nations League.
Denmark won its first Championship title in 1992 having qualified for the tournament only after Yugoslavia was disqualified from the tournament. They beat the newly unified German state with 2-0 on the scoreboard and are looking to replicate their victory this year as well. The group being led by Kasper Hjulmand under whom the team won on seven different occasions, including an outstanding Wembley victory over England, yet they’ve persevered through two mishaps, and both these were against Belgium in the Nations League. The highlights of the team are the goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from the Leicester City F.C., Simon Kjaer playing as Defender and the national team captain and has been tasked to create an impenetrable defense for the Danish side, Christian Eriksen playing as midfielder also seen as an important player for the Team having amassed 36 goals out of 106 appearances.
The Russian has only one Championship win from 1960 with runner-up spots in 1964, 1972, and 1988. The team has had major setbacks after the 2018 World Cup as many star players have either retired and two players, Alan Dzagoev and Yuri Gazinskiy, are in treatment for major injuries and Fyodor Smolov and Ilya Kutepov have lost their spot in the squad. The issue the team also faces is that they do not have a consistent goalkeeper after the departure of their long-time goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. The retired players also include Sergei Ignashevich and Aleksandr Samedov. The star players currently in the team are Aleksandr Golovin of AS Monaco and Artem Dzyuba of FC Zenit Golovin with the latter playing as a striker, Artem Dzyuba scored nine goals in 10 qualifiers and is without a doubt the backbone of the team. The only aspect the team seems to be lacking in is goalkeeping but we might be looking at the unexpected turn of events.
After the team had had disappointing results under the previous coach Hans Backe new management was brought. Markku Kanerva led the team to victory on the stages of the Nations League and later were able to qualify for the European Championship. The team also has high expectations from players such as Teemu Pukki, Lukas Hradecky, Fredrik Jensen, and Jesse Joronen as this player the only high-earning club member.
On the other side of the scale, we have a top-notch team with a jaw-dropping 30 out of 30 points and 40 goals and 3 conceded. Surely the Belgium team has brought their A-game to the table and with the likes of the Eden Hazard, Romelu Lakaku, Thibaut Courtois, and Kevin de Bryune. They are out for a chance at redemption against Switzerland and France after Belgium lost to Switzerland at the Nations League and France at the 2018 World Cup semi-finals held in Russia.
The group compromises countries of the Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, and North Macedonia. With the only Netherlands having a former Champions title. Netherlands, Austria and North Macedonia will play be against one of the top qualifying teams and will have to perform their best.
The team under Ronald Koeman seems to have made reasonable progress. The team came to the finals of the Nations League but lost to Portugal but their loss would only serve as a reminder that they had to work hard and their hard work bore fruit after their win against Germany, their biggest rivals, in the qualifying rounds after they beat the Germans at their game with 4-2 making a comeback from 0-2. The team consist of fresh faces such as Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt and we will also see appearances from Donny van de Beek, Donyell Malen, Calvin Stengs, Memphis Depay, Daley Blind as well as Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk.
The qualifying was definitely a truly spectacular event for the Ukrainian team as they showed off their skills with 8 matches and 6 wins with the other 2 being ended in draws. With outstanding performance from Mykola Matvienko, Vitaliy Mykolenko, Eduard Sobol, Serhiy Kryvtsov and Oleksandr Karavaev in the defense and the goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov proved himself the best. Every member plays with the utmost dedication and has perfected their game, while Oleksandr Zinchenko supports his team on the attack front and joining him are Marlos, Ruslan Malinovskiy, Viktor Tsyhankov, and Andriy Yarmolenko. Roman Yaremchuk will also be the attendance as the forward.
After a few disastrous failures in first, few matches against Poland and Israel pressure started to mount up on the group who found themselves deep water but the managing by Franco Foda and the performance by the star player Marco Arnautovic led the team to win the qualifying rounds. The Austrian have a few star players with Marco Arnautovic in the forefront as the forward, Marcel Sabitzer as the midfielder, and Daniel Bachmann as the goalkeeper.
North Macedonia will surely be the underdogs in this group but the team under the management of Igor Angelovski seem to ready to take on the challenge head-on with the noteworthy players on the squad being Goran Pandev playing as forward, Eljif Elmas as the midfielder, Ezgjan Alioski as the defender and lastly Stole Dimitrievski as the goalkeeper. During the matches, all eyes will be on Pandev as he is the greatest goal scorer in the team with 37 strikes. There are still question marks as to will Stole Dimitrievski be able to bring his top performance or not.
The group D is filled with top-notch countries competing with England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland filling the brackets with the Czech Republic being the only country with a championship title.
After just missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it seems like it might come home this time for England. They will feel at home in this year’s grand tournament as they will be playing at Wembley in London. Gareth Southgate has an opportunity to finally bring silverware because this time around the team has an exciting bunch of talent with the likes of Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and others, England look set for another deep run in an international event.
The rivalry continues with England and Croatia set in the same group. Under the team manager Zlatko Dalic Croatia made a name for themselves in the international event. He realized if he had to maintain his position as the team manager the team had to give outstanding performance and a brilliant performance they delivered when they beat their opponents in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and made their way onto the finals where they were pitted against France but lost with 4-2 on the scoreboard. The main highlights of the team being Ivan Perisic on the attack with Mario Mandzukic retired, Ivan has a weight of his team on his back, Luka Modric as the midfield, Dejan Lovren on the defensive, and after the retirement Danijel Subasic the star of 2018 World Cup Dominik Livakovic has stepped up to take over the mantle.
Czech Republic won its first title in 1976 and as runner-up in the 1996 tournament and has qualified for their seventh championship in a row. The team is managed by Jaroslav Silhavy who was brought in the place of Karel Jarolim. The teams’ star players who will be in attendance are Tomas Vaclik as the goalkeeper, Patrik Schick on the attack, Tomas Soucek as the midfielder. After the EURO 2016 Petr Cech retired internationally from the post of goalkeeper, his place was taken over by Tomas Vaclik an outstanding keeper with the title of Champion of the Europa League under his belt.
The Scottish will be playing against these countries. With Steve Clarke on the coaching helm, the team has had an impressive run with 19 games, in which 10 resulted in success and three in draws, but under him, the team has managed to be able to win the qualifiers and play in the big league which in on itself is an outstanding work. The road ahead seems to be a treacherous one for the Team as top teams are competing for the title.
This group is made up of Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia with only Spain being a title winner.
The only country in the group with a championship title and three none the less with one in 1964 and two consecutive in 2008 and 2012 and a runner-up position in 1984. The country has not been the same since the last EURO Cup with the team that once stood on top has lost its shine as the most player who previously played have all but left and the management had been on the downside as well after Luis Enrique was forced to step aside because of the health of his nine-year-old daughter who later subsequently died. Robert Moreno was brought in his place with Luis later returning to his post. The player who is currently in the spotlight is Ansu Fati currently playing for FC Barcelona. Luis himself has been keeping an optimistic approach but will Spain be able to prevail and make a historic comeback.
The Swedish sure seem to be ready to make a mark for themselves in the upcoming event. After the World Cup, they went ahead to win their UEFA Nations League group ahead of Turkey, and Russia only losing to Spain in the qualifiers. The spotlight will definitely be on The Mainz forward Robin Quaison as the team’s top scorer in the qualifiers with five goals. Apart from Robin some worth mentioning names are Victor Lindelöf, Emil Forsberg, and the up-and-coming superstars Dejan Kulusevski and Alexander Isak.
From the Polish side of things seem to be barely functional especially after their defeat at the World Cup after which Jerzy Brzeczek replaced Adam Nawalka. The team also had poor performance prior to the EURO 2020 at the Nations League and other matches. According to some speculation, Poland doesn’t seem to have a chance of winning in the group stages. Sebastian Szymanski, Krystian Bielik and Krzysztof Piatek are some players to look forward to. Robert Lewandowski would have to be at the top of his game to avoid humiliation like last time at the World Cup.
Slovakia qualified after winning the Playoff B. Stefan Tarkovic the current manager of the team seems to have high expectations from the team after coming in later replacing Pavel Hapal as the team manager after poor results in the Nations League. The star players to look forward to are Michal Duris, Marek Hamsik, Milan Skriniar, and Martin Dubravka. Marek Hamsik seems to be a promising prospect for the Slovakian team as he scored a record-breaking 26 goals for his team leaving behind Robert Vittek.
The group consists of Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany. This group is definitely the strongest group out of the six groups. Hungary is the only country in this group that has less chance of winning the tournament.
The two-time EURO champions (1984 and 2000), one time runner-up in 2016, and the current 2018 World Cup champions seem to have entered the playoffs with high expectation and fresh new faces such as Clément Lenglet, Léo Dubois, Ferland Mendy, Tanguy Ndombelé, and Jonathan Ikoné, with Lenglet having surpassed Samuel Umtiti in defense. The team looks as strong as ever and will probably be a nightmare for the other teams. France is also looking the settle the score with Portugal after their defeat at the finals of the 2016 UEFA European league.
The current EURO championship title defender is set to make its appearance again this year pitted against the top dogs such as Germany and France in the Group stages. All hope lies on the 5-time Ballo d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer for the team and the captain of the National team. Some other noteworthy players being João Félix, Bruno Fernandes, and Rúben Neves.
Germany is the second to have three Champions titles under their belt with two of them as West Germany in 1972 and 1980 and the third as a Unified Germany in 1996. After a disappointing performance at 2018, World Cup group matches the team was left in a dire state with players Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Müller left being surplus to the team and Mesut Özil retired after a major controversy. The remaining players who seem to have a shot are Manuel Neue, Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, Ilkay Gündogan, and Serge Gnabry. All we can do now is wait and watch whether the tactical Geniuses be able to make a comeback and secure another title to their name. Germany would want to give Joachim Low a good send-off as the German coach is coming to his last international tournament with Die Mannschaft. This group truly is “The Group of Death.”
Although Hungary at first does not seem to have a chance at winning against the fellow giants due to the sheer strength of the teams in the group the country might be able to pull it off if they play with a rock-solid strategy and defense.
After going over all the group one more time it is certain that this year’s EURO will be a tournament to remember with all the top teams against each other. The year seems to belong to Turkey in Group A, Belgium in Group B, Ukraine in Group C, Croatia in Group D, Spain in Group E, and the defending champions Portugal in the last group, with promising results expected from Slovakia, Denmark, Netherland, Russia, and the Czech Republic. The future seems uncertain for all the teams as each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Portugal and Turkey appear to be on the top on the leaderboard with Portugal under the captaincy of the Legend Cristiano Ronaldo and Turkey with their rock-solid Defensive lineup.