We are one day closer to Euro 2020 kicking off! We at Philly Sports Network have already looked at half of the teams that will be in this summer’s tournament. Now it’s time to take a look at the other half! Here’s all you need to know about the 2021 Euros Part 2!
2021 Euros Part 2: Groups D, E, and F
Before we break down this half of the upcoming Euros, if you haven’t seen part one of this preview check it out here:
In this part of the Euro preview, we look at group D-F which contains very interesting teams and extremely intriguing matchups that could leave some powerhouses packing their bags early!
Group D is composed of two upper-level teams in the FIFA rankings and two lower teams. It brings back an old rivalry from the 2018 world cup with England and Croatia, and also a regional rivalry with England and Scotland. The Czech Republic is the fourth team in this group and will hope to play spoiler to England and Croatia’s Euro dreams.
This England team is special. They are loaded with talent at every position and honestly I, along with other avid watchers of the sport, still do not know how England will start their first game. The vast majority of star players in the squad are young and hungry to prove themselves on the international stage and have shown they can work together and get results. England won all but one of their qualifiers and in comfortable fashion scoring 37 goals and conceding just 5 in 7 games. An interesting twist though is that England’s only loss in qualifiers was to the Czech Republic which should make for an interesting affair. Could this be the year it finally “Come’s Home”?
England starts their road to the cup on Sunday, June 13th at 9 AM against Croatia.
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling
Croatia enters the Euros ranked 14th by FIFA and coming off of their finals appearance in the 2018 World Cup they should have a lot of confidence, right? This is the question that surrounds this team because they did not have the easiest time in qualifying taking a loss to Hungary and drawing with Wales and Azerbaijan. They have phenomenal attacking options in Kramaric and Rebic each notching double-digit goals in their respective leagues as well as someone who is not as well known. Mislav Orsic, who plays for Dinamo Zagreb, had 24 goals and 9 assists this past season including a hattrick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League. The midfield is strong with lots of experience in Modric and Kovacic who will look to dictate the game to Croatia’s liking. Defensively there are some questions especially following their qualifying bumps, however, it seems that Croatia knows how to flip the switch and should be an exciting team in the group and the tournament as a whole.
Croatia looks to repeat their performance in the 2018 World Cup beating England and dampening their title hopes early on.
Goalkeepers: Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic, Simon Sluga
Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko, Borna Barisic, Duje Caleta-Car, Josip Juranovic, Domagoj Bradaric, Mile Skoric, Josko Gvardiol
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Milan Badelj, Mario Pasalic, Nikola Vlasic, Luka Ivanusec
Forwards: Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Ante Rebic, Josip Brekalo, Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Ante Budimir
Scotland is a team that might surprise a lot of people. The team is filled with a great mixture of experience and youth that looks to play spoiler to the favorites in group D. Scotland had a long road to get to the Euros going to penalties twice and also having to win a playoff. It will certainly be interesting to see how the young Scotts perform but with the Premier League heavy midfield trio of Billy Gilmour (Chelsea), John McGinn(Aston Villa), and Scott “McSauce” McTominay (Man U), along with Southampton forward Che Adams, it should be an exciting attack. Oh, and we can’t forget about Andy Robertson’s service from the left which may be a make or break for this team’s success.
Scotland starts off their Euro campaign with a game against the Czech Republic who they split within the Nations League in their previous two matchups.
Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon, David Marshall, Jon McLaughlin
Defenders: Nathan Patterson, Stephen O’Donnell, Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Greg Taylor, Liam Cooper, Grant Hanley, Declan Gallagher, Scott McKenna, Jack Hendry
Midfielders: Billy Gilmour, Callum McGregor, Scott McTominay, Stuart Armstrong, John McGinn, John Fleck, David Turnbull
Forwards: Che Adams, James Forrest, Ryan Christie, Ryan Fraser, Lyndon Dykes, Kevin Nisbet
The Czech Republic comes into this tournament having a very decent qualifying finishing second to England in Group A. Against teams below them they have been defensively sound, and even in their win against England they only conceded one goal. However offensively is where they struggle scoring only 13 goals in 8 games which seems decent, but against the likes of England and Croatia, they will have to find a combination of their scoring boots and stingy defense to keep up with those powerhouses.
The Czechs face off against Scotland to start the summer which kicks off Monday, June 14th at 9 AM.
Goalkeepers: Tomas Vaclik, Jiri Pavlenka, Ales Mandous
Defenders: Vladimir Coufal, Pavel Kaderabek, Ondrej Celustka, Tomas Kalas, David Zima, Jan Boril, Ales Mateju , Jakub Brabec
Midfielders: Lukas Masopust, Vladimir Darida, Tomas Soucek, Antonin Barak, Alex Kral, Tomas Holes, Petr Sevcik, Jakub Jankto, Adam Hlozek, Jakub Pesek, Michal Sadilek
Forwards: Patrik Schick, Michael Krmencik, Matej Vydra, Tomas Pekhart
Group E is one of the more interesting groups in the tournament. It features two-time Euro winners Spain, an Ibraless yet still dangerous Sweden, a Lewandowski-led Poland, and Playoff winner Slovakia. There are three clear powerhouses in this group but it could come down to Slovakia and what they do to determine who ultimately advances.
There isn’t much to say about Spain, normally that is. This is a new generation of Spain though, with no Ramos or Pique in the back and a plethora of youth up front we don’t really know what to expect. That is excluding the midfield which brings back staples like Busquets, Thiago, and Koke, while also adding youth in Marcos Llorente and Pedri. The Spanish style of possession should stick and they will dominate games, but will their youthful front and backline be able to handle the pressure? We will find out soon enough.
Spain will look to rectify their most recent result (Draw) against Sweden in their opening match at 3 PM on Monday, June 14th.
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Robert Sanchez, Unai Simon
Defenders: Aymeric Laporte, Jose Gaya, Jordi Alba, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente, Cesar Azpilicueta
Midfielders: Marcos Llorente, Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Pedri, Thiago, Koke, Fabian
Forwards: Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, Pablo Sarabia
After Zlatan announced he was back with the national team I was extremely excited. He, unfortunately, picked up an injury and now I want to be excited about Sweden but it will take a coming out party of sorts to make Sweden a fun team to watch and push them through to the Round of 16. Alexander Isak, Emil Forsberg, and Dejan Kulesevski are the keys to the Swede’s success in the final third. The trio will need to be on point in the group stage in order to compete with the likes of Spain and Poland and their defense will need to stay stout to stifle Europe’s leading goal scorer and Spain’s young, hungry attack.
Sweden has a tough opener versus Spain but one they will be excited about, especially with the opportunity to take points off of the group favorites.
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Robin Olsen
Defenders: Emil Krafth, Victor Lindelof, Marcus Danielson, Martin Olsson, Ludwig Augustinsson, Pontus Jansson, Filip Helander, Mikael Lustig, Andreas Granqvist
Midfielders: Emil Forsberg, Ken Sema, Viktor Claesson, Dejan Kulusevski, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Kristoffer Olsson, Jens-Lys Cajuste, Mattias Svanberg, Gustav Svensson
Forwards: Marcus Berg, Alexander Isak, Robin Quaison, Jordan Larsson
Poland. It really starts and ends with one man and that is Lewandowski. The man that broke Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga scoring record and has generally been on a scoring tear for the past two years. The issues though will be creating chances for Lewandowski to put away which has been an issue for this Polish team. They also aren’t the best in the back but their keeper situation where Szczesny resides is one of the stronger in the tourney. Poland will be an interesting team to watch, and if the chances are flowing the goals will certainly come with Lewandowski leading the line.
Poland starts their quest for glory at Noon on Monday, June 14th against the weakest team in the group where they will hope to take an early lead in Group E.
Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Skorupski
Defenders: Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Pawel Dawidowicz, Kamil Glik, Michal Helik, Tomasz Kedziora, Kamil Piatkowski, Tymoteusz Puchacz, Maciej Rybus
Midfielders: Przemysław Frankowski, Kamil Jozwiak, Mateusz Klich, Kacper Kozlowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Karol Linetty, Jakub Moder (Brighton), Przemyslaw Placheta, Piotr Zielinski
Forwards: Dawid Kownacki, Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik, Karol Swiderski, Jakub Swierczok
Slovakia is in a tough spot being in this group. They really struggled in qualifiers scoring 15 goals (5 of which were in one game) in 10 games. They can be good defensively but have also been susceptible to giving up goals in bunches at times and they will need to be defensively strong in this group. They have high-level experience in the midfield with Marik Hamsik and Premier league experience in goal with Martin Dubravka, but I don’t see this team performing particularly well in the tournament.
Slovakia will look to play spoiler to Poland’s tournament hopes by snagging at least a point off of Lewa and Co.
Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka, Marek Rodak, Dusan Kuciak
Defenders: Peter Pekarik, Lubomir Satka, Denis Vavro, Milan Skriniar, Tomas Hubocan, Jakub Holubek
Midfielders: Marek Hamsik, Stanislav Lobotka, Patrik Hrosovsky, Juraj Kucka, Ondrej Duda, Robert Mak, Vladimir Weiss, Laszlo Benes, Lukas Haraslin, Tomas Suslov, Matus Bero, Erik Jirka
Forwards: Michal Duris, Robert Bozenik, David Strelec
And we’ve finally made it. The Group of DEATH! There is always one group in every tournament that contains 2-3 top teams in the world and, in this group, Portugal, France, and Germany are those three teams (Sorry Hungary). It will be a battle and despite four third-place teams moving on, I would no be shocked if the third-place team in this group were eliminated due to how the points are distributed.
Obviously, the odd team out here, Hungary has a tough road if they want to qualify for the round of 16. They had an up and down qualifying experience and will hope to be more consistent on both ends of the pitch. With young stud Dominik Szoboszlai and the Union’s own Daniel Gazdag, the midfield will certainly be exciting to watch. The questions are though, can Hungary put away chances, and can they stay solid enough in the back to keep them in games? I see Hungary playing the role of spoiler by potentially taking points off of one of the other teams allowing only two to advance from this group.
No matter who Hungary was going to play first it was going to be tough, but they could potentially use the lack of cohesion of this Portugal team and maybe steal a point.
Goalkeepers: Peter Gulacsi, Adam Bogdan, Denes Dibusz, Balazs Toth
Defenders: Gergo Lovrencsics, Adam Lang, Attila Fiola, Willi Orban, Attila Szalai, Szilveszter Hangya, Endre Botka, Akos Kecskes, Bendeguz Bolla, Csaba Spandler
Midfielders: Adam Nagy, Laszlo Kleinheisler, Filip Holender, David Siger, Dominik Szoboszlai, Loic Nego, Daniel Gazdag, Andras Schafer, Tamas Cseri
Forwards: Adam Szalai, Nemanja Nikolic, Roland Sallai, Roland Varga, Kevin Varga, Janos Hahn, Szabolcs Schon
Arguably the most exciting team in the tournament on paper, Portugal looks to build off of their recent successes lifting both the previous Nations League and Euro trophies. They bring one of the best players on the planet in Ronaldo and have surrounded him with immense talent. You have Premier League winners Cancelo and Ruben Dias holding down the backline, Ligue 1 winner Renato Sanches and Premier League Superstar Bruno Fernandes running the midfield, and a plethora of attacking options to help Cristiano. They haven’t always looked great as a cohesive unit but they have the talent, the youth, and the experience to go all the way this summer.
Portugal gets the weakest team in the group in their first match. They should take the three points and will look to get those points at Noon on Tuesday, June 15th.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes, Rui Patrício, Rui Silva
Defenders: Joao Cancelo, Nelson Semedo, Jose Fonte, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Nuno Mendes, Raphael Guerreiro
Midfielders: Danilo Pereira, Joao Palhinha, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Moutinho, Renato Sanches, Sergio Oliveira, William Carvalho
Forwards: Pedro Goncalves, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Goncalo Guedes, Joao Felix, Rafa Silva
Oh France, what is there to say about you that hasn’t already been said? France, in my estimation, was already the most complete team in the tournament even before we knew the rosters. Then, they went ahead and added Benzema. Yes, Benzema, the man who is fourth all-time in UCL goals and just an all-around baller. He gets to play with one of the most electric, forwards in the game this summer in Kylian Mbappe as long as the knocked he picked up against Bulgaria isn’t serious. And the beauty of this team is that even if Benz is injured, they just plop some guy who is second in French national team goals (Olivier Giroud) only to Thierry Henry into the number nine spot. The depth this squad comes in with is outrageous having two or even three players at every position who are class if not world-class. France is my overall favorite to win the tournament and when you see the roster they have it will be very apparent why.
France takes on the new old guard in Germany in their first game of the tournament where they will look to show everyone why they are the odds on favorites.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Mike Maignan
Defenders: Lucas Digne, Leo Dubois, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Jules Kounde, Clement Lenglet, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Kurt Zouma
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Thomas Lemar, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot, Moussa Sissoko, Corentin Tolisso
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder, Karim Benzema, Kingsley Coman, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Thuram
Germany will never not be in the conversation for a team that is capable of winning an international tournament. They somehow manage to pump out talent like Willy Wonka did chocolate and this team is no different. This certainly isn’t Die Mannschaft’s most imposing roster but it merges generations into a squad that will cause some ruckus in this group of death. Bayern is heavily represented in all position groups and the Germans will be looking towards an attack that tends to lack a true number nine to score vital goals in what will be very tough games.
Germany draws the toughest opponent of the opening set of games but they will look to prove why they should never be counted out of international tournaments.
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Kevin Trapp
Defenders: Matthias Ginter, Robin Gosens, Christian Gunter, Marcel Halstenberg, Mats Hummels, Lukas Klostermann, Robin Koch, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule
Midfielders: Emre Can, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Kai Havertz, Jonas Hofmann, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Florian Neuhaus
Forwards: Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, Kevin Volland
Who advances to the Knockout Rounds?
Now that we have talked about the teams in groups D-F it is time to predict who advances! Let me know who you think goes through to the Round of 16 in the comments or on Twitter!
The new golden generation of England top this group with relative ease.
Croatia also goes through only dropping points to England, but they have a tougher time against Scotland and the Czech Republic.
I’m going with the exciting youthfulness here and taking Scotland to finish third with a chance to advance to the next round.
The Czech’s bow out of this tournament early due to lack of defensive stability and despite their attacking threats.
This group was tough to predict for spots two and three however Spain tops the group getting three points from each match.
I think Poland and Sweden will battle it out for the auto-advance spot but Sweden will ultimately take the spot. Their volume of attacking options and greater midfield and defensive proficiencies will leave Poland hoping for the wildcard spot.
This leaves Slovakia at the bottom of the table where they could have a point or two that could cost Poland their spot or Sweden a spot in the last 16.
This leaves us with the group of death. The team finishing in first is my tournament favorite France. They may drop a couple of points potentially drawing Portugal but they should cruise into the next round.
My surprise pick for the second spot is Germany. The German national team almost always runs like a well-oiled machine and with this being Joachim Löw’s last time in charge they will certainly go in and out swinging.
Portugal, surprisingly, ends up in third relying on goals scored and conceded and other results to gift them one of the four third-place spots in the next round.
Hungary and the Philadelphia Union’s Daniel Gazdag are the ones that ultimately “die” in the group of death but I think they will be a surprisingly tough team in this group
The actions begins tomorrow!
This is your look at groups D-F in the Euro 2020 tournament which begins Friday, June 11th at 3 PM Eastern time with a match featuring Italy and Turkey. This should be a fantastic tournament and if you are looking for coverage go no further than Philly Sports Network! Also if you haven’t checked out the Part 1 prediction check the link at the beginning of this Preview!
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Mandatory Credit: Mandatory Credit: SportsLogos.net via UEFA.com