Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Euro 2021 Preview

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Intro for Euro 2021

The UEFA European Championship, or “The Euros” as it’s more commonly known, is the top international competition for the European continent. 

The Euro 2021 groups and fixtures have been confirmed. There will be no single host country, with games being played across Europe. The host cities and stadiums are as follows:

  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Johan Cruyff Arena
  • Baku (Azerbaijan) – Baku Olympic Stadium
  • Bucharest (Romania) – National Arena Bucharest
  • Budapest (Hungary) – Puskás Arena
  • Copenhagen (Denmark) – Parken Stadium
  • Glasgow (Scotland) – Hampden Park
  • London (England) – Wembley Stadium
  • Munich (Germany) – Football Arena Munich
  • Rome (Italy) – Stadio Olimpico in Rome
  • Saint Petersburg (Russia) – Saint Petersburg Stadium
  • Seville (Spain) – Estadio La Cartuja

Germany and Spain are the joint-most successful nations in the competition’s history with 3 titles each. Spain became the first nation to win back-to-back Euros in 2008 and 2012.

Portugal head into Euro 2021 as the defending champions. An extra-time strike from Eder secured a dramatic 1-0 win over hosts France in 2016. 

Read on for our Euro 2021 preview including everything you need to know about the groups, fixtures, star players and more. 

Team Analysis for Euro 2021

National team of Turkey

Turkey won’t be coming to just make up the numbers…

Turkey has never won the Euros. Their best ever finish in the competition was a semi-final appearance in 2008. They were beaten 3-2 by Germany that time and they’ll be hoping they can get some revenge this summer.

Players that fans may find familiar include; Burak Yilmaz, Cengiz Ünder, Çağlar Söyüncü, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Cenk Tosun.

The Coach – Şenol Güneş is an experienced coach, who had a previous spell at Turkey between 2000 – 2004. After stints at several clubs, he returned as Turkey’s head coach in 2019. 

The 68 year old knows the squad well and will be doing all he can to get the best out of them.

Star Player of Turkey – The most in-form player in the Turkey squad is Burak Yilmaz. Despite being 35 years old, he’s still been scoring for fun for club LOSC Lille in Ligue 1. 

His form will be key to Turkey’s chances of success in this competition. Güneş will build the team around his experienced striker. 

What Turkey will do – They’ve been drawn in a tough group, but they have some real quality in their squad. The game against Italy will be a good indicator of where they’re at. 

We’re expecting this Turkey side to get out of the group stages and give a good account of themselves in the knockouts. 

National team of Italy

Ciro Immobile is likely to lead the line for Italy…

Italy has won the Euros on one occasion – way back in 1968. They’ve not had a great record in the competition since then and have twice found themselves finishing as runners-up. 

The Italy side is littered with world class players such as; Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Marco Verratti and Jorginho. 

The Coach – Premier League fans will know all about Italy head coach Roberto Mancini. The 56 year old led Manchester City to their first league title in more than 40 years with a last-gasp Sergio Aguero winner.

After leaving City, he had spells at Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Zenit St Petersburg, before taking over as Italy head coach in 2018.

Star Player of Italy – Ciro Immobile will likely lead the attacking line for Italy this summer. The Lazio forward has had a good season in Rome and will be keen to fire his country to victory. 

Other key players include Verratti and Insigne, but Immobile will be the one they will turn to for the goals.

What Italy will do – They’re favourites to win their group, and it’s not hard to see why. They should have enough quality to do that and they’ll be hoping that results in an easier tie in the round of 16. 

They’re more than good enough to get to the final, but a lot will depend on who they face and when.

National team of Wales

Gareth Bale could inspire Wales at Euro 2021…

Wales shocked the footballing world when they made it all the way to the semi-finals of Euro 2016. After a fantastic 3-1 win against Belgium in the quarter-finals, they were beaten 2-0 by eventual winners Portugal in the semis. 

It’s more or less the same squad that comes into Euro 2021, so they’ll be keen to prove five years ago was no fluke. 

The Coach – Manchester United and Wales legend Ryan Giggs was appointed head coach in 2018. A near-perfect record in their UEFA Nations League B group will be a good prep for this. 

Can Giggs match the amazing feat achieved in 2016? He has the players to do it again, there’s no question, but time will tell.

Star Player of Wales – Gareth Bale remains Wales’ talisman. The 31 year old forward has spent the 2021/21 season on loan at Tottenham and started finding the net at the right time. 

The hopes of the nation will again be pinned on how well the four-time Champions League winner performs. 

What Wales will do – They find themselves in a tough group for Euro 2021 here. There’s not a single fixture within that group stage that you would think they can comfortably win.

That said, they do have quality in the squad, and if they can win early, it could give them confidence to push on.

National team of Switzerland

The Swiss will fancy their chances in Group A…

Switzerland has never won the Euros. Their best ever result in the competition was reaching the round of 16 back in 2016, where they lost to Poland via penalties.

They can take that experience and use it as motivation to go further this time around. It will be tough going though, as they find themselves in one of the hardest groups. 

The Coach – Vladimir Petković took over as head coach of Switzerland in 2014. Prior to that he had managed a handful of Swiss clubs including Young Boys, Sion and Lugano. 

During a two year spell at Lazio, he guided the side to a Coppa Italia title. He’s very experienced, and will know how to get the best out of his players. 

Star Player of SwitzerlandHaris Seferović will be the man that Switzerland turn to for the goals in this competition. 

The 29 year old Benfica striker is among the top scorers for his country in the squad. He also comes into this after a good season in the Portuguese Primeira Liga for his club. 

What Switzerland will do – It’s going to be tough to get out of this group. If they do that, they can be a thorn in the side of any team in the competition. 

On their day, they can be great, but it’s likely they’ll fall against a top side, should they make it out of the group stage. 

National team of Denmark

Christian Eriksen is the key man for Denmark…

Denmark’s legendary team won the Euros back in 1992. The team was packed full of world class talent including Peter Schmeichel,  Lars Olsen, Brian Laudrup and many more. 

Since then, their best showing in the competition was reaching the quarter-finals at Euro 2004 in Portugal. Having not qualified for Euro 2016, they’ll be keen to put in a good showing. 

The Coach – Head coach Kasper Hjulmand had an unremarkable professional career as a player. He was forced to retire in 1996 due to a knee injury and began his managerial career in 1998. 

He had two spells as manager of Danish club Nordsjælland and took over the national side in July 2020. 

Star Player of Denmark – Christian Eriksen is one of the most experienced players in the squad. He’s the one Denmark fans will be looking at to inspire the side. 

The 29 year old is coming into the competition having won Serie A with his club Inter Milan. Can he carry his nation to Euro glory? 

What Denmark will do – They have a very tough group and they’ll be tested from the off. If they can’t finish in the top two of the group, they could still progress as one of the best third-place finishers. 

They’ll need to win their opening game against Finland to give themselves a chance. 

National team of Finland

Teemu Pukki is the one to watch for Finland…

New boys Finland are taking part in the Euros for the first time in their history. With no previous form to go off, it’s hard to say how they’ll fare. 

They came second in their group in the UEFA Nations League B and registered some decent results throughout. It will be interesting to see how they cope with this significant step up. 

The Coach – Finland head coach Markku Kanerva took over the role in 2016 after a five year spell as assistant. 

Kanerva didn’t take long to repay the faith to the Finnish FA, guiding his country to it’s first ever Euros. He’s a bit of an unknown, but his side may be a surprise package. 

Star Player of Finland – Norwich striker Teemu Pukki is the one to watch for Finland. The 31 year old is only two goals away from matching Jari Litmanen’s all-time goalscoring record. 

If he can bag three or more at this tournament, he will cement his place in Finnish football history. 

What Finland will do – Looking at Finland’s group, it’s hard to see how they get out of the group stages of Euro 2021. 

Their opener against Denmark will be a good indicator of where they’re at. It doesn’t get any easier for them from there, though. They’re expected to finish bottom of Group B.

National team of Belgium

Belgium will be among the favourites to win Euro 2021…

Belgium’s best ever finish in this competition was when they were runners-up in 1980. Since then, they had a pretty unremarkable run. 

That was until Euro 2016, in which Belgium were one of the favourites to win. It didn’t quite go to plan though, and they were knocked out by Wales in one of the shock results of the tournament. Can they prove their doubters wrong this time? 

The Coach – Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez took the reins at Belgium after that Euro 2016 campaign. Under Martinez, Belgium became the first country to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

The Spaniard guided Belgium to third place, and the feeling is he could take this side all the way at Euro 2021. 

Star Player of Belgium – Kevin De Bruyne is Belgium’s key player. If he’s on top form, he can be the one who drags this nation to its first ever Euros title. 

Striker Romelu Lukaku has been in red-hot form for club Inter Milan. He’ll thrive on having De Bruyne in behind him providing assists. 

What Belgium will do –  Given the form of Belgium’s top players, anything other than a semi-final appearance would be considered disappointing. They have everything it takes to win this and deserve to be among the favourites. 

If Lukaku continues his fantastic scoring form, then Belgium will be one of the most feared nations in this competition. 

National team of Russia

Russia could make a statement in their group…

Under the flag of the Soviet Union, Russia won the 1960 Euros in France. They then went on to finish runners-up twice and finish fourth in the following three championships. 

As modern-day Russia, the country’s best performance in the Euros was a third placed finish in 2008. They were unimpressive in the Nations League and the feeling is they’re not as good as they once were.

The Coach – Head coach Stanislav Cherchesov took over in 2016 after the nation was knocked out of the Euros in the group stages. 

Since the former international goalkeeper took over, he has guided them to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Something very few managers have done since the collapse of the USSR. 

Star Player of Russia – Striker Artem Dzyuba will carry the nation’s hopes on his shoulders. The experienced Zenit St Petersburg striker is just two goals away from becoming his country’s all-time top scorer. 

This will probably be his final international tournament for Russia, so he will want to give it his all and sign off as a legend. 

What Russia will do – Group B is one of the hardest in the competition. They’re being thrown straight in at the deep end with an opening game against Belgium. 

Even if they lose that, they can rescue it with wins in the other two games. It won’t be easy though, and this group will be tight. 

National team of Netherlands

Memphis Depay is the main man for the Netherlands…

The Netherlands have a single Euros title to their name, which they won in 1988. That team included Dutch legends Ronald Koeman, Ruud Gullit, Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. 

Since then, they’ve finished third on three occasions; 1992, 2000 and 2004. They currently have a very talented squad and will be among the favourites to win Euro 2021. 

The Coach – Head coach Frank de Boer is a Dutch legend in his own right, having registered 112 caps for his country as a player. 

As a manager, he has taken charge of big European clubs such as Ajax and Inter Milan. De Boer was appointed head coach of the Netherlands in 2020.

Star Player of Netherlands – With Virgil van Dijk set to miss the competition, Memphis Depay will be the one to watch. 

It seems he’s been around for a long time, but he is still only 27 years old. The Lyon forward is world class when on top form and he could spearhead Netherlands’ campaign. 

What Netherlands will do – The group draw has been kind to them and they should finish as winners of Group C. 

Providing the other groups go as expected, they should at least make it to the quarter-finals. Anything less than that will be considered a disappointing campaign for de Boer and his men. 

National team of Ukraine

Ukraine could prove a tough nut to crack…

As Ukraine (separate from the Soviet Union), the nation has never progressed further than the group stages of a Euros. 

Even having one of the greatest European strikers ever in Andriy Shevchenko wasn’t enough to carry the team to any major success. They’ll make themselves tough to beat, but may not offer a lot in the way of attacking flair. 

The Coach – Legendary Ukrainian striker Shevchenko became head coach of Ukraine in 2016. 

The all-time Ukrainian top goalscorer took over the reins after a disastrous Euro 2016 campaign. He failed to help his nation qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but qualified for Euro 2021 as group winners with an unbeaten record. 

Star Player of Ukraine – Andriy Yarmolenko is the main attacking threat for Ukraine. He’s one of the most experienced players in the squad and will be there, despite not playing much for club West Ham. 

The 31 year old is second in the all-time goalscorer list, behind head coach Shevchenko. Will he overtake his boss? 

What Ukraine will do – They’ll find it tough to progress in the top two of the group here. However, if results go their way, they have a chance of progressing as one of the best third placed teams.

Shevchenko seems to have them organised defensively. If they can get to the knockouts, they could cause a shock. 

National team of Austria

David Alaba will be keen to show his worth for Austria…

Austria only qualified for their first Euros tournament in 2008. The only other time they qualified was the 2016 Euros in France. 

On both occasions, the nation was eliminated in the group stages of the competition. Fans of Germany’s Bundesliga will recognise plenty of players in the Austria squad  including Aleksandar Dragović, Xaver Schlager and Marcel Sabitzer. 

The Coach – Head coach Franco Foda took over the Austria job in 2018. By guiding the nation to Euro 2021 qualification, he’s already achieved something very few Austria head coaches have. 

His managerial career has been rather underwhelming before getting this job. This will definitely be the biggest test of his credentials to date. 

Star Player of Austria – Defender David Alaba is Austria’s main man. The 28 year old is versatile too, able to play pretty much anywhere across the back line and in midfield.

He tends to play midfield for his country and he’s the one the nation will be turning to for Euro 2021.

What Austria will do – They should win their first game, which will get them a good chance of progressing out of the group. 

They’ll have the game against the Netherlands circled. If they can beat the Dutch, the chances are they’ll finish as group winners, so it could all ride on that one game. 

National team of North Macedonia

This could be Goran Pandev’s swansong for North Macedonia…

As an independent nation (outside of Yugoslavia), North Macedonia has never qualified for a major international competition. Until now. 

With a 1-0 win over Georgia in November 2-0, they won their segment of the Euro 2021 qualifiers. They’ve already made history for their nation, and even getting a win in this competition will secure the team’s place as legends of Macedonian football. 

The Coach – Igor Angelovski is the head coach of North Macedonia. He’s already cemented his legacy as the first coach to take the nation to a major international tournament. 

His status was further cemented with a shock 2-1 win over three-time Euros winners Germany in March 2021. Can they do it again at Euro 2021?

Star Player of North Macedonia – Goran Pandev is unquestionably North Macedonia’s most famous ever player. He’s also the player with the most caps, as well as the country’s all-time top goalscorer. 

The 37 year old striker scored in that infamous win over Germany and is, unsurprisingly, North Macedonia’s captain. Will he score their first goal at a Euros? 

What North Macedonia will do – There’s no two ways about it, North Macedonia are the minnows of this competition. They aren’t expected to win any games at Euro 2021. 

However, their recent win over Germany shows they won’t just roll over for their opponents. With no tournament experience, they’ll find things very tough. 

National team of England

There’s plenty of debate on what England’s best XI is…

When will the hurt end for the Three Lions? Despite having some of the world’s best players over recent decades, they’ve never managed a Euros win. 

The closest England came to Euros glory was 1996, where the hosts were knocked out at the semi-finals stage. With some of Europe’s most exciting young players, the belief is there again for Euro 2021.

The Coach – Gareth Southgate was named as Roy Hodgson’s successor, after England were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the round of 16. 

The former Middlesbrough and England defender guided his nation to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. England fans have long awaited an international tournament win, can Southgate be the man to deliver? 

Star Player of England – Harry Kane is the main man for England. The Tottenham striker is one of the most experienced players in the squad and is already sixth on the all-time goalscorer list. 

He won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup, where he was also captain. Can he top the goalscorer charts again? 

What England will do – Confidence in an England squad should also come with a sense of caution. As the old saying goes –  they build you up to knock you down. 

They have a pretty young squad heading into this, but it is easily one of the most talented. They should win the group and from the knockouts, who knows? 

National team of Croatia

Luka Modric will be pulling the strings for Croatia…

Since the collapse of Yugoslavia, Croatia hasn’t had the best record in the Euros. All of their best performances have come at World Cups since the 90s. 

In the Euros, their best finish has been the quarter-finals, which they reached in 1996 and 2008. With the players they have, they should be reaching that stage at least. 

The Coach – Zlatko Dalić took over as Croatia head coach in 2017. Before that, his managerial career didn’t really include any teams of note. 

He took Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, where they were beaten 4-2 by France. Can he take them all the way at Euro 2021? 

Star Player of Croatia – Luka Modric will captain his nation at this summer’s tournament. The Real Madrid midfielder is Croatia’s all-time record appearance maker and will extend that record here. 

He is the team’s main man and pulls the strings in the middle of the park. Can he guide Croatia to their first international success? 

What Croatia will do – Looking at the group, they should progress onto the knockout stages along with England with relative ease.  

Finishing as runners-up at the 2018 World Cup will have been ideal practice for this. After losing out so painfully there, they’ll be keen to go all the way at Euro 2021. 

National team of Scotland

Scotland qualified for Euro 2021 via the play-offs…

This is the first Euros that Scotland has qualified for since 1996. They did so in dramatic fashion, beating both Israel and Serbia on penalties via the playoffs. 

Fans will be delighted to have been drawn alongside the “auld enemy” England in Group D. However, their chances of progression don’t look too promising. 

The Coach – Steve Clarke amassed a mountain of knowledge as assistant manager at multiple Premier League clubs. Those clubs were; Newcastle United, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool. 

He went on to be manager of West Brom, Reading, Aston Villa and Kilmarnock before being named Scotland head coach in 2019. 

Star Player of Scotland – Liverpool full back Andy Robertson is one of Scotland’s most experienced players. Head coach Clarke has acknowledged this by making the 27 year old captain. 

With multiple titles including the Premier League and Champions League, he’s the most decorated player in the squad. Can he replicate his club form for his country? 

What Scotland will do – They’re not expected to finish in the top two and make the knockout stages, but that won’t bother them. 

Whether they progress could all come down to their very first game against Czech Republic. They’ve already beaten them twice in 2020 and one win might be enough to squeeze through. 

National team of Czech Republic

Tomáš Souček has had a good season with West Ham…

As part of Czechoslovakia, they won the 1976 edition of this tournament. As the Czech Republic, the closest they’ve come is a second place finish back in 1996. 

With arguably their best squad since then, they finished third in 2004 Euros in Portugal. They had players like Milan Baroš, Pavel Nedvěd and Tomáš Rosický then. Unfortunately, they don’t have such quality now. 

The Coach – Jaroslav Šilhavý took over as head coach of Czech Republic in 2018, a year in which they failed to qualify for the World Cup. 

That hurt the country’s pride, and Šilhavý’s main task was to qualify for Euro 2021. Luckily for him he did that, guiding them to second in the group that England won. 

Star Player of Czech Republic – West Ham midfielder Tomáš Souček has been one of the standout players for the Hammers in the 2020/21 season. 

The 26 year old has put in some good performances for his club. He’s going to be one of the more experienced players in this squad. 

What Czech Republic will do – They were humbled 5-0 by England in qualifying for this tournament. So they won’t fancy their chances against the Three Lions, or likely Croatia either.

They’ll most probably focus on the game against Scotland. Win that, and they’ll have an outside chance of progressing onto the knockout stages. 

National team of Spain

They’re not the force of old, but Spain still have plenty of quality…

Spain is the joint-most successful nation in the history of the Euros, with three titles to their name. After winning it in 1964, the Spanish had to wait 48 years until their second Euros success in 2008. 

Such was the dominance of the Spain team, they then went on to win the 2010 World Cup, before winning the 2012 Euros. That was the first time a nation has won back to back Euro titles.

The Coach – Former Barcelona midfielder Luis Enrique was named Spain head coach in 2018. Before that, he had a hugely successful spell as Barca manager, winning every trophy possible with the club. 

The hope was that he would bring that level of dominance back to the national team. However a round of 16 exit at the 2018 World Cup raised eyebrows.

Star Player of Spain – Captain Sergio Ramos is Spain personified. He is the all-time leading appearance maker by a distance that implies it may never be broken. 

The squad will be looking to the Real Madrid defender to use all of his experience at Euro 2021. Can he win his third Euros this summer?

What Spain will do – It’s hard to see anything other than Spain dominating their group. They are not the force of old, but they do still have plenty of quality in the squad.

If they come up against one of the other big nations early in the knockouts, they may be found wanting.

National team of Sweden

It’s hard to see Sweden being competitive without Zlatan Ibrahimovic…

Sweden’s best ever result at the Euros was a third place finish back in 1992. Since then, the furthest they’ve managed is a quarter-final appearance at Euro 2004. 

They aren’t expected to pull up any trees in the grand scheme, but they may have enough to progress to the knockouts. 

The Coach – Sweden’s head coach Janne Andersson took over after a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign saw them eliminated at the group stage. 

He took them to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, where they were knocked out by England. They’re on course for qualifying for the 2022 World Cup though, so he’s doing a good job. 

Star Player of Sweden – Zlatan Ibrahimovic is by far the biggest name in Swedish football. The AC Milan forward has had a superb season for club AC Milan in Serie A. 

There is some doubt over his ability to play though. UEFA are yet to rule on whether the 39 year old breached FIFA and UEFA betting rules.

What Sweden will do – They have a chance of getting out of the group stages. The fact they managed to do just that in the 2018 World Cup is a good sign.

It’s a potentially tight group, and they’ve got the hardest possible start against Spain. Hopefully it won’t be over before it begins for them. 

National team of Poland

Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski is in red hot scoring form…

Euro 2008 was the first time Poland qualified for a Euros tournament. They managed it again in 2012. However, on both occasions, they were eliminated at the group stages. 

They fared much better at Euro 2016, getting to the quarter-finals. They were beaten by eventual winners Portugal then, and they’ll be hoping to at least get to that stage again here. 

The Coach – Former QPR, Swansea and Leicester manager Paulo Sousa took over as head coach of Poland in January 2021. 

The 50 year old, who earned 52 Portugal caps as a player, hasn’t had much time with his players. However, he has plenty of experience and may get the best out of these players.

Star Player of Poland – Robert Lewandowsi is Poland’s all-time top scorer and appearance maker. The Bayern Munich forward is also the Poland national team’s captain. 

He’s arguably the best number nine in world football and will be keen to showcase his talents on the international stage. He comes into this on the back of his best ever goalscoring season for his club.

What Poland will do – The chances are they’ll be fighting for the second spot to progress to the knockout stages automatically. In order to do that, they’ll have to win at least two of their three group games. 

With Lewandowski in the best form of his career, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them go far. 

National team of Slovakia

Slovakia will find it tough in Group E…

Slovakia is one the newest international sides in world football. They’ve been independent since their split from the unified Czechoslovakia in 1993. As a unified nation, Czechoslovakia did win the 1976 Euros.

As an independent nation, they’ve qualified for three major international tournaments. They were eliminated in the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup, the exited at the same stage at Euro 2016. Euro 2021 is their third major competition. 

The Coach – After a five year spell as an assistant, Štefan Tarkovič was named head coach of Slovakia in 2018. 

This is his first major tournament as coach. He brings the team into this on the back of a terrible UEFA Nations League campaign. He may lack the necessary tactical knowledge for this. 

Star Player of Slovakia – Marek Hamšík the star man for Slovakia. The Napoli midfielder is the all-time top scorer for his nation and will be looking to extend that record. 

The 33 year old is also Slovakia’s all-time top appearance maker. The gap to second is huge and it’s likely he’ll hold the record for a very long time. 

What Slovakia will do – They’ve got a tough opening game against Poland to navigate. How they perform there will be a good indication of their chances. 

They won’t win the whole thing, but if they can get to the knockouts, it will be considered a success. Don’t expect too much from them, though.

National team of Hungary

Can Hungary prevent themselves from being the Group F whipping boys?…

Hungary’s best ever campaign at a Euros was their third place finish all the way back in 1964. They did finish fourth eight years later, but then didn’t qualify for another Euros until 2016. 

They got out of the group stages that time. However, they were eliminated in the first knockout round by Belgium in a 4-0 defeat. Not much is expected from them here. 

The Coach – Hungary head coach Marco Rossi took over the role in 2018. His first job was to immediately take charge of Hungary’s vital play-off qualification game for Euro 2021. 

Obviously, he was successful in doing so. Unfortunately for his side, they find themselves in the competition’s toughest group. 

Star Player of Hungary – Hungary captain Ádám Szalai will be the one they’re hoping can inspire them here. The 33 year old is the national team’s captain and is the most capped current player in the squad. 

The Mainz striker hasn’t been scoring for fun for this club. However, his international goal return is much healthier. 

What Hungary will do – Given that they find themselves in such a difficult group, it’s hard to see anything other than a group stage elimination. 

They kick off their tournament against defending champions Portugal, and it doesn’t get any easier from there. They could end up being the Group F whipping boys.

National team of Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to lead Portugal to another Euros success…

Portugal are the current Euros champions, having won the 2016 edition of the competition. That was the nation’s first ever major international tournament win. 

The squad will be full of familiar faces including Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. They have every chance if they can get out of the “group of death”.

The Coach – Fernando Santos was made Portugal head coach in 2014. His first major assignment for his nation was Euro 2016. 

Portugal scraped through the group stages in third place to progress to the knockouts. Throughout the tournament, they only won one game in the regular 90 minutes. Can he do it again? 

Star Player of Portugal – This *could* be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last every major international tournament for Portugal. The Juventus forward is the country’s all-time top appearance maker and top scorer. 

He captained his nation to Euro glory in 2016, and he’ll want to do it again before the curtain closes on his stellar career.

What Portugal will do – Anything can happen in this group. Portugal has so much quality in the squad and are good enough to go toe-to-toe with any other nation in the competition. 

If they beat Hungary in their first game, that will more than likely book their ticket for the next round. They’re definitely ones to watch here.

National team of France

France will be fancied by many to win Euro 2021…

France are out for revenge at Euro 2021. They were beaten in agonising fashion at Euro 2016 after an extra time goal from Eder gave Portugal the title.

They’ll have the chance to get their own back pretty quickly, being in the same group as Portugal here. France have won the Euros twice in their history, first in 1984 and again in 2000. Can they win their third title here?

The Coach – France legend Didier Deschamps took over as head coach in 2012. He guided his country to its second World Cup victory in 2018.

That has cemented his place in French football history forever. If he can guide them to a Euro 2021 win, he could be known as France’s greatest ever coach.

Star Player of France – Kylian Mbappé has progressed massively since the 2018 World Cup. At just 22 years of age, he’s already notched up over 40 appearances for his country. 

The PSG forward is lightning fast and will be key to France’s attack in this tournament. There will be plenty of people backing him to be the competition’s top scorer.

What France will do – France arguably have the best squad in the tournament. Winning all but one of their games at the World Cup is testament to that. 

They’ve got big name players, who are used to playing in the biggest competitions. They should at least get to the semi-finals. Anything less will be disappointing. 

National team of Germany

Germany come into this needing to repair their international reputation…

Germany is the join-most successful nation in Euros history, with three titles to their name. The last of those came all the way back in 1996, though. 

They are ultra-consistent when it comes to tournament football. In the last three European Championships, they’ve finished second, third and fourth respectively. Expect another bold showing from them here. 

The Coach – Joachim Löw was made Germany head coach in 2006, after two years as an assistant. He guided the nation to their fourth World Cup success in 2014. 

This will be Löw’s swansong for Germany. He is set to step down after Euro 2021. It was announced Löw’s former assistant and Bayern Munich manager Hani Flick will take over.

Star Player of Germany – Toni Kroos is the man who pulls the strings for the Germany team. The Real Madrid midfielder has over 100 caps for his country and is one of the most experienced players in the squad. 

He’ll be looking to guide his country to its fourth ever Euros win. 

What Germany will do – They’ve had a lot of criticism of late. Some of it very much deserved, none more so than after their shock defeat to North Macedonia. 

They still have a squad of world class players though, and are more than capable of winning this. A semi-final appearance at the least will be expected. 

Groups of Euro 2021

The Euro 2021 group stages will see the 24 participating nations split into six groups of four teams. The groups for Euro 2021 are as follows:

Group A

  • Turkey
  • Italy
  • Wales 
  • Switzerland 

Group B

  • Denmark
  • Finland 
  • Belgium
  • Russia

Group C

  • Netherlands
  • Ukraine
  • Austria
  • North Macedonia

Group D

  • England
  • Croatia
  • Scotland
  • Czech Republic

Group E 

  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Slovakia

Group F

  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Germany

Match Program at Euro 2021

Below, we will outline all of the Euro 2021 fixtures for the group stages and how the knockout stages will match up, based on the final group standings and third placed rankings. 

Group A Fixtures

Friday 11th June 2021

Turkey v Italy

Saturday 12th June 2021

Wales v Switzerland

Wednesday 16th June 2021

Turkey v Wales

Italy v Switzerland

Sunday 20th June 2021

Switzerland v Turkey 

Italy v Wales

Group B Fixtures

Saturday 12th June 2021

Denmark v Finland

Belgium v Russia

Wednesday 16th June 2021

Finland v Russia

Thursday 17th June 2021

Denmark v Belgium

Monday 21st June 2021

Russia v Denmark

Finland v Belgium

Group C Fixtures

Sunday 13th June 2021

Austria v North Macedonia

Netherlands v Ukraine

Thursday 17th June 2021

Ukraine v North Macedonia

Netherlands v Austria

Monday 21st June 2021

North Macedonia v Netherlands

Ukraine v Austria

Group D Fixtures

Sunday 13th June 2021

England v Croatia

Monday 14th June 2021

Scotland v Czech Republic

Friday 18th June 2021

Croatia v Czech Republic 

England v Scotland

Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Croatia v Scotland

Czech Republic v England

Group E Fixtures

Monday 14th June 2021

Poland v Slovakia 

Spain v Sweden

Friday 18th June 2021

Sweden v Slovakia

Saturday 19th June 2021

Spain v Poland

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Slovakia v Spain

Sweden v Poland

Group F Fixtures

Tuesday 15th June 2021

Hungary v Portugal

France v Germany

Friday 19th June 2021

Hungary v France

Portugal v Germany

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Portugal v France

Germany v Hungary

Round of 16

Saturday 26th June 2021

(RO16 – Match 1) Winner of Group A v Runnerup of Group C

(RO16 – Match 2) Runner-up of Group A v Runner-up of Group B

Sunday 27th June 2021

(RO16 – Match 3) Winner of Group B v 3rd from Group A/D/E/F

(RO16 – Match 4) Winner of Group C v 3rd from Group D/E/F

Monday 28th June 2021

(RO16 – Match 5) Winner of Group F v 3rd from Group A/B/C

(RO16 – Match 6) Runner-up of Group D v Runner-up of Group E

Tuesday 29th June 2021

(RO16 – Match 7) Winner of Group E v 3rd from Group A/B/C/D

(RO16 – Match 8) Winner of Group D v Runner-up of Group F

Quarter-finals 

Friday 2nd July 2021

(QF1) Winner of RO16 – Match 3 v Winner of RO16 – Match 1 

(QF2) Winner of RO16 – Match 5 v Winner of RO16 – Match 6 

Saturday 3rd July 2021

(QF3) Winner of RO16 – Match 7 v Winner of RO16 – Match 8 

(QF4)Winner of RO16 – Match 4 v Winner of RO16 – Match 2 

Semi-finals

Tuesday 6th July 2021

(SF1) Winner of QF1 v Winner of QF2

Wednesday 7th July 2021

(SF2) Winner of QF3 v Winner of QF4

Euro 2021 Final 

Sunday 11th July 2021

Winner of SF1 v Winner of SF2

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