Scotland, Hungary, Slovakia and North Macedonia all battled their way through crucial play-off fixtures on an incredibly dramatic evening of international football on Thursday to cement their places at next year’s Euro 2020 tournament.
Thursday’s quartet of successful combatants will join 20 other nations at next summer’s country-hopping competition in what is already shaping up to be an enthralling festival of football.
With the 24-stong-field now finalised, FST takes a look at each of the six Euro 2020 Groups below and how each section might pan out.
Remember – we’ll be covering all of the international action with details analysis and exclusive betting tips on our football predictions page.
Euro 2020 GROUP A
Host cities: Rome (Italy) and Baku (Azerbaijan)
Turkey and Italy kick off Group A on June 11 in Roma, where the Azzurri will aim to harness home advantage to dominate what looks an intriguing section.
Roberto Mancini’s side are clear favourites to top the group and book their passage to the Last 16, though the runners-up spot behind the Italians looks up for grabs.
Turkey – who beat France in qualifying – will hope that playing two matches in neighbouring Azerbaijan might work in their favour, while a Welsh squad wielding Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale should never be underestimated.
A battle-hardened Swiss team, that qualified for five of the last six major tournaments, remain dangerous dark horses however, and armed with considerable knowhow at this level, the Rossocrociati could make the cut.
Group A winner prediction: Italy
Euro 2020 GROUP B
Host cities: Copenhagen (Denmark) and Saint Petersburg (Russia)
Roberto Martinez’s Belgium will likely start Euro 2020 as the number one ranked team in the world, and the star-studded Rode Duivels have the fire-power to blast their way through the competition in Group B to finish first.
The race to claim second spot behind the Belgians should make for more interesting viewing however. Russia performed beyond all expectations on home soil at the last World Cup in 2018, and Stanislav Cherchesov’s charges could be pushed on by more home support next summer.
Nordic neighbours Denmark and Finland are also capable of springing a surprise or two. The Danes went unbeaten through their qualification campaign, while Finland proved in a shock 2-0 win at France during the international break that they can upset the odds.
Group B winner prediction: Belgium
Euro 2020 GROUP C
- North Macedonia
Host cities: Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Bucharest (Romania)
Former European Championship winners Netherlands have tons of tournament pedigree, however, the Oranje have looked far from convincing in the early months of Frank de Boer’s stewardship.
The ex-Ajax, Inter and Atlanta manager is winless after four matches in charge, and already there have murmurs of discontent about the team’s style of play under his direction.
Any uncertainty in the Dutch camp next year, could open a window of opportunity of Ukraine and Austria in Group C, and both nations look capable of seizing their chance.
Ukraine didn’t lose a single a single qualification contest in a group they shared with Portugal and Serbia, while Austria have developed a real ruthless edge under Franco Foda.
North Macedonia meanwhile, will compete at a major tournament finals for the first time next summer, and while the history makers will make a welcome addition, the minnows aren’t expected to make much of an impact.
Group C winner prediction: Austria
Euro 2020 GROUP D
- Czech Republic
Host venues: London (England) and Glasgow (Scotland)
England will battle their World Cup semi-final conquerors Croatia for supremacy in Group D, though two years on from their disappointment in Moscow, the Three Lions look better-equipped than the Vatreni to succeed.
Gareth Southgate’s exciting young team will play all of their group matches at home next summer, and with talent to burn in just about every position, England will expect to make a real push for silverware.
The classy Croatians will still have seasoned performers like Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic to lean on however, making them favourites to qualify for the knockout stages ahead of Scotland and the Czech Republic.
The Scots – who qualified for their first tournament in 22 years – will be desperate to upset the established order however, though Czech Republic, who were battered 5-0 by England at Wembley in 2019, already look like making up the numbers.
Group D winner prediction: England
Euro 2020 GROUP E
Host cities: Bilbao (Spain) and Dublin (Republic of Ireland)
Three-times winners Spain look a far cry from their superb teams of the past in their current guise, though La Roja – who lost just once in their homeland since 2016 – should make home advantage count in Group E.
Spain were hugely disappointing in each of the last three major international tournaments, though their preparations were severely hampered in the lead up to Russia 2018 when Julen Lopetegui was axed just hours before the competition kicked-off.
Less drama this time around should make for a smoother transition to the knockout phase in Euro 2020, where Spain are likely to be joined by either Poland or Sweden.
Lead from the front by the prolific Robert Lewandowski, Poland dropped just five points in their qualification campaign, while Sweden pushed Spain hard when they shared a group in qualifying.
Slovakia, who enjoyed play-off success against Northern Ireland in mid-week, lack the star-quality to be anything other than a nuisance in Group E.
Group E winner prediction: Spain
Euro 2020 GROUP F
Host venues: Munich (Germany) and Budapest (Hungary)
Every major tournament needs a “group of death” and a section featuring a trio of international heavyweights in Portugal, France and Germany certainly fits the bill.
Current European champions Portugal, 2000 winners France and 1996 champions Germany will all rank among the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy again next summer – though it’s possible that only two of them will make the knockout stage in 2021.
Long-serving manager Joachim Low is currently overseeing a changing of the guard with Die Mannschaft, and a more youthful looking Germany could find it tough to mix it with more settled Portuguese and French outfits.
Spare a thought for Hungary however. The Magyars will appear at the European Championship for only the second time since the 70s next summer, though Marco Rossi’s side already look like being the whipping boys in Group F.
Group F winner prediction: Portugal
FST’s Euro 2020 Group winners acca
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