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Euro 2024 Group A preview & best bet

Updated on 9:55pm GMT 5 June 2024
Euro 2024 Group A preview & best bet

Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.

The European Championships kick off next week, with a Group A clash as Scotland take on tournament hosts Germany. As you can see from our Euro 2024 hub, our coverage is in full swing.

We’re previewing the tournament group-by-group and there’s no better place to start than Group A. That pool features the resurgent hosts, a hopeful home nation and a side that could be set for a breakout summer.


Euro 2024 Group A preview

Germany

Head coach: Julian Nagelsmann

Star man: Kai Havertz

Best European Championship finish: Winners (1972, 1980, 1996)

Germany are usually feared going into summer tournaments and even though this may not be a vintage side, expectations will still be high that they can at least get to the latter stages once again.

Germany have had to negotiate plenty of friendlies over the past year or so as they qualified directly as hosts so a lack of competitive action recently could be a concern.

Several defeats throughout 2023 to the likes of Belgium, Poland, Japan and Austria in friendly games did little to suggest the hosts are capable of winning the whole thing on home soil.

That’s not to say they do not still have several stand-out players. With goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defenders Antonio Rudiger and Josh Kimmich, and vastly experienced midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos, they have no shortage of top talent.

Going forward they have exciting pair Florian Wirtz and Leroy Sane, while a rejuvenated Kai Havertz, who is coming off the back of a fantastic second half of the season with Arsenal, will offer a genuine goal threat, supported by Borussia Dortmund’s Niclas Fullkrug and the wily Thomas Muller.

Recent wins over Les Bleus and the Netherlands in March mean they look to be in decent shape before the summer spectacular kicks off.


Hungary

Head coach: Marco Rossi

Star man: Dominik Szoboszlai

Best European Championship finish: Third (1964)

Hungary could be many observers’ ‘dark horses’ for the Euros as Marco Rossi’s side have the potential to hurt anyone on their day.

Their long unbeaten run – which now stretches to 14 games – came shortly after they recorded memorable home and away wins over England two years ago and Hungary also beat group opponents Germany away the last time they met in September 2022.

There is some real talent in the Hungarian squad and they must be serious contenders to at least finish as runners-up in Group A.

Attila Szalai and Willi Orban, who both play in Germany with Freiburg and RB Leipzig, should provide solidity and experience at the back, while in midfield Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai, who will captain them in Germany, will drive Hungary forward.

Szoboszlai is set to be aided by the likes of Adam Nagy, who has 79 caps, and Bournemouth’s rising star Milos Kerkez and they look a well-drilled, organised outfit.

In attack, Freiburg’s Roland Sallai, who has 12 goals for his country from 47 appearances, offers plenty of goal threat, with Barnabas Varga and Andras Nemeth among the supporting cast in the final third.


Scotland

Head coach: Steve Clarke

Star man: John McGinn

Best European Championship finish: Group exit (1992, 1996, 2020)

After failing to make five consecutive Euros, the Scots have now qualified for back-to-back tournaments but they will be aiming to do better than at Euro 2020, when they weakly exited at the group stage without managing a win.

They have had an excellent qualifying campaign, finishing second in their group behind Spain with five wins, two draws and just one defeat – edging out Erling Haaland’s Norway – and there is a hard-working core of reliable players for Steve Clarke to build around.

Skipper and inspirational full-back Andy Robertson, midfield pair Scott McTominay and John McGinn, who have just enjoyed good club seasons with Aston Villa and Manchester United, and the returning James Forrest all provide experience and quality.

Liverpool starlet Ben Doak and Bristol City’s Ross McCrorie, who have both been called-up for the first time, can offer something different if they get the chance to shine in Germany, but the Scots do look short of options and goals up front.

Realistically, the Tartan Army look likely to be competing for second or third place in what looks a difficult group, although expectations will rise if they can avoid defeat in the huge tournament-opener against the hosts in Munich on June 14.


Switzerland

Head coach: Murat Yakin

Star man: Granit Xhaka

Best European Championship finish: Quarter-finals (2020)

Switzerland are often overlooked going into major tournaments but they were quarter-finalists at Euro 2020 and have also reached the last 16 in the last three World Cups.

The Swiss qualified second in Group I for Euro 2024, five points behind winners Romania, and like Scotland and Hungary, will have their eyes firmly on at least battling for second place, although they will know third could also be good enough to make the second phase.

Murat Yakin’s side seem to often rely on draws in big matches to try and progress and there is no doubt they are usually difficult to beat, underlined by the fact that they have only won one of their last six matches but in that time they have picked up four draws.

It may not make for the most entertaining spectacle but the Swiss have previously displayed a rigid determination not to get beat on the biggest stage and that will stand them in good stead in a summer tournament once again.

They do have some well-known players, like Bayer Leverkusen’s former Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, who will captain them in Germany, while the likes of Breel Embolo, Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schar, Ricardo Rodriguez, Denis Zakaria and the highly talented, but ageing, Xherdan Shaqiri will form the basis of their line-up.


Group A Best Bet

Hungary to qualify at 4/6

Hungary come into the tournament looking like they could cause some problems and it seems fair to peg them as the second-best side in the group. With the possibility of three of the four Group A sides making the last 16, Hungary are well-priced at 4/6 to qualify for the next round.

The Hungarians performed well as the fourth side behind France, Portugal and Germany at Euro 2020, losing only once and twice taking the lead in a 2-2 draw with Germany in Munich. Four years on, this talented group has gained experience and they may even give the hosts another scare.


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