PREDICTION: EURO 2020 FINAL
KO: 11 July @ 19:00 GMT +1
After weeks of football action on the world stage - it all comes down to this spectacular moment when Italy or England take home the title of EURO 2020 Champions.
Despite squandering a one-goal lead and being put under immense pressure throughout their semi-final match against Spain, Italy survived a penalty shootout to advance to the final at Wembley.
Attacking wideman Federico Chiesa scored the Azzurri's goal for the second time in the knockout stage, while left-back Emerson filled in admirably for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola and is expected to do so again in the final, despite striker Ciro Immobile failing to score for the first time since Italy's second group game of the tournament.
Despite conceding first in their semi-final match against Denmark, England came back to win after extra time, with captain Harry Kane missing a penalty won by the tireless Raheem Sterling before slotting home the rebound in front of a raucous Wembley crowd to send the Three Lions to their first major final in 55 years. Sterling was fantastic against Denmark, and his direct running ability will make him a huge attacking threat in the final, while forward Kane is now just one goal away from tying Cristiano Ronaldo for the tournament's top goalscorer, despite facing a tough night against veteran Italian centre-backs Chiellini and Bonucci.
So far in the competition, Italy has not trailed at any point, combining veteran defensive steel with a flamboyant attack. After losing their first goal of the tournament in the semi-final before rallying to win in extra time, England once again demonstrated to the doubters why they deserve a top spot in the competition.
Match Notes: Roberto Mancini may be tempted to start Domenico Berardi as part of the front three with the intention of bringing Chiesa off the bench as an impact substitute.
Gareth Southgate must decide whether to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation he has used for the majority of EURO 2020, or switch to the 3-4-2-1 formation he used against Germany in the round of 16. This would see Walker revert to central defense and Kieron Trippier start at right-wing-back. However, this would mean Mason Mount or Bukayo Saka would be dropped to the bench.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Under 3.5
PREDICTION: England vs Denmark
KO: 7 July @ 19:00 GMT +1
Will it be history in the making? Tonight England has the chance to reach the EURO 2020 Final - for the first time ever. It was 25 years ago since England reached the EUROS Semi-Finals - but this time they're playing with unrivalled confidence following their 4-0 triumph against Ukraine. That was their first win by 3+ goals in a major tournament knockout match since 2002, when England beat Denmark 3-0 in their last competitive H2H win.
England have made defensive solidity the bedrock of their EURO 2020 run. They remain the only side yet to concede (W4, D1) and have gone seven matches overall without conceding a goal for the first time ever. That said, England have conceded an average of one first-half goal per match across their last four games vs sides ranked inside FIFA’s top ten (W1, D1, L2).
Denmark’s team spirit has shone through following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest, as they continue to improve after battling through a tough quarter-final vs the Czech Republic. Captain Simon Kjær has said they are playing “with Christian Eriksen in our hearts”, and that’s propelled them into their first semi-final appearance since winning this competition in 1992. Having beaten England at Wembley as recently as October 2020, Denmark may feel mildly confident of an upset too, especially after scoring ten goals across their previous three matches (W3), and leading ‘to nil’ at HT in each of the last four.
Denmark have also netted six goals after the 75th minute across their last nine internationals, making them a constant threat. If any late goals see this clash reach a shootout - like both of these sides’ last respective Euro semis - then that may favour Denmark as they have a 50% success rate (W1, L1) in 12-yard duels at the Euros, compared to England’s 25% (W1, L3).
Players to watch: Harry Kane has registered three goals across England’s knockout matches, moving him one behind Gary Lineker’s national record of ten major international tournament goals. As for Denmark, Kasper Dolberg also has three Euro 2020 goals, all were scored during the knockout stage between the 25th and 50th minutes of play.
Prediction:Total Goals Scored Over 1.5
PREDICTION: England vs Germany
KO: 29 June @ 17:00 GMT +1
England host old rivals Germany at Wembley in this Euro 2020 Round of 16 game having started a major international tournament with three clean sheets for the first time since 1966 (W2, D1). Coincidentally, that was the last time they beat Germany/West Germany in a knockout match (Euros or World Cup), with two of the three subsequent defeats coming via the dreaded penalty shootout, including one in London at Euro ‘96.
Encouragingly, the ‘Three Lions’ have won eight of their last nine matches (D1), with the last four victories coming via a 1-0 scoreline - by which they also beat Germany in a Euro 2000 group game. They didn’t concede before HT during that sequence whilst interestingly six of their last eight fixtures have featured exactly one goal between the 50th and 70th minute.
Curiously, that same period produced five (50%) of the last ten goals witnessed in Germany’s matches! Inconsistent en route to the second round, the three-time champions struggled against France, dominated against
Portugal, yet needed an 84th-minute goal to stay in the tournament via a draw with Hungary (W1, D1, L1).
While this stage of the competition five years ago saw an average of 2.38 goals per fixture (including ET), this could prove to be a tighter affair as three of the last four H2Hs witnessed under 1.5 goals (W2, D1, L1). Although ‘Das Mannschaft’ netted the opener in three of those, they went behind inside 25 minutes of all three group games so the first goal could prove pivotal, particularly as ten of their last 11 fixtures saw the same HT/FT outcome.
Players to watch: Although Harry Kane is yet to score in this tournament, he netted a 61st-minute goal the last time England beat Germany in March 2016. Another second-half threat, Kai Havertz has scored two Euro 2020 goals, both coming between the 50th and 70th minute.
Hot stat: England have lost their last four Euros knockout matches despite netting an opener inside five minutes in three of them. Three defeats therein came via a penalty shootout!
Prediction:Total Goals Scored Over 1.5
PREDICTION: France vs Switzerland
KO: 28June @ 20:00 GMT +1
The Arena Națională in Bucharest hosts its very first European Championship knockout tie, as France and Switzerland meet for a fifth time in nine major tournaments going back to 2004, with the latter still seeking a first H2H win since the start of this century (D4, L3).
A 2-2 draw against Euro 2016 winners Portugal on matchday three saw France progress to the knockout stages, and do so for a sixth time in their last seven Euro appearances. Confident after finishing first in Euro 2020’s ‘group of death’ (W1, D2), the world champions are richly expected to be quarter-finalists in a fifth successive major tournament.
France are also enjoying a run of 19 consecutive competitive matches without a loss (W14, D5), with ten of those wins being accompanied by a HT lead. Speaking of the HT break, France have also shut out their quiet neighbours in the opening 45 minutes during each of the previous five H2Hs.
Switzerland could only finish third behind Italy and Wales during the group stage (W1, D1, L1), despite being the second-highest FIFA-ranked team in Group A. In a trend that further justifies their underdog status, the Swiss have been eliminated at the round of 16 in each of their last three major tournaments.
If the match goes as widely expected, the first ‘nail’ in Switzerland’s coffin may be quick to arrive, with eight of Switzerland’s previous 11 competitive matches (excluding walkovers) witnessing the opening goal scored within 15 minutes.
Players to watch: With his two strikes against Portugal last time out, France’s Karim Benzema has scored four braces across his last six goalscoring international appearances. Meanwhile, Switzerland have won 12 (an 85.71% majority) of the 14 competitive matches to see talismanic Xherdan Shaqiri get on the scoresheet.
Hot stat: Switzerland have drawn 45% (nine) of their previous 20 matches against any reigning world champions (W3, D9, L8).4
PREDICTION:Croatia vs Spain
KO: 28June @ 17:00 GMT +1
Now into the business end of Euro 2020, Croatia shouldn’t need any extra motivation, although revenge may be an added incentive given Spain handed them their heaviest ever defeat in international football back in September 2018 (6-0). They’ve beaten the Iberian side once since then (3-2, November 2018) and will be hoping for more of the same as they bid to improve on a record that’s seen them lose at this stage on each of the previous three occasions they’ve reached a Euro knockout phase.
Zlatko Dalić’s men secured qualification out of Group D with a professional 3-1 victory over Scotland, as their results gradually improved with each match. Given that they’ve now failed to score in just one of their last ten games at major tournaments (Euros and World Cup), ‘Vatreni’ should fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet. They have, however, failed to beat any team currently ranked in FIFA’s top ten since that 3-2 win over Spain in 2018 (P7, L7 since).
Spain have ambitions to win a third European Championship in four attempts, however a more pressing matter is ensuring that they avoid elimination at the last 16 stage for a third successive major tournament (Euro 2016 vs Italy, World Cup 2018 vs Russia). Interestingly, both those games saw them concede a goal in the period between the 30th minute and HT and fail to score thereafter.
Despite that, Luis Enrique’s men are now unbeaten in 11 internationals (W5, D6) and haven’t conceded before HT in any of their previous six matches (W3, D3) whilst at the other end of the pitch, each of the three victories in that six-game sequence also saw them score 3+ goals.
Players to watch: Ivan Perišić has been directly involved in six goals in his last five appearances at major tournaments for Croatia (four goals, two assists). Whilst Spain’s Ferran Torres scored last time out, taking his tally to six goals across his last eight international appearances.
Hot stat: Only Switzerland won more corners than Spain (20) in the group stages.
PREDICTION: Czech Republic vs England
KO: 22 June @ 20:00 GMT +1
With four Euro 2020 points to date, the Czech Republic only need a draw here at Wembley to progress as group winners. A draw in Group D’s other finale (CRO v SCO) would see these sides lock out the top two regardless, but the group winner has the advantage of staying in London for the last 16.
The counter-attacking style they’ve adopted so far in this tournament might mean a cagey affair here against a goal-shy England, but
you’d have to go back to 2014 to find the last time they drew two straight matches. England have qualified for Euro 2020 knockout stages after Ukraine and Finland both finish third in their groups with three points, meaning that even if Gareth Southgate's side lose to Czechs they will reach the last 16.
The prospect of home advantage should inspire England. Their last two ‘matchday three’ Euro games (W1, D1) yielded a 0-0 HT scoreline, as have their last four international matches this year. Players to watch: After being the first goalscorer against Scotland and Croatia, Patrik Schick could become the first Czech to net in every group game at a Euro finals since Milan Baroš in 2004.
Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick for England in the last H2H here, including a 61st-75th minute brace.
Hot stat: Going back to 1992, England are unbeaten in first halves across their last six ‘matchday three’ Euro fixtures (HT: W4, D2).
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 1.5
PREDICTION: Finland vs Belgium
KO: 21 June @ 20:00 GMT +1
Finland heads into their last group game at the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg knowing that only a win would secure them a place in the Round of 16. However, a draw will suffice if Russia loses to Denmark in their final match. Belgium are unbeaten in their last 11 games, winning 9 of them. We expect Kevin de Bruyne to start against their foes, setting the pace.
Despite only winning one of their previous eight games (D2, L5), Finland might take encouragement from Euro 2016, when four of the five debutants qualified from the groups.
Belgium's comeback win over Denmark qualified them for the knockout stages of Euro 2020, with only a draw necessary to finish first in Group B. No team has won all three group games at Euro 2016, giving Finland optimism. However, Belgium did so in the World Cup group stages in 2014 and 2018.
They've also won their previous four major championships' final group game, and haven't lost a game to a team presently outside FIFA's top 20, since losing to Japan in 2013.
Interestingly, the ‘Eagle-owls' haven't lost to Belgium since 1968 (W4, D3), could they have a chance against a flawless Belgium?
None of the last five encounters between Finland and Belgium have produced more than two goals. We predict that there will be some goal action in this face-off tonight.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Under 2.5
PREDICTION: Italy vs Wales
KO: 20 June @ 17:00 GMT +1
Italy has already qualified for the round of 16 and is one of the favorites for Euro 2020, in terms of winning the trophy. Mancini's national team does not want to let its guard down in the last round of the groups.Two victories out of two possible, 6 goals scored and 0 conceded. This is what Mancini's national team looks like, without a doubt the strongest from Euro 2020 at the moment. In the opening match of the European Championship, the Italians had fun with the Turkish defense. They prevailed without much trouble - score 3: 0.
A few days later, Italy repeated the feat - on the same stadium - this time with Switzerland. Locatelli started in the 26th minute, with the goal scored on the Sassuolo line - from Berardi's pass. The same Locatelli scored for 2-0 immediately after the break, with a superb shot from outside the box and Immobile also put his name on the scoreboard, in the 89th minute. Wales has an excellent new final tournament and is very close to a qualification in the eighth. In the first round, the Welsh faced Switzerland - drawing 1: 1. Moore then managed to score in the 74th minute, and Gavranovic had a goal canceled out in the end with the VAR. Last stage, Bale & co. they achieved an extremely important victory against Turkey.
The Real Madrid player (he will return this summer on loan) passed decisively to both goals of Ramsey and Roberts. However, he missed the chance to score, after wasting a penalty kick in the 61st minute. Although Wales is not among the favorites of Euro 2020, the team can attack the upper stages of the competition. Wales can also qualify with 4 points, from the 3rd place. A draw in front of Italy, it ensures their second position and implicitly the qualification in the eighth.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be under 1.5.
PREDICTION: Portugal vs Germany
KO: 19th of June @ 17:00 GMT +1
A hydro-powered Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal to a 3-0 victory over Hungary on match day one, in what was their best ever-win in an opening game of a European Championship. Their previous two opening day wins in 2000 and 2008 were followed by victory in their next match, and Portugal will hope for a continuation of that despite taking on opponents Germany with a negative Euro H2H record (W1, D1, L2). The reigning champions have now extended their unbeaten run in this competition to 12 fixtures (W5, D7 - 90 minutes) and are yet to trail at the break in 13 (HT: W2, D11). There’s been talk in the Portuguese camp that this side is in even better shape than during their 2016 triumph, and with an average of one goal scored during regulation time in that campaign - compared to their three scored vs Hungary - there could be truth to that.
Three-time European champions Germany fell to a 1-0 loss on match day one as they scored an own goal, and subsequently suffered an opening day group stage defeat for the first time in this competition. Incredibly, that own goal - Germany’s first in a major finals since 1978 - was the third of the tournament, equaling the number registered after all 51 matches of Euro 2016! The Euro 1996 winners (at Wembley) have also won just one of their previous five match-day two group stage fixtures (W1, D2, L2), and were eliminated on the last two occasions in which they didn’t secure at least one win after two games. However they have won four H2Hs in a row.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be under 2.5.
PREDICTION: England vs Scotland
KO: 18 June @ 20:00 GMT +1
It’s a huge game and perhaps the pick of fixtures in Group D as England take on traditional rivals Scotland at Wembley. Coincidentally, their only other previous meeting at a major tournament was in the group stages of Euro 1996, also at Wembley. England won that game 2-0, and have scored 2+ goals in five of the six meetings since (W4, D1, L1). That’s a far cry from the 0-0 in the first H2H back in 1872 - football’s first-ever international.Beyond wanting to get one over their rivals, a victory for Gareth Southgate’s men will likely be enough to see them into the knockouts. They’ll make history if they do secure that win as the ‘Three Lions’ have never won their first seven matches in a calendar year, as they attempt to move closer to the national record of ten consecutive wins that has stood since 1909.
Scotland suffered defeat on match day one (2-0, Czech Republic), ending their scoring run of five consecutive matches (W2, D3). That result means Scotland have never netted after going behind in a Euro finals match, and they’ve now failed to score in five of their seven all-time European Championship matches. Unfortunately for the Scots, both games in which they did score were match day three encounters (3-0 vs CIS in 1992, 1-0 vs Switzerland in 1996). Anything but a positive result would make qualification unlikely for Scotland, therefore their recent record of just one win in their last 11 matches vs England will be a worry (D2, L8). No matter the result, fans from both sides should anticipate excitement given the four H2Hs this century have averaged a high four goals per match.
Prediction: England to win.
PREDICTION: Netherlands vs Austria
KO: 17 June @ 20:00 GMT +1
Netherlands is today looking to build on their winning start to Euro 2020 as they take on Austria. After failing to qualify for the last European Championships and the 2018 World Cup, the Dutch are back at a major tournament for the first time since 2014. They got off to a winning start, beating Ukraine 3-2 in perhaps the game of the tournament so far, and can now book their place in the last-16 with a game to spare by beating Austria.
The Austrians also have three points on the board already after beating newcomers North Macedonia in their opener, though this is likely to prove a much tougher test. For the Netherlands, much will depend on the fitness of defender Matthijs De Ligt, who missed the opener against Ukraine. For Austria, Michael Gregoritsch is pushing for a start after scoring off the bench against North Macedonia but Marko Arnautovic is suspended.
The Netherlands are an entertaining outfit to watch at both ends of the field - largely because their deficiencies at the back mean they tend to afford plenty of chances to their opponents. Virgil Van Dijk's presence in the heart of the defence is certainly a big miss, with De Boer's men having kept just three clean sheets in the nine matches since the Liverpool man's season-ending injury in October. Indeed, those three shut-outs came against Gibraltar, Georgia and Latvia, and the Oranje have conceded four goals to Turkey, and two against both Scotland and Ukraine during that time as well. Although Austria are not the most prolific side in the tournament, they have scored in 18 of their last 23 matches and backing goals at both ends makes plenty of sense.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 1.5
PREDICTION: Italy vs Switzerland
KO: 16 June @ 20:00 GMT +1
Italy entertain Switzerland at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in Euro 2020 on Wednesday night. Italy easily saw off Turkey in the opening game of the tournament, with an own goal, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne doing the damage. The 3-0 win for Roberto Mancini’s side underlined a dominant performance, and the Azzurri can essentially secure progression to the last 16 with a win over Switzerland. The Swiss drew 1-1 with Wales in their opening game, with Kieffer Moore’s header snatching a point for the Dragons after Breel Embolo had opened the scoring.
The game will likely come too soon for Marco Verratti, who has overcome a knee injury but may not be match fit. Manuel Locatelli, linked with a move to the Premier League, will join Jorginho and Nicolo Barella in midfield. Giovanni Di Lorenzo will start in place of Alessandro Florenzi, who has a calf issue. Vladimir Petkovic may bring in Denis Zakaria to counter Italy’s strength in midfield. The Swiss also called up goalkeeper Gregor Kobel to replace the injured Jonas Omlin as cover for Yann Sommer.
Mancini will surely want to keep changes to a minimum after such an impressive opening display against Turkey. However, Paris Saint-Germain full-back Alessandro Florenzi was replaced at half-time by Napoli's Giovanni Di Lorenzo on Friday and subsequently diagnosed with an inflammatory muscle injury to the right calf. Key midfielder Marco Verratti returned to training on Sunday five weeks after suffering a knee injury at PSG, though it remains to be seen if he will be fit enough to play any part against Switzerland.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 1.5
PREDICTION: France vs Germany
KO: 15 June @ 20:00 BST
After a bitter runners-up finish at Euro 2016, reigning world champions France come into this competition as serious candidates to win Euro 2020 as they attempt to become the first side to be world and European champions at the same time on two occasions. ‘Les Bleus’ are known to be strong starters in European Championships, losing just one of their nine opening games of the tournament (W5, D3), with that single loss dating back to 1960!
Although this game will be held in Munich, France’s confidence should be high as they’re unbeaten in five H2Hs on German soil (W3, D2). The world’s number two ranked nation are also enjoying a run of four consecutive wins ‘to nil’, and notably, a fifth successive shutout would mark their longest run without conceding since June 2008.
Reaching at least the semi-final stage in all international competitions between 2006 and 2016, Germany (#12) were humbled at the 2018 World Cup, finishing last in their group. Three-time Euro winners, the Germans may have never lost an opening game in this competition (W7, D5), but they’re now winless in 11 international matches against nations currently ranked better than them by FIFA (D7, L4).
This will be Joachim Löw's last tournament in charge of the German national team who were humiliated 6-0 by Spain in November, and in March lost 2-1 at home to North Macedonia (#62). The H2H history makes for worrying reading too, as the ‘Mannschaft’ are winless in five meetings with France (D2, L3) - including a semi-final defeat in Euro 2016 - with four of those featuring a 1-0 HT scoreline either way.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 1.5
PREDICTION: Spain vs Sweeden
KO: 14 June @ 20:00 BST
The Estadio de La Cartuja will become the first Spanish venue to host a major international tournament since the 1982 World Cup, as three-time European champions Spain make a seventh successive Euro finals appearance. They are favoured to extend a perfect competitive return here (W2), which includes a 6-0 thrashing of another side currently in FIFA’s top 20 (Germany) only last November.
After netting 12 goals across their final two Euro 2020 qualifiers, ‘La Roja’ certainly have the momentum to claim a third Euro title in four editions. Speaking of dozens, both of Spain’s previous two Euro triumphs this century saw them finish with exactly 12 goals and with the overall top scorer (joint or outright).
Sweden are flying under Janne Andersson, with the Halmstad-born head coach boasting a win rate of 50.91% after a five-game winning run. They finished top in their 2018 World Cup group under him, but wider history is against the ‘Blågult’, who’ve bowed out at the group stage in four of five Euro appearances since their semi-final appearances at Euro ‘92 and the 1994 World Cup.
The Swedes lost 2-1 to Spain in the only prior Euro finals H2H (2008), and coincidentally, it’s that same scoreline by which Sweden have lost both prior Euro battles vs ‘host’ nations. Both losses were also campaign openers, contributing to a combined progression rate of 0% from four World Cup and Euro tournaments to see Sweden lose their opener (1970-2012).
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 2.5
PREDICTION: Austria vs North Macedonia
KO: 13 June @ 17:00 GMT+1
Austria make only their third appearance at the European Championship finals. By beginning their campaign against a lower-ranked side, they will be hopeful of winning a game at a major tournament for the first time since the 1990 World Cup. So too will they aspire for a first goal at a Euro finals before the 60th minute, after logging a previous group stage record of: D2, L4.
Though favorites in this clash at the Arena Naţională in Bucharest, Franco Foda’s side are without a win or a goal in three matches (D1, L2). However, you would have to go back to November 2019 to find the
last time the Austrians failed to beat an opponent currently ranked outside FIFA’s top 50.
Amid a last minute kit change due to fan outrage, North Macedonia enter the Euro finals for the very first time as an independent nation, reaching this historic moment via the UEFA Nations League playoffs.
‘Euro 84’ was the last occasion at which any Macedonian (playing for the now-defunct Yugoslavia) was eligible to participate, but Yugoslavia lost all three group games on that occasion.
Coach Igor Angelovski has set the goal of a place in the last 16, and confidence should be sky-high, as his charges come into this game unbeaten in four - including a famous win against Germany. The
outsiders in Group C, coming from ‘Pot 4’, North Macedonia did suffer two H2H defeats in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, although they scored in each, with both fixtures witnessing a match goal in the first 20 minutes.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be UNDER 2.5.
PREDICTION: Wales vs Switzerland
KO: 12 June @ 14:00 BST
Wales will begin their Euro 2021 campaign against Switzerland on Saturday, hoping to repeat their great European Championship run. At Euro 2016, the Dragons advanced all the way to the semi-finals before falling to eventual champions Portugal. While the Welsh may not be at the top of their game, players like Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, and Dan James still have enough talent to pose issues for most teams - but they must get points this weekend.
The Swiss are in a similar situation to Wales in that a poor performance here might spell the end of their Group A chances, with Turkey and Italy rounding out a well-balanced group. This might be a close game settled by a single goal, though both teams would probably settle for a point to start.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 0.5
PREDICTION: Turkey vs Italy
KO: 11 June @ 20:00 BST
After a year of anticipation, the European Championship begins on Friday night with Turkey against Italy. Due to the outbreak, Euro 2020 has been pushed back a year, but Europe is finally ready for a summer of football.
Burak Yilmaz had a fantastic season with Lille, leading them to the Ligue 1 Championship and defeating PSG. With 16 goals in Ligue 1, he was Lille's leading scorer, with only three players in the league scoring more, and he finished the season with seven goals in his last seven games.
In major tournament football, however, Italy is undefeated in the Stadio Olimpico, having won six and drawn two. Turkey, on the other hand, is infamous for being a sluggish starter at European Championships, having lost all four of its first games, including a 2-1 loss to Italy to open Euro 2000.
It's also worth noting that Mancini was dealt another setback in the build-up to the game as Lorenzo Pellegrini was forced out with a muscular injury and will be replaced by Gaetano Castrovilli. Given Italy's four World Cup victories, they are regarded as the dark horses for any tournament but they are flying under the radar this summer and could get off to a great start.
Prediction: Total goals scored will be Over 1.5
EURO 2020: Overall Predictions
KO: 11 June in Rome
The football tournament will kick off on Friday, June 11th, in Rome, with what could be one of the best matches of the round: a Group A clash between Italy and Turkey. Here's everything you need to know about every group at the tournament.
Group A: Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and Wales.
Arguably the competition's most balanced group, Italy headlines a quartet featuring four teams that will each have sights on the knockout stages. They could benefit from playing all of their group games in Rome, have been fluid and exciting under Roberto Mancini, and they come into the event unbeaten in 27 matches.
Turkey, which has been slapped with the dark-horse label, can spoil Italy's party in the tournament's opening contest, while Switzerland and Wales both boast high-end talent capable of winning matches.
Players to watch:
Federico Chiesa (Italy): After taking his game to the next level during a stellar debut season with Juventus, the blistering winger will be crucial in driving an attack-minded, exuberant Italy forward this summer.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland): Granit Xhaka will be vital, too, but for Switzerland to really thrive, Shaqiri needs to shine in a likely No. 10 role. It's a lot to ask of someone who started only five league matches this past season, though.
Burak Yilmaz (Turkey): Fresh off leading Lille to a stunning Ligue 1 title, veteran striker Yilmaz will now look to carry that momentum over to his national team. The 35-year-old scored 16 league goals this past season.
Gareth Bale (Wales): Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order? The Welsh better hope so. There's some excitement for the next generation of talent, but the 31-year-old is still the guy. If Bale doesn't dominate, Robert Page's team will struggle.
Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium and Russia.
Belgium's golden generation is facing its moment of truth. With star players Romelu Lukaku , Kevin De Bruyne , Eden Hazard , and Dries Mertens well into the prime of their careers, anything less than a run to the final would be considered a disappointment.
But the Red Devils shouldn't take the opposition lightly. Denmark has one of its best rosters since winning Euro 1992, and Russia remains a threat with home-field advantage throughout the group stage. Who knows, even tournament rookie Finland could cause an upset along the way.
Players to watch:
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium): The 28-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, having made 35 goal contributions on the way to winning the Serie A title with Inter Milan. Belgium needs the same production from its target man.
Christian Eriksen (Denmark): The playmaker is the brains of Denmark's operation. A threat on set pieces and in open play, the midfielder can single handedly decide matches. Denmark's lackluster front line depends on Eriksen's wizardry for chances.
Teemu Pukki (Finland): The 31-year-old scored 10 goals in Euro qualifying - only behind Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Eran Zahavi - and he did it with an average squad around him.
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia): The Russian dynamo inspired his country at the 2018 World Cup, kicking things off with a goal and two assists in an opening-day thrashing of Saudi Arabia.
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia.
The Netherlands should consider itself the favorite to win Group C. Memphis Depay has recovered from a serious knee injury, he's in the form of his life, and he has a strong supporting cast in Georginio Wijnaldum, Frenkie De Jong, and young gun Donyell Malen. The Dutch have more than enough swagger to recapture the public's imagination after missing out on the last two tournaments.
But defensively stout Ukraine and sneaky-talented Austria also have the potential to take points off them. Andriy Shevchenko's men secured a respectable draw against France in Euro qualifying, and the Austrians can always bank on the shapeshifting David Alaba, as well as powerhouse midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, for moments of genius. Even North Macedonia is capable of an upset, having toppled Germany in March.
Players to watch:
David Alaba (Austria): The 28-year-old is one of Europe's most versatile players. Though he usually plays somewhere along the backline, Alaba moonlights as an attacking midfielder for his country.
Memphis Depay (Netherlands): A player with street skills and a knack for the spectacular, Depay is the Netherlands' primary scoring threat. The 27-year-old bounced back from a serious knee injury to score 20 goals for Lyon in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season.
Goran Pandev (North Macedonia): At 37 years of age, Pandev is one of football's elder statesmen, a veteran of Italy's Serie A, and a celebrated icon in his native North Macedonia. He's spent 20 years with the national team, and his participation in Euro 2020 is the peak of his enduring career.
Ruslan Malinovskyi (Ukraine): The Ukrainian midfielder has arguably the hardest shot in the tournament. He can strike the ball with either foot, making him as unpredictable as he is lethal in possession. Malinovskyi is also excellent in dead-ball situations.
Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic and Scotland.
This quartet's opening match - England versus Croatia at Wembley Stadium - should be a good indicator of how Group D will shape up. Croatia triumphed when the two teams met in the 2018 World Cup semifinals, but it's still reliant on an old guard headlined by Luka Modric. England, meanwhile, is a bold pick to win the whole tournament.
Scotland's first match against the Czech Republic could be similarly decisive, as the teams will likely battle it out to become one of the best third-placed finishers. The Scots are poised for their first major tournament appearance since 1998, while the Czechs hope their strong Slavia Prague presence will lead them into the knockout rounds.
Players to watch
Luka Modric (Croatia): The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner turns 36 in September, so this could be his final competition for his country. Expect the usual blend of artistry and industry from the most successful player in Croatia's history.
Tomas Soucek (Czech Republic): The popular, lanky midfielder was a crucial cog in West Ham United's impressive 2020-21 campaign. The Czechs will look to take advantage of Soucek's aerial presence in their bid to emerge from the group.
Harry Kane (England): There are plenty of game-changers in the England squad, but none are more important than its captain. Kane enters the Euros after logging both the most goals and assists in the Premier League this past season.
Andy Robertson (Scotland): Scotland is overstocked at left-back, but Robertson is arguably one of the world's best in his position. He never looks out of breath as he hares up and down the flank, and his delivery from out wide can unlock the most stubborn defenses.
Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia.
Luis Enrique caused controversy by failing to name a single Real Madrid player in his squad - including defender Sergio Ramos, Spain's record appearance holder with 180 caps. Instead, there's a youthful look to the Iberian nation, with the likes of Dani Olmo, Pedri, and Ferran Torres all possessing the quality to propel themselves to superstardom.
Slovakia is the rank outsider to advance to the knockout rounds, so Sweden and Poland (positioned 18th and 21st in FIFA's rankings, respectively) are expected to squabble over a runner-up spot. Poland boasts the best striker on the planet in Robert Lewandowski, while Sweden's attackers will need to step up in the absence of injured showman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Players to watch:
Robert Lewandowski (Poland): Who else? The Bayern Munich star recently collected the European Golden Boot after breaking the all-time record for most goals in a single Bundesliga season with 41 strikes.
Martin Dubravka (Slovakia): With many writing off Slovakia's chances of getting out of Group E, there will be a lot of pressure on Dubravka to be in peak form between the sticks.
Gerard Moreno (Spain): The Villarreal frontman scored or assisted a combined 40 goals across La Liga and Europa League play last season, and he's undoubtedly the most intelligent attacker in Enrique's squad.
Emil Forsberg (Sweden): The excitement around the RB Leipzig star has died away in recent years, but Forsberg enters Sweden's campaign after a much-improved Bundesliga season.
Group F: France, Portugal, Germany and Hungary.
The proverbial Group of Death. There's always one, and this time around it's perhaps the most vaunted in recent tournament history. The defending World Cup champion, the reigning Euro titleholder, and a decorated perennial contender. Spare a thought for Hungary, which did extremely well to reach Euro 2020, but will need a minor miracle to see the knockout stages.
France, the tournament favourite, will battle with Portugal and Germany for Group F supremacy. Don't take your eyes off this quartet.
Players to watch:
Kylian Mbappe (France): You could pick anyone from France's starting XI - and several players from its bench - to highlight here. However, you can't go wrong with Mbappe, who, at 22, is already in the conversation as the world's best player.
Timo Werner (Germany): Germany, unsurprisingly, is well-balanced across the pitch, but it lacks a prototypical No. 9 to lead the attack. Werner, after a horribly unlucky debut season at Chelsea, needs to revert to his RB Leipzig scoring form.
Willi Orban (Hungary): In a group so loaded with attacking superstars, Orban is going to have a lot of work to do. The RB Leipzig center-back, along with defensive peer Attila Szalai, will be busy over the next couple of weeks.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal): Now 36, there's a very real argument to be made that Portugal shouldn't still be built around Ronaldo. That said, he is coming off a prolific season with Juventus, and he'll be flanked by some serious talent with the Selecao as he chases down Ali Daei's scoring record.