Euro 2020: What we’ve learnt from the groups

Photo: Pixabay

Josh Zealand takes a look at what we’ve learned from Euro 2020 so far, and what’s still to come.

The Italians are back!

Group A

A 100% record so far at Euro 2020 for Italy, and with zero goals conceded as well, they could be real contenders. You could say they have yet to be really tested in the competition but keeping a clean sheet at this tournament is no easy feat.

Wales have impressed once again at a major tournament, making their way through this tricky group in second place. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsay have been star players in Wales’s success so far.

Switzerland ultimately came alive in their final group game against Turkey, with key man Xherdan Shaqiri showing that much needed spark and grabbing two goals to secure their spot in the last 16. They will advance in third place with their four points total.

Dark horses Turkey never really got out of the gates at Euro 2020. Mind you after a dominating 3-0 defeat to the hands of Italy in game one, not many teams would.

Here’s how the knockout stages look for Group A:

Italy vs Austria

Saturday June 26th, 8pm, Wembley Stadium, London

Wales vs Denmark

Saturday June 26th, 5pm, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam

Switzerland vs France

Monday June 28th, 8pm, National Arena Bucharest, Bucharest

Belgium’s tournament to lose?

Photo by Anders Krøgh Jørgensen on Unsplash
Group B

Belgium have greatly proved their worth in the group stage, going through as winners with three wins out of three. They had a couple scares, but once Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard came back into the team against Denmark, no one could stop them. I expect them to go very close to winning Euro 2020.

An incredible final group game saw Denmark go through second and I couldn’t be happier for them. After what happened to Danish superstar Christian Eriksen in game one, their hopes of qualifying for the knockouts looked very slim. They narrowly lost to Belgium in game two and then showed an incredible amount of talent and determination to beat Russia 4-1 in the final game and in front of a packed crowd in Copenhagen, again showing how vital fans are to football teams.

Finland just weren’t able to get Teemu Pukki firing at this tournament and they’ve certainly got to thank their goalkeeper for getting them to third place in this group. Their three points won’t be enough to take them through as they have such a poor goal difference.

Russia just couldn’t get going either, and were probably unlucky to play such a spirited Denmark in their final game.

Here’s how the knockout stages look for Group B:

Belgium vs Portugal

Sunday June 27th, 8pm, La Cartuja Stadium, Seville

Denmark vs Wales

Saturday June 26th, 5pm, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam

Classy Netherlands top the group with ease!

Photo by Jose Zuniga on Unsplash
4North Macedonia003-60
Group C

After a frantic opening 3-2 win against Ukraine, Netherlands eased past both Austria and North Macedonia to top group C with all nine points. Frank De Boer’s captain Gini Wijnaldum shone throughout the games, along with now Barcelona forward Memphis Depay and attacking full-back Denzel Dumfries. Netherlands will be a tough team to stop this year!

Austria also came good in the end. They struggled past North Macedonia for the most part in game one and managed to see out Ukraine comfortably in game three. They notched up a healthy six points which takes them through second in the group.

Ukraine played some excellent attacking football in the competition, but just didn’t have enough quality in depth to secure second place in this group. However, they will advance as one of the third placed sides.

North Macedonia were spirited and unlucky not to get a point in the group. They can be proud of how far they have come to get to this stage.

Here’s how the knockout stages look for Group C:

Netherlands vs Czech Republic

Sunday June 27th, 5pm, Puskas Arena, Budapest

Austria vs Italy

Saturday June 26th, 8pm, Wembley Stadium, London

Ukraine vs Sweden

Tuesday June 29th, 8pm, Hampden Park, Glasgow

Same old England?

Photo by Aleks Marinkovic on Unsplash
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Group D

England fans have been somewhat uninspired by their teams’ performances in the group. However, the reality is that the ‘Three Lions’ have qualified for the last 16 top of the group, unbeaten and without having conceded a single goal. There’s no time for being disheartened just yet, it can only get better!

Croatia were probably expected to challenge England for the top spot prior to the tournament kicking off, but they left their qualification hopes all down to the last game. A 3-1 win at Hampden Park over Scotland was enough to see them through in second on goal difference.

The Czech’s were a force to be reckoned with in group D, with a 2-0 win over Scotland followed by a draw with Croatia leaving them top of the group. Yes, England beat them in the final game but only just, and they are probably unlucky to not go through in second.

Scotland will rue there missed chances this tournament, having plenty in their opening defeat against Czech Republic. They got a solid 0-0 draw against England, but it meant they had to beat Croatia, something they just couldn’t manage. At least they scored a goal!

Here’s how the knockout stages look for Group D:

England vs Germany

Tuesday June 29th, 5pm, Wembley Stadium, London

Croatia vs Spain

Monday June 28th, 5pm, Parken Stadium, Copenhagen

Czech Republic vs Netherlands

Sunday June 27th, 5pm, Puskas Arena, Budapest

Solid Sweden top tight Group E

Photo by lilzidesigns on Unsplash
Group E

Sweden held their composure to top this group with three very solid performances. They remain unbeaten and even took points off former Euro winners Spain to qualify first in Group E. Perhaps they are missing a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but you wouldn’t know it. So far so good for the Swedes.

Spain started off very slowly and looked way off the pace with two draws in their first two games. However, they finished with a 5-0 thrashing over Slovakia to take second place in the group. If Spain can keep at that level, they may be ones to watch!

Slovakia won’t progress through as a third-place team due to their awful goal difference. They gave it a decent go at this tournament but were missing a definitive out and out striker to bring them more goals.

A team who didn’t miss their striker was Poland; it was just the team around him that were missing! Robert Lewandowski scored two in their final game against Sweden where they almost stole second place. But Polish hearts were broken as they conceded late on and went crashing out of Euro 2020.

Here’s how the knockout stages look for Group E:

Sweden vs Ukraine

Tuesday June 29th, 8pm, Hampden Park, Glasgow

Spain vs Croatia

Monday June 28th, 5pm, Parken Stadium, Copenhagen

France top thrilling ‘group of death’

Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash
Group F

The World Cup winners made their way to first place in the group, but it wasn’t at all comfortable. A win over the Germans in game one followed by a draw against Hungary meant France were through but still had no idea where they would finish in the group and what the permutations would be. A thrilling 2-2 encounter in game three against Portugal saw them top the group with five points, just one ahead of the Germans.

Germany seemed to be off the pace after their opening defeat, but they battled back and battered a strong Portugal side 4-2, meaning a point against Hungary would take them through. They were behind twice against Hungary, before Leon Goretzka equalised late on to send them into the last 16 to play England on Tuesday at Wembley. What a fixture we have there!  

Portugal had a mixed group stage but when Cristiano Ronaldo is firing, you’ve always got a decent chance. Ronaldo scored 5 goals in the group, meaning he currently leads the golden boot race, and carried his team into the last 16. Portugal advance as a third-place side with four points.

Hungary were by no means overwhelmed by their opponents in Group F. They got two points from the unbelievably talented French and German outfits and can be proud of those achievements.

Here’s how the knockout stages look for Group F:

France vs Switzerland

Monday June 28th, 8pm, National Arena Bucharest, Bucharest

Germany vs England

Tuesday 29th June, 5pm, Wembley Stadium, London

Portugal vs Belgium

Sunday June 27th, 8pm, La Cartuja Stadium, Seville

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