The UEFA European Championship – also known as Euro 2020 (because it was supposed to be held last year, got it?), also known as the Euro – starts on Friday with the first group stage match, which will be played in locations across the continent . Twenty-four teams will be divided into six groups for the round robin game, and the best 16 – first and second placed in each group and the top four third placed – will move into the knockout rounds from June 26th.
There is a lot to nibble at at the start of the tournament. For Italy, it’s a progress report for a team that abandoned the defensive formula of the past and launched a possession and pressure attack in front of talented but young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Underdog Turkey has already beaten the Netherlands and Norway this year.
Is this the year for England? World Cup hero and team captain Harry Kane is back with a group of young stars who are not afraid to attack opponents. Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic lead an experienced Croatian team that reached the World Cup final in 2018.
The last two world champions are two teams that move in opposite directions. France, the EM favorite, is tried, talented and smart. Germany are trying to figure out what it is after struggling at times over the past few months.
Kevin De Bruyne (in recovery from facial fractures) and Romelu Lukaku lead Belgium, the favorites in Group B. But Denmark looks like one dangerous outsider built on strong defense.
An ancient rivalry game. England should have the staff to get past its neighbors to the north, but Scotland has enough talent in the Premier League to make this interesting.
Spain has become chaos due to COVID complications and a list selected by Luis Enrique haunted that confused many at home. It’s not a great formula when you face the world’s most dangerous striker in Robert Lewandowski.
No match has more star power. Will Kylian Mbappé and Les Bleus have already finished the group or will Cristiano Ronaldo and the defending champions have the chance to shake up the championship lead in the pool final?
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