Euro 2020 or Euro 2021, whatever you want to call it, kicks off on Friday 10th June being played over a number of countries with the final to be played at Wembley in London on Sunday 11th July.
The 24 teams are divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group being joined by the four best third-placed teams in the Round of 16 knockouts. In the knockout rounds, games that are still tied after ninety minutes will go to extra time and then penalties if needed. Each of the groups pose some challenging and interesting duels for both players and fans alike.
Group A - Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales
This is not the Azzurri that you might have gotten used to watching in past competitions. While they still have some grizzled veterans in the squad, the young and exciting players sprinkled throughout both promise and deliver a fast-paced, attacking football that will be fun to see at a big tournament.
The Swiss did well at the last World Cup, and were efficient in qualifying for this competition too. They are in a good spell for the national team and though the core is aging, they do have some counterattacking pace in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Turkey are a straightforward side, disciplined and strong physically. They do have a young core which might set them up well for years to come.
In their first ever Euros, Wales set the competition alight in 2016 going all the way to the semi-finals. This squad might not be as good, but will take their chances going up against Switzerland and Turkey for second or third.
Group B - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Russia
Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez is quickly developing a reputation for underachieving with a Belgian squad that is loaded with talent from front to back. Bobby couldn’t get them playing cohesive enough football in the 2018 World Cup, but since then they have lost only twice as he has found defensive rigidity with a three-man backline.
The last time the Danes were considered dark horses, they went all the way to lift the trophy in 1992. This squad might not have the individual talents that side did, and have the advantage of playing all three of their games on home turf in Copenhagen.
The Finns are a defensively solid side but without any sparkling talent especially upfront, they will be lucky to pick up a win here or there in the tournament.
After a strong showing in the World Cup at home, Russia will be looking to show that was no fluke but Sbornaya’s core is that much older and with no youngsters coming through, they might run out of gas early.
Group C - Austria, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Ukraine
Austria are another one of those dark horses that you might want to consider putting a small bet on, much like Denmark. You wouldn’t think it, but the Austrians have 21 players in the big five leagues, and have some very good players all over their squad.
The Dutch can be forgiven if they are already looking forward to the Round of 16 after being placed in a relatively easy group. Frank de Boer will be looking to redeem his managerial career with a talented squad missing some key figures due to injuries.
North Macedonia are playing in their first ever major tournament, and showed their scrappy credentials throughout the qualification process. A surprise win over Germany in World Cup qualification means no one can take a break against them however.
A side consisting mostly of Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk players, they’ve not been in good form over the last year or so, but could seal qualification with wins against Austria and North Macedonia.
Group D - Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Scotland
Surprisingly, just three years after they reached the World Cup Final, Croatia are not among the tournament favourites here and that is somewhat due to the ages of the key players in the squad. Still, they possess plenty of quality and should make the knockout rounds easily.
The next generation of Czech players are not the stars of years past, and they still seem to be taking their time bedding in. They previously beat England during qualification in 2019, but much has changed since then.
This might be the most talented England squads to have gone to an international tournament, and it’s certainly the youngest in decades. Will the kids be able to play unencumbered by the weight of expectation that has crushed previous sides loaded with veterans?
The Scots face an uphill battle in this competition. Aside from a couple of excellent left backs and solid midfielder, they have little quality elsewhere and will rely on a counterattacking five-man backline to eke out any results.
Group E - Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
The Poles have some superstars at each of the key positions which bodes well for them, but age, injuries and Paulo Sousa only being in charge for three games means they could struggle.
Slovakia are another one of those Central European sides with strong but aging core of players that could on their day give anyone a game.
The Spaniards are going through a transition right now with their old guard slowly getting phased out and the youngsters still coming into their own. Luis Enrique has been charged with ushering in a new era but has to face another obstacle with a number of players testing positive for COVID and unable to train together.
Sweden got to the quarter-finals of the World Cup three years ago, and will be looking for a similar disciplined showing in a group they are capable of winning even without a couple of youngsters who are down with COVID.
Group F - France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal
France won Euro 2000 after winning the 1998 World Cup, and while Spain, Germany and Italy all have done the double, the French could become the first side to do it twice with a win here. The side is brimming with talent at just about every position and it will be a monumental surprise if somehow they aren’t at the Final in a month.
Germany are rebuilding after a couple of down years and will be ruing their misfortune with being drawn against Didier Deschamps side and the defending champions Portugal. Die Mannschaft have a point to prove after some dismal exits and a number of budding superstars waiting to make their name in the spotlight.
Poor Hungary. They topped their group at the last Euros and would have fancied their chances in any other group in this tournament, but instead they get placed in this mess. They’ve been in decent form and sealed qualification thanks to a good run in the Nations League.
And last but certainly not the least are Portugal looking to defend their crown. Last time around they surprised everyone but this time the hunters will be the hunted and no one is going to take them lightly. Seven years into the job, Fernando Santos led his side to a win in the inaugural UEFA Nations league tournament in 2019 as well and Portugal are rightly one of the favourites to win it all again.
Jordan Pickford answered his critics with an almost flawless second half of the season for Everton that pretty much sealed his spot between the sticks for England at the competition. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s scoring pace cooled off in 2021, but he is still the closest like-for-like backup for Harry Kane that the English have and he should get a fair few minutes too.
Despite 37 caps for the defending world champions France, Lucas Digne might only be a backup with his namesake Lucas Hernandez actually occupying the starting berth at left back for Les Bleus. Any rest Digne can get during the tournament can only help him for Everton next season.
Moise Kean was in contention for Italy but didn’t make the last cut and with defender Ben Godfrey also not making the final Three Lions squad, it’ll be just the three Evertonians at the the tournament. With both England and France expected to go far though, we should see plenty of the trio over the next month.
The ageless Maarten Stekelenburg is at the competition as a backup for the Dutch, but it’s unlikely he’ll play. Davy Klaassen is also in their squad, and after having resuscitated his career after leaving Everton, has become a key player for them.
Cenk Tosun is still recovering from his knee surgery and will not be with Turkey. Jonas Lossl is a backup for the Danes, and after never having started a game for the Blues, it’s hard to really call him an Evertonian isn’t it? Robin Olsen, who returned to Roma after the end of his loan at Everton, will be at the tournament with Sweden.
Right back Denzel Dumfries has been linked with Everton, with Marcel Brands supposedly high on the PSV Eindhoven captain. There was some talk of the Blues sealing his signing before the tournament when his value could skyrocket, but when have Everton completed an expedient transfer?
There will likely be another few players that the Blues could be watching keenly in this continental showcase, with the addendum that every goal or positive performance guaranteed to add another couple of million to their price tags. Beware the flash in the pan players though, many a club has shelled out the big bucks after a tournament when a footballer has caught fire only to return to mediocre levels during league play.
Full Euro 2020 Fixtures List
Saturday, June 12
Group A: Wales vs. Switzerland (Baku; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group B: Denmark vs. Finland (Copenhagen; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group B: Belgium vs. Russia (Saint Petersburg; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ABC, ITV
Sunday, June 13
Group D: England vs. Croatia (London; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group C: Austria vs. North Macedonia (Bucharest; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Group C: Netherlands vs. Ukraine (Amsterdam; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Monday, June 14
Group D: Scotland vs. Czech Republic (Glasgow; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group E: Poland vs. Slovakia (Saint Petersburg; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Group E: Spain vs. Sweden (Seville; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Wednesday, June 16
Group B: Finland vs. Russia (Saint Petersburg; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group A: Turkey vs. Wales (Baku; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group A: Italy vs. Switzerland (Rome; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Thursday, June 17
Group C: Ukraine vs. North Macedonia (Bucharest; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Group B: Denmark vs. Belgium (Copenhagen; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Group C: Netherlands vs. Austria (Amsterdam; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Friday, June 18
Group E: Sweden vs. Slovakia (Saint Petersburg; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group D: Croatia vs. Czech Republic (Glasgow; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group D: England vs. Scotland (London; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Saturday, June 19
Group F: Hungary vs. France (Budapest; 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC One
Group F: Portugal vs. Germany (Munich; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Group E: Spain vs. Poland (Seville; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ABC, BBC One
Monday, June 21
Group C: North Macedonia vs. Netherlands (Amsterdam; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV
Group C: Ukraine vs. Austria (Bucharest; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN2, ITV4
Group B: Russia vs. Denmark (Copenhagen; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN2, BBC iPlayer
Group B: Finland vs. Belgium (Saint Petersburg; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC iPlayer
Wednesday, June 23
Group E: Slovakia vs. Spain (Seville; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN, ITV Hub
Group E: Sweden vs. Poland (Saint Petersburg; noon ET, 6 p.m. CET) - ESPN2, ITV Hub
Group F: Germany vs. Hungary (Munich; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN2, BBC iPlayer
Group F: Portugal vs. France (Budapest; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN, BBC iPlayer
Round of 16
Tuesday, July 6
49 - Winners Match 45 vs. Winners Match 46 (London; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN
Wednesday, July 7
50 - Winners Match 47 vs. Winners Match 48 (London; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN
Sunday, July 11
Winners Match 49 vs. Winners Match 50 (London; 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CET) - ESPN