2023-12-13 · 4 min read · UEFA Euro Cup/Soccer
UEFA Euro 2024

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The countdown to Euro 2024 has now truly started after the draw for the tournament mapped out the road to glory -- or failure -- for the 24 nations set to compete in Germany for the honour of becoming European champions.
Pre-tournament favourites France and England are on course for a semifinal clash in Dortmund if both nations top their respective groups, while hosts Germany have been given a daunting path to the final. Julian Nagelsmann's team go into the tournament in a dismal run of form, but could face a quarterfinal clash against Spain or reigning champions Italy if they top Group A. There are plenty of storylines waiting to be written and surprises in store, so how will it all shape up? Below, we breakdown each group.
Group A
Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland
Germany are aiming to become the first host nation to win the European Championships since France in 1984, but Julian Nagelsmann's team are in turmoil right now, having lost five times in their past eight games. With an abundance of talent including Ilkay Gündogan, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala, Germany can still turn their fortunes around, but they have a difficult group.
Hungary are one of the most improved nations in Europe, with Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai their driving force in midfield, while Scotland have become a well-organised side under Steve Clarke, defeating Spain in the qualifying campaign.
Prediction: Germany, Hungary advance will all teams finishing within three points of eachother.
Group B
Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania
This is one of the toughest groups, with Spain, Italy and Croatia all ranked in the top 10 of the FIFA rankings, and while those rankings may have their flaws, they're still a decent barometer.
Spain beat Italy twice in Nations League final fours in recent years and finished ahead of them in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, but, of course, lost to them on penalties in the semifinals of the last Euros. That's enough to set this up as a nice little grudge match.
Italy, rocked by the sudden resignation of coach Roberto Mancini in August, have continued down his tactical path by trying to dominate possession and play attacking football under his successor, former Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti. Without a deadeye center-forward, you feel Italy need to create multiple chances to score a goal. Spain, on the other hand, have Morata in fine form and the likes of Mikel Oyarzabal, Dani Olmo and wunderkind Lamine Yamal can beat you in different ways.
Prediction: Spain, Italy advance with Croatia disappointing and bowing out of the tournament early.
Group C
Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia, England
Every major tournament carries the same pressure for England, each one more intense than the last, in that they simply have to lift a trophy for the first time since the 1966 World Cup. Coach Gareth Southgate has taken England to a World Cup semifinal at Russia 2018 and lost the Euro 2020 final against Italy on penalties, but he arguably now has the strongest squad of any England manager since 1966.
For Denmark, Slovenia and Serbia, it really seems like a battle for the runners-up spot. Each has a real goal-scorer in their teams, with Rasmus Hojlund (Denmark), Benjamin Sesko (Slovenia) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) all capable firing their teams to the second round.
Prediction: England cruise, Denmark advances in second spot.
Group D
Playoff Winner A, Netherlands, Austria, France
World Cup finalists France are the standouts here; in fact, they're the standouts of the entire tournament. This side are so stacked with talent that you feel their second XI would have a good chance of going deep into the competition. Beyond that, they have experience, too, with coach Didier Deschamps having already taken them to two World Cup finals and the final of Euro 2016.
The Dutch finished behind France in the qualifying group and Ronald Koeman's crew looked like less than the sum of its parts for much of the campaign. They're loaded at the back and have an interesting mix of young and old in midfield, but you wonder if Cody Gakpo and Wout Weghorst will be enough up front.
Prediction: France, Netherlands advance comfortably.
Group E
Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Playoff Winner B
This is arguably the weakest group in the tournament and Belgium should advance with ease, although the pool will look slightly more difficult if Ukraine make it through Playoff Path B to complete the group. Belgium's so-called golden generation have now largely faded from the scene, but Romelu Lukaku is still scoring goals on a regular basis for Domenico Tedesco's team, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and captain Kevin De Bruyne -- two world-class talents -- should be back from injury in time for the tournament.
Prediction: Belgium struggle but advance with Romania.
Group F
Turkey, Playoff Winner C, Portugal, Czechia
Portugal coach Roberto Martinez previously worked with Belgium, where he took charge of that country's golden generation and was tasked with getting the best out of a talented side without ever managing to actually deliver the gold. He's in a similar situation now with Portugal, a side filled with household names -- Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Rúben Dias, João Félix, Diogo Jota ... plus that Cristiano Ronaldo guy -- that are sometimes difficult to turn into a coherent team. Qualifying taught us little, because they were in a very easy group, so it remains to be seen what this side can deliver.
Prediction: Portugal advance with Turkey.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Aaron Cantin


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