A resumption of rivalry between international football’s oldest rivals, some of the best midfield talent on the planet and a rematch of the 2018 World Cup: Group D of the European Championships will not be short on drama and quality. Here’s everything you need to know:
Luminaires and how to look
(All times USA / East. Stream every game on fuboTV – Try for free)
Sunday, June 13th
England vs. Croatia (Wembley Stadium, London, 9am, ESPN)
Monday, June 14th
Scotland vs. Czech Republic (Hampden Park, Glasgow, 09.00, ESPN)
Friday, June 18th
Croatia Vs. Czech Republic (Hampden Park, Glasgow, 12 noon, ESPN)
England vs. Scotland (Wembley Stadium, London, 3pm, ESPN)
Monday, June 21st
Croatia Vs. Scotland (Hampden Park, Glasgow, 3pm, ESPN 2)
Czech Republic vs. England (Wembley Stadium, London, 3 p.m., ESPN)
That England is among the tournament favorites(+500 via William Hill Sportsbook) reflects more betting markets than their actual chances of winning Euro 2020, but there are many reasons to believe they will be at the end of the competition. Home advantage definitely favors them with all of their group games and potentially all wore a knockout game at Wembley Stadium. Their surprise ran to the semifinals of the World Cup three years ago restored some of the ties between the team and the nation. Most importantly, they have many very good players.
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This is especially the case in attack, where Gareth Southgate can encourage a group of diverse talent to surround curtain and star games Harry Kane, from creative playmakers like Phil Foden and Mason Mount to direct speedsters Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. Then there is a potential x-factor Jack Grealish, a player almost as loved by his country as Paul Gascoigne was in 1998.
Their Achilles heel is in defense with Harry Maguire, who is expected to miss much of the group stage with an ankle injury. John Stones excelled with Manchester City this season, but his partner is not ready. Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings have not looked so impressive, so it could be that Brighton’s Ben White, a late replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, starts against Croatia on Sunday.
In the mixture
The leader of the hunting package may very well be Croatia. Although their run to the World Cup final in 2018 felt like the last gasp in a glorious era, it would be unwise to discount the possibility that they had a major impact on upcoming tournaments. So far, they still have the 35-year-old Luka Modric, who continues to prove his worth for Real Madrid and for his national side. There is the traditional cadre of creative midfielders around Modric with Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Nikola Vlasic likely battling for two starting spots. Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic can be dangerous on the flanks, but the question they face is whether they have the pace to keep up with England and others later in the competition.
If any nation wants to enjoy a tournament that is largely played in England just as much as the hosts, it will be the Czech Republic who return to the country where they made history on their run to the Euro 96 final. A repeat may well be outside of them, but they will not be easy to get into this tournament with two key players – Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal – running high after a unique campaign with West Ham in the Premier League. Add to that the young attacking talent like Patrik Schick and Adam Hlozek, and this could be a team to hand out bloody noses.
The same could be said of Scotland, who are taking part in this tournament in strong form in defense and with Southampton’s Che Adams, who at club level has shown that he may be the striker, Steve Clarke’s side, has been looking for what has felt like generations. Behind him are proven Premier League qualities such as John McGinn, Scott McTominay and two of the league’s best left backs (Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson), while Clarke throughout his leadership career has proven that he can get the best out of teams. Most importantly, however, there is a real bond on the part of this Scotland and onen preparation of Spanish disco classics it should make them all neutral favorites.
Games to see
England v Scotland, June 18: How could it not be this one? One of the most intense rivalries in international football, especially for a Scottish side that is sure to elevate their match against their opponent from the south. Wembley roars England on, it may be the day Grealish has his Gazza moment?
England, Harry Kane: For all the attacking talent that they will surround him with, it is the Tottenham striker who is the key wheel in England’s attack. The Golden Boot winner at the last World Cup and in this year’s Premier League, he has added greater creativity when he falls deep, which should allow him to free runners behind and score goals.
Croatia, Luka Modric: It may be that the form of Bruno Petkovic in front of goal is more important in determining how far Croatia goes in Euro 2020, but if Modric can dictate games like he did in the World Cup three years ago, Zlatko Dalic’s side will be able to to paint opponents to submission.
Czech Republic, Tomas Soucek: The mountainous star of West Ham’s season, Soucek, is a rarity in the modern game: a true box-to-box midfielder who can make narrative contributions at both ends. In the air, there are few who can compete with the 26-year-old who has a hat trick to his name internationally.
Scotland, Kieran Tierney: A case could certainly be made about curtain and fellow left-back Robertson, but at the international level, it has often been his Arsenal counterpart who has shone brighter in recent matches. Without the ball, he is diligent and robust, while his back run from the left could unlock too many paths to his excellent post.