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2024 European Championship Team Previews

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Here is a group-by-group breakdown of all the teams competing at this year’s European Championship in Germany. The tournament will begin today at 3 p.m. EST, when the host nation, Germany, will take on Scotland in Group A play.

Group A:

Germany:

The host nation Germany step into the 2024 European Championship with something to prove. After a disappointing World Cup outing in Qatar, failing to advance past the group stage, the Germans aim to hold their ground on home soil, entering this tournament as the first with new manager Julian Nagelsmann. Germany has a strong track record of home-soil success, winning the 1974 World Cup, reaching the Semifinals of the 1988 Euros, and finding themselves third in the 2006 World Cup.

This home-field strength will hopefully propel a Nationalelf faithful that begs and pleads for answers with their beloved team, who have not won a knockout stage match since their Euro Semifinal run in 2016. With two early exits from their most recent World Cup appearances and an exit in the Round of 16 in the 2022 Euros, can Germany assemble a tournament performance that restores the strength they once saw?

The Germans will line up with the perfect mix of talent, experience, and youth for this tournament, placing them as one of the favorites in a group that plays to their strengths. Manuel Neuer will provide a base between the sticks, accompanied by Antonio Rüdiger, coming off a strong Champions League run that capped Real Madrid’s 15th title in club history. Rounding out the midfield will be loads of experience, anchored by Ilkay Gündoğan, Toni Kroos (who will be competing in his final spell of international play), and Robert Andrich, who comes off a sensational season with Bayern Leverkusen. Finally, the attacking third will be riddled with youth, combining Bayern Munich youngster Jamal Musiala with Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz, all of which will have to click for a deep tournament run.

Prediction: Germany has one of the highest ceilings of any side in this tournament. With a mixture of high-level talent, a new, hungry manager eager to prove himself on the world stage, the motivation of Toni Kroos bowing out of the sport after this tournament, and the home fans behind them, a strong spell of matches for the Germans could have them hoisting the Henri Delaunay Trophy in Berlin on July 14th.

View the German roster here.

Scotland:

No Scotland. No Party. The Tartan Army will enter their fourth European Championship in Germany, hoping to make it the tournament where they finally advance out of the group stage. A strong qualification for Steve Clarke’s side has them dancing this summer with the likes of the best, winning five of eight matches and finishing second only behind Spain in their qualification group. The Scottish qualification stint is highlighted by a 2-0 victory over Spain at Hampden Park, marking one of the best victories in the small country’s history.

However, the Scots’ high is not backed by historical success. The side has only won six of its 33 matches across the 11 major tournaments it has reached. To be blunt, that is horrific.

Scotland will look to stick to their guns and ride what brought them there. Most importantly, it was an incredible qualification for Scott McTominay, who netted seven goals through eight games, placing him with Mbappè, Ronaldo, Lukaku, and Kane (not bad company). The return of Scotland’s skipper Andy Robertson will provide consistency to the lineup, who picked up three assists in qualifying. Additionally, if John McGinn can provide support from the midfield, Scotland can play their game, but he will have to stay out of yellow card trouble, where he was second amongst all Aston Villa players last season with nine.

Prediction: Scotland’s Euros will be definitive in how they show up to play. When everything clicks, they can top the best in the world, but when things go wrong, they go wrong quickly. Similarly to Philadelphia fans, the Tartan faithful will be quick to push the panic button if a sour result comes on Friday against the hosts, but how could you not back a team with one of the strongest theme songs in all of Europe?

View the Scottish roster here.

 

Hungary:

Potentially the dark horse of this tournament, the Hungarians enter the Euros after being unbeaten in 13 of their last 14 matches, including all eight Euro qualifying matches. This would be the country’s first undefeated qualifying campaign since 1974, and 2024 marks the fifth European Championship that Hungary will be competing in. In 2020, the Hungarian side did not win a single Euro match. However, this was without one of their best players, Dominik Szoboszlai, who was out on injury throughout the tournament. Szoboszlai proves to be the most promising piece for this side. While he continues to improve with Liverpool, the 23-year-old can provide the midfield support the side needs for a surprise run out of the group stage.

Hungary enters this group with high hopes, and why wouldn’t they? The Hungarians are unbeaten against Germany in their last three head-to-head matchups and can dance with Scotland and Switzerland. An early draw against the Swiss side will be a nice challenge before facing Germany, and a matchup against Scotland to finish the group could prove decisive for both sides’ hopes of making it to the knockout stages.

Along with Szoboszlai, Callum Styles will be the key to success for Hungary. The 24-year-old, Bury-born player chose to play for Hungary, and much of the play will flow through the midfield on this side. After a strong performance at Barnsley this season and the ability to combine with the youth talent of Dominik Szoboszlai, they could tackle the likes of some of the best squads in Europe. Mix this with a solid tournament from Bournemouth youngster Milos Kerkez, and Hungary could be dancing through the group stage to the Round of 16. Not to mention this side has Philadelphia Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag, who enters the tournament with 10 goals this season after setting the all-time leading scorer record for the side.

Prediction: A strong Hungarian side will emerge from this group in second with a chance to make some waves in the knockout rounds. Manager Marco Rossi is putting together a team of skillful youth players who could run circles around some of their older, more experienced opponents. If the Hungarians can keep the ball out of the back of their net enough to create offensive chances, the sky is the limit for the side.

View the Hungarian roster here.

Switzerland:

Switzerland will be headed to Germany for their third straight European Championship, sitting with France as the only two teams in Europe to advance to the knockout stages in their last five Euro appearances. Ironically, the same side knocked them out of the 2020 Euros, but not without a fight. The Swiss battled the 2018 World Champions to pens before falling to the French side. Murat Yakin will look to continue the country’s strong list of international performances. Still, his recent time at the helm for Switzerland has put him in the hot seat heading into June.

Yakin’s side only won one of their matches against sub-level opponents heading into this tournament, creating questions that must be answered quickly to get out of a group up for grabs from all four nations fighting. The key to success for the side will be to play through Grant Xhaka, who is coming off a career year with the incredible Bayern Leverkusen side. Additionally, maverick Shaqiri will always be a player to watch for the side, providing a strong amount of veteran experience to a well-disciplined side in international tournaments. Also, a player I would watch for is Bologna’s Dan Ndoye, who will provide youth and fitness to the attack for the Swiss side.

The match against Hungary will be crucial to how the Swiss want this tournament to go. A good result would propel them to their next match against Scotland, but a struggle would put more pressure on the match as they prepare for their finale against Germany. If Switzerland plays their cards right, they could go to the knockout stage for another consecutive tournament.

Prediction: Switzerland has the veteran experience and the youthfulness to make a solid run out of the group stage, but their form is concerning. The first match will say it all for this side and their fate in this tournament, as Hungary has been a difficult team to beat in recent months. A result is crucial, but a loss would make the rest of the group stage an uphill battle.

View the Swiss roster here.

Group B:

Spain:

The Spaniards come into the European Championship with a boatload of baggage but still sit at the forefront of favorites to win the entire thing. After controversies with the Spanish Football Federation regarding former President Luis Rubiales kissing star women’s player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth without her consent following their World Cup victory, Pedro Rocha has taken over, but not without his own controversies of possible corruption. This Spanish side will have to block out the extra drama and focus on the task at hand, which will not be easy considering they enter the tournament in one of the harder groups throughout the competition. However, the opponents will be familiar. The Spanish side defeated Italy and Croatia in the Nations League final and are confident they can top the group and enter the knockout rounds easily.

Under the management of Luis de la Fuente, Spain has taken a youthful route in preparing for the 2024 Euros. While the team will be captained by Álvaro Morata and much of the play will flow through Rodri, they are bringing one of the most talented young players into their lineup. Lamine Yamal, the 16-year-old forward from Barcelona, will be a player to watch, not just through this tournament but into the next few years of his young career.

Current injuries will likely require players like Yamal to step up. Gavi will most likely miss the tournament in his attempt to recover from an ACL injury. Pedri has also been fighting an injury that could limit his minutes. All this, combined with Morata’s recent struggles at the club level, could cause disaster for the Spaniards, requiring defenders like Aymeric Laporte and goalkeeper Unai Simón to work overtime to ensure the side’s success.

Prediction: Spain’s injury struggles and exterior drama place them in a difficult spot in one of the tournament’s hardest groups. While de la Fuente is confident that the side can navigate its way to a deep run, it will be dependent on who stays healthy to determine the longevity of their stay in Germany this summer. While the team is extremely exciting to watch at its best, it must be at its best to conquer the rest of Group B.

View the Spanish roster here.

 

Croatia:

Croatia enters this match on a mission. Despite an incredible run in the 2018 World Cup and dancing with the continent’s greats for the last decade, 35-year-old Ivan Perišić and 39-year-old Luka Modrić have never won a European Championship knockout stage game. Manager Zlatko Dalić has been nothing short of great for the Croatian side, providing three medals for the country in the last five years (2018 World Cup, 2022 World Cup, 2023 Nations League). This will likely be Dalić’s last major tournament with the country, giving it one last chance to top the continent with its best players in recent history.

Much of the team revolves around Modrić. It is very much his team. Because of this, some of the more hybrid players in the Croatian lineup will be catered to the needs of a team built around their number 10. For example, Andrej Kramarić, usually a midfielder for Hoffenheim, will play as a winger or forward for his national side. Additionally, Bruno Petković, a traditional false-nine for Dinamo Zagreb, would have to stretch the play as a target man. He is also very inconsistent in his level of play and would have to show up for a successful campaign.

Overall, the midfield is key in this country. If players such as Luka Sucić and Martin Baturina can fill the gaps that other aging players would leave, they could control play enough to make their mark and have a nice run through to the knockout stages of this tournament.

Prediction: This is Croatia’s “Last Dance” with their manager and many of their quality players. Suppose the midfield can distribute enough to an in-form Bruno Petković. In that case, the Croatians may be able to display enough magic to upset some stronger teams in their group. Additionally, with a weakened Italian and German side due to injuries and aging, Croatia could use the same tactics that provided them longevity in recent tournaments to propel them into the Round of 16.

View the Croatian roster here.

 

Italy:

A lot has changed for Gli Azzurri since besting England in the 2020 Euros. For starters, they missed the 2022 World Cup to the shock of many, requiring questions on their legitimacy and demand from Italians for a spot in this tournament. Luciano Spalletti takes the reigns after winning the scudetto for Napoli just a year ago, hungry to prove himself on the world stage. However, changes at the helm were not the only rearrangement for the Italians, as past legends such as Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will watch this tournament from their televisions at home. Here is a look at how Italy will line up in one of the tournament’s toughest groups.

To start, not having Chiellini in the back will require players such as Nicolo Barella to step up big in the middle of the field to take pressure off the back line. Additionally, Gianluigi Donnarumma, who will captain Italy throughout the tournament, must continue to provide stability between the sticks, holding down the fort for a team that continues to possess striker woes. Packing the back has proven successful for the Italians, winning the 2022 Euros with their striker Ciro Immobile only finding the back of the net twice. The front three will include Immobile, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Gianluca Scamacca.

If you are watching for breakout stars for the Italian national team, look no further than Davide Frattesi. The 24-year-old had a great qualifying for Italy and will look to carry over his current form from Inter Milan. He scored the lone goal in Italy’s most recent match against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Prediction: I could see this year being a struggle for the Italians. The back legends that once brought success to this team are no longer a part of it, and it will all depend on who decides to have a great tournament to determine their success. In a group with various toss-up matches, look to some of the veterans to carry this team to success. However, if the backline falters, I would not expect much success beyond the group stages.

View the Italian roster here.

 

Albania:

Albania looks ahead at one of the toughest tasks of any nation at the European Championship. Entering what seems to be a harder group in this tournament, they must carry their history of punching above their wait for any chance of success. However, since the emergence of Brazilian Sylvinho as the manager, the Albanians are unbeaten in eight matches. Let us preface this as a massive jump since 2022 when the team won one match. This will be Albania’s second Euros, beating Poland and Czechia in qualifying to punch their ticket to Germany.

With this lineup, you have to expect the cardiac kings approach to the game. Their manager coined the phrase “We are sweat, heart, and soul” when describing his side, and the play should not show anything less. The Albanians will showcase a strong counterattack from their youthful lineup, as Sylvinho left players like Uzini, Bare, and Cikalleshi out of the 26-man roster. Because of this, everything will run through Kristajan Asllani, who waited tables while searching for his chance to work at the Empoli Academy. The 22-year-old plays well above his age and shows large amounts of talent, something promising for a team looking to transition quickly.

Additionally, Rey Manaj and Mario Mitaj will be key players for Albania. This team could turn some heads if they can stick to their game and not get caught when breaking offensively. However, nearly everything will have to click for a side facing some of the tournament’s contenders.

Prediction: One would expect Albania to bow out of this tournament after playing their group-stage matches. Something I would keep in mind with this side would be their ability to spoil the party for one of the heavyweights of their group. One strong Albanian game could prevent a powerhouse from dancing onto the knockouts. Who doesn’t love an underdog?

View the Albanian roster here.

 

Group C:

Slovenia:

The Slovenians will enter the Euros for the second time in their nation’s history. While they are projected to round out the bottom of Group C, there are still a few interesting points to follow with the side. With Mataj’s introduction to the managerial position for the second time in his career in 2018, the Slovenians have some familiarity in their ranks to prepare them for this tournament.

Any success for this side falls on the shoulders of their goalkeeper Jan Oblak. The Athletico Madrid player stood on his head to give his side life in the knockouts and will have to continue to do that to give his side a chance in the Euros. Benjamin Sesko, the 21-year-old from Red Bull Leipzig, will be another fun player to watch, and the Slovenians will need to rely on his performances to stay afloat throughout the group stage. Also, Jaka Bijol will have to stay strong in defense to give Oblak support in what will likely be an onslaught from other sides within the group.

An interesting caveat from this group will be Slovenia’s match against Serbia. Tensions from a colorful Yugoslavian history tend to make this matchup an interesting one to watch, and when playing in the showcase tournament of Europe, expect these tensions to rise with the stage.

Prediction: Aside from the interesting Serbian matchup, I cannot imagine the side will succeed much against the others. England and Denmark hang well above this Slovenian side’s skill level, and this will most likely put the side toward the bottom of the group.

View the Slovenian roster here.

 

 Denmark:

Denmark enjoyed their group drawings coming into the 2024 European Championship, earning themselves a spot where they should surely exit behind England into the Round of 16. While it is expected to be business as usual for the side, some of their recent form would say otherwise. Second-half defending has been a sore spot for the Danes, falling to Kazakhstan 3-2 and just hanging onto a 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland after an equalizer was called back after the 90 were up.

Injuries riddle the Denmark eleven for this tournament, as players such as Andreas Christensen and Simon Kjaer have been battling tweaks that could keep them on the sideline. Rasmus Højlund and Jonas Wind will be key to the side’s success, as veterans such as Pierre-Emile Højberg and Christen Erikson will start from the bench in this tournament. Let us also not forget about Kasper Schmeichel, who always provides the strength and stability between the sticks to keep the Danes in any match. An interesting development for this squad will be Victor Kristiansen, the left-back who played an incredible season for Bologna while on loan for now-premiership side Leicester.

Denmark should coast past the weaker teams in this group. Still, it will be interesting to see how they match up against the European-favorite Three Lions on their way to the knockout stage. A strong performance could foreshadow their fate in the matches to come, but an early match against a strong side never hurt anyone in a group that should make advancing a breeze.

Prediction: The match against England will be great, as it will help us better understand the strengths of both sides. While I do not see the side as a contender, Denmark always fares well in this style of tournament. With the terrifying events of the last European Championship for the side after Erikson’s medical emergency, it will be interesting to see how the team returns in these Euros.

View the Danish roster here.

 

Serbia:

Serbia is back in the European Championship after 24 years, but the road for Dragan Stojkovic’s side was not pretty. The manager has put 40 years into the game, playing for Yugoslavia in his career, and this could be his last dance, depending on the team’s results in Group C. However, no expectations could be the best-case scenario for the Serbian side. After beating Portugal in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, their performances were atrocious, to say the least. With a slip and slide into these Euros, the Serbs can play their game without the stress of meeting expectations.

The side plays an all-out attack style, and I see a high possibility of this going up in flames for the side. Stojkovic believes they can outscore their opponents, but with Denmark and England in the group, that task seems easier said than done. When looking at the roster, Lazar Samardzic will be a fun player to watch for in this squad. Dusan Tadic, who chose to play for Serbia instead of Germany, will be the skipper for the Serbs and will play as an authentic 10. Additionally, look for Dusan Vlahovic from Juventus to be a strong bench player for the squad, opening play late in matches.

Serbia’s ceiling will only be as high as its manager makes it. The wrong style could be disastrous, and with razor-thin margins against skillful sides, will the risks pay off?

Prediction: I would say no. Creating vulnerabilities for a team that already lacks the skills of its opponents could only work with flawless execution. With recent form, I would not count on those perfect performances happening. Serbia will create some entertaining matches, though, and who doesn’t love a good all-out attack.

View the Serbian roster here.

 

England:

England fans, how are you feeling about this one? I have heard about every possible way this could go for the Three Lions. While many of them put this side as the team to beat in the tournament, something always seems to take away the peace of mind of their fans going into major tournaments. Finalists of the last European Championship, Gareth Southgate enters this tournament leaving out some of the previous English stars that brought them success, creating questions from the city of Manchester with United’s Harry Maguire and City’s Jack Grealish being left out of the 26-man roster.

You cannot discuss this English side without bringing up Premier League Player of the Year Phil Foden. Much of the play will flow through him in the attack as he comes off a career year with Manchester City. Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, and Bukayo Saka will round out the side for the rest of the attack. Bellingham will be extremely fun to watch as the 20-year-old comes off his Champions League Final victory with Real Madrid. With Luke Shaw working through an injury, Declan Rice will have to be a rock for the side. Additionally, Jordan Pickford will continue his role in net for the side and will have to produce the same consistency he is known for within the squad.

A youngster to watch off the bench will be Kobbie Maino, who, at 19 years old, comes into this squad from Manchester United. The depth is at a plethora for this side, and while there will always be questions about leaving out some of the big names, I truly believe that this is close to the best 26 players in the country right now for Southgate.

Prediction: The sky is the limit for England. Harry Kane is a favorite for the Golden Boot, and a strong performance from a skillful front three could make all the difference for an English side that should coast through their group. Is it finally coming home this year?

View the English roster here.

 

Group D:

Poland:

When Fernando Santos took the reins for this side after winning the Euros with Portugal, Poles everywhere thought they were in good hands moving forward with major tournaments. When the opposite occurred, and he was replaced by Michal Probierz, no one knew what to expect. Coming into the 2024 European Championship, he will be running a five-back in the group of death, with some of the higher-scoring sides in European soccer competing in their group. Brace for impact.

Obviously, Robert Lewandowski will be the player to watch for Poland. While he is still as dangerous as ever inside the 18, there is a good chance this is his last Euros, making it all the better to tune into what could be his final three matches in this continental competition. Additionally, 22-year-old Nicola Zalewski is coming off a solid season with Roma and could be a fun player to watch in the side. With Szczesny between the sticks and an extra defender in front of him in a back-five system, the bigger question will be whether the squad can sustain the pressure long enough to get results.

The tournament will be a true test of Probierz’s adaptability. If he can make the changes in the game and throughout the group stage for his side to bring them success against tough opponents, maybe the Poles can do just enough to turn some heads in this group.

Prediction: It is hard to judge this side’s skill when they are matched up against some difficult opponents. While France looks like the clear favorite to top the group, a banged-up Dutch and similarly skilled Austrian side could let the Poles cause some commotion in a second-place spot that anyone can grab.

View the Polish roster here.

 

Netherlands:

Injuries are the name of the game for the Dutch in this tournament. Ronald Koeman has some roster spots to consider when entering a tough group. After coming from Barcelona in 2023, this will be his first major tournament with the team. The keeper decision will be the biggest choice for the manager, who selected Bart Verbruggen of Brighton & Hove Albion as his starter. Also, Memphis Depay and Frankie de Jong have been battling injuries at their clubs, and the amount that they can impact their country will all fall on their health.

Virgil van Dijk is essential for the Netherlands. If he can continue to perform at a world-class level on the backline, it will alleviate much of the concerns around who is in net for the Dutch. Additionally, Kody Gakpo will have to strike on all cylinders to help the side achieve victory in a tough group. Success for him will fall on his ability to connect with the players around him. The Dutch will score in abundance if he can create chances for himself and others. Tijjani Reijnders has also been great for Milan, and some strong minutes for the side could go a long way toward filling in minutes for players who are not at their full health.

The Netherlands will also look to play a five-back system that will translate to a three-back when attacking. Having a player like van Dijk tends to help get wingbacks higher up the pitch. I would be significantly less concerned with this side packing than their groupmates, Poland.

Prediction: The Netherlands should see their way out of this group and into the knockout Round. Everything will have to click for a deeper run, and I would consider them contenders if all their players were at full health. If Depay and de Jong can perform close to their best, I could see this team making some waves in the rounds beyond the group stage.

View the Dutch roster here.

 

Austria:

Ralf Rangnick’s side has met their match in this group. Going up against the likes of Poland, the Netherlands, and France is never easy; they will need everything to go right to find a way into the knockout stages. Most importantly, though, star David Alaba will be out for the side on injury. While the loss comes as a big one for the Austrian side, his manager handed the midfielder a unique proposition. Alaba will serve as a nonplaying captain to remain involved with the team, where he will travel with the team and serve as another coaching staff member.

Without their star, players such as Marcel Sabitzer from Dortmund, Nicolas Seiwald, and Stefan Posch will have to ensure everything is clicking on their end for Austria to hold their own in this competition. For goals, Michael Gregoritsch will have to stretch the field and find the back of the net. A typical false nine at Schmid is not someone you need to rely on for scoring. Still, his solid performances might be Austria’s only chance of pulling their weight.

Austria has proven that it can hang with the best of Europe, but it will have to prove it again in this tournament. With the Netherlands and France being the favorites to top the group, everything will have to go right for Austria to make its mark.

Prediction: Without Alaba to control the midfield, it seems like Austria will need a lot more than their current players at their best to hang with the likes of France and the Netherlands. But, hey, crazier things have happened in this tournament, right?

View the Austrian roster here.

 

France:

In recent years, France has often been the team to beat in Europe. After a thrilling finish to the 2022 World Cup, which saw the side fall to Argentina in penalties, the squad looks to rebound in the European Championship. While this team will not include Raphaël Varane or Hugo Lloris, Didier Deschamp has found replacements who can carry the weight for this tournament. Also, with the surprise return of Ngolo Kante to the side, the team will have a nearly identical attack to what they had in 2022.

Deyot Upamecano is set to fill in Varane’s shoes and work alongside Ibrahima Konaté as the center-back duo, and Mike Maignan will be the keeper for the French side. Kylian Mbappé is clearly the star of the show. He recently put pen to paper for his dream club, Real Madrid, and he will combine with Ousmane Dembele for a lethal attack up top for the French. Antoine Griezmann will find himself in the midfield, looking to feed the forward to create chances for the side. I would also pay some attention to Marcus Thurman, as the Inter forward performed extremely well last season for the club.

France should have no problem making it to the knockout stage. From there, it will all come down to how well their front three can convert in the big moments. Mbappé is up there with Kane for the Golden Boot projections, and with an instinct for playing well in tournaments like this, there is no doubt he will be influential to France’s success.

Prediction: It seems to be finals or bust for this French team. With the longevity of consistent rosters and players, the French can make waves in Germany this summer. These initial tests in the most difficult group will only prove more helpful in finding their form heading into the knockout rounds.

View the French roster here.

 

Group E:

Belgium:

The “Golden Age” of Belgian soccer has been discussed over the last few major tournaments, but this might be the last chance at some hardware with what is left of a generation that has continuously come up empty amid their expectations. However, Domenico Tedesco has yet to drop a match since entering the managerial position for the side, taking 20 of the 24 points available during qualifying and beating the host nation Germany 3-2 in the process.

However, one of the largest pieces that strengthened this side in the past is now missing. Courtois will not compete in the European Championship due to managerial disputes that left him without the captain’s armband for his country. Hazard, Witzel, and Alderweireld are also out of this tournament. That makes 32-year-old Kevin de Bruyne the key for this side, along with Romelu Lukaku, who stood at the peak for scoring in qualifying. Their veteran abilities and skill, matched with the young guns such as Johan Bukayoko, Dodi Lukebakia, and Orel Mangala, could provide the spark this team needs to prove decisive.

With a group that should all be below Belgium’s level, this side should have success getting to the knockout rounds. Still, the woes of the knockout stage continuously loom on a country that cannot turn the corner in having success at a major tournament.

Prediction: The Belgians should have no problem advancing out of their group. The questions for this team will come in the knockouts, where they must be at their best to compete with the best in Europe. A deep tournament run always seemed imminent for the Belgians. Maybe this summer, with fewer expectations, it will come true.

View the Belgian roster here.

 

Romania:

Romania has rolled into their first major tournament appearance since 2016, going unbeaten in qualifying. They bring forth a play style and roster that will put up a fight against anyone they play, but the concerns come with the available resources. Manager Edward Iordanescu is adaptable and will play to his opponents, which helps with a versatile squad. This has never been a side known for its plethora of skilled players, but the mentality in the locker room that no team is too big could carry a lot of weight against some very beatable countries in their group.

For who they do have, expect Radu Dragubin to hold down the back line for the Romanians. Additionally, Denis Man will look to connect with him to provide support defensively. In the attack, look for Nicolae Staneia to provide talent to the midfield while Denis Dragus provides the threat for Romania up top. I would expect Dragus to stretch the play to relieve the back line, but I would not be shocked to see him pack in more conservatively if the side finds their early goal.

With a great culture around a team, anything is possible in tournament play. That is what Iordanescu has tried to establish with Romania. A vulnerable group provides a unique opportunity for this team to make a splash in their group, but how long could it last with three games in a short span?

Prediction: If Iordanescu can adapt to the game correctly, Romania might just manage to get out of the group stage and into the knockouts. They will have to put everything together on the pitch, though, and consistency will have to continue for the Romanians to succeed in this tournament.

View the Romanian roster here.

 

Slovakia:

Slovakia qualified for their third straight tournament in Germany this summer, bringing together the oldest squad in the lot. With an average age of 30, new manager Francesco Calzona looks to find success in a group that has at least one knockout spot up for grabs. Only losing twice in qualifying, his team aims to keep the good form and advance out of the group stage. With an older team comes experience and cohesiveness, but will age be a factor against younger and more athletic sides in their group?

Stanislav Lobotka will be the key to this side; the midfielder from Napoli is coming off a strong season and looking to make a difference for the national team. Additionally, David Hancko will hold down the defense with the support of Martin Dubrauka in goal. In the attack, keep an eye out for forward Robert Bosenik. While he is the favored choice for the side, he has also been a pain point for his attitude and overall performance for the national team. Any team is only as strong as their weakest link, and Bosenik will have to perform for Slovakia to have a chance out of the group.

Tomas Suslov will be an interesting piece for the Slovakian side when facing Ukraine. The midfielder has family in Ukraine, and while this may not directly affect the game at hand, it could be a touching moment for him and his family during these difficult times.

Prediction: Slovakia may struggle in their group because of their age. Their benefit to this is having a cohesive team, but everyone will have to hit their marks to find a way out of this group. I could see them getting overpowered by the youth and similar skill levels of other countries in this group.

View the Slovakian roster here.

 

Ukraine:

Ukraine entered the European Championship this summer after defeating Iceland in a playoff match. Their manager, Sergei Rebrov, would like to emulate their performance in the 2020 Euro, where they made it to the quarterfinals, and he will have to do it with the youngest team in the tournament. The average age for the Ukrainian squad is 26. While they will be led by the very experienced Andriy Yarmolenko, the squad will have to rally their youth to provide the spark they need to advance.

One interesting note about Ukraine is their shakiness at the back. While they held Germany scoreless, they conceded three times to Poland in recent matches. Consistency must be a priority when grabbing the second spot in this group. Something that could provide this consistency may be Oleksandr Zinchenko, who will play as a holding midfielder in this system. Veteran experience in the midfield may provide just enough consistency for players like Roman Yaremchuk from Valencia to work freely in the forward position. The more creativity and space for the Ukrainian forwards, the better with such a young and athletic side.

It goes without saying that success in this tournament for Ukraine would be massive for a country that has not seen its national team play on a home-field since the war started. This group might just have the skill and the placement in this tournament to make it back to the knockout stage.

Prediction: Youth will be an asset for this team. When matched up against the oldest team in this tournament in Slovakia, Ukraine should stick to its youthful tactics to create chances and set itself apart from Romania and Slovakia, who can both steal that second spot behind Belgium.

View the Ukrainian roster here.

 

Group F:

Türkiye:

While the Turkish side is predicted to be the runners-up in this group behind heavy favorites Portugal, they are still searching for their attacking identity. Without forward Enes Unal, manager Vincenzo Montella will have to find a way to create chances and put the ball into the back of the net. Much of that will be through midfield play, which Montella admits is the beating heart of this Turkish team. The team hopes to impress their country, as fans simply need to cross the border into Germany to access the matches for the tournament.

Haken Çalhanoglu, Salih Özcan, and Orkun Kökçü will be essential for the success of Türkiye, with Kökçü providing the playmaking ability within the midfield. If the three players can gel quickly in this group, it will provide more freedom for Kenan Yildiz and Cenk Tosun to create chances and score goals for the side. Additionally, be on the lookout for Arda Guler, who could have a breakout tournament with some time off the bench for this team.

If the forwards can score goals for Türkiye, they will cruise through this group’s best of the rest and finish behind Portugal. A nice match against one of the tournament favorites won’t be bad preparation for the knockout rounds either, as that is most likely where the Turkish side will end up after their three matches.

Prediction: I do not see Türkiye having an issue advancing out of this group. A strong midfield will naturally create chances for their forwards. Yildiz and Tosun are skilled enough players to propel the side to the knockout stages.

View the Turkish roster here.

 

Georgia:

Welcome to the big leagues, Georgia! With their playoff win over Greece, Georgia will play in their first Euros match and their first major tournament ever. The side will face Türkiye in their first match, and there is no doubt that the emotions will be high for Willy Sagnol’s team. This team plays a fast-paced counterattacking style that will be fun to watch and dangerous to the other teams in this group, but do they have enough to make a splash?

Skipper Guram Kashia will lead the team from the back line; from there, two offensive-minded wingbacks will be on either side, with concerns about their defending abilities looming. It could be disastrous for Georgia if they cannot hold their flanks, but catching them moving up the pitch on a counter could be lethal against any team, especially sides with older defenders. Khvicha Kvaratskhalia will be an entertaining player for this team to watch. The Napoli winger is only 23, and he may just be one of the best young players in the world right now. Look for him to create chances from the midfield in a very offensive position and hopefully make his mark in a difficult group.

Regardless of the outcome, this team will be so much fun to watch in this tournament. They fought for their right to be in Germany, and now they will be there, soaking it all in at their first international tournament.

Prediction: I do not see a way that Georgia will make it out of this group, but the sheer emotion of being at a major tournament could put them on upset watch for a team looking to grab the second spot.

View the Georgian roster here.

 

Portugal:

When determining what to write about for Portugal’s team entering the Euros, I was astonished at their pure attacking prowess on this roster. For a team that cruised through qualifying with 10 wins and nine clean sheets, you must wonder where the weak spot is for the Portuguese. From Cristiano Ronaldo not slowing down after a great season in the Saudi League and a brace against the Republic of Ireland just the other day to his young support in João Félixand Rafael Leão, this team looks more dangerous than ever.

Roberto Martinez will be the focal point for this team regarding how he manages because the right players are there. Bruno Fernandes will solidify the midfield, Ruben Dias will hold firm on the back line, Diogo Costa will maintain a strong presence between the sticks, and the rest of the players simply fall into place. The issue comes when they leave the group stage. Can Martinez develop a game plan and adapt to the better teams in this tournament? Or will they falter and leave their talent to waste?

Portugal has all the power to make a deep run in this tournament. With a group that should show them no issues for advancing, the only thing that could stop them from being serious contenders is themselves.

Prediction: With the current form of the players on this roster, I could see them going deep into this tournament. They will have to dare to dream against some of the better sides, but this roster is just as good as some of the other countries that we are calling favorites. With a dynamic player like Ronaldo still hitting his marks, how could you count a team like Portugal out?

View the Portuguese roster here.

 

Czechia:

To round out the previews, we have Czechia. Ivan Hašek’s team looks and plays much differently from the side that made it to the quarterfinals in the 2020 European Championship. Their new defensive tactics will play interestingly against some of the countries in this group. Games against this side could become more of a chess match to see who can find that decisive goal to make the difference. Expect a very compact team that defends well and looks to convert on the few chances they will receive.

Tomás Souček and Michel Sadílek will oversee keeping the midfield tight to prevent passage through the center of the field. From there, David Zima will hold what will likely be a back-three firm with Jindrich Stanck behind him in goal. In the attack, Patrik Schick and Adam Hložek will have to capitalize on their chances to give this team any chance of advancing past the group stage of this tournament.

The Czech team is struggling to compete with the better teams they are playing against, and this is extremely concerning for a team that will have to face one of the best in this tournament and two other teams that are hungry to take that last spot.

Prediction: If they capitalize on their chances, I could see this side giving Türkiye a fight for the second spot in this group. However, the defense will still have to hold firm to ensure they practically keep clean sheets throughout the three matches. Conceding will force a change in the game plan, and from there, it will all depend on how the Czechs adapt.

View the Czech roster here.

Brady Ferguson is a current student at American University. As a Philadelphia native, Brady has followed the Union since 2010 and is an active member of the Sons of Ben.

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