It’s almost here! Time for Euro 2020, and although a year late in starting, it’s one of 2021’s biggest sporting events.
The 24 teams are split into six groups, with the winners and runners-up in each group advancing to the Round of 16. In addition, the four best 3rd place teams will advance.
Here’s a quick rundown on Groups E and F. Check out my Euros preview for the remaining groups as well.
Spain, who play all their group games in Seville, are the short-priced favourites in this group followed by a gritty Sweden squad missing the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a solid Poland side. Slovakia round out the group.
Manager: Paulo Sousa (Portuguese, less than a year)
Three to watch: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Wojcjech Szczesny (Juventus), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)
Euro history: 4th time qualifying
How qualified: Finished top of their group with eight wins, a draw and one loss.
Forecast: Much depends on the top scorer in Europe, Robert Lewandowski, who has struggled at major tournaments. The pressure is on this squad after recent underachieving and while they should get out of the group ($1.36), it’s hard to say about the quarterfinals ($3.00) or an unlikely semifinal berth ($8.00).
Manager: Stefan Tarkovic (Slovak, less than a year)
Three to watch: Milan Skriniar (Inter), Martin Dubrovka (Newcastle), Marek Hamsik (Goteburg)
Euro history: 2nd time qualifying (Czechoslovakia won in 1976)
How qualified: Finished third behind Wales and Croatia, then beat the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in playoffs.
Forecast: The outsiders to advance at $2.70, they’ll rely on their defence to keep things tight and more than likely play for the draw.
Manager: Luis Enrique (Spanish, 1½ years)
Three to watch: Ferran Torres (Man City), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid)
Euro history: Have won it three times, in 1964, 2008 and 2012
How qualified: Topped their group unbeaten, with eight wins in 10 games.
Forecast: For the first time ever, no Real Madrid player was selected and despite the wealth of talent, there’s a distinct lack of glam starpower. Nonetheless, this team is expected to top the group ($1.30) and make some noise in the knockout stages, where they are $2.63 to reach the semifinals, $4.50 to make the final and $8.00 to win the tournament.
Manager: Janne Andersson (Swedish, Nearly 5 years)
Three to watch: Alexander Izak (Real Sociedad), Victor Lindelof (Man Utd), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus)
Euro history: 7th time qualifying
How qualified: Finished 2nd behind Spain, losing only one game.
Forecast: Despite the loss of their talisman Zlatan, this is a very good team that is expected to qualify from 2nd or 3rd ($1.45) and potentially reach the quarterfinals ($3.30).
There’s always a Group of Death and this is it (although technically maybe ‘Close To Death’ is better since a 3rd place team should advance). Poor Hungary, a team on the rise and they’re thrown in with France, Germany and Portugal.
Manager: Didier Deschamps (French, nearly 9 years)
Three to watch: Kylian Mbappe (PSG), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Euro history: Won in 1984 and 2000, runners-up in 2016
How qualified: Won their group with eight wins, one draw and a 2-0 loss to Turkey.
Forecast: In all honesty, anything short of a finals berth (and even a loss in the final) will probably be considered a failure. France are $2.27 to make the semifinals, $3.40 to reach the final and $5.50 favourites to win it all.
Manager: Joachim Löw (German, nearly 15 years)
Three to watch: Timo Werner (Chelsea), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Euro history: Won three times, in 1996 and in 1972 and 1980 (as West Germany)
How qualified: Won their group which included the Netherlands.
Forecast: Obviously a powerhouse and the three games in Munich could offset the fact they are in a brutal group. Similar to France, they’re expected to go deep, and are $2.63 to reach the semifinals, $4.33 to make the final and $8.00 to win the tournament.
Manager: Marco Rossi (Italian, nearly 3 years)
Three to watch: Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig), Willi Orban (RB Leipzig), Adam Szalai (Mainz)
Euro history: 4th time qualifying
How qualified: Via the Nations League, beat Bulgaria in a playoff.
Forecast: A daunting proposition to get out of the group ($4.50) but they do have two home games in Budapest. A quarterfinal berth ($14) would be miraculous.
Manager: Fernando Santos (Portuguese, 6 years +)
Three to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Ruben Dias (Man City), Diogo Jota (Liverpool)
Euro history: Won in 2016
How qualified: Finished 2nd to Ukraine, with a loss in Kyiv their only real blemish.
Forecast: They’re third favourites to qualify from the group ($1.20) but the second best backed team to win the tournament ($9.50). They’re $2.00 to reach the quarterfinals, $3.25 to make the semifinals and $5.50 to earn a spot in the final.