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UEFA Euro 2024 – Group by Group previews

UEFA Euro 2024 - Group by Group previews

Football fans worldwide eagerly anticipate the 2024 European Championship, and the excitement builds with each passing day.

Set to be hosted in Germany, Euro 2024 is poised to be a fierce battle as 24 teams vie for glory in a tournament that promises to be an unforgettable spectacle.

Divided into six groups, the top two teams from each group and four of the best third-placed teams will advance to the round of 16.

Let’s take a quick look at each group, analysing each side to see who might emerge from the pack and make it to the knockout rounds.

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Group A – Germany, Hungary, Scotland & Switzerland

Despite their struggles in recent years, Germany’s quality makes them favourites to qualify from Group A as group winners.

Since lifting the World Cup in 2014, the Germans have been massively disappointing in major tournaments.

In their last Euro appearance, they qualified for the knockout phase by the skin of their teeth and will be eager to make a more dominant appearance this year.

Scotland’s impressive run in the qualifying campaign makes them a team to watch.

After only losing once in eight qualifiers en route to their fourth Euro qualification and second in succession, the Tartan Army will feel confident of their chances of making the knockouts.

Given their decent track record at recent major tournaments, Switzerland could also challenge for the top spot. 

Hungary head to Berlin with renewed hope after a near-flawless campaign and will also fancy their chances of advancing to the last 16.

Group B – Italy, Spain, Croatia & Albania

Group B rightfully carries the title of ‘group of death’, although Spain and Italy are favourites to advance to the last 16.

Both nations boast a combined five Euro titles, and Italy are bidding to become the first country to defend the title since Spain in 2012 after stunning England in the 2020 final.

However, missing out on back-to-back World Cups shows Italian football has been grappling with underlying issues.

It would be silly to write off Croatia’s chances of qualifying from Group B before the kick-off.

Croatia’s recent results at major international tournaments bolster their chances of causing a Group B upset.

Their quarter-final exit to Turkey in 2008 remains their best run at the Euros, but they’ve been flirting with a title win under Zlatko Dalic’s leadership over the past six years.

Meanwhile, Albania headed to Berlin for only their second-ever appearance at the Euros, but anything other than a last-place finish would be a major surprise.

Group C – England, Denmark, Slovenia & Serbia

England head into Euro 2024 as joint-top candidates to win it despite repeatedly floundering at major tournaments.

They got to the showpiece in 2020 but failed to ‘bring it home’ after finishing as runners-up to Italy. 

Whether Gareth Southgate can finally lead England to glory in Germany remains to be seen, but at least they are the favourites to qualify from Group C.

Meanwhile, Denmark and Serbia are expected to battle it out for the runners-up spot, although the odds favour the Danes slightly.

Defying expectations is part of Denmark’s tradition, and Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund will be under the spotlight after netting seven times in the qualifiers.

Serbia’s first appearance as an independent nation at the Euros comes after two disastrous World Cups. At the same time, their former countrymen, Slovenia, return to the big stage for the first time since 2000.

Both teams will try to upset the odds, but it will take a major upset for either to advance to the knockouts.

Group D – France, Netherlands, Austria & Poland

Anything other than a top-place finish for France in their ninth consecutive European Championship appearance would be an underachievement.

Back-to-back World Cup finalists have had three years to lick their wounds after Switzerland’s epic comeback crashed them out of the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.

None of their Group D rivals got that far in the last tournament. Poland failed to advance past the group stages, while Austria and the Netherlands were eliminated in the first knockout round.

The Netherlands are the second favourites to secure progression to the last 16, but Austria and Poland will be hoping to upset the odds.

Group E – Belgium, Slovakia, Romania & Ukraine

Euro 2024 represents the last opportunity for Belgium’s ‘golden generation to live up to their third-place position in the FIFA world rankings.

The Red Devils bowed out in the quarter-finals in 2016 and 2020, meaning a runner-up finish in 1980 remains the nation’s best run at the Euros.

Former RB Leipzig manager Domenico Tedesco arrived at the helm in February 2023 and had an immediate effect, reinvigorating a faltering squad and restoring their confidence.

He could be the man to lead Belgium to glory, and a third consecutive Euro knockout qualification is on the cards.

Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine will likely battle it to secure the title of ‘the best of the rest behind Belgium. But even that isn’t a foregone conclusion.

Belgium’s notorious tendency to fall apart on the big stage adds an air of uncertainty to their quest for continental glory, though they should at least steamroll into the knockout phase.

Group F – Portugal, Turkey, Czechia & Georgia

Euro 2024 Group F features Portugal, one of the leading title candidates, potential surprise package Turkey, Czechia, and debutants Georgia.

Unlike many reigning holders before them, Portugal didn’t flame out of the group stage at Euro 2020. But a last-16 exit wasn’t an enviable run either.

When the 2022 World Cup surprise package, Morocco, stunned Portugal in the quarter-final, everyone thought it would be Cristiano Ronaldo’s farewell game at major international tournaments.

However, the 39-year-old’s unparalleled hunger for goals and glory remains unwavering, and he is hoping to cement his football legacy with a second Euro triumph.

Lining up around him is probably the most talented Portugal team in the 21st century.

From Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes to Rafael Leao and Diogo Jota, this is probably one of the tournament’s most formidable attacking teams on paper.

They showcased their devastating scoring potential in the qualifiers, winning all ten matches for the first time in the nation’s history, scoring 36 goals and conceding only two.

After a flawless Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, Portugal will be looking to make noise in Ronaldo’s sixth and probably last appearance at the most prestigious continental tournament.

Turkey are perhaps well positioned to qualify from Group F as runners-up, leaving Czechia and minnows Georgia fighting for a chance to be considered among the best third-placed teams.

Group F has all the makings of unadulterated chaos, and only the Selecao should be guaranteed a spot in the knockout stage.

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