Some of the jeopardy could also be eliminated by the truth that the 4 greatest third-placed groups will qualify for the quarter-finals, however Euro 2020’s Group F stays filled with intrigue as reigning champions Portugal, World Cup holders France and Germany all face off, whereas Hungary may have their say too.
AFP Sport casts its eye over the 4 groups attempting to succeed in the knockout stage.
Portugal are reigning European champions and have reached a minimum of the semi-finals in 4 of the final 5 Euros. They got here second behind Ukraine in qualifying and, at 36, Cristiano Ronaldo will not be getting any youthful. However, Portugal additionally received the Nations League in 2019 and Ronaldo has arguably by no means been surrounded by a lot expertise: from Ruben Dias on the again to Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Joao Felix. If they click on, they might take some stopping.
Player to observe: Cristiano Ronaldo
Given the expertise in Portugal’s ranks, maybe it’s unimaginative to single out Ronaldo, however it is going to be fascinating to observe his progress. At 36 that is in all probability his penultimate main match. Portugal’s captain and most-capped participant has 103 worldwide objectives, with 11 coming within the qualifying marketing campaign. He is now simply six shy of the all-time worldwide scoring file of 109 held by Iran’s Ali Daei.
“All the other countries envy us,” shouted the entrance of French sports activities day by day L’Equipe this week beneath photos of Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann. In France they’re understandably assured about their prospects of following their 2018 World Cup triumph with Euro glory.
Coach Didier Deschamps has a squad filled with world-class expertise. Competition for locations was already fierce up entrance even earlier than the choice to recall Benzema. Most nations can be delighted to have simply one among Mbappe, Benzema or Griezmann, and possibly over-confidence is the largest hazard for France.
Player to observe: Karim Benzema
At 33, the Real Madrid striker was recalled after a global exile of 5 and a half years. He had not been known as up since a blackmail scandal over a sextape involving his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena broke in 2015. But Deschamps may now not ignore Benzema’s kind after a season by which he scored 30 objectives for his membership.
Germany are three-time European champions and have reached a minimum of the semi-finals at every of the final three Euros. However, since their disastrous exhibiting on the 2018 World Cup, after they went out within the group stage, Germany’s fortunes haven’t improved a lot. They topped their qualifying group forward of the Netherlands, however in current matches they had been trounced 6-Zero in Spain within the Nations League and suffered a 2-1 house defeat by North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying.
After 15 years in cost, coach Joachim Loew will step down after the match. He has recalled Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels, who had beforehand been discarded after the final World Cup. Playing group video games at house in Munich offers them a bonus, on paper a minimum of.
Player to observe: Thomas Mueller
Germany will rely closely on the standard of gamers like Joshua Kimmich and Toni Kroos however a profitable Euro may additionally depend upon Mueller. The 31-year-old has been too good for Bayern Munich to be ignored any longer by his nation and is again after two and a half years within the worldwide wilderness.
The Magyars reached a second straight European Championship through the Nations League play-offs — they completed fourth of their qualifying group however received play-off ties in opposition to Bulgaria and Iceland to qualify.
Coached by the Italian Marco Rossi, Hungary will get to play their first two matches at house in Budapest however their greatest participant, RB Leipzig midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, is out injured. It can be an infinite shock in the event that they completed wherever apart from backside of their group.
Player to observe: Peter Gulacsi
Given the calibre of Hungary’s opponents, Gulacsi could possibly be a busy man. The 31-year-old, as soon as on Liverpool’s books, has gone on to be a fixture in objective for RB Leipzig within the German Bundesliga. His current expertise of the latter phases of the Champions League may turn out to be useful.
Fixtures (instances GMT):
Hungary v Portugal (1600)
France v Germany (1900)
Hungary v France (1300)
Portugal v Germany (1600)
Germany v Hungary (1900)
Portugal v France (1900)
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