Preview: Euro 2020 Group F
Next summer’s Euro 2020 will take place 60 years after the inaugural tournament, and to mark the anniversary, Uefa has decided to celebrate with “a party throughout Europe”. Matches will be played in 12 cities in a dozen countries across the continent.
For a month, beginning on 12th June, Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg and London will host games, culminating in the semi-finals and final at Wembley Stadium.
The last time Wembley hosted a European Championship final (at the old stadium), Germany won their first title as a unified nation, beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 thanks to a ‘golden goal’.
Group F at Euro 2020 is made up of Portugal, France, Germany and the winner from play-off path A: Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary or Romania. Games in this group will be played in Munich at the Allianz Arena and in Budapest at Puskás Arena. If Hungary qualifies, a draw will be made to decide which venue will host Germany and Hungary’s Group F encounter.
Portugal are the defending champions, having beaten hosts France to win in 2016. They have always survived the first round of matches since 1984 and have reached the final four on five occasions. As hosts in 2004, they reached the final but lost to surprise package Greece.
France have won the European title twice, in 1984 and 2000, second only to Spain and Germany who have won three titles each. Led Ballon d’Or winner Michel Platini, France won their first title on home soil in 1984, and in 2000 won their second in Belgium, led by FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane. They suffered first-round eliminations in 1992 and 2008.
Germany competed in five tournaments as West Germany and, since 1990, have played in seven as a unified nation. They will be the hosts in 2024. The Germans have three European titles, in 1972 (Belgium), 1980 (Italy) and England (1996).
They have only finished outside of the tournament’s top eight on two occasions, in 2000 and 2004, but have appeared in a record nine finals.
The forth team in the group will only be known in March 2020 after the play-offs.
Iceland only reached their first European Championship in 2016. They came second in their group, winning against Austria and drawing against Portugal. In the round of 16, they beat England 2–1 in an historic victory, but then lost 5-2 to hosts France in the quarter-finals.
Bulgaria have qualified twice, in 1996 and in 2004, but failed on both occasions to make it beyond the first round. They lost all three matches in 2004, but achieved a victory and a draw in 1996.
Hungary have appeared at three Euro finals. In 1964, they finished third, and at Euro 1972 they placed fourth. Four years ago, they reached the round of 16.
Romania have played in five European Championships and are the more experienced team in this play-off path. They have played in every tournament since 1984, with their best performance coming in 2000, when they reached the quarter-finals, only to be eliminated by eventual runners-up Italy.
Group F schedule
In the group stage, the top two will go through automatically, plus the best four third-placed teams.
16/6/20 17:00 X v Portugal
16/6/20 20:00 France v Germany
20/6/20 14:00 X v France
20/6/20 17:00 Portugal v Germany
24/6/20 20:00 Germany v X
26/6/20 20:00 Portugal v France
Round of 16:27/6/20 – 30/6/20
Quarter finals: 3/7/20 – 4/7/20
Semi finals: 7/7/20 – 8/7/20
Allianz Arena photo by Werner Kuntz via Flickr Creative Commons, licence CC BY-NC-SA 2.0