Tag Archives: Uefa European Championship

Allianz Arena, Munich

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

Group stage:

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 

Final: 12/7/20 

Allianz Arena photo by Werner Kuntz via Flickr Creative Commons, licence CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

National Arena, Bucharest

Preview: Euro 2020 Group C

Group C consists of Austria, the Netherlands, Ukraine plus one team from the play-offs.

Austria

Ranking: 26th (Fifa); 16th (Uefa)

Head-to-head records:

Against the Netherlands: W-6 D-4 L-9 S-24 C-36

Against Ukraine: W-1 D-0 L-1 S-4 C-4

Key Player – Marcel Sabitzer: The attacking midfielder is one of several key contributors for Das Team, getting two goals and five assists in nine games for his country as they finished behind winners Poland in Euro qualifying Group G.

Next summer’s European Championship will only be the third time that Austria have made it to the Euros, the first being in 2008 when they co-hosted with Switzerland. The team, currently managed by Franco Foda, have never gone beyond the group stage.

In fact, they have only ever got one point from each of the other two Euros for which they have qualified. This time round, they sealed their spot at next summer’s tournament by beating Macedonia 2-1 in a must-win game, courtesy of goals from David Alaba and Stefan Lainer.

Netherlands

Amsterdam Arena
Amsterdam Arena will host the Netherlands’ three group games

Ranking: 14th (Fifa); 9th (Uefa)

Head-to-head records:

Against Ukraine: W-1 D-1 L-0 S-4 C-1

Against Austria: W-9 D-4 L-6 S-36 C-24

Key Player – Virgil Van Dijk: The Dutch skipper is one of three defenders to make the Ballon D’Or shortlist. He has been an important cog for club side Liverpool, helping them to win the Champions League last season, following a runners-up finish the year before.

Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands are favourites to win Group C, having been reinvigorated following their failure to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This will be the 10th time they have featured in the Euro finals, with the Dutch winning the trophy in West Germany in 1988.

The one criticism of the Oranje is that they lack a top-level recognised striker, with the majority of their goals being supplied by Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay. The pair scored 24 in qualifying, including scoring six in the two matches against Germany, who topped the group.

Ukraine

Ranking: 24th (Fifa); 15th (Uefa)

Head-to-head records:

Against Austria: W-1 D-0 L-1 S-4 C-4

Against the Netherlands: W-0 D-1 L-1 S-1 C-4

Key Player – Andriy Pyatov: The 93-cap international is currently Ukraine’s captain. In their 2-2 draw with Serbia, he became the most-capped goalkeeper for his team. Pyatov is a legend of the game in Ukraine and has made 443 appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk, conceding just 370 goals and winning nine league titles with them.

Ukraine’s form was lifted when their most famous former player, Andriy Shevchenko, finally took the manager’s role after refusing it several times previously. They failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, though only finished three points off of Croatia.

This time out in qualifying, Shevchenko’s men topped Group B with two games to spare after beating favourites Portugal 2-1. Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko scored, before a late scare from Cristiano Ronaldo, ensuring a place in a major tournament for the third time.

In terms of who makes the knockout stages, it is likely to be a scrap between Ukraine and Austria for second place behind the Dutch. Both could make it through as one of the best third-placed teams, but both would be in the knockout phase for the first time.

The final team will be the Winner of Path D in the play-offs (Georgia; Belarus; North Macedonia; Kosovo) – unless Romania win Path A containing Iceland, Bulgaria and Hungary.

Rankings and key players for the possible other Group C team

Georgia: 91st (Fifa), 38th (Uefa); Belarus 87th (Fifa), 37th (Uefa); North Macedonia: 68th (Fifa), 36th (Uefa); Kosovo: 115th (Fifa), 46th (Uefa); Romania: 37th (Fifa), 22nd (Uefa).

Georgia – Jaba Kankava: Captain of his national team, the experienced defensive midfielder is currently is playing for Tobol in the Kazakhstan Premier League. He has played over 80 times for his country and he featured in Ligue 1 for Stade de Reims a couple of years ago.

Belarus – Syarhey Palitsevich: He is one of many experienced faces in the Belarusian camp, having been capped 31 times. Currently, the centre-back is playing for Kairat Almaty, recent runners-up in Kazakhstan Premier League.

North Macedonia – Goran Pandev: Pandev is a legend in his home country – not only is he the most-capped player with 108, he is also their all-time top scorer with 34 goals. Despite having turned 36, if his country made it through, he would likely be selected for one final hurrah.

Kosovo – Milot Rashica: The Werder Bremen star made the switch to featuring for Kosovo after playing twice for Albania. His debut for them came in August 2016 against Finland.

Romania – Ciprian Tătărușanu: The experienced ‘keeper is his team’s most capped star and has experience from featuring in 2016 European Championships in France. He has spent the last couple of years in the top flights of Italy and France.

Group Schedule:

Sunday 14 June (all kick-offs Central European Time):

Austria v Play-off winner D or A (18:00, Bucharest)

Netherlands v Ukraine (21:00, Amsterdam)

Thursday 18 June:

Ukraine v Play-off winner D or A (15:00, Bucharest)

Netherlands v Austria (21:00, Amsterdam)

Monday 22 June:

Play-off winner D or A v Netherlands (18:00, Amsterdam)

Ukraine v Austria (18:00, Bucharest)

Routes to the later stages:

Round of 16:

Saturday 27 June: 1A v 2C (21:00, London)

Sunday 28 June: 1C v 3D/E/F (18:00, Budapest)

Monday 29 June: 1F v 3A/B/C (21:00, Bucharest)

Tuesday 30 June: 1E v 3A/B/C/D (21:00, Glasgow)

Quarter-Finals:

Friday 3 July: Winner 6 v Winner 5 (18:00, Saint Petersburg); Winner 4 v Winner 2 (21:00, Munich)

Saturday 4 July: Winner 3 v Winner 1 (18:00, Baku); Winner 8 v Winner 7 (21:00, Rome)

Semi-Finals:

Tuesday 7 July: Winner QF2 v Winner QF1 (21:00, London)

Wednesday 8 July: Winner QF4 v Winner QF3 (21:00, London)

Final:

Sunday 12 July- Winner SF1 v Winner SF2 (21:00, London)

Key:W= Won; D= Draw; L= Lost; S= Scored; C= Conceded

National Arena, Bucharest, main photo by Carpathianland via Flickr Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC 2.0.Amsterdam Arena photo by Javier Novo Rodriguez via Flickr Creative Commons, licence CC BY-NC-SA 2.0