A resumption of rivalry between international football’s oldest rivals, one of the crucial best midfield talent in the world and a rematch of the 2018 World Cup semifinal: Group D of the European Championships may not be short on drama and quality. Here is everything you want to realize:
Fixtures and how to watch
(All times U.S./Eastern. Stream each and every game on fuboTV — Try for free)
Sunday, June 13
England vs. Croatia (Wembley Stadium, London, 9 a.m., ESPN)
Monday, June 14
Scotland vs. Czech Republic (Hampden Park, Glasgow, 9.a.m., ESPN)
Friday, June 18
Croatia vs. Czech Republic (Hampden Park, Glasgow, 12 p.m., ESPN)
England vs. Scotland (Wembley Stadium, London, 3 p.m., ESPN)
Monday, June 21
Croatia vs. Scotland (Hampden Park, Glasgow, 3 p.m., ESPN 2)
Czech Republic vs. England (Wembley Stadium, London, 3 p.m., ESPN)
That England are a few of the tournament favorites with oddsmakers (+500 via William Hill Sportsbook) is possibly more a reflection of betting markets than their actual chances of winning Euro 2020 but there are lots of reasons to imagine they’ll be at the commerce end of the competition. Home virtue certainly favors them with all of their group games and potentially all bar one knockout game at Wembley Stadium. Their surprise run to the semifinals of the World Cup three years ago restored one of the crucial bonds between the team and the nation. Most importantly of all they’ve a large number of very good players.
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That is especially the case in attack where Gareth Southgate can call on a cadre of varied talent to surround captain and star striker Harry Kane, from creative playmakers such as Phil Foden and Mason Mount to the direct speedsters Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. Then there is potential x factor Jack Grealish, a player nearly as beloved by his country as Paul Gascoigne was once in 1998.
Their Achilles heel lies in defense with Harry Maguire expected to overlook much of the group stage with an ankle injury. John Stones excelled with Manchester City this season but his partner isn’t lucid. Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings have not looked all that impressive so it can be that Brighton’s Ben White, a late replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, starts against Croatia on Sunday.
In the mix
The leader of the chasing pack may mannered be Croatia. Though their run to the 2018 World Cup last felt like the final gasp of a glorious era it would be unwise to reduction the potential for them making a major have an effect on at coming tournaments. In the meanwhile they still have 35-year-old Luka Modric, who continues to prove his worth for Real Madrid and for his national side. There is the traditional cadre of creative midfielders around Modric with Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic and Nikola Vlasic likely vying for two starting spots. Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic may also be dangerous on the flanks but the question they’ll face is if they’ve the pace to stay alongside of England and others later in the competition.
Whether any nation will be relishing a tournament in large part played in England as much as the hosts it’s going to be the Czech Republic, who are returning to the country where they made history on their run to the Euro 96 last. A repeat showing might mannered be beyond them but they’ll not be an easy out and enter this tournament with two key players — Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal — riding high after an outstanding crusade with West Ham in the Premier League. Add to that young attacking talent such as Patrik Schick and Adam Hlozek and this is usually a team to distribute bloody noses.
The same could be said of Scotland, who enter this tournament in strong form in defense and with Southampton’s Che Adams having shown at club level that he might be the striker Steve Clarke’s side have been in search of for what has felt like generations. In the back of him is proven Premier League quality such as John McGinn, Scott McTominay and two of the league’s best left-backs (Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson) while Clarke has proven during his managerial career that he can get the most efficient out of teams. Most importantly of all, though, there’s a real bond in this Scotland side and an appreciation of Spanish disco classics that are supposed to lead them to each and every neutrals favorite.
Game to watch
England vs. Scotland, June 18: How could it not be this one? One of the crucial intense rivalries in international football, especially for a Scotland side who are certainties to bring their game against their opponent from down south. Wembley will roar England on, could this be the day Grealish has his Gazza moment?
England, Harry Kane: For the entire attacking talent that they are going to surround him with it’s the Tottenham striker that’s the key cog in England’s attack. The Golden Boot winner at the final World Cup and in this year’s Premier League, he has added greater creativity when dropping deep that are supposed to allow him to unleash runners in in the back of in addition to score goals.
Croatia, Luka Modric: It can be that the form of Bruno Petkovic in front of goal is more important in determining how far Croatia go at Euro 2020 but whether Modric can dictate games as he did in the World Cup three years ago then Zlatko Dalic’s side will be capable to grind opponents into submission.
Czech Republic, Tomas Soucek: The mountainous star of West Ham’s season, Soucek is a rarity in the contemporary game: a true box-to-box midfielder who can make telling contributions at both ends. In the air there are few that can compete with the 26-year-old, who has a hat-trick to his name at international level.
Scotland, Kieran Tierney: A case could certainly be made for captain and fellow left back Robertson but at international level it has steadily been his Arsenal counterpart who has shone brighter in recent matches. Without the ball he’s diligent and robust while his trailing runs from the left could unlock a number of paths for his excellent crosses.