Group B of Euro 2020 has Belgium, one of the competition’s favorites, face off against Denmark, Russia, and Finland, teams that have fought their way to reach the final tournament. Exciting, physically intense matches are to be expected. Here’s what to look out for in Group B of the Euros.
It’s hardly a secret to anyone that Belgium possesses one of the best squads in international football. They’ve long been considered favorites to win major silverware, but thus far have failed to do so, although winning bronze in the 2018 World Cup can hardly be categorized as a failure. This European Championship seems like a perfect occasion for, perhaps, the country’s finest generation to stamp their mark on history.
Belgium’s squad is highly balanced in all areas. Still, fans every reason to expect a lot of Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, players that dominated the Premier League and Serie A during the last season. These three matches will test the level of Roberto Martinez’s squad.
Belgium provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Mats Selz (Strasbourg)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)
Midfielders: Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Nacer Chadli (İstanbul Başakşehir), Yannick Carrasco (Atlético Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund), Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Dortmund)
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jérémy Doku (Rennes), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Reserves: Thomas Kaminski (Blackburn), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Zinho Vanheusden (Standard Liège), Jordan Lukaku (Antwerp), Thomas Foket (Reims), Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Brayn Heynen (Genk), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht), Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge)
Denmark will be delighted with the home advantage presented to them through the tournament’s setup. All the Danes’ group matches are played in Copenhagen. It remains to be seen how much of an advantage this will prove against familiar opposition Belgium, a team that defeated them in both of their Nations League clashes.
Offensively, of late, Denmark has shown that they can be a real force. While this was true for their qualifying stages as well, it is worth remembering that they struggled in a group that also included Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland. A recent great performance against England though should make the Northern Europeans feel ready.
Denmark provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Jonas Lössl (Midtjylland), Frederik Rønnow (Schalke)
Defenders: Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Simon Kjær (AC Milan), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Joachim Andersen (Fullham), Daniel Wass (Valencia), Mathias Jørgensen (Copenhagen), Joakim Mæhle (Atalanta), Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton), Nicolai Boilesen (Copenhagen)
Midfielders: Mathias Jensen (Brentford), Christian Nørgaard (Brentford), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham), Thomas Delaney (Dortmund), Anders Christiansen (Malmö), Christian Eriksen (Inter Milan), Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria), Robert Skov (Hoffenheim)
Forwards: Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona), Andreas Cornelius (Parma), Andreas Skov Olsen (Bologna), Yussuf Poulsen (Leipzig), Kasper Dolberg (Nice), Jonas Wind (Copenhagen)
Russia was one of the revelations in the 2018 World Cup. While it is true that their status as organizers played into their success, the exciting performances cannot be ignored. They qualified comfortably for the European Championship, taking second place in a group that also included Belgium.
Russia will once again play in front of home supporters, in Sankt Petersburg, as co-hosts of the Euro. Their form has varied against tougher opposition as recent Nations League fixtures have shown. Confidence will be high, however, after the 2018 tournament.
Russia provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Andrei Lunev (Zenit), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moskva)
Defenders: Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moskva), Igor Diveev (CSKA Moskva), Roman Yevgenyev (Dinamo Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Ilya Samoshnikov (Rubin), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat), Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moskva)
Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Maksim Mukhin (Lokomotiv Moskva), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Arsen Zakharyan (Dinamo Moskva), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moskva), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moskva), Alexei Ionov (Krasnodar), Daler Kuzyayev (Zenit), Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia)
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Anton Zabolotny (Sochi), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moskva)
Finland may look like one of the most surprising nations to have qualified for UEFA Euro 2020. Their form, of late, however, has been sound. They’ve won against teams like Bulgaria and Ireland in the Nations League, suffering loss only against Wales.
Furthermore, they secured qualification finishing second in a group that included Italy, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Armenia. It would be wrong to take them out of the running for qualification just yet, especially considering the recent form of Norwich striker Teemu Pukki in the last edition of the Championship.
Finland provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Lukas Hradecky (Leverkusen), Jesse Joronen (Brescia), Anssi Jaakkola (Bristol Rovers), Carljohan Eriksson (Mjällby)
Defenders: Juhani Ojala (Vejle), Sauli Väisänent (Chievo), Paulus Arajuuri (Pafos), Daniel O’Shaugnessy (HJK Helsinki), Robert Ivanov (Warta Poznań), Albin Granlund (Stal Mielec), Jere Uronen (Genk), Nicholas Hämäläinen (QPR), Nikolai Alho (MTK Budapest), Aapo Halme (Barnsley)
Midfielders: Pyry Soiri (Esbjerg), Joni Kauko (Esbjerg), Onni Valakari (Pafos), Rasmus Schüller (Djurgården), Thomas Lam (Zwolle), Tim Sparv (Larissa), Fredrik Jensen (Augsburg)
Forwards: Lassi Lappalainen (Montréal), Jasin Assehnoun (Lahti), Teemu Pukki (Norwich), Roope Riski (HJK Helsinki)
Set to arrive later: Jukka Raitala (Minnesota United), Joona Toivio (Häcken), Robert Taylor (Brann), Robin Lod (Minnesota United), Niki Mäenpää (Venezia)
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