Group D of Euro 2020 certainly, promises to be one of the more entertaining of the six. England has a team that looks capable enough to be counted among the favorites of the competition. Croatia has an aging squad, but memories of the recent World Cup final prevail. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic will be calling upon memories of Euro 96, while Scotland, who have finally qualified for a tournament, looks eager to make up for lost time.
England may have invented the beautiful game, at least, in its modern iteration. However, simply said, many of their performances in international tournaments have been sub-par. Sure, questions remain about this set of players as well. However, a quick glance over the squad, attacking players especially, reveals a group of footballers of high quality and used to playing for the largest of stakes.
Players like Mason Mount, Jack Grealish, and Phil Foden adding and improving upon the squad that made it all the way to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018. Meanwhile, Harry Kane, the team’s leader has had a superb season, albeit one in which he has faced injuries.
Manager Gareth Southgate is likely to call upon numerous squad changes throughout the tournament. This, however, is something he can easily opt for given the collective strength of the team. Their three group games shouldn’t be a walk in the park for the Three Lions, but they will certainly provide a good image of just how strong they are at present.
Croatian footballers are remarkable. In thirty years they have guided their national team through the ranks at several important international tournaments. Fans will be used to these footballers playing for teams like Real Madrid, or Chelsea. And, routinely, they make an appearance in Champions League finals.
This Croatian side has achieved more than any before it. Still, many of the team’s best players, including midfield general Luka Modric, are getting on in age. It’s a fact that cannot be ignored. With that being said, none of the other teams in the group, nor ones they might meet should they qualify, will feel comfortable playing against a team full of talented, experienced players.
Scotland has been largely absent from international tournaments since the mid-1990s. Despite this, don’t expect them to merely be glad of their participation here. Manager Steve Clarke has crafted a strong, resilient side on the strength of the Premier League experience of many of their players.
Che Adams, Scott McTominay, or Callum McGregor have shown that they can mix it up with the very best. Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney are two of the best defenders in the world and the team’s leaders. Processing a great fighting spirit and the desire to make up for lost time, Scotland could stun a few of their opponents.
The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic’s every appearance in an international tournament, inevitably, brings to mind memories of Euro 1996. Then, the Czechs nearly won the tournament. They also played beautifully. Many of the players of that generation, and the one after it, ended up being signed by top-tier clubs.
Football in the Czech Republic remains a serious concern. Their national team continues to be a powerful side. Yes, some of the flair of old may be missing. It is, however, replaced by tenacity and resilience. Tomas Soucek, the most famous member of the squad, typifies the team’s strengths. This is a team expected to fight every step of the way. With a bit of fortune scattered in, the Czech Republic could also turn out some surprises.