Group E of Euro 2020 is all about the pressure of expectations. Spain has largely dominated world football in recent years. Can they have success this time around with a surprising squad selection provided by Luis Enrique? Is one of Poland’s greatest generations ready to step up? And, are Sweden and Slovakia strong enough to hold on, and earn a surprise qualification. Here’s what to expect.
You don’t just win practically every international competition and not have the weight of expectation on your shoulders. Spain is feeling the pressure as they enter Euro 2020. Sure, their squad still includes players active for some of the best teams in the world. However, the decision to leave out all Real Madrid players, Sergio Ramos especially, has been met with resistance by some Spanish fans.
Spain will be playing all of its group games in front of home crowd in Seville. There’s a prevailing feeling that Enrique is looking to move on from Spain’s classic style of play. Will the younger players be up to the challenge? We will soo see.
Spain’s Euro 2020 squad:
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Unai Simón (Athletic), Robert Sánchez (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Defenders: José Gayà (Valencia), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric García (Manchester City), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Thiago Alcántara (Liverpool), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atlético), Marcos Llorente (Atlético), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Rodri (Manchester City), Fabián Ruiz (Napoli), Pablo Sarabia (Paris), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traoré (Wolves)
Forwards: Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Pedri (Barcelona)
Sweden, especially under the management of Janne Andersson, has been tremendously successful in recent years. The Swedes made the Quarter-Finals at the 2018 World Cup. They’ve done it all without their talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And, they’ve done it without pursuing an attractive style of football.
However, squad unity is high and many of the Swedish players are, or have been active, at top level. They might not be the most exciting team in the tournament. However, they have the potential go against any opponent.
Sweden’s Euro 2020 squad:
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (København), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Gençlerbirliği), Robin Olsen (Everton)
Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Pierre Bengtsson (Vejle), Marcus Danielson (Dalian Yifang), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborg), Filip Helander (Rangers), Pontus Jansson (Brentford), Emil Krafth (Newcastle United), Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (AIK)
Midfielders: Jens-Lys Cajuste (Midtjylland), Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Sebastian Larsson (AIK), Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar), Robin Quaison (Mainz), Ken Sema (Watford), Mattias Svanberg (Bologna), Gustav Svensson (Guangzhou)
Forwards: Marcus Berg (Krasnodar), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Jordan Larsson (Spartak Moskva)
The Polish national team has routinely been able to line up some of the best players in Europe in recent years. Results were not quite as expected. This lead to the dismissal of manager Jerzy Brzecek, and the appointment of relatively inexperienced Paulo Sousa.
There’s still a good amount of depth and experience that Poland can call upon. Besides this, naturally, expectations are for Robert Lewandowski to continue with his incredible run of form. Sousa’s side will not have an easy task. Still, failing to qualify from this group will be judged as a failure.
Poland’s Euro 2020 squad:
Goalkeepers: Łukasz Fabiański (West Ham), Łukasz Skorupski (Bologna), Wojciech Szczęsny (Juventus)
Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszyński (Sampdoria), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Michał Helik (Barnsley), Tomasz Kędziora (Dynamo Kyiv), Kamil Piątkowski (Raków Częstochowa), Tymoteusz Puchacz (Lech Poznań), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moskva)
Midfielders: Paweł Dawidowicz (Verona), Przemysław Frankowski (Chicago Fire), Kamil Jóźwiak (Derby), Mateusz Klich (Leeds), Kacper Kozłowski (Pogoń Szczecin), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moskva), Karol Linetty (Torino), Jakub Moder (Brighton), Przemysław Płacheta (Norwich), Piotr Zieliński (Napoli)
Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern), Karol Świderski (PAOK), Jakub Świerczok (Piast Gliwice)
Slovakia managed a narrow qualification to the European Championship. They are a strong, resilient side. Most of their players are active for average reputation clubs. However, Inter’s Milan Skriniar and team legend, Marek Hamsik is expected to provide glimpses of pure inspiration.
The European Championship is often ripe with surprises. Slovakia is looking to be one of the teams to pull an important one-off. If they do not, their qualification to the tournament should still be judged as a major success.
Slovakia’s Euro 2020 squad:
Goalkeepers: Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle), Dušan Kuciak (Lechia Gdańsk), Marek Rodák (Fulham)
Defenders: Dávid Hancko (Sparta Praha), Tomáš Hubočan (Omonoia), Martin Koscelník (Liberec), Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin), Ľubomír Šatka (Lech Poznań), Milan Škriniar (Inter Milan), Martin Valjent (Mallorca), Denis Vavro (Huesca)
Midfielders: László Bénes (Augsburg), Ondrej Duda (Köln), Ján Greguš (Minnesota), Marek Hamšík (IFK Göteborg), Lukáš Haraslín (Sassuolo), Jakub Hromada (Slavia Praha), Patrik Hrošovský (Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Tomáš Suslov (Groningen), Vladimír Weiss (Slovan Bratislava)
Forwards: Róbert Boženík (Feyenoord), Michal Ďuriš (Omonoia), Róbert Mak (Ferencváros), Ivan Schranz (Jablonec)
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