x

SPORTS

Euro 2024: A Group Look at the Draw for the European Championship in Men’s Soccer

December 3, 2023

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — A capsule look at each group drawn for the 2024 European Championship.

GROUP A

Germany, Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland

Host Germany had a year to forget in 2023 but can look to 2024 with optimism.

The draw was relatively kind to coach Julian Nagelsmann who, since being hired in September, has overseen two of the team’s six losses in 13 friendlies.

Germany’s first competitive game since a group stage exit at the 2022 World Cup will be a June 14 tournament opener in Munich against a Scotland. The Scots beat Spain in qualifying but have little tournament track record.

Hungary did test Germany in their Euro 2020 group, taking a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw, but failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Switzerland is in turmoil and coach Murat Yakin’s federation bosses had to give him a vote of confidence midweek just to attend the draw. Yakin has widely reported tense relations with his captain Granit Xhaka.

GROUP B

Spain, Albania, Croatia, Italy

It wouldn’t be a Euro tournament without Spain vs Italy, winners of three of the past four titles.

Their June 20 game in Gelsenkirchen makes it five straight meetings dating to the Euro 2008 quarterfinals.

Croatia was eliminated from Euro 2020 by Spain’s thrilling 5-3 extra-time win in the round of 16, but one of the most resilient teams in soccer has thrived in tough groups at World Cups.

With Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modrić still orchestrating the team at age 38, Croatia can never be underestimated.

Albania won its qualifying group ahead of more fancied Poland and the Czech Republic, and was ranked in the draw seedings above Croatia and Italy. The team that will play at just its second major tournament has found inspiration under Brazilian coach Sylvinho.

“Our opponents are used to playing in European and World Cup finals,” said Sylvinho, the former Arsenal and Barcelona left back.

GROUP C

England, Denmark, Slovenia, Serbia

England and France were the standout European teams at the 2022 World Cup and went unbeaten through qualifying.

England also has, in Bayern Munich forward Harry Kane and Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham, two free-scoring and arguably the most in-form players in world soccer.

“They are used to playing in big matches together and individually, so we are excited and all looking forward to the summer,” England coach Gareth Southgate said.

Still, a June 16 start against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen will be a test before facing a Denmark team which got seven goals in qualifying from Rasmus Højlund, signed by Manchester United after the club could not get Kane.

Slovenia lost to England 1-0 at its last major tournament, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and shapes as the outsider at its first Euro since 2000.

GROUP D

France, Austria, Netherlands, Playoff winner (Poland, Estonia, Wales or Finland)

France is soccer’s No. 2-ranked team behind Argentina, and the World Cup beaten finalist last year and champion in 2018.

Still, France fell out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16, against Switzerland, and this group is among the more difficult.

Austria impressed in qualifying yet coach Ralf Rangnick spoke of drawing “probably the most difficult we could get” from draw pots one and three.

France and the Netherlands will meet in their second game, on June 21 in Leipzig. France won 4-0 at home and 2-1 in Amsterdam when they met in the qualifying group.

Another possible bump in the road for France — the Group D winner cannot meet a third-place team from another group in the round. Awaiting them is the runner-up from Group F.

GROUP E

Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, Playoff winner (Israel, Iceland, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Ukraine)

Belgium is no longer in its “Golden Generation” era but a team with Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku at its core should still be formidable. Albeit, Courtois and De Bruyne have been out injured since the start of the season.

Winger Jeremy Doku’s flourishing on the left wing at Manchester City makes him a more feared prospect than when he was emerging during Euro 2020, where Belgium lost a quarterfinal to Italy.

Belgium’s opening games against Slovakia and Romania add up to a simple start for a top-seeded team.

The fourth group member could be Israel or Ukraine, who are playing in neutral countries with domestic leagues disrupted while their nations are at war. Israel at Euro 2024 would present the biggest security planning issue for German authorities.

GROUP F

Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Playoff winner (Georgia, Luxembourg, Greece or Kazakhstan)

Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo can be feeling déjà vu here. They faced Turkey and the Czechs in the group stage of Euro 2008, with co-host Switzerland.

Portugal topped the standings that time and will be fancied to do so again after sweeping through qualifying with a perfect 10 wins and 10 goals from its 38-year-old superstar.

Turkey surprised by winning a qualifying group ahead of Croatia, though has disappointed at the past two Euros when arriving with fashionable predictions of success.

UEFA gifts a tournament entry in the playoffs to the third-tier of member nations and this group is where that team will land: Greece was the Euro 2004 champion and the others would be tournament novices.

Portugal was the Euro 2016 champion, when it also was the late starter in Group F. The Portuguese and Czechs will be the last teams to begin play, when they meet on June 18 in Leipzig.

___
By GRAHAM DUNBAR AP Sports Writer

RELATED

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray reiterated Monday that he is likely to retire from tennis before the season is over.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

NYC Officials Shutter Furniture Store Illegally Converted to House More than 40 Migrants

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City furniture store that had been illegally converted into sleeping quarters for more than 40 migrants has been shut down by city officials.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to decide whether former President Donald Trump can be prosecuted on charges he interfered with the 2020 election and set a course for a quick resolution.

ATHENS - On the one-year grim anniversary of a head-on train crash just outside a tunnel in central Greece, which killed 57 people, promises made in the immediate aftermath to add long-delayed safety measures haven’t been met.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have blocked legislation that would protect access to in vitro fertilization, objecting to a vote on the issue Wednesday even after widespread backlash to a recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that threatens the practice.

KUNA, Idaho  — Idaho halted the execution of serial killer Thomas Eugene Creech on Wednesday after medical team members repeatedly failed to find a vein where they could establish an intravenous line to carry out the lethal injection.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.