Euro 2020 Group D Preview: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland.
Group D of the Euro 2020 features two teams that battled in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and two other teams quite familiar with group host England.
England is the favorite to win the group with a roster that is an embarrassment of riches. The Three Lions reached the knockout stage in the 2016 Euro before advancing to the semifinals of the World Cup two years later where they lost to Croatia.
Tottenham forward Harry Kane will lead the attack with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Manchester City’s Phil Foden, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho all viable options for manager Gareth Southgate to join him up top. Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Chelsea’s Mason Mount are locked in the midfield. Man United’s Harry Maguire and Man City’s John Stones form the foundation of the backline at center back.
FIFA ranks England as 4th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 7th. DraftKings lists the Three Lions to win the tournament at +650.
Croatia lost to France in the 2018 World Cup finals after defeating England in the semifinals. That accomplishment peaked a golden generation as midfielder Ivan Rakitic, forward Mario Mandzukic, and keeper Daniel Subasic have since retired from international play. The Chequered Ones were wobbly in their Euro qualifying matches before eventually getting the job done. They did not perform well in their UEFA Nations League matches, but they were in a stacked group that included France, Portugal, and Sweden.
An aging roster still has elite talent at the top of their games. 35-year-old Luka Modric continues to star in the Real Madrid midfield. 32-year-old midfielder Ivan Perisic played a vital role in Inter Milan’s winning Serie A this year. He was teammates with Marcelo Brozovic, who will play in a stacked midfield. Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic adds additional flair to the middle of the field for the Croatians.
FIFA ranks Croatia 14th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 18th. DraftKings lists the Chequered Ones at +4000 to win this event.
The Czech Republic has a rich history at Euros with a second-place finish in 1998, a semifinals result in 2004, and a quarterfinals appearance in 2012. The National Side did not advance out of the group stage in the 2016 Euro before failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The Czechs qualified for this tournament by finishing in second place to England in their group. They defeated the Three Lions, 2-1, on their home soil. A 1-1 draw with Belgium in a World Cup qualifying match on March 27th inspired confidence in this team.
West Ham United teammates Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal are leaders in the starting XI in the midfield and backline. Bayer Leverkusen forward Patrick Schick will anchor the attack up top.
The Czech Republic ranks 40th in the world by FIFA. They place 31st in the ELO rating system. DraftKings list them at +12500 to win the tournament.
Scotland will be playing in their first major international tournament since the 1998 World Cup. While the Tartan Army finished in third place in their Euro qualifying group, they advanced to this tournament with playoff victories against Israel and Serbia that both went to penalty kicks to resolve the match. The Scots can draw on a 2-2 draw at the Netherlands in a tune-up friendly on June 2nd for optimism.
Despite inexperience in recent international competitions, Scotland has a deep roster filled with players from the English Premier League. Manager Steve Clarke will move Arsenal’s left back Kiernan Tierney to a center back spot to accommodate Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, one of the best attacking left backs in the world. Newcastle United’s Ryan Fraser and Aston Villa’s John McGinn form the foundation in the midfield. Southampton’s Che Adams leads the attack upfront.
FIFA ranks the Tartan Army as 44th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 42nd. DraftKings prices them at +20000 to win the tournament.