Five years on from the last edition in 2016, the Euros are finally upon us once again! Twenty-four of Europe’s best teams will lock horns over the next few weeks in a tussle to become the best in the continent. After a lengthy wait, players and managers will be itching to show their potential on the grandest stage in European football. Without further ado, here is our preview of Group B of the Euros.
Teams in Group B
For most of Belgium’s golden generation, these Euros and the World Cup will be their last opportunity to win major silverware for their country. The team has a star-studded attacking line-up and a world-class coach in Roberto Martinez. After the heartbreak of the 2018 World Cup, where they narrowly lost to France in the semi-finals, they will be keen to come back strongly and take home the title this time. Their attacking players are amongst the best in the tournament, both in terms of quality and depth.
They have the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and Youri Tielemans likely to start with players like Jeremy Doku and Dries Mertens on the bench to provide support. One big concern, however, will be their defense. Without Vincent Kompany, who has retired from professional football, their defense lacks significant quality, and Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld may not be able to keep up with the pace of fast attackers in the tournament.
Kevin De Bruyne
Though he is a doubt for the first match against Russia as a result of facial fractures suffered in the CL final, Kevin De Bruyne is a vital member of this Belgium side. His incisive passing and vision will be key to their chances for the tournament. The playmaker is arguably the best player on show in this group and will be hoping to dazzle the audience with his brilliance.
Into this tournament on the back of a phenomenal campaign with Inter Milan, Lukaku is a force to be reckoned with. He is physical, strong and an aerial threat and is considered to be one of the most clinical European strikers. His link-up with De Bruyne should contribute to a number of goals for this bright Belgium team. He is considered to be one of the favorites to win the Golden Boot.
Though they are not as strong as they were in the 2018 World Cup, where they reached the quarterfinals on home soil – Russia is still capable of advancing from this group. They have an experienced coach, who guided them to their success in the World Cup and a fairly experienced and established playing squad as well. They will go with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-2-1 formation with a sole target-man in Artem Dzuyba. Though they may not be one of the most attractive sides in terms of playing style, they are still capable of springing a few surprises. They will be looking at their opening match against Belgium as an opportunity to take some points, as De Bruyne may miss out because of injury.
The tall, burly, Russian striker is rather similar to Lukaku in his style of play. He is a constant goal threat and is Russia’s main attacking source. He is considered to be lethal from set-pieces and may prove to be a nuisance for defenders.
The Monaco midfielder is considered to be one of Russia’s brightest talents and he is one of the best set-piece takers in the tournament. Golovin is extremely skillful and his playmaking abilities will be key to Russia’s Euro 2020 campaign.
Denmark is truly considered to be one of the dark horses of this tournament(Euro). Their team is filled with experience and talent in nearly every position and they are capable of going extremely far in this year’s Euro. Denmark’s defense is one of the strongest in the group, if not the entire competition, with Kasper Schmeichel in goal and Simon Kjaer and Andreas Christensen in central defense. Their midfield is also immensely talented and will prove to be a great source of supply for attackers Poulsen and Dolberg. They may even challenge Belgium for the top spot in this group.
One of the best midfielders in world football, Christian Eriksen has proved to be phenomenal in his stints at Tottenham and now Inter Milan. His forward passing and playmaking skills are extremely beneficial for the time and he will be on set-pieces as well. He is one of the main attacking threats for Denmark this tournament, and he can be pivotal in their gameplay throughout the tournament.
Pierre Emile Hojberg
Hojberg has enjoyed a great season with Tottenham Hotspur and is arguably one of their best performers after Son and Kane. His ball-snatching abilities and his physical presence in the center of the spurs midfield will have caught the eyes of the world. He will be performing in a similar role for Denmark and will play an extremely important role in supporting their defense and transitioning play.
Finland is the minnows for this group and is also one of two debutants this year, (this is their first appearance in Euro) having qualified for their first major tournament ever after beating Greece in the qualifiers. The Finns are mostly here for the experience and qualifying in itself is a great achievement for this small nation. They will be hoping to upset a few of the bigger teams but we can’t see them progressing past the group stage at the tournament. Nevertheless, neutrals will hope they do well and provide a satisfying underdog story.
Teemu Pukki is one of the few notable names in this Finland squad and is known for his amazing goal-scoring record at Norwich City. He will be their main source of goals and their best player on the pitch. He is coming into this tournament in fine form, having been one of the best performers in the championship season and important in Norwich’s title charge.
Lukas Hradecky will be an essential part of the Finland squad and will keep very busy in goal, as Finland will aim to sit back and defend. He is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga and is currently plying his trade with Bayer Leverkusen. His shot-stopping abilities and his distribution will mean that he is their most important player after Pukki.
There are three games which we feel will be important to the outcome of this Group B in Euro
1. Belgium vs Russia – 12th June
2. Denmark vs Belgium – 17th June
3. Russia vs Denmark – 21st June
From this group in Euro. Belgium should comfortably win this group, with Denmark coming in second. Unless the Russians can beat Denmark in their final group match, they will be finishing in third (they may still qualify through the best third-placed team rule). Finland will capture hearts with their bravery and courage but qualifying will prove to be difficult as they may have to settle for the last place.
Group B of Euro has a fine assortment of teams with a contender in Belgium, a dark horse in Denmark, a challenger in Russia, and an underdog in Finland. It may prove to be a fascinating group, with upsets and goals galore. We look forward to seeing how this group pans out.
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