Euro 2020: World champions France face Germany, England and Scotland do battle - the key group games

By Sports Desk May 31, 2021

It has been a long time coming but Euro 2020 finally gets under way on June 11.

A year later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, 24 teams will contest a tournament that will be staged in 11 cities.

Italy and Turkey do battle in the first match at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, with the final staged at Wembley exactly a month later.

Holders Portugal face strong competition for their crown from the likes of world champions France, Belgium, England and Germany.

Stats Perform picks out some of the standout fixtures from the six groups in a European Championship that promises to be well worth the wait. 

 

Sunday June 13 - England v Croatia: Group D, Wembley (15:00 - all kick-offs shown are Central European Time)

Croatia came from behind to reach their first World Cup final with a 2-1 victory over England after extra time in Moscow three years ago.

Mario Mandzukic's goal proved to be decisive and England will be out for revenge in the first Group D contest.

The two nations have only met once at a European Championship and it was England who came out on top, Wayne Rooney scoring twice in a 4-2 group victory in Lisbon back in 2004. 

England have never won their first match at the Euros, while Croatia have not lost any of their last three opening fixtures in the tournament.

 

Tuesday June 15 - France v Germany: Group F, Allianz Arena (21:00)

Germany and France will meet for the first time in the group stage of either a European Championship or World Cup in Munich.

Joachim Low, who will end his reign as Germany head coach after the tournament, has suffered four defeats at the hands of France during his tenure, winning two and also drawing twice. 

Antoine Griezmann scored both goals in a 2-0 semi-final victory for Les Bleus over Germany in the 2016 Euros.

The world champions are unbeaten in five games against Germany (W3 D2), with the last win for Low's side coming when Mats Hummels scored the only goal in a 2014 World Cup quarter-final in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Friday June 18 - England v Scotland: Group D, Wembley (21:00)

England and Scotland will come to a standstill when the fierce rivals do battle in their second group game.

Scotland face Czech Republic before a highly-charged clash with their neighbours from south of the border 25 years after they met at Wembley in a dramatic Euro 96 group match.

Paul Gascoigne scored a stunning solo goal in a 2-0 victory for Terry Venables' side on that occasion, England's mercurial midfielder leaving Scotland shattered soon after Gary McAllister's penalty was saved by David Seaman.

England are unbeaten in the past four games against their fellow Brits, but needed a stoppage-time goal from Harry Kane to salvage a 2-2 draw the last time they met at Hampden Park in a World Cup qualifier four years ago.

 

Saturday June 19 - Portugal v Germany: Group F, Allianz Arena (18:00)

Germany will have home advantage in all three of their group games and they may have to be at their very best to beat Portugal in Munich.

Cristiano Ronaldo will get yet another opportunity to show he is the man for the big occasion. The Portugal captain has scored nine goals in 21 European Championship games, also providing five assists in the tournament.

History does not bode well for the defending champions, though, as Germany have beaten them four times in a row since Sergio Conceicao scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Euro 2000.

Portugal may be haunted by the return of Thomas Muller, who helped himself to a treble when they last met in a 4-0 rout for Low's side at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

 

Wednesday June 23 - Portugal v France: Group F, Puskas Arena (21:00)

It will come as no surprise that the final match to catch the eye in the group stage is what could be a crucial tussle in Budapest.

While Germany face Hungary in Munich, France and Portugal will lock horns on the last day of group games.

Les Bleus had won all three competitive games against Portugal before they suffered the agony of a defeat in the 2016 European Championship final, which was settled by substitute Eder in extra time.

France have won 18 out of 25 meetings between the two nations, with N'Golo Kante scoring in a 1-0 victory in their last encounter in the Nations League just over six months ago.

Related items

  • Jokic returns and helps Nuggets snap skid amid boos in Miami, Doncic ties Robertson record Jokic returns and helps Nuggets snap skid amid boos in Miami, Doncic ties Robertson record

    Nikola Jokic's return proved the perfect tonic for the slumping Denver Nuggets after the reigning MVP helped snap a six-game slide in a 120-111 victory over the Miami Heat.

    All eyes were on Jokic, who had missed four straight games because of a wrist injury amid Denver's worst six-game stretch since the 2014-15 season.

    There was also plenty of interest as the Nuggets and Heat renewed hostilities for the first time since Jokic and Miami's Markieff Morris were involved in a dustup on November 8.

    Jokic received a one-game ban after shoving Morris in the back as tempers flared – the Nuggets star reacting angrily after the Heat veteran came in with a hard foul, catching his opponent with a left elbow to the chest.

    While the Heat were shorthanded in the absence of Morris – who has missed 11 consecutive games since the incident, Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, Miami fans let their feelings known, booing Jokic every time he touched the ball.

    Jokic, with his two brothers behind the Denver bench, was not fussed as he posted 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.

    Double-doubles from Bam Adebayo (24 points and 13 rebounds) and Kyle Lowry (17 points and 14 assists) were not enough for the Heat.

     

    Doncic matches Robertson

    Luka Doncic had 25 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 114-96 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He tied Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles (38) before turning 23. Mavericks star Doncic celebrates his 23rd birthday in February.

    Lonzo Ball earned family bragging rights after the Chicago Bulls outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 133-119. Up against brother LaMelo and the Hornets, Lonzo's Balls prevailed thanks to Nikola Vucevic (30 points and 14 rebounds), DeMar DeRozan (28 points) and Zach LaVine (25 points). According to Stats Perform, Chicago are the first team to have a starting guard (LaVine), starting forward (DeRozan) and starting center (Vucevic) have 25-plus points, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists in the same game since the Orlando Magic in January 1994. LaMelo Ball's 18 points and 13 assists were not enough for the Hornets.

    Seth Curry put up 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting as the Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Magic 101-96 at home. The 76ers are riding a five-game winning streak against the Magic – their longest such streak against Orlando.

    Jonas Valanciunas nailed seven of his three-point attempts as he torched the Los Angeles Clippers in a 39-point and 15-rebound performance, the New Orleans Pelicans triumphing 123-104.

     

    Lillard struggles in Blazers loss

    Much was said about All-Star Damian Lillard heading into the season amid question marks over his future with the Portland Trail Blazers. Had he outgrown the smalltown market? Well, his topsy-turvy campaign continued after scoring just 11 points on four-of-12 shooting from the floor in the 129-107 defeat at the Utah Jazz.

    Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Giddey had a game to forget as fellow strugglers the Houston Rockets eased past the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-89. In 25 minutes, Giddey made only one of his nine shots from the field, missing his five three-point attempts for two points in total.

  • Rays' Franco eyeing World Series title after record-setting contract extension Rays' Franco eyeing World Series title after record-setting contract extension

    Wander Franco wants to bring a World Series title to the Tampa Bay Rays following his record-setting contract extension with the MLB franchise.

    Franco finalised a mouth-watering 11-year, $182million contract in Tampa, where the deal includes a club option for the 2033 season, on Saturday.

    It is the largest financial commitment to a player in the Rays' 24-year history, while it is also the biggest deal in MLB history for a player with less than a year of major league service time.

    Franco, who made his debut in June, enjoyed a remarkable season after recording a 43-game on-base streak to tie Cincinnati's Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest in MLB history among player aged under 21.

    The 20-year-old shortstop helped the Rays win the American League (AL) East – Tampa Bay clinching back-to-back titles for the first time in franchise history with a record 100 victories before falling to the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series (ALDS).

    "I'm really happy for this opportunity, and the one thing I want to do is bring a championship to the organisation," Franco said during Monday's news conference as the Rays target a maiden World Series championship.

    "With this, I can help my family and have nothing in my mind when I'm playing on the field … and be happy with this opportunity."

    Franco also finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after slashing .288/.347/.463 with 18 doubles, five triples and seven home runs in 2021.

    "The Rays have given me the support that I need, the development, the people that they have here," Franco said. "I wish to stay here for my whole career."

    Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander added: "The chance for a homegrown star to be with the club for the foreseeable future, that in and of itself is a really big deal.

    "Our on-field goal is to win a World Series, and as we've said many times over now, our desired approach to making that happen is to be as competitive as possible in as many years as possible.

    "This commitment certainly increases our confidence that we're going to continue to be competitive and eventually be that last team standing."

  • Seahawks sink to third straight loss as Washington's Heinicke makes NFL history Seahawks sink to third straight loss as Washington's Heinicke makes NFL history

    The Seattle Seahawks and their 2021 NFL season is fast becoming a nightmare after going down 17-15 to the Washington Football Team.

    Taylor Heinicke lifted Washington past Russell Wilson and the slumping Seahawks, who suffered a third consecutive defeat to fall to 3-8 for the season, in an historic performance.

    Wilson had not accounted for a single touchdown in two games since returning from a finger injury – only the second time in the star quarterback's career he had zero total TDs in at least back-to-back games after going three straight in October 2016.

    While Wilson threw a pair of touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing for 247 yards and no interceptions, it was not enough against Heinicke and Washington on the road.

    Heinicke was 27-of-35 passing for 223 yards, a touchdown and interception for streaking Washington (5-6), who celebrated a third successive win.

    The 28-year-old found J.D. McKissic with a 10-yard TD pass in the second period before the latter – who was carted off late in the fourth quarter due to a head injury – scored on a 10-yard run to put the hosts ahead 17-9.

    In his last three starts, Heinicke has beaten Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and Wilson. According to Stats Perform, he is the first undrafted quarterback in NFL history to beat three different opposing starting QBs who had previously started a Super Bowl in three consecutive starts.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.