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Euro 2024 team guides, including squads and players to watch

The Telegraph Euro 2024 Team Guide
The Telegraph Euro 2024 Team Guide

The European Championship begins today with Germany vs Scotland and, with 24 teams taking part in the tournament, there are plenty aiming for glory.

Gareth Southgate’s England side will be one of the favourites, while hosts Germany have struggled in recent times but could be dangerous with home support behind them. Two-time world champions France are also highly tipped, while Spain, winners in 2008 and 2012, were semi-finalists last time out. And that’s not forgetting defending champions Italy.

Telegraph Sport takes a closer look at every squad, which players to keep an eye on across the 51 Euro 2024 fixtures, and how far each team is likely to go this summer.

*As West Germany

Who is the star player? 

Jamal Musiala. In a transitional period for the German team, Musiala has made himself their most prized asset since becoming the country’s youngest player to feature in a major tournament at Euro 2020. Young midfielder Florian Wirtz is also one to keep an eye on.

How do they play? 

Nagelsmann has built on Joachim Low’s foundation of moulding Germany into a technical and possession-based team, but now with an emphasis of breaking midfield lines and exploiting width. Expect the hosts to play a high line, press and be willing to take risks. Expect a variety of formations to be deployed, with Kai Havertz even playing left-back.

Chances of victory

Germany are transitioning between two generations, but being the hosts will give them a huge advantage and should carry them into the late stages of the tournament. Semi-finals.

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Who is the star player? 

Despite Scott McTominay’s prolific scoring in qualifying, Andy Robertson’s star quality, lethal delivery and unwithering engine makes him the country’s best weapon. He is Scotland’s most decorated player and will show the same fight playing for his country as he does for Liverpool.

How do they play? 

Steve Clarke has tweaked their tactical set-up from the last tournament, moving McTominay back into midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation. They may go back to their five-at-the-back style against the better teams but with a midfield of McTominay, John McGinn and Billy Gilmour, expect them to be full of energy.

Chances of victory

For the first time in their history, Scotland will fancy themselves to get out of the group stages. However, the tournament experience of Hungary and Switzerland will make that an almighty challenge and finishing bottom of the pile feels more likely. Group stage.

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Who is the star player? 

Without a doubt Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai. His importance to the team is shown by carrying the armband and, after missing Euro 2020 through injury, he will be hoping to lead his country to a shock in Germany.

How do they play? 

Rossi favours a 3-5-2 formation with Adam Lang in the centre of a back-three, with Callum Styles in midfield. Szoboszlai is deployed as a free-roaming no10 who feeds bombing wing-backs and two strikers running in behind.

Chances of victory

Szoboszlai can only do so much and with the lack of depth in Hungary’s squad should see them come up short against Germany and Switzerland, but go through as one of the four best-performing 3rd-placed teams. Round of 16. 

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Who is the star player? 

Granit Xhaka. The former Arsenal midfielder has been the beating heart of Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga title-winning season and it is the same for his country. He leads by example and has even dialled down his temper a touch. Anything Switzerland does will go through him first.

How do they play? 

Yakin has implemented 3-4-3 formation to help lean on their strongest position which is centre-backs. Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi and Fabian Schar make up the back three, but their lack of threat going forward means results of late have not been impressive after finishing second to Romania in qualifying.

Chances of victory

Switzerland always seem to do enough to get through to the knockout stages but, with an ageing squad and not much firepower up front, getting beyond that stage may be beyond their reach. Round of 16.

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Who is the star player? 

Like with tournaments past, Spain’s greatest strength comes from midfield. Rodri has become the leading talent in this team with the old guard retiring. He has shown he can score big goals for Manchester City and Spain will be relying on him to do the same for them.

How do they play? 

Since taking over from Luis Enrique, Fuente has set Spain up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Fuente has put a lot more emphasis on direct wing play, giving chances to 16-year-old Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams.

Chances of victory

With a new manager and a lot of young players, not a lot is to be expected of Spain. Gavi’s injury will be felt, so the aim will be to get out of a tough group and then go from there. Quarter-finals.

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Who is the star player? 

Even at the ripe age of 38, Luka Modric is everything to this Croatia set up with his wonderful range of passing, vision and control.

How do they play? 

4-1-4-1 is the formation of choice but Dalic has been known to tweak it now and again. They like to press high up the pitch and dominate the ball by leaning on Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic in midfield.

Chances of victory

This team peaked when reaching the World Cup final in 2018 and are unlucky with the strength group. Expect Spain and Italy to be too good for Croatia’s ageing squad, and hope will then fall on going through as one of the best third placed teams. Round of 16.

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Who is the star player? 

Unlike in years past, Italy currently lacks a real out-and-out star in their ranks. Pressure will fall on Jorginho to pull the strings while Federico Chiesa will be their main attacking threat.

How do they play? 

Spalletti has consigned himself to a 4-3-3 formation which usually transforms into a 4-2-3-1 shape with emphasis on a playmaking number 10, which has been Nicolo Barella in recent matches.

Chances of victory

No defending champion should be ruled out but, given how unexpected their 2020 win was, replicating it for a second time will be a hard feat. Expect them to contend in the knockout stages but the semi-finals may be a step too far. Quarter-finals.

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Who is the star player? 

Armando Broja. The young Chelsea striker will go into his first major tournament with the pressure of a whole country on his shoulders in an attempt to further his nation’s credibility as well as his own.

How do they play? 

Typically set up in a 4-3-3 formation with a no nonsense defence. They only conceded four goals in qualifying on the way to beating Poland and Czech Republic to the top of the group.

Chances of victory

Despite their impressive record in qualifying, Albania have more chance of finishing the group stages with no points than they do making it out of what is being billed as the Group of Death. Group stage.

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Who is the star player? 

Having already caught the attention of Premier League sides, including Arsenal, with his performances for RB Leipzig, all eyes will be on how far striker Benjamin Sesko, 20, can carry Slovenia after scoring five goals in nine matches during qualifying.

How do they play? 

Throughout qualifying Slovenia fielded a standard 4-4-2 formation with target-man Andraz Sporar complimenting Sesko’s raw pace and direct style. Expect them to be strong on the counter and successful in a low block.

Chances of victory

After finishing only second to Denmark on head-to-head in qualifying, Kek will fancy his side’s chances of escaping the group but Serbia’s attack should be enough to see them finish last. Group stage.

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Who is the star player? 

Rasmus Hojlund. After years without a star striker, Denmark (and Manchester United) believe they finally have one in the 21-year-old Dane. He has proved his potential in the Premier League and the stage is set for him to do the same in Germany.

How do they play? 

Denmark used nearly every formation in the book throughout qualifying from a 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3 as Hjulmand tweaked his tactical set-up based on their opponent. However, while the formation may change, the style does not with them carrying out a death by a thousand passes plan of attack.

Chances of victory

Their stern defence, quality in midfield and raw attack should see them through the group but the likelihood of meeting Italy or Spain in knockout stages means their hopes of replicating 1992 are slim. Round of 16. 

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Who is the star player? 

Aleksandar Mitrovic. The goals have still continued despite swapping the Premier League for the Saudi Pro League and he will be expected to deliver for his country this summer. With 39 goals in 43 matches for club and country this season, you would not bet against him.

How do they play? 

Serbia play in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Mitrovic the focal point in attack and Dusan Tadic and Fulham’s Sasa Lukic just in behind. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic brings the physicality from midfield with the pace coming from Filip Kostic in a make-shift wing-back position.

Chances of victory

Their chances of getting out of the group will depend on their final match against Denmark and with them falling short on the biggest stage in their recent history, it could be more of the same. Group stage. 

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Who is the star player? 

Take your pick. It has been Harry Kane for tournaments gone by and still will be this summer, but a young midfielder from Birmingham has propelled himself into a superstar since moving from Dortmund to Real Madrid. Jude Bellingham.

How do they play? 

Under Gareth Southgate England have played methodical, out-from-the-back, football and have experimented with various formations. At the World Cup they swapped between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 with overlapping full-backs and a number 10 which could be Bellingham or Phil Foden.

Chances of victory

England fans have believed football is coming home since 2018 and there is a belief this current squad has what it takes to end all those years of hurt. Anything but the final will be a failure, but getting past France in the semi-finals will be their toughest test which they should be ready for. Champions.

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Who is the star player? 

Despite not scoring as regularly as he has done over the past decade, Robert Lewandowski is still Poland’s biggest threat. At 35, this could be his last chance at an international tournament and the Barcelona striker will be hoping to bow out with pride.

How do they play? 

Poland play a 3-5-2 formation in order to defend in numbers and maximise the amount of crosses being fed into Lewandowski. Arsenal’s Jakub Kiwior and Jan Bednarek marshal the defence.

Chances of victory

After just beating Wales in the play-offs, Poland should count themselves lucky they made it to Germany and enjoy the three games they have. Anything more than that will be a huge achievement. Group stage.

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Who is the star player? 

Captain Virgil van Dijk is their leader both on and off the pitch. Having found his world-class form back in a Liverpool shirt this Netherlands team should be more solid. However, keep an eye out for attacking threat Xavi Simons.

How do they play? 

Since Ronald Koeman took over, the Netherlands have switched between a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 as he attempts to implement the possession based-style they played previously in his last spell in charge.

Chances of victory

With France the biggest hitters in Group E, the Netherlands may have to settle for finishing second. If that is the case, they will be on a very favourable side of the draw, where they will likely meet Portugal in the last eight. Quarter-finals.

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Who is the star player? 

David Alaba’s ACL injury means Austria will be without their star player and captain so the focus will fall on Marcel Sabitzer, who now plays his trade for Dortmund after a brief spell at Manchester United.

How do they play? 

Austria have always attempted to play quick one and two-touch football, but under Ralf Rangnick, it is stressed more so than before. Like at Manchester United, Austria are fluid with their formations under the 65-year-old. They fielded a 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1 and a 4-4-2 line-up in qualifying.

Chances of victory

With their leader and star player ruled out and the toughness of the group, Austria’s chances of making it out the group are slim, even in third place, unless Rangnick can master a miracle. Group stages.

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Who is the star player? 

If his rating was not high enough before, then scoring a hat-trick in the World Cup final proved Kylian Mbappe’s credentials as a bonafide superstar. If France win the tournament, Mbappe will be the reason for it.

How do they play? 

Similarly to England, France swap between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 formation with Mbappe deployed on the left wing and Antoine Griezmann in the number 10. With Paul Pogba banned and N’Golo Kante ageing, their midfield now relies on Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga.

Chances of victory

France go into the tournament among the favourites. However, England await in the semi-finals should both win their group and many are backing Southgate’s team to gain revenge on their Qatar World Cup defeat. Semi-finals.

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Who is the star player? 

At 32, Kevin De Bruyne’s appearances at a major tournament are numbered. With his minutes managed at Manchester City after a long injury the summer may come just in time for him to be fit and firing once more.

How do they play? 

Like many top teams with a good midfield, Belgium prize themselves on a possession-based approach usually in a 4-3-3 formation. Jeremy Doku provides the pace which Romelu Lukaku lacks with Amadou Onana holding firm in midfield.

Chances of victory

Being on what looks like to be the open side of the draw, Belgium could coast their way to the quarter-finals if they find form. Getting past that will be a tough ask, but the Golden Generation have one last dance. Quarter-finals.

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*As Czechoslovakia

Who is the star player? 

Milan Skriniar. The 29-year-old has long been Slovakia’s best player since Marek Hamsik retired. The PSG centre-back can do a good job of marshalling their defence but will fall short in attack.

How do they play? 

Francesco Calzona sets his side up in a 4-3-3 formation with full-backs going forward to make up for the lack of wingers in his squad. Skriniar runs a tight ship in defence after conceding just eight goals in qualifying.

Chances of victory

Their defensive capabilities should see them make a run for second place in the group, however, their lack of firepower going forward could see them come up short. Instead they will progress via the best third-placed teams route. Round of 16.

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Who is the star player? 

Romania are a collective who share responsibility, but one name who will be known to many is Radu Dragusin. The 22-year-old centre-back, who moved to Tottenham in January, will try and use the tournament to convince his club to start him next season.

How do they play? 

Like most underdogs, Romania are a rigid no-nonsense side who take pride in making it a dog fight rather than a ballet contest. They play in a 4-1-4-1 formation to maximise their low block when defending.

Chances of victory

Winning the whole thing? Slim. However, their chances of becoming this tournament’s answer to Morocco or Iceland are relatively high. Reaching the knockout stages would be a huge accomplishment. Group stage. 

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Who is the star player? 

Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko is their biggest name, but Ukraine’s hopes of achieving anything will be pinned on Mykhailo Mudryk showing why Chelsea paid £89 million for him this summer. The 23-year-old is still heralded by his country despite his struggles since joining the London club in January 2023.

How do they play? 

Ukraine are fluid on formation depending on the quality of their opponent, ranging from a 4-1-4-1, 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1. Their country’s struggles have seen them navigate a tough qualifying group away from home and make it through the play-offs. Expect passion and a lot of emotion.

Chances of victory

The fact they made it to the tournament is a victory in itself, especially given the situation at home. Making it out of the group stage as one of the better third-ranked teams would be another. Round of 16.

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Who is the star player? 

Hakan Calhanoglu is the biggest star and rightly wears the armband. The midfielder plays a higher role for his country than Inter Milan, as they rely on his range of passing to cut through defences.

How do they play? 

That said, Turkey play in a 4-2-3-1 formation in an attempt to play quick direct passing, with a lot of runners into space. This is why, despite his lack of goals, manager Vincenzo Montella puts a lot of faith in Baris Alper Yilmaz.

Chances of victory

Turkey are not glamorous, but are effective at what they do and have taken huge scalps in the past year after beating Germany and Croatia. Their form should see them progress.  Round of 16. 

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Who is the star player? 

In a team with many unknown players, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is head and shoulders above his compatriots in terms of star power and talent. The Napoli winger was key to the club winning Serie A in 2023 and has long been tipped to make a move to a European superpower.

How do they play? 

To get the most out of Kvaratskhelia, Georgia tweak their attacking formation frequently, albeit with one element always staying the same: five defenders. For what they lack in quality, they try to make up for with defensive numbers.

Chances of victory

Being the lowest ranked side in the competition, their chances of getting out of the group are slim. However, with this being their first ever major international tournament, do not expect them to roll over easily. Group stage. 

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Who is the star player? 

It has been Cristiano Ronaldo for a long time and, at 39 years of age, this could be the last time. However, while Ronaldo’s powers wane with age, others are reaching their peak in Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Palhinha.

How do they play? 

Since taking the reins after the World Cup, Roberto Martinez usually sets Portugal up in a 4-3-3 formation which transitions into a 4-1-4-1 when needed. Ronaldo leads the line with Palhinha sitting back and allowing Silva and Fernandes to roam freely when attacking.

Chances of victory

Portugal are the strongest team on their side of the knockout draw and, assuming they do not self-implode, Martinez has the resources to take them all the way. If it is Portugal lifting the trophy on July 14, it would not be as much as a shock as in 2016. Runners-up.

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*As Czechoslovakia

Who is the star player? 

Czech Republic have failed to produce star talent in recent years and it is no surprise that their best player has the armband. Tomas Soucek embodies the identity of the team: fight, determination and spirit.

How do they play? 

Despite playing direct football, the Czechs break the mould by trying to keep the ball before doing so. However, when they play better opponents expect them to cede the ball and counter in a 3-4-2-1 formation.

Chances of victory

While you can admire their grit, the Czech’s lack of quality should see them miss out on the knockout stages by the finest of margins. Group stage. 

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