Five must watch games in the Euro 2024 group stage

Five must watch games in the Euro 2024 group stage
Five must watch games in the Euro 2024 group stage

Euro 2024 kicks off this week in what promises to be a summer of superb tournament football in Germany.

European football’s biggest nations will compete for the trophy and there is some unmissable action about to unfold. Ahead of the opening fixture on Friday, we’ve picked out five fixtures you cannot miss during the group stage.

Five must-watch games in the Euro 2024 group stage:

All kick-off times BST.

Germany vs Scotland

Friday June 14th, Allianz Arena, 8pm, ITV

Here it is, the opening fixture of the finals. Germany are often a perennial contender for major tournaments but have disappointed in recent competitions, suffering consecutive group stage exits at the last two World Cups and a Round of 16 elimination to England at Euro 2020.

As the host nation, however, and under the management of the progressive Julian Nagelsmann, Germany will have cautious optimism. Their opening assignment is Scotland at the Allianz Arena in Munich, and the travelling Tartan Army will arrive in strong voice.

Scotland have never progressed from a group stage at a major tournament but, having upset Spain in qualification, will head into a second consecutive Euros confidently.

Serbia vs England

Sunday June 16th, Arena AufSchalke, 8pm, BBC One

England will start as favourites for success this summer despite the weight of history against them, with Gareth Southgate boasting arguably the most talented team in the tournament. However, the defeat to Iceland in their final pre-tournament friendly was a wake-up call and England have problems, particularly in defence. The lack of a match-fit out-and-out left-back and uncertainty over the centre-back positions are issues Southgate must address.

Marc Guehi is likely to deputise in the absence of Harry Maguire but the Crystal Palace centre-back has missed plenty of football this season and will need to shake off rust, having played just 108 minutes in the Premier League since February. Maguire’s absence makes England more vulnerable in the air and the towering Serbian strikeforce of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic will want to take advantage.

Spain vs Italy

Thursday 20th June, Arena AufSchalke, 8pm, ITV

Group B has rightfully been named as the tournament’s ‘Group of Death’, a quartet that features three-time winners Spain, holders Italy, World Cup semi-finalists Croatia, and Albania.

Spain and Italy collide in the second round of fixtures in Gelsenkirchen, in a rematch of the 2012 final. Spain beat both Italy and Croatia on route to Nations League success in 2023 and despite not being favourites this summer, La Roja have enough talent to go deep into the tournament. Rodri will run the midfield for Luis de la Fuente’s side, while plenty of eyes will be on Lamine Yamal. The 16-year-old will become the youngest player in European Championship history if (when) he takes to the field.

Italy, meanwhile, surprised to win Euro 2020 and beat Spain on penalties in the semi-finals. However, another trophy triumph would represent an even greater shock this time around.

Now under the management of Napoli’s title-winning coach Luciano Spalletti, the Azzurri have a distinctly new look. Just four of their squad, including captain Gianluigi Donnarumma, have won more than 50 caps, while 11 of the squad have represented Italy less than 10 times.

Netherlands vs France

Friday 21st June, Leipzig Stadium, 8pm, BBC One

It’s a classic match-up as two of Europe’s proudest football nations go head-to-head. France, alongside England, are favourites for success this summer and reached the World Cup final 18 months ago, with the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe in Golden Boot-winning form.

Didier Deschamps’ side has the talent and experience to win Euro 2024 but first must navigate a tough group that contains the Dutch, Austria and Poland. The Netherlands lost twice to France in qualification, including a 4-0 shellacking in Paris, and will want to atone for those defeats. However, Ronald Koeman’s plans have been thrown into chaos after influential midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners were ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Czech Republic vs Turkey
Wednesday 26th June, Volksparkstadion, 8pm, ITV

There’s history to this one.

Cast your minds back to 2008 and the Czech Republic and Turkey produced one of the all-time classic European Championship games. Turkey were heading towards a group-stage exit at 2-0 down with 15 minutes to go before Arda Turan’s goal gave them a lifeline.

Still trailing with just three minutes on the clock, Nihat came to his side’s rescue with a dramatic double to send Turkey through and the Czechs crashing out.

The two meet again in the final round of group stage fixtures, in another contest that could conceivably decide who progresses.

Grab the popcorn.

Read – The best Euro 2024 Fantasy Football team names

See more – Ranking the most popular vintage Euro shirts ever

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