Euro 2020 Special

Euro 2020: Who Will Survive the Group of Death?

When the draw for Euro 2020 was made, there were gasps around the auditorium as Group F was drawn, with the giants of European football – France, Portugal and Germany – thrown together with the unluckiest nation… Hungary.

The Euro 2020 odds,here at SBOTOP,have installed Group F as the red-hot favourite to produce the tournament winner. So, escape from this group and you have an excellent chance of going very deep into the competition. 

Thus truly is a beast of a group. Germany, the 2014 world champions, crashed out of Russia 2018 at the group stage and, with head coach Joachim Low set to bow out at the end of the tournament, they must be having nightmares that the same fate awaits them three short years later.

The group also brings together the 2016 finalists, Portugal and France, who fought out a tense battle in the Stade de France, won in extra time by Portugal’s Eder after talisman Cristiano Ronaldo had been stretchered off early in the game.

Didier Deschamps aims to give another title to world champions France as they battle it out in Euro 2020
France manager Didier Deschamps during the national team’s press conference ahead of Euro 2020

Les Bleus recovered, of course, to win the 2018 World Cup and they are the team to beat for any nation with designs on the 2020 title.

The schedule

The Group F action kicks off on Tuesday 15th June when France meet Germany, and that’s going to catch a worldwide audience as two of the most successful nations in world football come face to face.

Champions Portugal open their account against Hungary, but before I fall into the trap of ignoring the Magyars, Hungary, twice World Cup runners up, are currently unbeaten in nine. 

On Saturday 19th France take on Hungary while Portugal meet Germany, and the group is concluded on Wednesday when Portugal and France renew hostilities, and if Germany are still in the hunt, a match against Hungary will be huge.       

The big players

Kylian Mbappe: France

PSG haven’t had a great season, losing the Ligue 1 race to Lille and exiting the Champions League to Manchester City. But their star striker Mbappe stormed the league, winning the Golden Boot with 27 goals, seven clear of his nearest rivals.

At 22 years of age, he is the hottest property in football. He stormed onto the world stage at Russia 2018, terrifying defences with his pace and mesmerising skill, and he’s a good bet to be the tournament top scorer with Les Bleus expected to go all the way.    

Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal

Mbappe could have competition from the old master who, 14 years his senior, has been, alongside Lionel Messi, one of the best two players on the planet over the past decade.   

While Inter Milan won the Scudetto, Ronaldo won the Capocannoniere in Serie A, scoring 29 goals, five more than Inter’s Romelu Lukaku and he’s scored an astonishing 103 goals for Portugal in 173 appearances, while picking up five Ballon D’Ors along the way.

This could be Ronaldo’s last appearance at a major competition final, and he’s a must-watch every time he takes the field.      

Kai Havertz: Germany

Chelsea’s young forward Havertz hit the headlines when he scored the winning goal in the 2021 Champions League final, and it had been coming.

After ripping up the Bundesliga in his time at Beyer Leverkusen, scoring 36 goals in 118 appearances, all by the age of 20, he made a big-money switch to West London and has gradually become one of the Blues’ most influential players.

Alongside players of the quality of Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount, Havertz will be in a Premier League-chasing side next season, and he’ll be in the mood to write some more newspaper headlines at the Euros.    

Peter Gulacsi: Hungary

If the Magyars are to stay competitive in this Group of Death then they’ll need goalkeeper Gulacsi to have the tournament of his life. The RB Leipzig stopper made his international debut in 2014 in a 2-2 draw with Denmark and he has since made 38 appearances.

As part of the Red Bulls’ rapid emergence on the European stage, Gulacsi is a man for the big occasion and will be a calming influence on his team.    

The outcome

So the question is who will join Didier Deschamps’ world champions? It’s a tough one and, with respect to Hungary I think the clash between Portugal and Germany on Saturday is the big game.

The Portuguese are, arguably, stronger than their 2016 winning team while Germany are in a period of transition. When the early Euro 2020 resultsroll in, all eyes will be on Group F, and I won’t be at all surprised to see Ronaldo’s Portugal picking up the points they need.