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Euro 2020 Group A Preview

Euro 2020 is here but in 2021

The Euro’s are here after an year of delay. Euro 2020 was supposed to be held last year but due to the Covid pandemic it was delayed to the summer of 2021 but not renamed. So Euro 2020 is going to start on June 11th 2021. A month long tournament consisting the best teams in Europe as they look to become Champions of Europe. It’s being hosted across Europe this time with 11 cities and stadiums selected. Wembley Stadium (London), Stadio Olimpico (Rome), Allianz Arena (Munich), Olympic Stadium (Baku), Krestovsky Stadium (Saint Petersburg), Puskas Arena (Budapest), La Cartuja (Seville), Arena Nationala (Bucharest), Johan Cruyff Arena (Amsterdam), Hampden Park (Glasgow), and Parken Stadium (Copenhagen). The final will be held at Wembley in London on the 11th of July. With the what, when, where, and why out of the way let’s talk about the who!

The tricky group!

Italy

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History

Italy are 7th ranked team in the world as they are the favourites in this Group A to reach the next stage. Italy are one of the great teams in world football and have made 9 appearances in the Euros since 1960. Italy’s best finish came in 1968 as they won the Euros. Since then they have fallen short a couple of times. In 2016 they reached the quarter-finals. 

Team 

Goalkeepers – Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)

Defenders – Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (PSG), Leonardo Spinazzola (AS Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta) 

Midfielders – Nicolo Barella (Inter), Jorginho (Chelsea), Bryan Cristante (AS Roma), Lorenzo Pelligrini (AS Roma), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Marco Verratti (PSG), Stefano Sensi (Inter) 

Forwards – Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo) 

Manager – Roberto Mancini

Most Caps – Giorgio Chiellini (106)

Captain – Giorgio Chiellini 

Star Player – Giorgio Chiellini

It’s a young team that’s been selected by Mancini for Italy this summer. Offensively I don’t think there is a talisman that sticks out but defensively the likes of Chiellini, and Bonucci are some of the best centre backs in the world. In the midfield they have Jorginho, Barella and Verratti who are some of the best around as well. In attack Belotti, Immobile and Insigne are veterans of the Serie A and have been lethal in front of goal. Italy finished top of their group in qualification winning all 10 games. I would say Italy are underdogs for the competition. I think they will get out of the group for sure and they could go under the radar. A talented team and a capable manager. 

Switzerland

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History

Switzerland are ranked 13th in the world as they enter their 5th Euro’s this summer. Switzerland like their country are neutral. They are a good team that can cause problems in a game but when it comes to challenging I don’t think they really can. Their best finish in the Euro’s has been the Round of 16 which they achieved in 2016. 

Team

Goalkeepers – Yann Sommer (Monchengladbach), Yvon Mvogo (PSV Eindhoven), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier)

Defenders – Kevin Mbabu (Wolfsburg), Silvan Widmer (FC Basel), Nico Elvedi (Monchengladbach), Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Loris Benito (Bordeaux), Fabian Schar (Newcastle), Becir Omeragic (FC Zurich), Eray Comert (FC Basel), Jordan Lotomba (Nice)

Midfielders – Denis Zakaria (Monchengladbach), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg), Steven Zuber (Eintracht Frankfurt), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Edmilson Fernandes (Mainz), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool)

Forwards – Breel Embolo (Monchengladbach), Haris Seferovic (Benfica), Admir Mehmedi (Wolfsburg), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb)

Manager – Vladimir Petkovic 

Most Caps – Granit Xhaka (93)

Captain – Granit Xhaka

Star Player – Xherdan Shaqiri

Switzerland have a decent squad throughout the pitch. Sommer is a top goalkeeper. Mbabu, Akanji, and Rodriguez are names that stick out in defence. Zakaria, Xhaka, Fassnacht, Fernandes, and Shaqiri have all been top talents at different times. Embolo leads the line of forwards who have all had decent seasons. I think Switzerland have a chance of getting into the knockout stages for sure. Switzerland finished top of their group in qualification winning 5 drawing 2 and losing 1. It might be a battle for 2nd but beyond the group it’s a tough ask. 

Turkey

History 

This is Turkey’s 5th outing in the Euros as they sit 29th in the world rankings. Turkey haven’t been great since 2008 when they reached the semi-finals of the competition. Their debut came in 1996. In 2016 they failed to get past the group stage. 

Team

Goalkeepers – Altay Bayindir (Fenerbahce), Fehmi Gunok (Istanbul Basaksehir), Ugurcan Cakir (Trabzonspor) 

Defenders – Mehmet Celik (Lille), Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester), Kaan Ayhan (Sassuolo), Merih Demiral (Juventus), Mert Muldur (Sassuolo), Ozan Kabak (Schalke), Ridvan Yilmaz (Besiktas), Umut Meras (Le Havre) 

Midfielders – Yusuf Yazici (Lille), Dorukhan Tokoz (Besiktas), Irfan Kahveci (Fenerbahce), Okay Yokuslu (West Bromwich Albion), Orkun Kokcu (Feyenoord), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Taylan Antalya (Galatasaray), Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan)

Forwards – Burak Yilmaz (Lille), Cengiz Under (Leicester), Enes Unal (Getafe), Efecan Karaca (Alanyaspor), Abdulkadir Omur (Trabzonspor), Muhammed Akturkoglu (Galatasaray), Halil Dervisoglu (Galtasaray), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Dusseldorf)

Manager – Senol Gunes

Most Caps – Burak Yilmaz (66)

Captain – Burak Yilmaz

Star Player – Hakan Calhanoglu

Looking at the Turkish squad they actually have a decent team available to them. The goalkeeping position might be a straight shootout between the three. Celik, Soyuncu, Demiral and Kabak are all names that standout in the backline. Yazici, Yokuslu, and of course Calhanoglu are all names that I have heard of in the midfield. Calhanoglu and Yazici have had solid seasons with Milan and Lille respectively. Up front Yilmaz should leading the line for Turkey after his great season at Lille. Under and Unal should also start given their talent. For me Turkey have as good a chance as anyone to qualify for the knockout stages. Turkey finished 2nd in their group with 7 wins 2 draws and 1 loss. 

Wales

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History

Wales rank 17th in the world as they go into only their 2nd Euro’s ever. Their first came in 2016 where they did extremely well to reach the semi-finals. It’s going to be a tough ask to replicate that for the Welsh. 

Team

Goalkeeper – Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Leicester), Adam Davies (Stoke City)

Defenders – Chris Gunter (Charlton Athletic), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Connor Roberts (Swansea), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Joe Rodon (Tottenham), Neco Williams (Liverpool), Rhys Davies (Sheffield United), Ben Cabango (Swansea)

Midfielders – Aaron Ramsey (Juventus), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Jonny Williams (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Liverpool), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Daniel James (Manchester United), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Joe Morrell (Luton Town), Matthew Smith (Manchester City), Dylan Levitt (Manchester United), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City)

Forwards – Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City), Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) 

Manager – Robert Page

Most Caps – Chris Gunter (100)

Captain – Gareth Bale

Star Player – Gareth Bale

Looking at this Wales squad and comparing it to the other teams in this group I feel like it’s going to be a tough ask for them to get out of the group stage let alone reach the semi’s. That team in 2016 was very experienced and tightly knit and while it wasn’t the most talented it fought well. Goalkeeper Hennessey has been around for sometime. Ben Davies, Mepham, Lockyer, Rodon, Neco Williams, and Rhys Davies are all names that stick out in defence. The Midfield are a talented bunch with Ramsey leading the pack. Harry Wilson, and Daniel James are talents while Ampadu is a combative midfielder. Up front Gareth Bale is the star. I have them fighting it for 2nd with Turkey and Switzerland but they will have to fight harder than most. 

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