EURO 2024

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

EURO 2024: Team-by-Team Pinstickers’ Guide

If you are unsure about which team to back this summer, do not panic – the Star Sports team of Joe Citrone, William Kedjanyi and Lewis Williams have you covered with an extensive team-by-team guide where every nation’s chances at EURO 2024 are assessed and ranked!

Who are the favourites at this summer’s Euros?

Who will be the ‘dark horses’?

Who is going to struggle?

Find out below in our detailed guide to every single team at EURO 2024! 👇

🔢 EURO 2024 GUIDE – GROUPS, SCHEDULE, VENUES

📝 BEST EVER EURO MATCHES

📖 COUNTDOWN DIARY


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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England? The favourites to win a major tournament? Am I seeing things? No! England are heading into EURO 2024 as red-hot favourites with starsports.bet and considering some of the players they now have at their disposal, you can understand why.

There may be some issues defensively with the injury to Harry Maguire and fitness doubt of Luke Shaw possibly forcing Gareth Southgate to re-jig his plans, but the Three Lions have bonafide world-class talent in Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane and an exciting crop of new players also coming into the side in excellent form.

They haven’t been the most exciting to watch of late (maybe an understatement), but the Three Lions tend to get the job done and, ultimately, that’s what you need at major tournaments.

So, is it coming home? Well, there’s no doubt that England have the quality and talent to go really well at this tournament…but will that defence cost them? That’s the crucial question.

Group: C (Serbia, Denmark, Slovenia)

Manager: Gareth Southgate – A man under pressure heading into this tournament, but the 53-year-old will be looking to go one better than the last Euros when he guided the Three Lions to the final of EURO 2020.

Key player: Jude Bellingham – After an unbelievable debut season with Real Madrid, which saw him win the La Liga and Champions League, he will now be hoping for international success with England. He is currently 9/4 favourite with starsports.bet to win UEFA Young Player of the Tournament.

Best previous performance: Runners-up – 2020

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🇫🇷 France ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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France flattered to deceive at the last European Championship, but they look set to be strong this summer as Les Bleus aim to bounce back from their defeat in the 2022 World Cup final and win their first Euros in over 20 years.

The main man for France this summer is obviously going to be Kylian Mbappe as he prepares to move to Real Madrid this summer; looking to mark the beginning of this new chapter of his career with a piece of international silverware.

From Jules Kounde and William Saliba at the back, to Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni in the middle of the park, to Antoine Griezmann and Mbappe at the top end of the pitch – there is no area where France are lacking.

This isn’t much of a hot take, but France will go well this summer and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see them go all the way.

Group: D (Austria, Netherlands, Poland)

Manager: Didier Deschamps – Has been in charge of France for over a decade and is looking for his second major trophy as Les Bleus boss. Tends to opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation although can be flexible in adapting to opponents.

Key player: Kylian Mbappe – Have you heard he’s signing for Real Madrid? Mbappe is one of the stars of European football and if he has a good tournament, that significantly boosts France’s chances of success. He is the current 9/2 favourite with starsports.bet to be the tournament’s top goalscorer.

Best previous performance: Winners – 1984, 2000


🇩🇪 Germany ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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The last couple of major tournaments have been miserable for Germany, but they are hoping they will be able to return to the top table of international football this summer with Julian Nagelsmann at the helm.

There wasn’t an immediate upturn in form when Nagelsmann replaced Hansi Flick as coach in 2023, losing to Turkey and Austria in friendlies last year, but things have started to look up again more recently, especially with the legendary Toni Kroos back in the fold for one more tournament before he hangs up the boots for good.

Germany have real strength in attack and if that all clicks together this summer, in front of their home fans of course, they could be in for a summer that banishes the painful memories of the last two tournaments.

Group: A (Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland)

Manager: Julian Nagelsman – He is the youngest manager heading to EURO 2024, but has already built a great reputation within the game. Likes a possession-based strategy and is not afraid to experiment. Previously with Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich.

Key player: Jamal Musiala – A versatile midfielder who is equally adept in both wide and central positions. The Bayern Munich man is excellent in possession, a superb dribbler and a high-quality passer of the ball.

Best previous performance: Winner – 1972, 1980, 1996

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🇵🇹 Portugal ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Winners eight years ago, Portugal are something of specialist side when it comes to the euros – they’ve reached the semi-final stage at least in four of the last six tournaments – and hopes should be very high again.

To put it simply, the Portugal squad is stacked with top stars. Diogo Costa (FC Porto), José Sá (Wolverhampton Wanderers), and Rui Patrício (AS Roma) will play in goal. Amongst the defensive ranks they can call upon João Cancelo, Nuno Mendes, Pepe and Rúben Dias.

Bruno Fernandes has been the standout for a rocky Manchester United season and he’s approaching this tournament in red hot form. Bernardo Silva, Vitinha, João Palhinha and Rúben Neves are also midfield options whilst Diogo Jota, Gonçalo Ramos (PSG), João Félix, Pedro Neto and Rafael Leão are all forward options – and we haven’t even gotten to Cristiano Ronaldo yet.

Group: F (Czech Republic, Turkey, Georgia)

Manager: Roberto Martinez – After a disappointing 2022 World Cup, former Everton and Belgium boss Martinez was brought in to replace Fernando Santos and it’s been smooth sailing ever since, with Portugal storming through qualifying as they won all 10 of their matches. A shock 2-0 friendly defeat to Slovenia shouldn’t be a worry – a much changed side was put out – and Roberto Martinez’s side should have plenty of the for the

Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo – There are no surprises here – the form of Cristiano Ronaldo will play a huge part for Portugal. Now 39, and likely playing at his final international tournament, Ronaldo is a previous winner with Portugal but was an anchor to the side at the World Cup both on and off the pitch and will need to bring his qualifying form to the tournament finals if he’s to propel Portugal to glory. If he links well with Fernandes and Silva then the sky’s the limit once again!

Best previous performance: Winners – 2016


🇪🇸 Spain ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Since becoming the first side to win three tournaments in a row between 2008 and 2012, things have not gone particularly well for Spain at major finals but there is now renewed hope that this new generation will be able to bring the good times back to La Roja.

A lot of that hope and expectation relies on two young attacking players, Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal, who – despite having a combined age of just 37 – are unquestionably two of the most talented and exciting young talents on the planet right now. Yamal is currently 9/1 with starsports.bet to win the Young Player of the Tournament award.

But that’s not the only area where Spain will be strong as the trio of Pedri, Rodri and Dani Olmo stake a strong claim as the best midfield at EURO 2024.

Spain have a tough group to navigate so will need to make sure they are at the top of their game right from the start of the tournament, but I think they have the quality to deal with that and go on to have a strong tournament.

Group: B (Croatia, Italy, Albania)

Manager: Luis de la Fuente – Took over from Luis Enrique in 2022 after a period of success as manager of the under-21 side. Likes his teams to be on the front foot with attacking full-backs a big part of his tactical philosophy.

Key player: Rodri – Has been essential for Manchester City this season as they secured their fourth title in a row, and will be crucial for Spain in the heart of their midfield at EURO 2024. Adds physicality to an otherwise quite technical side.

Best previous performance: Winner – 1964, 2008, 2012


🇮🇹 Italy ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Italy are coming into this tournament looking to retain the title they famously won at Wembley Stadium at EURO 2020, but manager Luciano Spalletti has been quick to play down their chances by admitting that there are teams on a ‘higher level’ at the tournament.

And when you look at the Italy squad, it is noticeably less star-studded than it has been in recent years with the likes of Leanardo Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini no longer there. However, Spalletti will be hoping this tournament marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Gli Azzurri.

I do wonder if this tournament has come a bit early for this new-era Italy that is perhaps still in a bit of a transitional phase, and that group alongside Spain and Croatia looks tough, but I do rate Spalletti highly and you can never write the Italians off at a European Championship.

Group: B (Albania, Spain, Croatia)

Manager: Luciano Spalletti – After Roberto Mancini sensationally quit for Saudi Arabia last year, Spalletti stepped in and has won five of his first eight matches at the helm – previously managed Napoli, Inter Milan, Roma and Zenit St Petersburg.

Key player: Jorginho – With Leonardo Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini stepping aside, Jorginho is now one of Italy’s most experienced players. A lot of pressure on his shoulders to pull the strings in midfield and drag Gli Azzurri to success.

Best previous performance: Winners – 1968, 2020


🇳🇱 Netherlands ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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The Netherlands breezes through their group at the last tournament but came unstuck in the first knockout round against the Czech Republic. As they compete at their 11th European Championship, they will have hopes of making a bold bid – they’re one of eight teams that are 20/1 or under at the time of writing.

It’s often said that defence wins Championships and few are better stocked than the Dutch, who have Van Dijk, Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt, Tottenham’s Micky van de Ven, and Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij as options – but their hopes will rest on the fitness of Frenkie de Jong, the class of Xavi Simons and how their forwards – especially Cody Gakpo, Wout Weghorst and Memphis Depay – link with the midfield.

The Dutch campaign started off terribly with a 4-0 defeat to France in Paris but they recovered with three straight wins against Gibraltar, Greece and Ireland and they beat the same three teams again to seal their spot here. Whilst they qualified with ease, two defeats to France raises questions about what they can do against the very best.

Manager – Ronald Koeman: In his second stint as manager – where he ensured qualification for the delated Euro 2020 and led the Dutch to the final of the Nations League in 2019 – Koeman has overseen a mixed bag of results over the last 18 months but has led them to qualification with something to spare here, taking 18 points from a possible 24.

Group: D (Poland, Austria, France)

Key player: Xavi Simons – Some will be tempted to nomination Frenkie de Jong or Virgil van Dijk, both of whom will play a key role, but Simons had a standout season at RB Leipzig with 10 goals and 15 assists across all competitions. If he can gel with Memphis Depay then Dutch hopes will be boosted.

Best previous performance: Winners -1988


🇧🇪 Belgium ⭐⭐⭐

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Belgium have always been the subject of a flurry of bets of the teams at double figure prices but they always flatter to deceive when the pivotal moments arise.

It looks as if the market has abandoned them despite being favourites at 1/2 to win Group E and I believe they are one of the stronger outright bets in the group system to make amends for falling to Morocco and failing to escape Group F in Qatar.

22 year-old Man City Jeremy Doku forward has clocked up 11 goal contributions in his debut Premier League season and playing alongside 21 year-old PSV star Johan Bakayoko, they provide the frontline with some much needed youth and flair.

That might be the winning formula for a prior Belgian starting 11 who had an average age of 32 in their final game of the World Cup, with not a single player below the age of 28.

Group: E (Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine)

Manager: Domenico Tedesco – The Italian-German 38-year old is the second youngest manager at the tournament this year and was handed the Belgium gig in 2023 after spells at Spartak Moscow and RB Leipzig, where the latter yielded the primary domestic cup.

Key player: Kevin De Bruyne – Amidst rumours of a move to Saudi, De Bruyne worked tremendously alongside fellow countryman Jeremy Doku in the Premier League and finished his season with 14 goal contributions after missing the first half through injury. He’s surely the perfect man to provide experience and service to the aforementioned two young guns.

Best performance: Runners up – 1980

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🇭🇷 Croatia ⭐⭐⭐

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Lesson one before a major international tournament: NEVER. UNDERESTIMATE. CROATIA.

Time and time again, Croatia have punched above their weight at these major tournaments and they will be out to do it again at EURO 2024, but will have to navigate one of the hardest groups in the tournament to make that happen.

It’s set to be one last dance for that iconic midfield trio of Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic, who if they are still able to perform at the highest level, will be hugely important and influential for Croatia again this summer.

Josko Gvardiol at the back as well, who has slotted into Manchester City’s defence nicely this season, should also help keep that backline solid.

They have been slightly lacking in the forward areas, especially since the retirement of Mario Mandzukic, but, as I said, never write these guys off. If anyone can take Croatia through that group of death, it’s Zlatko Dalic.

Group: B (Spain, Albania, Italy)

Manager: Zlatko Dalic – Guided Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018. Been in charge since 2017 and is now Croatia’s longest-serving manager ever.

Key player: Luka Modric – He may be 38, but Modric is still at the top of his game and will inevitably be a huge player for Croatia at this tournament as he has been for nearly two decades as an international player.

Best previous performance: Quarter-finals – 1996, 2008


🇩🇰 Denmark ⭐⭐⭐

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Denmark topped a weak Group H to qualify, scraping by the likes of Slovenia, Finland and Kazakhstan. They face Slovenia again in the main event, along with England and Serbia in what looks like a match between themselves and their old foes to make the playoffs.

The not so Great Danes certainly didn’t live up to their canine counterparts in Qatar where they somehow managed to finish rock bottom in Group D below Australia and Tunisia, scoring just one goal from three matches and earning one point from a goalless draw against Tunisia.

With that said, if they can reach their prior top form from two years ago which included overcoming what looked to be a rock solid French side in the Nations League, they have every chance of finishing in the top-two within their group and justify a price of 3/10 with starsports.bet to do so.

Group: C (England, Slovenia, Serbia)

Manager: Kasper Hjulmand – A stalwart of the Danish football pyramid, the 52 year-old arrives at Euro 2024 in his fifth year as the Danish manager and will be hoping his side reach their brilliant peak of his debut tournament at Euro 2020 where they reached the semi-finals before losing to England 2-1.

Key player: Rasmus Højlund – The Manchester United 75 million Euro purchase leads the attacking line and will be the shining light as he seeks to usher in a new era for Danish football and remove that dismal World Cup performance from recent memory.

Best performance: Winners – 1992


🇦🇹 Austria ⭐⭐⭐

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Labelling a team as the ‘dark horses’ has been the kiss of death at recent major tournaments and is often thrown around a lot, but Austria will be looking to be one of the surprise packages at EURO 2024.

They haven’t caused much of a splash at recent European Championships, going out at the round-of-16 stage in 2020 and the group-stage in the two tournaments before that, but their sights might be set slightly higher this time.

The one big problem Austria might have is injuries. The star man of so many tournaments gone by for Austria, David Alaba, is out of EURO 2024 with an ACL injury and first-choice goalkeeper Alexander Schlager has also been ruled out.

Despite that though, revitalised since the appointment of Ralf Ragnick, Austria will be hoping to go well in Germany this summer.

Group: D (France, Poland, Netherlands)

Manager: Ralf Rangnick – A very experienced coach heading into his first European Championship with Austria. Before his appointment, he had a spell as interim manager at Manchester United.

Key player: Konrad Laimer – Joined Bayern Munich from RB Leipzig a year ago. Dubbed a ‘pressing machine’, Laimer is full of running and could slot into a number of positions.

Best previous performance: Round-of-16 – 2020


🇷🇸 Serbia ⭐⭐

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Dragan Stojkovic, despite being of one Serbian football’s greatest talents as a player, isn’t so popular as a manager and will be hoping to prove some of his doubters wrong this summer by guiding to Serbia at EURO 2024.

When their attacking options of Aleksandr Mitrovic, Filip Kostic and Dusan Vlahovic all gel together, Serbia can be an incredibly dangerous side, but Stojkovic has often been criticised for not getting enough from his squad.

If he can get this Serbia side playing at the top of their game, they could be a threat at this tournament, but it wouldn’t be at all shocking to see them flatter to deceive.

Group: C (England, Slovenia, Denmark)

Manager: Dragan Stojkovic – Considered one of the greatest players of all time in Yugoslav and Serbian football – been in charge of the Serbian national team for three years and has previously been president of the Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro.

Key player: Aleksandr Mitrovic – To no one’s surprise, Mitro has been banging in the goals in Saudi Arabia this season and comes into this tournament in fine form. Serbia’s record goalscorer will offer a real focal point at the top of the pitch.

Best previous performance: Runners-up – 1960, 1968


🇨🇭 Switzerland ⭐⭐

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Switzerland were responsible for one of the biggest upsets in Euros history after knocking France out on penalties at the previous edition and it could take similar this time just to progress.

They’re a team with talent but lack some of the star power fellow Group A sides Germany and Hungary possess. Premier League names like Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar are expected to be involved whilst Breel Embrolo will provide pace and firepower up top.

Switzerland do lack a consistent goal threat, especially in the forward positions, and that could cost them in a group of defences that are tough to break down.

Group: A (Germany, Hungary, Scotland)

Manager: Murat Yakin – Yakin took over the team just after the previous Euros with a record of being a journeyman manager in the country’s top flight. A 45% win rate isn’t bad and he led the side to the knockout rounds of the last World Cup in a similarly tough group.

Key player: Granit Xhaka – Premier League fans are all too familiar with the steely holding midfielder, who has been a key part of the all-conquering Bayer Leverkusen side this past season. He captains his country and in what may be his final tournament, he’ll be surely diving in.

Best previous performance: Quarter-finals – 2020

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🇹🇷 Turkey ⭐⭐

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It felt as though Turkey were somewhat well touted at big matches and group prices at Euro 2020 and subsequently in their qualification for the World Cup – but both amounted to nothing as the Turks failed to impress and went out at the first possible opportunity on both occasions, losing to Portugal in the playoff for Qatar qualification.

They now face the prospect of a new era of Turkish football with the frontline headed by Galatasary forward Yilmaz but more importantly is the 19 year-old Kanan Yildiz on the left who has been slowly but surely sewn into the Juventus team and looks as if he can be absolutely anything for them so long as they can keep him there.

A price of 3/10 to qualify out of their group must be one of the shortest they’ve ever been for a big tournament and with opposition including the likes of Georgia and an average Czech side, they need to be going close here and contesting the playoffs.

Group: F (Portugal, Czech Republic, Georgia)

Manager: Vincenzo Montella – The top striker for Roma in the club’s golden era, Vincenzo has since been well versed as a manager including top gigs at the likes of AC Milan, Sevilla where he reached a Champions League QF, and Fiorentina, before taking this job last year. Although this is his first major international tournament, there’s every chance this can propel his managerial career even further.

Key player: Hakan Calhanoglu – A veteran attacking midfielder in European divisions with spells at Leverkusen, AC Milan and now Inter Milan where he’s just won the league and had his best season thus far with 13 goals and 3 assists. He’s just hitting his prime and if his linkup play with Lautaro Martinez can be transferred to Yilmaz there’s plenty of goalscoring potential.

Best previous performance: Third – 2008


🇺🇦 Ukraine ⭐⭐⭐

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Given the ongoing conflict back home, which has meant that Ukraine have been forced to play on the road since 2022, reaching EURO 2024 can be seen as a big victory in itself although that surely won’t stop their players dreaming of more.

Their team is not short of real talent from the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko at the back to Mykhailo Mudryk and Artem Dovbyk at the other end. On paper at least, this looks like a fairly strong squad that might just do something at this tournament.

They do, though, need to cut out their tendency of going behind in games – a bad habit which almost cost them a place at EURO 2024 having trailed in the play-offs to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Belgium clearly present the toughest test in their group, but a second-place finish feels fairly realistic for a side with their talent. The goal in mind will probably be to reach the quarter-finals.

Group: E (Romania, Slovakia, Belgium)

Manager: Serhiy Rebrov – Took charge of the national team a year ago after a spell in charge of UAE side Al-Ain and only has one defeat to his name so far as Ukraine boss.

Key player: Artem Dovbyk – Finished this season as the top goalscorer in La Liga, massively aiding Girona’s surprise title push. A classic target man who will be a real handful for defenders at this tournament.

Best previous performance: Quarter-finals – 2020


🇭🇺 Hungary ⭐⭐⭐

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Another candidate to be ‘dark horses’ at EURO 2024? I am sure Hungary won’t want burden of that tag, but there is a lot to like about Marco Rossi’s side, and they could have something to offer at this tournament.

At Hungary’s last appearance at a European Championship, their goals were simply to survive – anything else was a bonus – but this time they will be aiming higher.

Led by the impressive Dominik Szoboslai, Hungary have been playing some good, attractive football of late, and not only look free-flowing and creative in attack, but also fairly resolute in defence.

Their one drawback could be the group they have been placed into – it won’t be easy to navigate past Switzerland, Germany and Scotland. But if they can (15/2 with starsports.bet to progress), it would be fascinating to see how they’d fare in the knockout stages.

Group: A (Switzerland, Germany, Scotland)

Manager: Marco Rossi – Has been in charge of the national team since 2018 after winning the Hungarian top division with Nemzeti Bajnoksag a year prior.

Key player: Dominik Szoboszlai – Faded slightly this season after an explosive start to his career in the Premier League with Liverpool, but will unquestionably be Hungary’s stand-out player at EURO 2024. A very talented midfield player with a varied skillset.

Best previous performance: Third-place – 1964

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🇵🇱 Poland ⭐⭐

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Poland have always been a team that’s punched above their weight with Europe’s elite, despite their generational striker. A disappointing group stage exit in 2020 was followed by a round of 16 appearance in the 2022 World Cup, and Group D is not easy.

They do possess some genuine quality in other areas, especially in midfield. Jakub Moder has been solid for Brighton, it was only last year Piotr Zielinski was a leading man in Napoli’s Serie A triumph but defensively Poland lack quality, which when facing Mbappe could be a huge problem.

Getting out of this tough group will be achievement in itself, but with all three teams they’ll face in blistering form, it could be a sorry time in Germany for Lewa’s men.

Group: D (Austria, France, Netherlands)

Manager: Michal Probierz – promoted from the U21 side last year, Probierz secured the final qualification spot for Poland steering his side to a penalties win over Wales in March. Whilst his experience barely extends outside of Poland the 51 year old will be surely looking to match Poland’s best ever finish.

Key player: Robert Lewandowski. 82 goals in 148 caps for his country, Lewandowski has dominated for years and proven himself as one of the best of his generation. Whilst he had a poorer second season at Barcelona, 26 goals isn’t to be ignored at 35 years old.

Best previous performance: Quarter-finals – 2016


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland ⭐⭐

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Scotland have never progressed past the group-stage of a European Championship before and, under the stewardship of former West Brom and Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke, are looking to make history this summer.

The Tartan Army made a valiant effort at EURO 2020, playing some decent football and going toe-to-toe with some good sides, including a 0-0 draw with England, but ultimately crashed out at the first hurdle.

This time, they will be looking to make more of an impact on this tournament and, after a promising qualifying campaign, Clarke’s side may well fancy their chances of doing just that this summer.

The big concern for Scotland will be that injuries may dent their chances of success with Lewis Ferguson and Lyndon Dykes both ruled out of the tournament and Scott McTominay, Nathan Patterson, Aaron Hickey and Kieran Tierney all doubts.

However, if they can bring some of their form from their qualifying campaign – which saw them defeat Spain for example – they may be able to bloody some noses at EURO 2024.

Group: A (Germany, Switzerland, Hungary)

Manager: Steve Clarke – Leading Scotland into the second major tournament of his reign, but will be looking to improve upon EURO 2020 where they crashed out at the group-stage.

Key player: Andrew Robertson – The Scotland captain is one of the genuinely world-class players at Steve Clarke’s disposal at EURO 2024 – made 30 appearances for Liverpool this season in all competitions.

Best previous performance: Group-stage – 1992, 1996, 2020


🇨🇿 Czech Republic ⭐⭐

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Since reforming as the Czech Republic in the 1990s, they have never failed to qualify for the Euros and after a run to the Quarter Finals in the previous edition, hopes of a decent run in 2024 will be similar.

This is a team with talent in the likes of Patrik Schick as well as steel such as West Ham players Tomas Soucek (also captain) and Vladimir Coufal.

However, their defence lacks international caps and if Schick misfires, there could be goalscoring issues too.

Their group is unrelenting too. Portugal are amongst the favourites to win, Turkey are a steely side that will be tough to break down and Georgia could land a nasty surprise or two aswell. It will not be easy to make the knockouts, but it would be deserved if they do.

Group: F (Georgia, Portugal, Turkey)

Manager: Ivan Hasek – Appointed in January, Hasek still boasts a 100% win record with friendly victories over Norway and Armenia in March. This is his second stint in charge of the national team after a brief 5 game run in 2009, however unimpressive stints in the Middle East followed since.

Key player: Patrik Schick – The 28 year old striker is coming off a season where he helped Bayer Leverkusen win an unbeaten league and cup double. Whilst not his best stats wise with 13 in 33, he scored crucial goals to keep the unbeaten streak alive.

Best previous performance: Runners-up – 1996 (as Czech Republic)


🇷🇴 Romania ⭐⭐

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Romania enjoyed an excellent qualifying campaign for this tournament; going unbeaten in all 10 games and conceding just five goals.

With Radu Dragusin and Andrei Burca at the heart of the defence, I expect Romania to be strong at the back, but they may struggle to be especially potent in attack against the top sides at the tournament and may need to rely on the counter-attack.

I think they have a decent chance of getting through their group, but if they can, they may run into difficulties in the tournament’s knockout stages.

The round-of-16 at best is what I expect from Romania this summer, but who knows, they might surprise a few.

Group: E (Ukraine, Belgium, Slovakia)

Manager: Edward Iordanescu – Succeeded Mirel Radoi as national team boss after winning the Romanian top-flight with CFR Cluj in 2021. Also won the Gazeta Sporturilor Romanian Coach of the Year award last year.

Key player: Radu Dragusin – Things haven’t quite worked out for him so far in the Premier League with Spurs, but will be crucial at the heart of Romania’s defence this summer. Previously played with Juventus and Genoa in Italy.

Best previous performance: Quarter-finals – 2000


🇬🇪 Georgia ⭐

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The 8/5 to qualify, despite the new format, still flatters this Georgian side that have shown pieces and glimpses of form throughout qualifying campaigns but that won’t be good enough against the likes of Turkey and Portugal.

Couple that with the fact this is their debut Euros tournament – they will be rock bottom barring a miracle.

They sneaked through the last ditch qualification tournament by beating an out of sorts Greek side on penalties and that opponent was surely the most fortunate of the entire draw compared to the likes of Poland and Ukraine where they’d be right up against it.

It looks like a fairly makeshift backline and I expect first choice Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili to be under serious pressure against top goalscoring threats in his group.

Group: F (Portugal, Czech Republic, Turkey)

Key player: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is the supernova in a squad without any champagne. The 23 year-old Napoli forward has progressed beyond the club’s expectations since being purchased for 11 million Euros from Georgian club Batumi which looks to be an incredible piece of scouting in hindsight with 17 goal contributions this season in a failing team.

Manager: Willy Sagnol – The Frenchman was an integral part of the French national team with 58 caps during a period at Bayern Munich where he spent 10 years before eventually managing Bordeaux and returning to Germany as an assistant & interim. The Georgia gig though is his biggest one yet and he looks to have it all to do.

Best performance: Debut


🇸🇰 Slovakia ⭐

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The second largest outright price of the field sees Slovakia with it all to do. With that said, they had a respectable enough campaign in qualification and were only beaten by one goal on both occasions against Portugal which formed a run where they did what was expected of them with 22 points earned against the likes of Luxembourg, Iceland, Bosnia.

The central-European side came third in their group at Euro 2020 three years ago which was a better achievement than it sounds against the likes of Spain, Poland and Sweden in the year that Poland finished rock bottom of Group E.

Their lineup is made up of players scattered across the spectrum of average European football and it would take something miraculous to not finish bottom and an early blow against Belgium looks to be inevitable.

Group: E (Belgium, Romania, Ukraine)

Manager: Francesco Calzona – An assistant manager veteran across Italian sides for over a decade, the Slovakia gig was handed to him two years ago and it’s his first job as the main man in charge. Famously, was the subject of a dual-hiring as Napoli took him on halfway through the 23-24 season – eventually finishing 10th and winning just one of the last 11 matches.

Key player: Stanislav Lobotka – The central midfielder played all 38 of Napoli’s Serie A matches this season. Expect him to be consistently scanning and providing service for Sparta Prague winger Lukas Haraslin on his left.

Best performance: Champions, 1976


🇸🇮 Slovenia ⭐

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Slovenia return to the European Championships in over two decades after their first qualification in 2000, however their odds place as second least likely to win, so it really is a case of qualifying being the achievement.

Slovenia do have top class players in their squad such as captain and goalkeeper Jan Oblak, widely regarded as one of the best in Europe, and 6 ‘5 menacing forward Benjamin Sesko at the other end of the pitch.

36-year-old legend Josip Ilicic who made his name with 12 very productive years in Serie A should also still feature in some capacity. There will be no expectation for Slovenia to progress, but an upset could spark Group C into life.

Group: C (Denmark, England, Serbia)

Manager: Matjaz Kek – In charge for the second time since 2018, Kek has overseen progression and improvement in his time as Slovenia boss. 8 games undefeated to reach League B in the 2021-23 Nations League and now their first tournament proper in 24 years.

Key player: Benjamin Sesko – The 21-year-old has been long talked up as one of the brightest striker prospects in Europe and in his debut season with RB Leipzig, he’s scored 18 goals in 42. With 11 on his international tally already, any more this summer could send transfer interest through the roof with Europe’s elite watching.

Best previous performance: Group stage – 2000


🇦🇱 Albania ⭐

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The absolute outsider of the 24-runner field has absolutely no chance of getting through the groups and a current price of 4/11 to finish bottom of Group B seems more than fair. In a group of death amidst the likes of Spain, Italy, and Croatia, it would require a miracle to escape with as much as a single point.

To their own credit, they were only a mere two points away from qualifying for the World Cup in 2022 and since then they defied expectations to win Group E, topping the likes of favourites Poland who were the only team to beat them, as well as Czech Republic.

Their assignment in Germany is stiffer though, and recent form including comprehensive defeats to Chile and Sweden wouldn’t fill you with any warm confidence for the Adriatic side.

Group: B (Spain, Italy, Croatia)

Manager: Sylvinho – Champions League-winning full-back with Barcelona went on to have 10 appearances for Manchester City at the end of his career. This is his third managerial gig after short spells at Lyon and Corinthians.

Key player: Berat Djimsiti – the 30-year-old anchor defender for Atalanta has enjoyed more appearances this season than ever before in his career, missing just one game out of 38 and leading the club to glory in the Europa League, beating the invincible Leverkusen side 3-0.

Best performance: Group stage – 2016

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