Euro 2020 gets underway this weekend, and there’s no denying that football fever has already swept the continent in the lead-up to the tournament kicking off. Group D contains two host nations in England and Scotland, and is being completed by Croatia and the Czech Republic. Read on, as we give you all you need to know about Group D.
Under Gareth Southgate, England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, and will look to do much better than their showing at Euro 2016, in which they were dumped out at the round of 16 stage by minnows, Iceland. Ranked fourth in the world, the Three Lions have finished third at the Euros previously (in 1968 and 1996), and qualified for Euro 2020 after winning seven of their group games.
That one loss came at the hands of the Czech Republic, who are ranked 40th in the world – and they were runners up at Euro 96, which was held in England. Under their former state of Czechoslovakia, they were winners of the 1976 European Championships, and they’ll be looking to stun once more – having beaten both England and Scotland in European tournaments recent years.
And it’s Scotland who the Czechs will face first. Having qualified in dramatic fashion – winning a penalty shootout against Serbia in the play-off, it’s a first tournament appearance for 23 years for Steve Clarke’s side. As one of two hosts, Hampden Park is sure to be rocking for the two fixtures that Scotland play there, while they’ll face England at Wembley.
Rounding up Group D is Croatia, a two-time quarter-finalist (1996 and 2008). Despite reaching the final of the 2018 World Cup, there have been many changes to the squad since then, with experienced players retiring and a new batch of youngsters coming through – but Luka Modric remains in their ranks and captains the squad.
The opening round of fixtures sees England face Croatia at Wembley on June 13th, while Scotland and the Czech Republic meet at Hampden Park on June 14th England are the overwhelming favourites in their first fixture, but the Scotland v Czech Republic betting odds are close – currently in the favour of Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side.
The remaining group games, dates and venues are below:
June 18th: Croatia v Czech Republic at Hampden Park
June 18th: England v Scotland at Wembley
June 22nd: Croatia v Scotland at Hampden Park
June 22nd: Czech Republic v England at Wembley
Wembley Stadium in London is no stranger to a big game, and will not only be hosting three of the matches in Group D, but two matches in the round of 16, as well as both semi-finals and the final. Usually with a capacity of 90,000, making it the largest stadium in the UK, and the second in Europe, after the Nou Camp in Barcelona, it’s believed that Wembley will be at least 25% full for the group games, with the potential of an increased capacity for the tournament’s latter stages.
Hampden Park in Glasgow is the home venue for the Scottish national team, and was where Queens Park played their domestic matches for over a decade. The stadium will play host to the remaining three group games in Group D, as well as a round of 16 tie. Hampden Park usually has a capacity of just under 52,000, but will be 25% full for the Euro 2020 matches it hosts, under the current restrictions.