Predicting Group A at EURO 2024: Can the Hosts Deliver?

This is the first of a six-article series predicting the group stage of UEFA EURO 2024.

The anticipation is building – the 2024 European Championships finally kick off this Friday, when hosts Germany take on Scotland in Munich. The match will serve not only as the tournament opener, but as an opener to an enticing Group A. Here’s how we think this group will pan out.

High Hopes and High Stakes for Germany

All the pressure is on Germany in Group A. They are coming off a disappointing stretch in major tournaments and have a point to prove in front of their home crowd. The draw was kind to the Germans, with Die Mannschaft the clear favorites to top their group. That’s not to say they won’t have a difficult path to the last 16 though.

Julian Nagelsmann’s time at the helm has yielded mixed results so far, but the general consensus amongst analysts and pundits is that the young manager and his squad will live up to expectations this summer. With heaps of young talent in attack (Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz) and a healthy dose of experience in the squad as well (Manuel Neuer, Anotino Rüdiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller), the Germans are a balanced and well-organized side.

Dark Horse Potential in the Group

While Germany’s opposition in Group A are all worse teams on paper, they each have the ability to make a deep run. Switzerland is the most obvious candidate, having made the knockout stage at five consecutive major tournaments. The Swiss core from 2021, when Switzerland eliminated France en route to the EURO quarterfinals, is still intact. The lights are never too bright for the Swiss team and especially not for captain Granit Xhaka, who’s coming off perhaps the best season of his career at Bayer Leverkusen.

Hungary is one of the tournament’s biggest wild cards. Their squad lacks star power beyond captain Dominik Szoboszlai, but they’ve consistently overperformed in recent times. Last time around in the EUROs, the Hungarians finished last in the group of death, but earned impressive draws against both France and Germany.

They haunted the Germans once more, drawing at home but beating them away in the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League. Hungary finished second in that group, one point off Italy and ahead of both Germany and England. After a dominant qualifying campaign saw them top their group with no losses, the Hungarians cannot be counted out at the EUROs.

Scotland is the biggest underdog of the group, and they have the misfortune of taking on the Germans first. That being said, they have a number of seasoned Premier League players in their squad, including the likes of Andrew Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and John McGinn. Moreover, the Scots qualified comfortably for the Euros, defeating Spain 2-0 in the early stages and finishing second in their group, well clear of Norway in third.

Final Prediction

Group A is not as easy to predict as it seems. It is rather unlikely that Germany will record three wins in the group stage. Count on them to top the group, but do not be surprised if they drop some points along the way.

Second place is a huge tossup, with the three remaining teams all capable of trumping the others. The edge has to be given to Hungary though. They have shown time and time again that they can compete with the big teams, and they’re the likeliest of the three outsiders to upset Germany.

Switzerland will follow in third, hopeful that they will advance to the EUROs knockout stage for a third time running. Three points and a respectable goal difference is often enough, and four points practically guarantees passage to the last 16.

Scotland does not have a bad team by any means, but there simply is no room for them in the top three. Unless they stun Germany on Friday, the Scots will face an uphill battle to advance. As such, they will most likely finish bottom of Group A.

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