The 2024 Euro group stages have been set as the tournament is set to kick off on June 14 in Germany. The draw was held in Hamburg, Germany early on Saturday morning as the only result awaiting are the winners of the play-off matches. Reigning winners Italy have managed to qualify after failing to make the World Cup for the second time in a row last year.
Here are four anticipated matches to come out of the group stage this summer:
Netherlands vs France
Both teams went head-to-head during the Euro qualification group stage and will now face each other again in Group D of the tournament. France bested the Dutch in both matches in the qualifying stages with 4-0 and 2-1 wins that saw them finish first in the group by four points.
Before this year, both nations have not faced each other since the UEFA Nations League in 2018. France is by far the better team, but never count out the Dutch. Despite the two losses to France, they won each of their group stage matches, holding on to four clean sheets in the process.
France do enter the tournament as one of the favorites, especially with Kylian Mbappé leading the front for the French. Expect the match to be a highly intense physical one, especially with Stefan de Vrij and Virgil van Dijk leading the back line for the Oranje.
Spain vs Croatia
Spain had a disappointing end to the World Cup last season, crashing out to Morocco during the round of 16. With the women’s side winning their first FIFA Women’s World Cup last summer, the pressure is on for the Spanish to put up a good tournament. Croatia is also continuing to establish themselves as one of the top teams in Europe following their third-place finish in Qatar last year.
Both teams faced off earlier in the year in the UEFA Nations Finals, with the match finishing 0-0 before Spain prevailed on penalties. They have been more of the consistent winners when they face off. However, both teams will be coming in as something to prove for their countries.
With the loss of Gavi, Spain will have to adjust and find ways to solidify their midfield by using Rodri and Fabián Ruiz in what is a very young Spanish squad. As for Croatia, this could possibly be Luka Modrić’s final international tournament as his career begins to wind down.
Spain vs Italy
A classic matchup as both Spain and Italy will face off in the group stage of the tournament in Group B, the group of death. The two had already faced off earlier in the year after Spain beat Italy during the 2023 UEFA Nations League semifinals in a 2-1 win.
Italy has been one of the most inconsistent teams over the last few years, winning the Euros in 2021, before failing to qualify for the World Cup – all in a span of less than a year. They also encountered some struggles during the group stage of the qualifiers, losing to England twice and drawing against North Macedonia, the same team that knocked them out of the World Cup.
It will be interesting to see who comes out on top, with both teams just out of the favorites to win the tournament. Italy’s main guy Federico Chiesa, is already starting off the season right with Juventus, totaling four goals and one assist in 10 matches in Serie A.
England vs Denmark
Denmark had a Cinderella story run to the Euros in 2021, following the scary incident of Christian Eriksen collapsing during the opening match. Denmark met up with England for a spot in the finals, but fell short 2-1 to them. This is a chance for some redemption, especially after crashing out in the group stage during the World Cup in Qatar.
However, England continues to search for their first major trophy since 1966 and is one of the favorites to win it all. They will be led by the best player in the world now, Jude Bellingham. Since scoring 15 goals in 17 matches with Real Madrid, Bellingham will be a player to watch out for.
However, Denmark did finish first during their Euro qualifying group stage and has been better form of late, with Kasper Dolberg leading the front as he current has nine goals in 13 matches with Belgium side Anderlecht.