Following its Covid-19 postponement, Euro 2020 is being played in 2021 with Free Live Streaming on BBC iPlayer and ITV Sport. Need a Euro 2020 Football VPN?
Ahead of “Euro 2020 to be played in 2021” we thought it would be good to take a look at the competition for the point of view of the home nations. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland failed to quality, both losing to Slovakia as part of the “Path B” in the rather convoluted play-off system that followed the group stages, so thanks for coming to all from the superior Island, we won’t be talking about you anymore.
Wales have been drawn in Group A and you can read our preview of that group by clicking right here.
⚽ Euro 2020
📺 Free Live Euro 2020 Streaming on BBC & ITV + Catchup on BBC iPlayer & ITV Hub
📅 11 June – 11 July 2021
England and Scotland have been drawn in the same group, Group D, which looks to be one of the most evenly matched groups in the competition. The two sides who will make up the foursome are Croatia, who eliminated England on their way to finishing as runners-up in the 2018 World Cup, and the Czech Republic.
There’s been plenty of discussion regarding the selection of the England squad, much of which centred around Trent Alexander-Arnold before he was selected as one of four, yes FOUR, right backs before getting injured in the warm-up game against Austria. Gareth Southgate must now decide who he brings back into the fold to replace Alexander-Arnold in the 26 man squad. The common view is that Jesse Lingard, a trusted Southgate lieutenant, is the likely pick.’
England have question marks over all three goalkeepers, Jordan Pickford and Sam Johnstone are coming off poor seasons and aren’t of the highest calibre while Dean Henderson hasn’t fully established himself as the top pick at Manchester United yet. Their defensive selections were head scratching, outside of the decision to bring four right backs you have to wonder if Gareth Southgate actually watched a single game this season before choosing Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings. Both are poor defenders and there were far better options. Mings’ teammate Ezri Konsa, Fikayo Tomori and Ben Godfrey would all have represented better and more deserving picks.
England have strong midfield and attacking options but there are doubts about the fitness of Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish who all suffered injuries in the back end of the season. Henderson hasn’t played in months, and while Rice and Grealish returned before the end of the season after lay-offs, a lengthy one in Grealish’s case, neither looked anywhere close to fit. Add to that the injury doubts surrounding Harry Maguire and Gareth Southgate has a lot to worry about.
Scotland don’t have any injury issues, Steve Clarke was able to name his full strength squad, but a recent positive Covid diagnosis for John Fleck has caused some issues with members of the squad having to isolate after being in contact with the Sheffield United midfielder in the days before his test results came back.
Scotland don’t have the talent of their southern neighbours but they have a strong squad that have bonded over their journey through the qualifiers with a great blend of experience and talented youth. Captain Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and John McGinn will be well known to Premier League fans but don’t overlook the Celtic trio of Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and David Turnbull, each of whom possess real quality on the ball. Young Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour might largely have been included to give him a taste of what’s to come but he could be a game changer in midfield if given the opportunity.
Scotland’s issue will be scoring goals. Only midfielder McGinn has scored more than five goals for the Tartan Army, indeed McGinn’s tally of 10 is double that of anyone else in the squad and only James Forrest with five, along with Ryan Christie and Ryan Fraser who both have four, have scored more than two. The three strikers in the squad, Che Adams, Lyndon Dykes and Kevin Nesbit have only four goals between them but in their defence, Adams has only been capped three times with Nesbit appearing only twice.
This will be a very difficult group for both sides to navigate, especially when you consider the quality available to both of the teams making up the foursome.
Croatia have a very similar squad to that which finished runners up at the 2018 World Cup but they do have some impressive new talent in their ranks to compliment their more experienced stars like Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic. The trio of Ante Rebic, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic are all in their prime and could really make an impact on this tournament given their individual and combined ability. Young talent like Nikola Vlasic, Josip Brekalo and Domagoj Bradaric are all worth keeping an eye on, as each of them have been linked with big money moves to Premier League teams this summer. Vlasic made the move to England before, but his time at Everton was unsuccessful due to Everton being Everton.
The Croats breezed through qualifying, finishing top of Group E ahead of Wales, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. Given that four of the five teams qualified for the tournament, it wasn’t an easy group and Croatia’s record of five wins and two draws from eight games should not be overlooked. Bruno Petkovic was their top scorer in the qualifying campaign with four goals, one ahead of Perisic and Vlasic.
There are weaknesses in the Croatian team, particularly if Dejan Lovren starts doing Dejan Lovren things at the heart of the defense. Duje Caleta-Car has emerged as a real option at centre-back and at future tournaments will be partnered by the promising Josko Gvardiol, but for now both might find themselves watching Lovren and Domagoj Vida, and holding their breath along with the rest of their nation as the hapless duo attempt to avoid falling over their own feet.
The Czech Republic are the underdogs in the group but should not be counted out. They finished second in Group A of the qualifiers, behind England but ahead of Kosovo, Bulgaria and Montenegro. It wasn’t a particularly tough group, Kosovo are still in the emerging state of their growth as a national team while both Bulgaria and Montenegro are going through a barren spell bereft of real talent.
Some of the Czech squad will be very familiar, Burnley’s Matej Vydra along with the West Ham duo of Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal will be the most commonly known, while the longest tenured player in England is Tomas Kalas of Bristol City who has been in England for 11 years now, spending nine of them contracted to Chelsea and the last two with The Robins. Patrick Schick and Jakub Jankto will be well known to Serie A fans with the former being the Czechs top scorer in qualifying with four goals. He was the only one to manage more than one, though eight different players did contribute a single goal.
The ones to watch for the Czechs include Alex Kral, a defensive midfielder currently with Spartak Moscow, who has been heavily linked with a move to West Ham this summer. An excellent ball-winner and screener, Kral could form a quality pairing with Soucek for the national team which could translate into good things for West Ham. Keep an eye on David Zima as well. A towering central defender, he played a crucial role in Slavia Prague’s Europa League adventure which saw them knock out Leicester City and Rangers.
The potential breakout star of the tournament though, is Adam Hlozek. Touted as the biggest talent to come out the Czech Republic since Pavel Nedved, Hlozek put together a 15 goal, 9 assist season for a mediocre Sparta Prague team at the age of just 18. Oh, and he only played 23 games due to injury. Capable of playing wide or through the middle the versatile attacker combines pace with clever movement and tremendous ball control. He’s not just a goalscorer though, he can create chances for himself and others at a high rate. He only has two caps to his name, largely due to missing a portion of last season due to injury, but if he’s given a chance at Euro 2020 in 21, he could explode onto the scene and earn himself a big money move to a top European destination.
England will play Croatia at Wembley on June 13th, while the Scots take on the Czechs at Hampden Park the following day, the two sides meet at Wembley on June 18th with Croatia and the Czechs playing at Hampden on the same day and then the final games will take place on the 22nd as Scotland host Croatia at Hampden and England face the Czechs at Wembley.
The easiest way to watch the Euro 2020 football live from from anywhere in the world is on BBC Sport and ITV…
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The Euro 2020 Championship will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website as well as ITV and the various BBC iPlayer and BBC / ITV Sports apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, Smart TV, Now TV, FireTV etc.
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