UEFA Euro 2020 Preview: Group B


(Sam Donsig/TIS)

By: Rania Elhilali

Group B holds a lot of talent and strength, which will definitely put a lot of pressure on which teams will make it through to the next round. Belgium will have many eyes set on them as they are coming off having reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, with coach Martinez having multiple options for attack and midfield. Yet Denmark as of lately has effectively proven that they do have the abilities to maintain an all round defensive line all while being able to quickly switch up and create goals off of the counter attack. While Russia’s young and midfield has proven in the last world cup that they are capable of putting up a game and creating the chances and with Finland’s team chemistry it is sure that all four teams in the group are in it to battle it out of the group stages.


Belgium


Matches:

June 12 vs Russia

June 17 vs Denmark

June 21 vs Finland


World Ranking 1


Last Euro Performance: Quarter finals of the 2016 Euros, lost 3-1 to Wales.

Last World Cup Performance: Belgium finished in third place after beating England 2-0 in the third place showdown.


Players to Watch


The Red Devils manager will have many talents in arsenal to take this team further than the 2018 World Cup upset where they missed the chance to book a ticket to the finals in Russia. Manger Martines has in form Thibaut Courtois who is up on the top of being one of the best keepers going into the competition. With Hazard being in the squad but having struggled this season with injuries Martinez will turn to midfielders Youri Tielemans, Mertens and De Bruyne who is at risk of missing the opening game for the Red Devils against Russia due to a fracture in his nose and eye socket that he sustained in the UCL final. On the attack Martinez can turn to youth talent Jeremy Doku of Rennes who has this season in Ligue 1 had a breakthrough season. Lastly Martinez can certainly put his efforts into Serie A champion Lukaku who has proven that he can do what it takes in order to win, he like other forwards in the group are coming off a stellar goal scoring season, having scored 24 goals in the 36 Serie A games, Lukaku will certainly look to continue this goal scoring streak form with the Red Devils.


Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)

Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (İstanbul Başakşehir), Yannick Carrasco (Atlético Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Dortmund)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)


Denmark


Matches:

June 12 vs Finland

June 17 vs Belgium

June 21 vs Russia


World Ranking 10


Last Euro Performance: Denmark’s last euro performance was in the 2012 Euros group stage where they failed to qualify for the round of 16.

Last World Cup Performance: Denmark would qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia but would later on lose to Croatia on penalties in the round of 16.


Players to Watch

All eyes will be towards the various talents and star players positioned on all positions, but one talent specifically will follow in his dad's legacy is Leicester City goalie Kasper Schmeichel. Other elements to keep a look out from this Denmark side is the strong team ups in the midfield with Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney can give the chance to create some tight numbers in the group stages.


Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Jonas Lössl (Midtjylland), Frederik Rønnow (Schalke), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)

Defenders: Joachim Andersen (Fulham), Nicolai Boilesen (Copenhagen), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Mathias Jørgensen (Copenhagen), Simon Kjær (AC Milan), Joakim Mæhle (Atalanta), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton)

Midfielders: Anders Christiansen (Malmö), Thomas Delaney (Dortmund), Christian Eriksen (Inter Milan), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham), Mathias Jensen (Brentford), Christian Nørgaard (Brentford), Robert Skov (Hoffenheim), Daniel Wass (Valencia)

Forwards: Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona), Andreas Cornelius (Parma), Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria), Kasper Dolberg (Nice), Andreas Skov Olsen (Bologna), Yussuf Poulsen (Leipzig), Jonas Wind (Copenhagen


Finland


Matches:

June 12 vs Denmark

June 16 vs Russia

June 21 vs Belgium


World Ranking 54


Last Euro Performance: Finland has no other prior history in the Euros, this is Finland’s first time qualifying to the Euros.

Last World Cup Performance: Finland has never qualified for a World Cup.


Players to Watch

Based on the strong chemistry between the team many players can easily be under the list of players to watch for Finland. But most importantly the player to keep an eye on is the 30-year-old Norwhich forward Teemu Pukki, who is coming into this tournament hot and ready with 26 goals. So Finland’s playmakers like Lassi Lappalainen will be looking to team up with Pukki to be a dangerous threat on the counter.


Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Lukas Hradecky (Leverkusen), Anssi Jaakkola (Bristol Rovers), Jesse Joronen (Brescia)

Defenders: Paulus Arajuuri (Pafos), Robert Ivanov (Warta Poznań), Thomas Lam (Zwolle), Daniel O'Shaughnessy (HJK Helsinki), Jukka Raitala (Minnesota United), Joona Toivio (Häcken), Jere Uronen (Genk), Nicholas Hämäläinen (QPR), Sauli Väisänen (Chievo)

Midfielders: Nikolai Alho (MTK Budapest), Fredrik Jensen (Augsburg), Glen Kamara (Rangers), Joni Kauko (Esbjerg), Robin Lod (Minnesota United), Rasmus Schüller (Djurgården), Pyry Soiri (Esbjerg), Tim Sparv (Larissa), Robert Taylor (Brann), Onni Valakari (Pafos)

Forwards: Marcus Forss (Brentford), Lassi Lappalainen (Montréal), Joel Pohjanpalo (Union Berlin), Teemu Pukki (Norwich)


Russia

Matches:

June 12 vs Belgium

June 16 vs Finland

June 21 vs Denmark


World Ranking 38


Last Euro Performance: Russia’s last Euro performance was in France in 2016 in the group stages as they failed to qualify to the round of 16.

Last World Cup Performance: Russia’s last World cup performance was in 2018 where they we’re the host city and lost in the quarter finals to Croatia on penalties.


Players to Watch

Going back to Russia’s performance in the 2018 World Cup, the team will once again be looking to one of their biggest playmaker players, Mario Fernandes. Veteran midfielder Cheryshev with up and coming Atlanta midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk duo will thrive in containing the middle and creating chances offensively.


Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moskva)

Defenders: Igor Diveev (CSKA Moskva), Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moskva), Mário Fernandes (CSKA Moskva), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat)

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moskva), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit), Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit), Maksim Mukhin (CSKA Moskva), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moskva)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Aleksei Ionov (Krasnodar), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moskva), Anton Zabolotny (CSKA Moskva)