England’s major senior tournament ambitions were ended by Croatia last time around, and as fate would have it, those two are now set to headline Group D of Euro 2020 next summer. That was one of the major headline-making results of yesterday’s Euro 2020 group stage draw, which was conducted with only 20 of the 24 qualifiers actually decided. The last 4 teams will be decided in March, when the four play-off paths will be played.
Alongside the 2018 World Cup semifinalists will be the Czech Republic, who were in England’s qualification group (and made it to the tournament thanks in part to a shock 2-1 win over the Three Lions earlier this fall), as well as the winner of the “Play-off Path C” (so one of Scotland, Serbia, Norway, or Israel).
That’s just one of the six 4-team groups in the tournament, which means that in addition to the top two from each group, the four best third place finishers will qualify for the knockout rounds as well.
While Group D will likely have the most Chelsea interest thanks to our youth revolution spilling over into the England national team ranks as well, plus Mateo Kovačić likely to play a big role for Croatia as well, we will have plenty of reason to watch the others as well. Group F, the consensus “Group of Death”, will have France battling Germany and Portugal plus some poor unfortunate souls from Play-off Path A. Meanwhile, heavy favorites Belgium, with their veritable plethora of former Chelsea players, will be taking on Denmark, Russia, and newcomers Finland to start their winning run.
The tournament, which will be hosted by 12 different cities and countries across Europe, starts June 12 and runs for a month, with the final set for Wembley for the first time since 1996. If that sounds like a potential logistical nightmare for travel and preparation and fans, then that’s because it probably will be.
The full group stage draw for Euro 2020 is as follows:
GROUP A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
CITIES: Rome & Baku
GROUP B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
CITIES: Copenhagen & St.Petersburg
GROUP C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, [Winner of Play-off D*]
CITIES: Bucharest & Amsterdam
GROUP D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic [Winner of Play-off C]
CITIES: London & Glasgow
GROUP E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, [Winner of Play-off B]
CITIES: Dublin & Bilbao
GROUP F: Portugal, France, Germany, [Winner of Play-off A*]
CITIES: Budapest & Munich
PLAY-OFF A: (Iceland vs. Romania) VS. (Bulgaria vs. Hungary)
PLAY-OFF B: (Bosnia vs. Northern Ireland) VS. (Slovakia vs. Ireland)
PLAY-OFF C: (Norway vs. Serbia) VS. (Scotland vs. Israel)
PLAY-OFF D: (Georgia vs. Belarus) VS. (Macedonia vs. Kosovo)
*technically D & A could get swapped, if Romania with Play-off A. That’s highly unlikely, but if they do, they’d get placed in Group C, with the winner of Play-off D going to Group F instead.