The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch | OneFootball

The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch | OneFootball

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Dan Burke·13 June 2024

The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

Article image:The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

It is the eve of Euro 2024, and what a month of enthralling international football we have ahead of us.

The tournament kicks off with the all important Group Stage on Friday night, and here are five matches you simply must not miss.

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Germany v Scotland

Article image:The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

Group: A

When is it? Friday 14 June, 21:00 CET

Where is it? Munich

Everybody loves a tournament curtain raiser don’t they?

The Allianz Arena will be lit up in white, there will be a huge sense of occasion in the air, and when the opening ceremony is out of the way, the eyes of the continent will be on hosts Germany as they take on Scotland.

Some decent form (albeit only in friendlies) has sparked cautious optimism where Die Mannschaft are concerned, with coach Julian Nagelsmann more than capable of getting a tune out of the likes of Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz this summer.

But Scotland, who lost only one match (against Spain) in qualifying could be tricky customers not just for Germany, but for Hungary and Switzerland elsewhere in Group A too.

Can Germany become the first solo tournament hosts to win the competition since France in 1984? It all starts in Munich.

Serbia v England

Article image:The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

Group: C

When is it? Sunday 16 June, 21:00 CET

Where is it? Gelsenkirchen

While coach Gareth Southgate has been eager to play down any talk of them being favourites at the Euros, it’s undeniable that England will be bringing plenty of intrigue to the table this summer.

Last week’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Iceland may have dampened English optimism somewhat, but a team with Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Trent Alexander-Arnold and potentially Kobbie Mainoo in midfield, with Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Harry Kane ahead of them, is surely going to be entertaining one way or another, isn’t it?

No team has played as many games at the Euros (38) as England have without winning the competition, and if this finally is going to be the year football comes home, they will get a good early examination against Serbia on matchday one of Group C.

This will be Serbia’s first participation at a European Championship as an independent nation and they scored in every match of qualification, with striking duo Dušan Vlahović and Aleksandar Mitrović likely to prove a real handful at the tournament.

The outcome of this match is either going to validate all the hype surrounding England, or prompt a massive early inquest into Southgate’s coaching ability. It should be fascinating to watch whatever happens.

Spain v Italy

Article image:The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

Group: B

When is it? Thursday 20 June, 21:00 CET

Where is it? Gelsenkirchen

Nothing whets the appetite in the group stages of a tournament quite like a meeting of two heavyweight teams, and we will get the first of those on 20 June.

Three-time European champions Spain haven’t hoisted a piece of international silverware since they won the Euros in 2012, but not including penalty shoot-outs, La Roja have only lost two of their last 22 matches at the tournament.

One of those defeats did come against Italy, however, and the other one was against Croatia, who they also face in Group B. This could therefore be a tricky first major tournament for coach Luis de la Fuente, who is the first coach since Javier Clemente (World Cup 1998) to take charge of Spain at a major tournament having never been capped by the national team as a player.

It will also be a first major tournament outing for Luciano Spalletti, who has lost just one of his 10 matches in charge of Italy since taking over from Roberto Mancini last August.

Holders Italy will be aiming to become only the second nation after Spain in 2008 and 2012 to retain the European Championship, but Croatia and Albania will hope to have a big say in whether these two sides even get out of the group this year.

Netherlands v France

Article image:The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

Group: D

When is it? Friday 21 June, 21:00 CET

Where is it? Leipzig

After reaching the final three of their last four major tournaments, the favourites tag is one France’s golden generation wears with comfort.

Didier Deschamps’s side stormed through qualifying for the Euros, with Kylian Mbappé scoring nine goals and assisting five others. The 25-year-old will hope to celebrate his move to Real Madrid by scoring his first ever European Championship goal this summer, and it would be a sizeable surprise if he didn’t.

France met the Netherlands twice in qualifying and it was Les Bleus who won both games, but tournament football tends to be a different kettle of fish, and the Oranje have looked sharp in their warm-up friendlies.

Coach Ronald Koeman was playing for the Dutch team which won the Euros in Germany in 1988, and he’ll be hoping history repeats itself this time around.

Turkey v Portugal

Article image:The 5️⃣ best EURO 2024 Group Stage matches to watch

Group: F

When is it? Saturday 22 June, 18:00 CET

Where is it? Dortmund

Whether you consider them to be among the favourites or just a dark horse with potential, Portugal’s matches at Euro 2024 should be considered appointment viewing.

Roberto Martínez’s side breezed through qualifying with a 100% record, 36 goals scored and just two conceded, and with such attacking talent as Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Leão, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, Gonçalo Ramos, João Félix and Pedro Neto at their disposal, something will have gone horribly wrong if they aren’t a force to be reckoned with in Germany.

Many tipped Turkey as a potential dark horse at the last Euros and despite them finishing bottom of their group with zero points, it hasn’t stopped many tipping them to surprise again this summer.

This is the first time Turkey have qualified for three consecutive editions of the European Championship, and former Italy striker Vincenzo Montella will be the man aiming to guide them through an interesting group which also features Georgia and Czechia.

Will this be Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s last major international tournament? And if it is, will he have more of an impact on this one than he did at the last World Cup?