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UEFA Euro 2020 Preview: Group E and F

A preview of what to expect in groups E and F of the UEFA Euro 2020
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The countdown continues to the kick-off of Europe’s premier international competition, the UEFA Euro 2020. It promises plenty of drama and excitement for football lovers.

Having done a preview of Groups A, B, C and D, the focus moves to Group E and F where the continent’s giants face off.

Group E

This group features one of Europe’s most successful team, Spain alongside Poland, Sweden and Slovakia.

Poland possesses the best forward in the world, Robert Lewandowski. The Pole makes a major difference for his team.

Paul Sousa’s team made it as far as the quarterfinals at the 2016 edition. They cruised through group G in the qualifiers, winning eight of ten matches.

Slovakia will be making its second appearance in the Euro. They got past the group stages in 2016. However, Sokoli had to go through the play-offs to qualify.

Stephan Tarkovic’s men have only managed three wins in their last 12 matches. Although, they are unbeaten in their last four.

Slovakia’s key men are in midfield, with Marek Hamsik and Stanislav Lobotka poised to dictate things at the middle.

Spain has been abysmal by its standards since winning the Euro back-to-back in 2008 and 12. They crashed out in the group stages at the 2014 World Cup and exited the last continental tournament in the round of 16.

Spain is the favourite to progress

Under Luis Enrique, La Roja has achieved considerable success. They made it to the final of the UEFA Nations League and eased through the qualifiers.

Enrique’s squad list for this competition generated lots of controversy. The Spanish coach had selected just 24 players out of a possible 26 with Sergio Ramos omitted.

Gerard Moreno and Ferran Torres will prove key for the former European champions.

Sweden will look to push for qualification from this group. They were quarterfinalists at the last World Cup.

They also had a decent qualification process, placing second in the group behind Spain.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic picking up an injury towards the end of the season, the responsibility now shifts to Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg and 21-year-old Alexander Isak.

Group F

This is, without doubt, the most competitive group of this tournament. France, Germany, Portugal and Hungary make group F.

Finalists at the 2016 Euro and the current World champions, France is the undisputed favourite to lift the title. They have arguably the most balanced squad with quality in every department.

France is the overwhelming favourite to win the Euro

Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Ngolo Kante will be the men to watch out for Les Bleues.

Germany will be looking to build back its reputation after falling off in recent years.

Joachim Low attempted to phase out the older heads in 2019. However, the decision seemed to backfire as they performed poorly in UEFA Nations League.

Going into the competition, Low would be counting on his strong midfield led by Joshua Kimmich and Toni Kroos. Thomas Muller will likely be leading the attack alongside Timo Werner.

Portugal is the defending champion and will look to join Spain as the second team to win the Euro two times consecutively.

Seleccao has not been excellent since winning the Nations League in 2019. They managed to finish second behind Ukraine in the qualifiers.

They have a crop of young players like Ruben Dias coming through the ranks to blend with the experience and quality of Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe. Bruno Fernandes will also be keen on making a mark at this tournament.

Hungary is the weakest team in the group. They have made huge strides in recent years, making the second round of the 2016 Euro and qualifying for this current one.

The key strategy will be to remain resolute in defence- a department led by Leipzig’s Willi Orban.

Qualifying as one of the best losers will be their best bet.