This summer, the Euros returns as the best national teams in Europe once again compete for the trophy. The tournament is held every four years and was originally due to be held in 2020. However, due to the global pandemic, domestic football leagues were placed on hold for much of the season and could only be completed during the summer. Let’s take a look at the Euro 2021 Groups and how the teams are split up in each.
Because Euro 2020 would have clashed with the end of the domestic football season, UEFA made the decision to reschedule the tournament for 2021 instead. Fans have had to wait extra long to watch their national teams take part in the tournament, but it’s shaping up to be one of the best Euro Championships ever, with some new teams taking part as well as some very interesting matchups.
Here at Euro 2021 Bets, we analyse all of the European Championship 2021 games to bring you the best betting tips. We use our decades of collective experience watching football along with statistical analysis to predict which teams are most likely to progress, which players will score the most goals and which games will be the most entertaining to watch. On this page, we will be looking at the Euro 2021 groups, including the most interesting groups and what to expect from the group stage.
The New Euro 2021 Format
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition, the Euro 2021 tournament will be held at venues across Europe. Originally, twelve venues were selected from countries all over the continent, although that number has now been reduced to eleven venues. This gives fans from all over Europe the chance to watch some of the world’s best teams play live and should make for a more exciting tournament.
The format means that group games will be played at venues all over Europe, and one in Asia, while the semi-finals and finals will be held at Wembley stadium in the UK. As with Euro 2016, this tournament will feature twenty-four teams, meaning there are six groups of four teams each. Each team starts out in a group and will play three games against the other teams that share the same group.
The top two teams from each group will qualify automatically, and there are also four extra places for the best third-placed teams to qualify to the knockout stages. Most of the groups have two venues, which will each host three games, meaning that teams will not have to travel much between matches.
Euro 2021 Groups Outline
Below you will find more details on the Euro 2021 groups, including the teams and venues involved and a short summary of each.
Italy has four gold medals from the World Cup, but when it comes to the EUROs, there is only one in the bank from 1968. However, there is no doubt that Italy is a great nation when it comes to football, and this also makes them big favourites in Group A. The last few years have been a bit of a gloomy period for Italian fans, but after Roberto Mancini took over the role of national coach, it has been a whole lot better for Azzurri. Lorenzo Insigne, Leonardo Bonucci, Alessandro Florenzi and Giorgio Chiellini are the experienced players in the team, but most of us look forward to the exciting talents such as Federico Chiesa, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Nicolò Zaniolo, Nicolò Barella and Alessandro Bastoni, who will be a big part of this team in many years to come. Italy also has the advantage of being one of the host nations, which means that they play all their three group matches at home in Rome.
Switzerland has never won the EUROs, but they have been a frequent participant with participation in four of the last six tournaments. Vladimir Petkovic has been at the helm of the national team since 2014, which means that he has a lot of experience. Switzerland has a lot of players from top European clubs, but the question is whether they have enough X-factor in Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo and Ahmed Mehmedi, or whether the Swiss are lacking offensive quality. Defensively, Switzerland is strong enough to challenge for a top two spot in this group.
Turkey participated at the EUROs in 2016, but with two defeats and a single victory, it turned into a short visit. At the time, they put their trust in Hakan Calhanoglu and Arda Turan; the latter is now gone from the team, but Calhanoglu has really restarted his career at AC Milan. With four of the best third-placed teams going through to the knockout-stages, Turkey have good chances of progressing from the group stage if they can secure at least three points.
The last time Wales participated in the EUROs was in 2016, and here they became the tournament’s biggest surprise with a place in the semi-finals. At the time, it was former Welsh national team player Chris Coleman who had the reigns, and this time it has passed to the legendary Ryan Giggs. More and more of the Welsh players have found a role at sub-top clubs in the Premier League and this team should not be underestimated. However, there are still two players who stand out from the rest and that is Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
Belgium are, of course, favourites to win Group B; it is only natural with their leading position on FIFA’s world rankings. In 2016, there was already gigantic expectations for “The Red Devils”, as the talent pool at the time was huge. Now that talent pool has developed into true world stars, which is also the reason why they are one of the favourites to win EURO 2021. Roberto Martinez has previously shown tactical ingenious features in big tournaments, and the coach’s tools can become essential. With huge stars like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Axel Witsel, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois, Belgium has good chances of going very far this summer.
A lot of Danish football fans were very disappointed back in 2016, when the Danish national team was not participating in the EUROs. Now, however, Åge Hariede has qualified them for the tournament, but it will be Kasper Hjulmand who will lead Denmark in Group B where they have the advantage of playing all three home games at home in Copenhagen. With the postponement of the EUROs, Kasper Hjulmand has had a year to implement his tactics which seems to be very well-suited for his team. In terms of their squad, Denmark is looking strong this year with players like Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, Thomas Delaney, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Simon Kjær. Denmark is expected to progress from the group stage – maybe even in second place.
Russia must come in as close competitors to Denmark, not only based on their performance at the World Cup in 2018, but also because they will play two of their group matches at home in Sankt Petersburg. Russia already played against Belgium in the qualification, with Belgium advancing as number one in the group while Russia finished second. Here there was not much doubt about the difference in strength, with two defeats to Russia and an overall goal score of 2-7 against Belgium. Unfortunately for Russia, the big stars from the World Cup in 2018 have not been able to live up to the same level subsequently. Therefore, Russia will put their trust in Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev, Mário Fernandes and Artem Dzyuba and hope they can get their careers back on track at this tournament.
Finland are the group’s big underdogs, and it comes quite naturally since the Finns have qualified for the EUROs for the first time ever. Finland impressively qualified ahead of Bosnia and Greece. There are no high expectations for coach Markku Kanerva, who has already done his job to perfection by qualifying. If Finland is to be able to surprise, it will most likely come from Teemu Pukki, who scored loads of goals in the qualifiers and who has also hit the top tier in his first two seasons for Norwich.
Like Belgium, the Netherlands is a world-class talent factory, and they have been spitting out star players for many years. This year is no exception, where you can see Frenkie de Jong, Matthjis de Light and Memphis Depay – just to name a few. The Netherlands also had a talented team in 2016, but here they did not even qualify for the EUROs, so the squad is not guaranteed success in any way. In qualifying for the EURO 2021, they had to cross paths with Germany, which saw them finish second in their qualifying group. In Munich, the Dutch came out victorious (with a 4-2 win), which indicates that the Netherlands on their day can beat anyone. Their group is quite winnable, and they are also the favourites to finish in the top spot. Former national player Frank de Boer took over as coach in 2020 after Ronald Koeman moved to Barcelona, giving Frank de Boer one year to get his playing style implemented. The Netherlands is one of the host nations and will therefore play all their group matches at home in Amsterdam.
Ukraine has participated in the last two EUROs, but without any success. Legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko took over as a head coach after a sluggish tournament in 2016, and he has since spent his time wisely. They impressively finished first in their qualifying group ahead of Portugal and went through the qualifiers undefeated. The Ukrainian squad looks very stable, with most of the players playing in the domestic league for teams like Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv. Some players are also playing in European top clubs, and the hopes are that Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovskyi and Andriy Yarmolenko will take charge and lead Ukraine forward in Group C.
Austria qualified for the EUROs for the first time back in 2008, and since then they have been to two EUROs but without moving further than the group stages. From the domestic league we have started to see teams like Salzburg, LASK and Austria Wien advance in the Europa League and Champions League, which also gives hope to the Austrian national team. The biggest star has for many years been, and is still is, David Alaba who recently signed for Real Madrid. The difference from 2016 is that many other talented players have joined the squad and they can contribute to the collective unit. Ukraine is slightly better off in terms of odds than Austria, but it does not take much for them to tip the scale.
There were wild scenes as North Macedonia, for the first time ever, as an independent country, qualified for the EUROs. The intoxication of joy was enormous and could be felt through the TV screens when the 37-year old legend Goran Pandev kicked North Macedonia to the EUROs 2021. It happened through the new Nations League tournament, where they beat Georgia with 1-0 in the playoff-round. Stars for North Macedonia are very marginal, but you still must keep an eye out for players like Goran Pandev, Enis Bardhi, Eljif Elmas and Ezgjan Alioski, who can give the big underdogs some hope.
“It’s coming home!” This is how it has sounded for the past many years from the enthusiastic English football fans, but nothing has come home since the World Cup in 1966. In 2018, the hopes were high, but they crashed out of the semi-finals against Croatia and finished fourth after losing to Belgium in the bronze-match. The hope is still there though, and the faith as well, which is understandable, as England are set to be among the biggest favourites to take home the trophy. Gareth Southgate has been criticised for lacking a bit of tactical ingenuity, but one can not put a finger on the top level we have seen so far from The Three Lions. The team is, as always, packed with international stars like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Jadon Sancho. England are also, and rightly should be, the biggest favourites in Group D, where they also have the pleasure of playing all their games at home in London.
There was not many who had expected to see Croatia in the World Cup final in 2018. Although they lost 4-2 to France in the final, it was without a doubt an extraordinary great performance. Since then, however, things have gone awry for Croatia, who in the Nations League and EURO qualifiers have not always looked equally impressive. The players who shone through to the final in 2018 have indeed reached an age where retirement is calling, and the Croatians will have to reinvent themselves if they are to deliver the same solid surprise at EURO 2021. Despite this, it must be remembered that it was Croatia who beat England in the semi-finals at the World Cup three years ago, and they want to do something similar in Group D.
The Czech Republic must fear that it will be a repeat of EURO 2016, where they crashed out of the group stages with two defeats and a single point. It is not a particularly scary Czech team as they lack stars and offensive quality. They came through their qualifying group with 15 points, but against teams like Kosovo, Bulgaria and Montenegro. They also had the pleasure of playing England, and their 2-1 win at home against The Three Lions can give them some hope and faith that they can move on from the group stages this time around.
Scotland are the last-seeded team in Group D as they qualified through the Nations League ahead of Serbia. However, we are happy with Scotland’s qualification, as one can now look forward to a bang of a match of England v Scotland. You should also not be too quick to write off Scotland – there are some rough diamonds hidden in this hard-working collective. Captain Andrew Robertson has established himself for Liverpool as one of the world’s absolute best left backs. In addition to him, one will look at John McGinn, Ryan Fraser, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and Liam Cooper, who have all shown that they can compete at Premier League level. The Scottish fans will also be ecstatic to be able to experience their heroes at home in two of the three group matches.
It has been some turbulent years for the Spain national team, which in 2018 had to fire their coach shortly before the World Cup and bring in Fernando Hierro as interim coach. Of course, it did not end very well, and the next coach who gained their confidence was Luis Enrique. However, it was not long before he had to retire temporarily, and Roberto Moreno took over the role for a longer period. Now Enrique is back and is in the process of a generational change of the Spanish national team, which has been long awaited. It has got off to quite a sensible start, with the top level still among Europe’s best. With a home advantage in Seville, the Spanish stars must aim for first place in the group and it will be extremely disappointing if the Spanish national team does not go far in this tournament.
Poland might not sound like a giant football nation, but they have nonetheless participated in the last three EUROs, and they reached the quarter-final in 2016. With a solid defensive unit, they qualified as number one in their qualifying group, with only one defeat in ten matches. It also does not hurt them that Robert Lewandowski is one of the absolute best strikers in the world. If Poland can find a way to feed Lewandowski the right balls, they should not be underestimated – and then they go a long way at the EUROs.
Sweden secured a place for the EURO 2021 by finishing ahead of Norway. In a qualifying group with Spain, it was quite impressive that the Swedes lost only a single match. The Swedish football fans would very much like to measure themselves with their Danish neighbours and they do seem quite similar in terms of quality. The Swedes can undoubtedly muster a quite stable squad. Victor Lindelöf, Ludwig Augustinsson, Victor Claesson, Emil Forsberg and Sebastian Olsson tend to perform well for the national team, and with the newly hatched talent in Juventus player Dejan Kulusevski, they have also found an offensive ace.
Slovakia is rated as the biggest underdogs in Group E, which can be based solely on their squad. There are big leaps in level difference on the Slovakian national team, which also had to go through the Nations League to qualify for the EUROs. In qualifying, they ended up behind both Wales and Croatia, which calls into question their level. Marek Hamsik is now making his mark in Swedish football, but it is still him who is the star player. However, players like Milan Skriniar, Stanislav Lobotka, Denis Vavro and Robert Mak have flourished in recent years and one can hope that they can provide enough quality.
Germany has been seeded as number one, which they probably appreciate after their disastrous World Cup in 2018. However, the Germans have ended up in the so-called “group of death”. After dominating Europe for several years and being among the world’s best national teams, Joachim Löw made the decision to introduce a generational change a few years back. That meant saying goodbye to many experienced players and starting to shape the new young stars. The change was already a bit on the way in 2018, but the team failed noticeably and did not even progress from their group where they finished last. The EURO qualifiers gave hope for better times ahead, with an overall statistic of seven wins and one loss plus a goal score of 30-7. Despite the good performances in the qualification group, there are still questions about Germany, especially after they lost 6-0 to Spain in the Nations League. Germany’s chances are improved quite a bit since they play all three group matches at home in Munich.
It’s unbelievable that with a team like France, reigning world champions and silver-medal winners at the last EUROs, can be seeded second – but for us neutral fans, it only gives a way more exciting group. Didier Deschamps has long been criticised for being too pragmatic in his style of play, especially considering the players he has at his disposal. One must keep in mind that the style of play has worked, and while it does, one cannot question his approach. One could mention loads of French players who would have the level to participate at EURO 2021, and the list of world-class players is probably longer than with any other team. Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba are not quite at the same level as they have been before, but fortunately for Didier Deschamps he has many other players who can chip in. Although France are seeded second, they should aim for first place in this group despite the strong opponents they are facing.
As incredible as France being seeded second, it is just as wild that Portugal is seeded third. It was Portugal who took home the EURO 2016 trophy with a win over France in the final. Cristiano Ronaldo turned 36 this year, but he has not become a worse player for that reason. Unlike 2016, Portugal also has far more offensive stars to play as Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota has all had great seasons. With their current squad, Portugal must advance from the group stage. It will not be an easy task for Fernando Santos, who must win at least two of the group matches to be certain of progression.
Poor Hungary. They fought heroically in the Nations League and ended up turning a 0-1 defeat to a 2-1 win in the playoff match against Iceland in the dying minutes. Now they have landed in the most competitive group at the EUROs. In front of them are the reigning world champions, the reigning European champions and one of the greatest football nations on the planet in Germany. One must be more than a jubilant optimist to believe that Hungary has good chances to advance, but with four out of the six third-placed teams going through, it takes no more than a single surprise victory for them to have a chance. The chances are small, of course, but with two of their three group matches being played at home in Budapest, one should write them off. One must look far to find established stars for Hungary, but one player worth keeping an eye out for is Dominik Szoboszlai.
Which are the Most Entertaining Euro 2021 Groups?
The UEFA Euro Championship is always one of the most entertaining international competitions because most of the best teams are from Europe. On top of this, even lower-ranked teams can still cause upsets against the bigger sides, with Greece most famously winning the Euros in 2004 and Denmark winning in 1992. This year, as with 2016, there are twenty-four teams in the competition, meaning more games and more opportunities for smaller teams than at previous tournaments. This expanded format should hopefully lead to more exciting games. As we saw in Euro 2016, anyone can win.
All of the Euro 2021 groups have some great matchups, and it is difficult to predict which will be the most exciting. Still, these are the groups which we predict will be the most entertaining to watch:
- Group A – Group A looks like it will be one of the most competitive Euro 2021 groups of the tournament, and it is difficult to predict who will qualify. Italy, Turkey, Wales and Switzerland are all capable of qualifying, and although none of them are likely to be favourites to win the tournament, we expect each game to be closely contested. Italy may be favourites, but they will have to battle to get results, and there are star players on every team. Italy have the likes of Marco Verratti. Turkey have Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Gareth Bale is one of the stars of the Wales team, while the Swiss team have Xherdan Shaqiri.
- Group D – Group D is home to England, Scotland, the Czech Republic and Croatia. All are quality teams, and although there are two clear favourites in England and Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic certainly will not be pushovers. England vs Scotland is one of the oldest rivalries in sport and is sure to be a great game. Both England and Scotland will be playing games on their home turf, something that’s sure to add to the atmosphere and ensure that fans have a lot to get excited about. As well as England vs Scotland, many fans will be looking forward to watching England v Croatia to see if England can take revenge after being knocked out of the 2018 World Cup by Croatia.
- Group F – Group F is most likely the toughest group to qualify from at Euro 2021. Three of the top-ranked teams in the world, Germany, France and Portugal make up this group along with Hungary. There will be a thrilling three-way battle to see which team gets to qualify, and one of these top teams could potentially be going home early. Of course, while Hungary are definitely the weaker side, we cannot count them out, and they may have a big influence on which teams get to progress, making this a very interesting group to watch.