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Opinion

Euro 2020 preview: The other teams in Groups A, B and C

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2 days ago
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Group A should see Italy top the group, but what about the remaining three teams of Switzerland, Turkey and Wales?

The Swiss had their best-ever finish in the Euro 2016 competition, and the team has moved forward with the core of that previous group four years older and wiser.

The majority of this squad plays in the top five leagues of Europe and will put up a good fight to try and be the runner up.

Turkey could be the dark horse for a team that goes on an unexpected run in this tournament. They are very strong defensively and have enough creative and attacking flair in Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Burak Yilmaz to trouble most teams.

Wales will be looking for inspiration to the previous tournament in 2016, when they had a fairytale run to the quarter-finals.

If the Welsh dragons are to breath fire into this campaign, they will rely heavily on their talisman Gareth Bale in his potential last international tournament. He had a solid season at Tottenham and on his day, he is one of the world’s best players.

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Group B should have Belgium finishing top, but the remaining three teams of Denmark, Finland and Russia will all have eyes on the next phase.

The Danes are currently ranked tenth in the world and on a lengthy undefeated streak. Their squad isn’t the deepest but there is quality littered throughout it.

The flair and creativity of Inter Milan’s Christian Erikson will be required for any chance to escape this group but, without a regular goalscorer up front, the Dane’s will rely on a tight defence led by Kasper Schmeichel.

Finland will be making their maiden voyage as first time qualifiers to the championships.

They have been in bad form as of late and, with star striker Teemu Pukki carrying an injury, Finland will do well to not finish bottom.

Russia will aim to finish second with two of the three group games being played in front of their home fans.

They are normally a side that fields very experienced players and rarely relies on youth, if they are given the game time Aleksandr Sobolev, Aleksei Miranchuk and Rifat Zhemaletdinov are potential stars of the future.

If Russia has any hope of qualifying, their star Aleksandr Golovin needs to shine. Golovin seems to have been around forever but still is only 25 years old, he has the attacking instinct to unlock defences.

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Group C is realistically open. The Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria or North Macedonia could all make it. The Netherlands really should top the group, so let’s look at the other three.

The last time Austria won a match at a major tournament was at the 1990 World Cup. It has been an astonishing 30 years between drinks.

Austria still has enough quality in David Alaba Marcel Sabitzer and Marko Arnautovic to finally win at least one match and make the Round of 16.

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North Macedonia could be the most underrated small team in not only this group, but the tournament. They finished third in qualification and are capable of scoring goals.

If they have any hope to get out of the group then there defence needs to hold firm, because the likes of the skillful Elif Elmas, Enis Bardhi, Ezgjan Alioski will need to supply the nation’s leading scorer Goran Pandev with ammunition to fire.

Ukraine is coached by the legendary Andriy Shevchenko and had a good qualifying campaign for this tournament.

They may not have the biggest stars in the world, but they have a team first mantra that has worked wonders for them.

The Achilles heel is a goalsorer; if only Ukraine had a striker of the calibre of Shevchenko in his heyday. Ukraine should still have enough to advance to the Round of 16.

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