Group D consists of England, Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic. England will be heavily favoured to top the group, how are the remaining three teams?
Croatia has a very talented squad, and had a great run at the last World Cup.
The midfield is capable of giving any team a run for its money on any day of the week and, although they won’t go as far as last World Cup, finishing second to get a favourable draw for the round of 16 would be the goal.
Czech Republic is a team that is flying under the radar. They have the potential to make all the life difficult in this tournament and could cause a stir if they qualify for the knock-out phase.
The core of the team is quite strong with Vladimir Coufal, Tomas Soucek, Patrick Schick and Jakub Jankto hoping to have a successful tournament.
Scotland are the team who more than likely will finish bottom in this group.
It is a squad with the majority of players competing in England’s various divisions. Although there are no standout players, they could be capable of throwing a spanner in the works of the other three teams.
Group E consists of Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia. A transitional Spanish side should be good enough to top this group, but can the other three have a say?
Slovakia will likely finish in last place, just as they did in their Nations League group.
There is some quality within their squad with Marek Hamsik, Martin Dubravka and Milan Skriniar – Skrinjar is one of the best defenders in the world and a semi-decent tournament will have the big clubs sniffing around again.
Sweden could be a surprise packet after reaching the quarter-finals of World Cup 2018. They will be missing the mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic in this tournament though.
With Ibrahimovic missing, the emphasis will fall on the the young attacking trio of superstars in waiting Emil Forsberg, Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski, who have the ability to see this Swedish side go on a run to potentially the quarter-finals if they get a kind knock-out phase draw.
Poland was a neutral fan’s choice to have a good World Cup but, whether it was the pressure of the big stage or something else, the team self-destructed and finished last in their group. This time around the Poles are confident of doing some real damage to their opponents.
They have a good mix of experience and youth that is spearheaded by the best centre forward in the world in Robert Lewandowski and adequately supported by Kamil Glik, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Arkadiusz Milik.
In Jakub Moder, they have a young midfielder who will be looking to move to one of the world’s biggest clubs with a solid tournament.
There is more than enough quality to see the poles come out of this group as either the winners, runner up or as one of the four best third placed teams at the end of the group stage.
Group F aka ‘the group of death” has Hungary, Portugal, France and Germany. Unfortunately, before a ball has been kicked, Hungary are predicted to finish last.
Their best player, Dominik Szoboszlai, will be missing through injury and Hungary will do well to keep any clean sheets in this group.