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The Roar's Euro 2020 expert tips and predictions: Match Day 1 (part four)

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Expert
13th June, 2021
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The crowd has snuck away to a narrow tipping lead, with some unpredictability already featuring in early Euro 2020 results.

Tonight’s action sees the debut of mighty Scotland as they take on the Czech Republic at the famous Hampden Park. Poland hosts Slovakia before one of the pretournament favourites, Spain, open up their quest for the title against Sweden in Seville.

As the football world prays for the wellbeing of Christian Eriksen, the competition continues. Good luck with your tips for this evening, and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to help the voice of the Crowd stay in touch with Mr Tuckerman.

Here are the panel’s thoughts on all the Day 4 action.

Mike Tuckerman
Scotland, Poland, Spain

It’s been a long time between drinks for the Scottish national team, and while the Tartan Army will be delighted to see their side finally return to a major tournament, they’ll also view this game as a golden opportunity to jag three points. The Scots tend to be greater than the sum of their parts, but the fact that this is their first game back at the Euros since 1996 – and that it’s at Hampden Park – should give them the edge over the Czechs.

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Robert Lewandowski might be the best striker in world football, but there are genuine concerns around his fitness levels. The Bayern Munich frontman has played an absolute mountain of football in recent years, but if the Eagles are to make a mark on this tournament, they need their ace goal sneak firing up front. The Poles have plenty of injury woes in other key positions but should still have the quality to see off a limited Slovak side.

While some have tipped Spain to go deep into the tournament, I don’t reckon they’re anywhere near as strong as they were during their golden generation. What will help them in this clash is the fact that the game will take place in the heat of Seville. They’ll come up against a willing Sweden that lacks any huge names, although Emil Forsberg remains a precocious talent out wide. This one could be tight, but Spain should just about win it.

Poland's Robert Lewandowski runs with the ball.

Robert Lewandowski (Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Stuart Thomas
Scotland, Poland, Spain

Hampden Park will prove the difference in a match the bookies are finding very difficult to split. Four years ago it was Wales, this time around it will be giant-killing Scotland, starting with an opening 2-0 win against the Czechs.

All eyes have been on Robert Lewandowski in the lead-up to the tournament, and for good reason. Poland have little hope without him yet might just have enough of an edge in class to beat Slovakia with or without him.

Spain could be very competitive in this tournament or a shadow of their former selves. At this point it is not clear. Sweden will be as disciplined and brave as ever. The question is whether Spain start well or hiccup and allow effort and persistence to ruffle them. Unconvincedly I’ll go with Spain.

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Texi Smith
Draw, Slovakia, Spain

Bravo, Scotland, for making it to the finals. If you haven’t heard Yes Sir, I Can Boogie in a Scottish accent, you’ve not been paying attention. The truth is this Scotland squad is a selection of good players from the Scottish Premier League, some decent players from the English Premier League and some names, including Aussie Lyndon Dykes, who you’d know from the Championship. There’s nothing world-class about them, but with a lot of heart and pride for the shirt.

The Czech Republic themselves have a patchwork of players from around the European leagues, and you could say that the two teams are well matched. Despite the influence of the West Ham United connection in the Czech Republic team, neither team will be brave enough to go all out to snatch the win in a tense game that will end goalless.

Poland will be massive favourites for their Group E encounter with Slovakia. Their superstar forward Robert Lewandowski, if he is fully fit for this opening fixture, just needs a sniff at goal and Slovakia will be in trouble. Counter that with the heroics of Martin Dubravka in the Slovakia goal and we have a classic on our hands here, and if wily veteran Marek Hamsik is involved, we could see Slovakia sneak an impressive first-up win for the blues.

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Spain will be far too strong for Sweden in their opening match. A cagey opening half with the physical strength of the Swedes intimidating their more technically gifted opponents will see both teams score. The second half, though, will belong to Spain, the depth of their squad coming into play as Thiago Alcantara scores, and the quality that comes off the bench will see a third as Spain put their foot down towards the end. Muscles will be flexed by the Spaniards to show the rest of Europe that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Spain fans

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Pablo Bateson
Draw, Poland, Draw

It’s another tricky set of matches to make predictions with any confidence.

Based upon their record in Euros since 1996, the Czech Republic look favoured to prevail over Scotland. However, the Tartan Army will once again retain their optimism for a return to the glory days of major international tournament participation. As much a wish as anything, I’ll happily tip a score draw for the epic occasion in front of a partisan crowd in Glasgow.

Poland, led by the legendary striker Robert Lewandowski, should do enough to get over the line against Slovakia in Saint Petersburg. It’s worth recalling that the Poles reached the quarter-finals in 2016 while their opponents scrapped into the Round of 16.

A highly disrupted preparation for Spain brings their encounter with Sweden into much tighter calculations. La Roja has lost only once in the last 24 matches and has the home advantage in Seville. However, with some players in isolation due to COVID-19, they could be highly vulnerable to a seasoned opponent brimming with confidence after fine lead-up form.

Match Day 1 Mike Stuart Texi Pablo The Crowd
SCO vs CXR SCO SCO Draw Draw ?
POL vs SVK POL POL SVK POL ?
ESP vs SWE ESP ESP ESP Draw ?
Total 4 4 4 4 5
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