Euro 2020 preview: Group B
Written by The Final Ball on 17/05/2021
Welcome to The Final Ball Blog! This is where we’ll have weekly a weekly detailed insight into the last week of sport for those of you who just couldn’t live by only listening to us for an hour a week!
And today we’ll be looking at Group B in the summer’s Euro 2020 (sounds weird to still call it that)
Despite being ranked so low, Russia managed to give a good account of themselves when they hosted the World Cup back in 2018(performance level definitely had an “enhanced” vibe about them), but since then they have shown themselves to be a decent competitor by only losing two group games and only conceding 8 goals in the qualifiers. But as much as “home advantage” might have lent them favour in the past (they’re one of the countries hosting group games), an awkward group suggests that eventually, someone will perform at a level a few creatine injections won’t be able to match up to
Player to Watch: Aleksandr Golovin
Prediction: 3rd place scramble
A team that boasts heritage in this competition, but a long time has pasted since the great 1992 team conquered Europe, and they haven’t really been anywhere near that level ever since. But with Schmeichel jr establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers, the resurgence of Christian Eriksen at title winning Inter Milan, Simon Kjaer & Andreas Christiansen rounding off respectable seasons & the hope that surely, one of their attacking players can conjure up a few goals between them; The Danes would hope to at least see the knockout stages before superior opposition ends the short-lived holiday.
Player to Watch: Mikkel Damsgaard
Prediction: Knockout Stage
A team that rarely reaches such stages, Finland will dream of carrying out a similar dream to the Iceland one of 4 years ago, but be more than happy if they leave with a result against their Scandinavian rivals in Denmark. A first timer in this competition, however the combination of young talents coming through, being led by Championship goal machine Teemu Pukki, don’t expect the Finns to lie down and accept whatever the rest of the group throw at them.
Player to Watch: Teemu Pukki
Prediction: 3rd Place scramble
This is surely the last chance for the “so-called” golden generation of the Belgium national team. Regularly ranked no.1 in the world due to their impeccable qualifying record and decent performances in recent tournaments, there’s only a few things holding this team back from creating real history. Firstly, the fact that they have no history means the nation is generally content with however they perform, meaning the pressure that normally inspires the star players on this team isn’t quite there. Then, the CV/interview pioneer that is Roberto Martinez is still a bone in contention. The fact that he was entrusted with the prime of Hazard & De Bruyne leaves a lot to be desired. Throw in an ageing back line that still includes Thomas Vermaelen, you can’t help but think that years down the line, they’ll look back at this squad and see it as multiple opportunities missed
Player to Watch: Jeremy Doku
Prediction: Quarter Finals