Welcome to TGH’s last group preview of the 2020 European championships starting June 11. In this last edition, Group F will be analyzed as three heavyweights in European soccer are all in this so-called ‘Group of Death”. France, Germany, Hungary and Portugal will all battle for two (or possibly three) qualifying spots for the round of 16 in this group. Here is the EURO 2020: Group F Preview.
Many call France the best team in the world, and it is hard to argue. They won the 2018 World Cup and won their 2020 Nations League group, beating out Portugal. Didier Deschamps was his side rolling in World Cup qualifiers, taking seven out of nine points and sitting top of their group.
Defenses will be shaking in their boots looking at the French attacking options. Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, and Ousmane Dembélé are just a few options Deschamps has at his disposal. Paul Pogba and N’golo Kanté, who just won man of the match at the Champions League final, are two of the best center-midfielders in the Premier League and will compliment each other well on the pitch. Raphaël Varane anchors their backline well and is their leader. Expect France to make a deep run this summer.
Germany have had a few shocking results recently – losing 6-0 to Spain and then losing 2-1 to North Macedonia at home. They qualified relatively easily for this tournament, despite a home loss to the Dutch. Joachim Löw has had an incredible run managing Germany and hopes to lift one more title this summer.
This midfield is incredibly strong with Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich (who could play right-back). Ilkay Gündogan and Florian Neuhaus are two very serviceable replacements in the midfield, too. Thomas Müller will help spring the wide attacking options like Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry. Timo Werner could also re-discover his scoring ability which would provide a huge boost, but the lack of a true striker may hurt the Germans chances. The backline will be solid as long as Manuel Neuer is back to his old-self for Germany.
Perhaps the underdogs in this group, Hungary will have their work cut out for them. EURO 2016 was their first tournament in 30 years and then they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. They struggled in qualifying for this tournament, beating Iceland 2-1 scoring in the 88’ and 90+2’ minutes to win. But, Hungary is unbeaten in their last 11 matches coming into this summer.
The strength of this team is built upon RB Leipzig’s Péter Gulácsi and Willi Orban in goal and defense, respectively. Leipzig finished 2nd in the Bundesliga and had the best defense in the league. There may be a lot of pressure on Ádám Szalai to score goals, he has 23 for his nation in 70 appearances. Szalai only scored once in 18 Bundesliga matches for Mainz. This is the toughest group of the tournament and Hungary will struggle to get the results needed to progress.
Prediction: Group Stage Exit
Portugal won the EUROs in 2016, but this side will look a lot different than four years ago. The Portuguese won the Nations League in 2019 and only lost once on their way to qualify for this tournament. France beat them in the 2020 edition of the Nations League, but they rebounded with a solid start in World Cup qualifying.
In defense, PFA player of the year nominee Ruben Dias alongside Manchester City teammate Joao Cancelo will cause problems for attackers. Bruno Fernandes will lead the midfield with his creativity and he is coming off scoring 18 goals in the Premier League. Bernardo Silva also has the trickery to open up the attack. The front-line will be led by the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo coming off another golden boot season in Serie A. If he needs a break, Diogo Jota and João Félix can provide quality off the bench. The 2016 champions can easily repeat if it all comes together this summer.