Euro 2020: Group B Preview (Belgium eyes the title)

Euro 2020: Group B Preview (Belgium eyes the title)

Euro 2020

Euro 2020: Group B Preview (Belgium eyes the title)

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Group B in the European Championship sees one tournament favorite leading the way while a few others try to knock them off their perch at the top.

Belgium remains heavy favorites to roll in Group B with endless attacking talent at its disposal for the competition. Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, and others starred for their respective clubs this season and will now look to put it all together in hopes of claiming a first-ever European title.

Denmark and Russia will jostle for a top-two finish in Group B while Finland, led by goalscorer Teemu Pukki tries to pull a shock after reaching a first-ever European Championship.

SBI’s continued coverage of the Euro’s takes a closer look at all four teams in Group B:

GROUP A

Schedule (Times Eastern)

June 12- Denmark vs. Finland (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 12 p.m.

June 12- Belgium vs. Russia(ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 3 a.m.

June 16Finland vs. Russia (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 9 a.m.

June 17- Denmark vs. Belgium (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 12 p.m.

June 21 – Finland vs. Belgium (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 3 p.m.

June 21 – Russia vs. Denmark (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3), 3 p.m.


BELGIUM


HEAD COACH

Roberto Martinez

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois.

NAME TO LEARN

Youri Tielemans. The Leicester City midfielder is coming off a sensational campaign with the Foxes, helping them win the FA Cup for the first time in club history. Tielemans scored the game-winning goal that day and is always an option to find the back of the net from distance. His passing ability and work rate will be key for Belgium, who will look to spring players like Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard into good positions upfield.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)

Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (İstanbul Başakşehir), Yannick Carrasco (Atlético Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Dortmund)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)

OUTLOOK

Belgium has plenty of pressure to lift the European Championship, as it possesses one of the most talented rosters in the tournament. Roberto Martinez has star players all over the field, but consistency will be key especially in the later rounds. With the growing amount of star attackers to choose from, Belgium will be favored to score in bunches throughout the competition.


DENMARK


HEAD COACH

Kasper Hjulmand

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, Andreas Christensen, Yussuf Poulsen.

NAME TO LEARN

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a tough-tackling defensive midfielder who will need to do the dirty work to free up creators like Eriksen and Robert Skov to bolster the attack.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Jonas Lössl (Midtjylland), Frederik Rønnow (Schalke), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)

Defenders: Joachim Andersen (Fulham), Nicolai Boilesen (Copenhagen), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Mathias Jørgensen (Copenhagen), Simon Kjær (AC Milan), Joakim Mæhle (Atalanta), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton)

Midfielders: Anders Christiansen (Malmö), Thomas Delaney (Dortmund), Christian Eriksen (Inter Milan), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham), Mathias Jensen (Brentford), Christian Nørgaard (Brentford), Robert Skov (Hoffenheim), Daniel Wass (Valencia)

Forwards: Martin Braithwaite (Barcelona), Andreas Cornelius (Parma), Mikkel Damsgaard (Sampdoria), Kasper Dolberg (Nice), Andreas Skov Olsen (Bologna), Yussuf Poulsen (Leipzig), Jonas Wind (Copenhagen)

OUTLOOK

Denmark isn’t a side that will rack up plenty of goals, but has a  consistent backline and top goalkeeper to help keep leads and hold onto them. Eriksen, Schmeichel, and Poulsen are the leaders of this bunch and will all need to be ready to go in order to go neck-and-neck with Belgium in Group B. The talent is there to win the group, but the Danes will have to avoid any drop off in form to do so.


FINLAND


HEAD COACH

Markku Kanerva

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Teemu Pukki, Lukas Hradecky, Robin Lod, Lassi Lappalainen.

NAME TO LEARN

Teemu Pukki. Pukki is Finland’s best offensive weapon and he will remain so heading into the competition. The Norwich City striker excelled once again at club level with the Canaries, propelling them back to the English Premier League. Pukki will see a lot of the chances for Finland in its matches, but could use help if opposing defenders start keying in on him.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Lukas Hradecky (Leverkusen), Anssi Jaakkola (Bristol Rovers), Jesse Joronen (Brescia)

Defenders: Paulus Arajuuri (Pafos), Robert Ivanov (Warta Poznań), Thomas Lam (Zwolle), Daniel O’Shaughnessy (HJK Helsinki), Jukka Raitala (Minnesota United), Joona Toivio (Häcken), Jere Uronen (Genk), Nicholas Hämäläinen (QPR), Sauli Väisänen (Chievo)

Midfielders: Nikolai Alho (MTK Budapest), Fredrik Jensen (Augsburg), Glen Kamara (Rangers), Joni Kauko (Esbjerg), Robin Lod (Minnesota United), Rasmus Schüller (Djurgården), Pyry Soiri (Esbjerg), Tim Sparv (Larissa), Robert Taylor (Brann), Onni Valakari (Pafos)

Forwards: Marcus Forss (Brentford), Lassi Lappalainen (Montréal), Joel Pohjanpalo (Union Berlin), Teemu Pukki (Norwich)

OUTLOOK– Finland will look to have Pukki lead the way offensively, but will definitely need help in hopes of advancing out of the group stage. There aren’t a lot of household names on the Finnish roster, forcing a lot of the veteran players to deliver for a chance at some wins.


RUSSIA


HEAD COACH

Stanislav Cherchisov

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Aleksandr Golovin, Artem Dzyuba, Denis Cheryshev, Yuri Zhirkov.

NAME TO LEARN

Aleksandr Golovin. The Monaco midfielder is one of the creative sparks for Russia’s midfield and will look to pull a lot of the strings in this tournament. Golovin has earned 35 caps to date with the Russian National Team, scoring five goals. His cleverness with the ball and ability to pick out his teammates should be something the rest of Group B should be wary about.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Yuri Dyupin (Rubin), Matvei Safonov (Krasnodar), Anton Shunin (Dinamo Moskva)

Defenders: Igor Diveev (CSKA Moskva), Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moskva), Mário Fernandes (CSKA Moskva), Vyacheslav Karavaev (Zenit), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor), Andrei Semenov (Akhmat)

Midfielders: Dmitri Barinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Denis Cheryshev (Valencia), Daniil Fomin (Dinamo Moskva), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit), Andrei Mostovoy (Zenit), Maksim Mukhin (CSKA Moskva), Magomed Ozdoev (Zenit), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Zenit), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moskva)

Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit), Aleksei Ionov (Krasnodar), Denis Makarov (Rubin), Aleksei Miranchuk (Atalanta), Aleksandr Sobolev (Spartak Moskva), Anton Zabolotny (CSKA Moskva)

OUTLOOK

Russia is still trying to make the jump among the elite European National Teams and a good showing in this summer’s European Championship could do that. They won’t be favored to finish in the top two of Group B, but overall could find its way into the next round. Russia has a tough group to break down defensively and offensively has several physical strikers to call upon.

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