SBI Euro 2020 Preview: Group E (Spain the strong pick, but Poland is dangerous)

SBI Euro 2020 Preview: Group E (Spain the strong pick, but Poland is dangerous)

Euro 2020

SBI Euro 2020 Preview: Group E (Spain the strong pick, but Poland is dangerous)

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Spain has overcome a COVID-19 outbreak scare to head into Euro 2020 as the clearcut favorite in Group D, but the world’s best striker will lead the charge to try and knock off the Spaniards.

Euro 2020’s Group E features Europe’s top-scoring forward, Robert Lewandowski, and Poland, plus a vaunted Spain team and up-and-coming Sweden. Slovakia plays the role of underdog in this stacked group.

Spain is still the choice in the group, led by striker Alvaro Morata up front, and a talent-laden midfield. How David DeGea rebounds from a difficult club season will go a long way in determining how far La Furia Roja go in the tournament.

Lewandowski is the unquestioned star of the Polish team, but he isn’t alone. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is an outstanding goalkeeper and Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski could be one of the breakout stars at Euro 2020.

Here is a closer look at all four teams in Group E:

GROUP E

Schedule (Times Eastern)

June 14: Poland vs. Slovakia (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+) Noon

June 14: Spain vs. Sweden (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+) 3 p.m.

June 18: Sweden vs. Slovakia (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+) 9 a.m.

June 19: Spain vs. Poland (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+) 3 p.m.

June 23: Slovakia vs. Spain (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+) Noon

June 23: Sweden vs. Poland (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+) Noon


SLOVAKIA


HEAD COACH

Pavel Hapal

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Stanislav Lobotka, Ondrej Duda, Laszlo Benes, Peter Pekarik

NAME TO LEARN

Milan Skriniar. Skriniar is a ball-playing centerback who helped Inter Milan dominate Serie A this season. Strong performances from Skriniar will be important to Slovakia’s success, as Group E packs some potent attacking talent.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle), Dusan Kuciak (Lechia Gdansk), Marek Rodak (Fulham)

Defenders: David Hancko (Sparta Praha), Tomas Hubocan (Omonoia), Martin Koscelnik (Liberec), Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Ľubomir Satka (Lech Poznan), Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan), Martin Valjent (Mallorca), Denis Vavro (Huesca)

Midfielders: Laszlo Benes (Augsburg), Ondrej Duda (Koln), Jan Gregus (Minnesota), Marek Hamsik (IFK Goteborg), Lukas Haraslin (Sassuolo), Jakub Hromada (Slavia Praha), Patrik Hrosovsky (Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Tomas Suslov (Groningen), Vladimir Weiss (Slovan Bratislava)

Forwards: Robert Bozenik (Feyenoord), Michal Duris (Omonoia), Robert Mak (Ferencváros), Ivan Schranz (Jablonec)

OUTLOOK– Slovakia lacks in attacking talent, unlike the other three squads in Group E. With Milan Skriniar and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka at the back, Slovakia should look to grind out one or two all-important results.


POLAND


Head coach

Paulo Sousa

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Robert Lewandowski, Wojciech Szczesny, Piotr Zielinski, Mateusz Klich

NAME TO LEARN

Piotr Zielinski had eights goals and 11 assists for Napoli this club season. He will have an important presence in central midfield for Poland, combining with Lewandowski in the attack.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna)

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Pawel Dawidowicz (Verona), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Michal Helik (Barnsley), Tomasz Kedziora (Dynamo Kyiv), Kamil Piatkowski (Rakow Czestochowa), Tymoteusz Puchacz (Lech Poznan), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moskva)

Midfielders: Przemyslaw Frankowski (Chicago Fire), Kamil Jozwiak (Derby), Mateusz Klich (Leeds), Kacper Kozlowski (Pogon Szczecin), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moskva), Karol Linetty (Torino), Jakub Moder (Brighton), Przemysław Placheta (Norwich), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern), Karol Swiderski (PAOK), Jakub Swierczok (Piast Gliwice)

OUTLOOK

Robert Lewandowski enters the tournament following a record-breaking Bundesliga goal haul with Bayern Munich. Can he make a similar mark on the international stage? If Poland’s defense can hold up and the midfield can deliver adequate service, Lewandowski can guide the team to the knockout rounds.


SWEDEN


HEAD COACH

Janne Andersson

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Victor Lindelof, Aleksander Isak, Emil Forsberg

NAME TO LEARN

Aleksander Isak. The 21-year-old striker is one of the summer’s hottest transfer targets who can boost his reputation with this tournament. Isak scored 17 goals with Real Sociedad this season. He’s been widely linked with a move to Arsenal.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (Copenhagen), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Genclerbirligi), Robin Olsen (Everton)

Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Pierre Bengtsson (Vejle), Marcus Danielson (Dalian Yifang), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborg), Filip Helander (Rangers), Pontus Jansson (Brentford), Emil Krafth (Newcastle United), Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (AIK)

Midfielders: Jens-Lys Cajuste (Midtjylland), Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Sebastian Larsson (AIK), Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar), Robin Quaison (Mainz), Ken Sema (Watford), Mattias Svanberg (Bologna), Gustav Svensson (Guangzhou)

Forwards: Marcus Berg (Krasnodar), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Jordan Larsson (Spartak Moskva)

OUTLOOK

Zlatan Ibrahimovic came out of international retirement with intentions to suit up in Euro 2020, only to miss the tournament entirely with a leg injury. Sweden made the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals and look poised for a similar run at the Euros.


SPAIN


HEAD COACH

Luis Enrique

PLAYERS TO WATCH

David de Gea, Aymeric Laporte, Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres

NAME TO LEARN

Pedri became the second-youngest player to reach 50 appearances for FC Barcelona. Spain has some proven veterans across the pitch, but the 18-year-old midfielder will get the opportunity to make his name known.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Unai Simon (Athletic), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Defenders: Jose Gaya (Valencia), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico), Marcos Llorente (Atletico), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Rodri (Manchester City), Fabian Ruiz (Napoli), Pablo Sarabia (Paris), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traore (Wolves)

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Pedri (Barcelona)

OUTLOOK

Spain has one of the strongest groups at this tournament, and could be poised for a deep run. Spain’s squad brings an intriguing mix of seasoned veterans such as Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata, plus several new stars such as Ferran Torres and Gerard Moreno. A COVID-19 scare has left Sergi Busquets and Diego Llorente sidelined, though they could still play a part in the tournament, especially if Spain can make a run.

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