Euro 2020 Preview: Group F (France leads Group of Death)

Euro 2020 Preview: Group F (France leads Group of Death)

Euro 2020

Euro 2020 Preview: Group F (France leads Group of Death)

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A host nation, the reigning tournament champions, the star-studded World Cup winners, and another traditional European power.

Group F is about as Group of Death as it gets.

The upcoming European Championship is sure to draw plenty of eyeballs, but there is probably no group more anticipated than the one that includes France, Germany, Portugal, and Hungary. The former three nations all have incredible individual talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, and Thomas Muller, but also boast rich overall collections of quality players that should make for very attractive and intense matches. Hungary, meanwhile, will look to tap into the energy from the home crowds it will have on hand to try and pull off some stunning upsets.

The fact that some third-placed teams will advance to the knockout rounds again leaves more room for error, but the games in this group are sure to be as intriguing as any in this opening phase of the tournament given the stars and storylines involved.

Here is a closer look at Group F, including a rundown of all four teams:


GROUP F


Schedule (Times Eastern)

June 15- Hungary vs. Portugal (ESPN, ESPN+), 12 p.m.

June 15- France vs. Germany (ESPN, ESPN+, TUDN), 3 p.m.

June 19– Hungary vs. France (ESPN, ESPN+), 9 a.m.

June 19- Portugal vs. Germany (ESPN, ESPN+, TUDN), 12 p.m.

June 23- Portugal vs. France (ESPN, ESPN+, TUDN), 3. p.m.

June 23- Germany vs. Hungary (ESPN2, ESPN+), 3. p.m.


FRANCE


HEAD COACH

Didier Deschamps

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kylian Mbappe, N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann.

NAME TO LEARN

Clement Lenglet. It might seem odd that a starter for Barcelona is listed here, but by and large he is still a fairly new commodity with his national team. The 25-year-old centerback has just 12 appearances for his country to date, and is not projected as a starter. Still, he very well could see time throughout a tournament where games come quick and fast.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Lille)

Defenders: Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Lucas Digne (Everton), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (PSG), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

OUTLOOK

France answered questions three years ago about its ability to win a final, and much of the nucleus from the squad that was victorious at the 2018 World Cup is back with the notable addition of prolific striker Karim Benzema.

The French will not only be one of the favorites in the group, but also the entire tournament tournament. They should excite plenty, too, as Didier Deschamps will be able to count on players like the aforementioned Benzema and Kylian Mbappe in their quest to avenge their 2016 Euro Final defeat.


GERMANY


HEAD COACH

Joachim Lowe

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Leroy Sane, Toni Kroos.

NAME TO LEARN

Jamal Musiala. One of only two teenagers in the entire group, the 18-year-old attacking midfielder boasts plenty of quality and promise. Musiala is coming off a season with Bayern Munich in which he scored seven times in all competitions, and this tournament could serve as his national team introduction to the world.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Robin Gosens (Atalanta), Christian Gunter (Freiburg), Marcel Halstenberg (Leipzig), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (Leipzig), Robin Koch (Leeds United), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Forwards: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Kevin Volland (Monaco), Timo Werner (Chelsea)

OUTLOOK

Germany is almost always in contention to win its group and contend for the title, with this tournament being no exception. The Germans boast a strong squad despite going through a generational change, and should have ample motivation after their ugly, three-and-out showing at the last World Cup. Long-time coach Joachim Lowe has also already announced that he will step down from his post after the competition, so expect him to try and get the most out of this team in order to achieve that dream farewell.


PORTUGAL


HEAD COACH

Fernando Santos

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota

NAME TO LEARN

Nuno Mendes. The other teenager in this group, the 18-year-old left back is coming off a strong campaign with Portuguese league champions Sporting CP. Mendes boasts blistering speed and a good bit of skill, qualities that he should have ample opportunity to display despite his lack of experience given that he projects to start on the back line for Portugal.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyon), Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rui Silva (Granada)

Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Nelson Semedo (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Jose Fonte (Lille), Pepe (Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (Sporting CP), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (PSG), Joao Palhinha (Sporting CP), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Renato Sanches (Lille), Sergio Oliveira (Porto), William Carvalho (Real Betis)

Forwards: Pedro Goncalves (Sporting CP), Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid), Rafa Silva (Benfica)

OUTLOOK

Portugal has an arguably more talented squad now than it did five years ago when it won the last Euros, but getting the pieces to all fit together is the challenge in front of manager Fernando Santos. If he can do that and should Cristiano Ronaldo maintain scoring at a regular rate, the Portuguese stand a good chance to go far. If they do not, then a disappointing group-stage exit is just as possible.


HUNGARY


HEAD COACH

Marco Rossi

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Adam Szalai, Adam Nagy, Roland Sallai, Peter Gulacsi

NAME TO LEARN

Roland Sallai. The SC Freiburg attacker is coming off a solid season in the German Bundesliga that saw him score eight times in 28 appearances. The 24-year-old Sallai will aim to carry that kind of form over into these international games, especially since Hungary will likely need to be opportunistic in front of goal against stronger teams that might not give up a whole lot of chances against the group hosts.

ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Peter Gulacsi (Leipzig), Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros), Adam Bogdan (Ferencvaros)

Defenders: Gergo Lovrencsics (Ferencvaros), Endre Botka (Ferencvaros), Adam Lang (Omonia Nicosia), Akos Kecskes (Lugano), Attila Fiola (Fehervar), Willi Orban (Leipzig), Attila Szalai (Fenerbahce), Bendeguz Bolla (Fehervar)

Midfielders: Loic Nego (Fehervar), Adam Nagy (Bristol City), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Osijek), David Siger (Ferencvaros), Daniel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union), Andras Schafer (Dunajska Streda) Tamas Cseri (Mezokovesd), Filip Holender (Partizan)

Forwards: Adam Szalai (Mainz), Roland Sallai (Freiburg), Nemanja Nikolic (Fehervar), Kevin Varga (Kasımpasa), Roland Varga (MTK Budapest), Szabolcs Schon (FC Dallas), Janos Hahn (Paks)

OUTLOOK

Hungary was dealt a rough group-stage draw, landing three of the continent’s powerhouses. Home teams tend to be stirred on by their fan bases, however, and the Hungarians will have the chance to play in front of capacity crowds in Budapest in the group stage. Making the most of that development and turning in strong collective showings full of energy, fight, and commitment could see Italian manager Marco Rossi’s side survive, but that is nonetheless a tall order for the underdogs.

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