Euro 2020: Everything you need to know
It’s the tournament that, despite its slightly misleading name, is taking place in 2021. We’re sure it’ll be worth the wait
In 2020, after the world was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and subjected to one of the worst years ever, we also had to miss out on the UEFA European Football Championships too. As if things weren’t shit enough already.
In Britain, especially, England look to have a particularly special generation coming through - though the 12-month delay has likely only benefited the development of the younger players breaking into the squad.
But whether it’s the World Cup or the Euros, international tournaments are a special time for a country: fans and non-believers alike unite in front rooms, beer gardens and boozers all around the world to cheer on their team.
As for Scotland, they've already enjoyed a magical moment that will be remembered years to come, as a save from David Marshall during penalties against Serbia was enough to see them qualify for their first finals in 22 years.
As for Wales, they qualified in style against Hungary back at the tail end of 2019 and the usual faces look be at the heart of everything good: Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey the most notable, but the likes of David Brooks, Dan James, Tyler Roberts and Keifer Moore could all be there to chip in with contributions when it counts. Question is, could it be Bale's last dance?
All that being said, we were well up for another special summer and seeing the tournament postponed (albeit necessarily) was like a slap in the face; like having the crisp, cold pints snatched from your very lips.
So, with Euro 2020 finally set to kick off, we simply can’t contain our excitement. As such, we've put together a quick look ahead: where to watch the games, who's got who, how this year will be different and plenty more.
How to watch Euro 2020 - what channels will it be on?
One of the best parts about watching the international competitions, be it the Euros or the World Cup, is that those not fortunate enough to be able to pay for Sky Sports or BT don't have to miss out. Euro 2020 will be no different and you will be able to watch on terrestrial TV, with games being broadcast on both BBC and ITV.
As for radio, the exclusive rights for audio-only broadcasts have been secured by TalkSport this year. While England games will take precedence, they will also provide coverage of Scotland and Wales games, leading all the way up to the final on July 11. For the full Euro 2020 schedule (as far we know for now, anyway) read our full fixture list.
How is Euro 2020 different from previous tournaments?
Given the unique circumstances of the past 12 months or so, this year's Euros are going to be slightly different; first and foremost, there won't be as many fans. While there was a time when we feared there wouldn't be any supporters allowed back in stadiums in time for the tournament, UEFA confirmed that grounds would be able to operate at 25% capacity.
This is also the first tournament where teams have qualified through the UEFA Nations League, which saw its inaugural biennial tournament start in 2018 and end with a Portugal win in June 2019. As a result, at least one team from each group in the Nations League season would qualify for the final tournament (either coming top or through the play-offs).
Where will Euro 2020 fixtures be played?
Another big distinction with this particular competition when compared to previous years is that this is the first tournament to be played across the continent in an effort to try and represent more of Europe and the nations participating.
While the stadiums selected aren't a full sweep of European footballing nations - coronavirus already being a significant factor that has seen many question, 'why host in several countries this year? - it is a novel way of mixing things up for a change.
While England failed to win the bid for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Wembley will not only host Group D fixtures for England and Scotland, it will also be the site of the semi-final and the final itself. Better still, there are rumours that provided the roadmap out of lockdown doesn't face anymore speed bumps, we could see full capacity crowds at Wembley beyond June 21.
Here is a full list of all the Euro 2020 venues:
- Stadio Olimpico - Rome, Italy
- Olympic Stadium - Baku, Azerbaijan
- Krestovsky Stadium (Gazprom Arena) - Saint Petersburg, Russia
- Parken Stadium - Copenhagen, Denmark
- Johan Cruyff Arena - Amsterdam, Holland
- Arena Națională - Bucharest, Romania
- Wembley Stadium - London, England
- Hampden Park - Glasgow, Scotland
- Allianz Arena - Munich, Germany
- Puskás Aréna - Budapest, Hungary
Dublin's Aviva Stadium and Athletic Bilbao's, San Mamés Stadium, were also set to be the 11th and 12th venues. However, after the cities/arenas could not commit to the 25% capacity, they have been dropped as hosts.
While Sevilla, essentially, replaced Bilbao's games - with some fixtures being dished out elsewhere - the FA have been rewarded with the additional games at Wembley after they and the English fans played such a big part in The Super League downfall. You absolutely love to see it. Might as well call it a home tournament at this point.
The foreign press have hailed the impact of English football fans in rejecting the Super League 👏👏👏 https://t.co/2JOJUSdufC
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) April 21, 2021
Euro 2020 Groups
The group stages can make or break a nation's tournament chances before they even get going: a team who are good enough to get through can fall short if they get too many of the big boys in the same group and, equally, some teams coast through simply on the luck of the draw. That being said, there are some good match-ups here:
- Group A - Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
- Group B - Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
- Group C - Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia
- Group D - England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic
- Group E - Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia
- Group F - Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany
You'd have to say, the 'Group of Death' if there is one, has to be F. Not only do Portugal and France have two of the best squads in the competition full stop - filled with promising youth as well as experienced senior figures - they also have the two most recent international trophies in the World Cup and the Nations League, so it's a team of proven winners.
Then you have Germany, who despite going through somewhat of a transitional stage at the moment, still have plenty of talent at both ends of the scale: the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane, recent Champions League winners Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, as well their own World Cup winners in Toni Kroos, Marco Reus and Manuel Neuer. Hungary may not stand much chance of getting through but stranger things have happened.
You can find the full fixture list and where to watch every game here.
England, Wales & Scotland's fixtures
Now, what about our British boys? Well, they find themselves in a group that will, no doubt, conjure up some painful memories; the Three Lions will no doubt want to make right the 2018 World Cup Semi-Final against Croatia.
We've all thought of how different life might've been had Kane squared it: national unity, flying cars, world peace - who knows? Safe to say, if he doesn't square it at the next time asking, there'll be absolute bedlam (as there will if he does, to be fair).
But forget about that, who do they Wales and the Tartan Army have and when this time around?
- Wales vs Switzerland - 12th June, 2pm (BBC One/iPlayer/S4C)
- England vs Croatia - 13th June, 2pm (BBC One/iPlayer)
- Scotland vs Czech Republic - 14th June, 2pm (BBC One/iPlayer)
- Turkey vs Wales - 16th, 5pm (BBC One/iPlayer/S4C)
- England vs Scotland - 18th June, 8pm (ITV/Hub)
- Italy v Wales - 20th June, 5pm (ITV4/Hub/S4C)
- Czech Republic vs England - 22nd June, 8pm (ITV/Hub)
- Croatia vs Scotland - 22nd June, 8pm (ITV4/Hub)
Euro 2020 is so close now we can almost smell it and while it may start in a matter of hours, before you know it, we'll be wrapped up in 31 days of nothing but football.
Only time will tell how far England will make it, whether Scotland will make it out of the groups and how much UK in-fighting there will be when the two sides meet in the group stages; will Wales turn the clock back to 2016 and enjoy another promising run towards the final?
What we do know is that it's been far too long since the last international competition and this extra year of waiting has felt like a lifetime. We can't wait for the stage to be set, to see the best players in Europe put on a show and look to make history for their national teams. But, most importantly, we can't wait to see more fans back in the stadiums.
So, get your kit on and make sure you put your retro shirts on a soft wash. Get your flags flying out of the window and wherever you're watching, get there now! Football JOE will be providing coverage of the entire thing, from the best goals to the top performers of the tournament, right up until the final on July 11.
Don't miss a second of it.