The draw for UEFA Euro 2024 took place on Saturday in Hamburg and threw up some fascinating matchups which we can now look forward to next summer. Hosts Germany will face Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland in Group A with the Scots being the opponents for the opening game of the tournament in Munich.
Spain, Croatia and Italy all landed together in Group B with Albania completing the quartet but all eyes will already be on the Spanish opener against the Croats in Berlin. That will be followed by La Roja meeting the Azzurri in Gelsenkirchen in the second game before Croatia and Italy close the group in Leipzig.
Elsewhere, England will be grateful for their Group C which features Slovenia, Denmark and Serbia with Gelsenkirchen hosting the Serbian, Frankfurt the Danish and Cologne the Slovenian Three Lions matchups. Gareth Southgate's side will be one of the pre-tournament favorites to go all the way and that draw will aid their chances.
France are in one of three incomplete groups owing to the ongoing playoffs but Group D already boasts Les Bleus, the Netherlands and Austria with the possibility of Poland, Wales, Finland or Estonia being added to the mix. Didier Deschamps will have been grateful to have avoided the possibility of Italy or Switzerland dropping in to complete a tough group.
Group E features Belgium, Slovakia and Romania but will also need a playoff winner to finally be complete with Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine or Iceland the candidates. Portugal and Turkiye headline Group D which is also waiting for one of Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan or Luxembourg to complete it along with Czechia.
We break the main areas of this weekend's draw down for you.
- Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland.
- Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy and Albania.
- Group C: Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia and England.
- Group D: Play-off winner A (Poland, Wales, Finland or Estonia), Netherlands, Austria and France.
- Group E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania and Play-off winner B (Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine or Iceland).
- Group F: Turkiye, play-off winner C (Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan or Luxembourg), Portugal and Czechia.
Possible top seed routes
- Germany: Should the Germans' form improve to the point where they emerge from Group A, Julian Nagelsmann's side will face the runners-up from England's group. However, the biggest probable hazard on any potential route to the final for the home nation will be the potential quarterfinal which could feature the winners from Spain, Croatia and Italy's Group B. Get through that and it could be Portugal if Cristiano Ronaldo's side wins Group F or whichever of France or the Netherlands does not top Group D.
- Spain: It should be noted that the Spanish emerging from Group B could already be considered a success after this draw. Italy and Croatia will be extremely difficult opponents and Albania add a wildcard element which does not guarantee La Roja a top two position. A theoretically more favorable matchup awaits should Spain emerge top of the pile given that it is a third-placed side from Groups A, D, E and F, but Germany and Portugal are the other seeded sides with France also possibly in the mix.
- England: With arguably the most straightforward group ahead of them, the route should be tougher for the Three Lions from the quarterfinals onwards. A third-placed side from Group D, E or F in the round of 16 should set up a quarterfinal with a runner-up from Spain, Italy and Croatia's Group B or Germany, Scotland or Switzerland's Group A. Make it through that and it is a potential semifinal against the winner of either France's Group D or Belgium's Group F. Do not forget that Portugal might not top Group F which could add a further wrinkle.
- France: Given their impressive qualifying record and the fact that they finished ahead of the Netherlands to earn top seed status, the French are expected to top Group D. Although incomplete, Austria and the Dutch -- Les Bleus' two first games -- will be targeting second and Poland winning the play-offs could spice things up further. Should Didier Deschamps' men lead the way, a runner-up from Portugal and Turkiye's Group F -- not a third-placed side -- will come before any potential winner from Belgium's Group E. If that does not stop Kylian Mbappe and his fellow Frenchmen then presumably it will be England in the Dortmund semifinal for a final berth.
- Belgium: Aside from England, the draw has sat up nicely for the Belgians with Slovakia and Romania about as favorable as you can get at this level. Although the play-offs could send in Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine or Iceland, Domenico Tedesco's side will be confident that they will finish top. In that scenario, a third-placed side from Group A, B, C or D will await in the round of 16 which is only truly dangerous when you factor in Spain, Croatia or Italy from Group B. A potential quarterfinal vs. France or one of Portugal and Turkiye is tricky before what could be England in the semifinals in a possible final before the final.
- Portugal: Handed Turkiye and Czechia in Group F, the Portuguese will not be too worried although Roberto Martinez's men would probably rather avoid the Greeks from the play-off selection of Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan or Luxembourg. Finish first and the third-placed side from Group A, B or C could be Spain, Croatia or Italy while France or Belgium could even lurk in the quarterfinals if either fails to top their group. Get through that and it could be Germany or whoever finishes top of Group B so consider this a tough route overall.
Top Group pick
- Group B: Although the groups are currently incomplete, it is hard to see past the combination of Spain, Croatia and Italy for this one. Albania can consider themselves very unlucky to have landed in a group which blends as much talent and pedigree as this one with five titles between the Spanish and Italian sides alone without mentioning the Croats' recent deep runs at international tournaments. Picking one team to emerge from this group is tough, but Spain are at massive risk more than any other top seed in this draw.