It’s finally here!
A year later than planned after the Covid-19 delay, but Euro 2020 is finally upon us as England look to end 55 years of hurt, while home nations Scotland and Wales are also involved.
Portugal are the reigning champions coming into the tournament, but it’s World Cup winners France who are the favourites to lift the trophy.
And for the first time, the tournament will be played across 11 different countries in Europe.
There are 51 matches to come during the feast of football taking place over the next month, so we’ve rounded up an ultimate guide of everything you need to know for the tournament.
When and where is the tournament?
Euro 2020 kicks off today on Friday June 11 with the opening ceremony preceding a tasty clash in Rome between Turkey and Italy.
It will then conclude in one months’ time, with the final scheduled for Sunday July 11 at Wembley Stadium.
The countries facilitating matches are Azerbaijan, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, Scotland and Spain.
The stadiums are:
Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam
Olympic Stadium, Baku
National Arena, Bucharest
Puskás Arena, Budapest
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Wembley Stadium, London
Allianz Arena, Munich
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Estadio de La Cartuja, Seville
Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg
Who is playing?
There are 24 different nations competing in the tournament, and six groups of teams (A-F).
Each team will play each other once in the group, with the winner earning three points, losers getting zero, and each side getting a point apiece if the match ends in a draw.
Group A (matches played in Rome/Baku) : Turkey, Italy (hosts), Wales, Switzerland
Group B (Copenhagen/St Petersburg): Denmark (hosts), Finland, Belgium, Russia (hosts)
Group C (Amsterdam/Bucharest) : Netherlands (hosts), Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia
Group D (London/Glasgow) : England (hosts), Croatia, Scotland (hosts), Czech Republic
Group E (Seville/St Petersburg) : Spain (hosts), Sweden, Poland, Slovakia
Group F (Munich/Budapest) : Hungary (hosts), Portugal (holders), France, Germany (hosts)
Here’s the lowdown on each nation participating at Euro 2020 in Mirror Football’s Power Rankings.
When are the knockout rounds?
The top two teams with the most points from each group progress to the round of 16 knockout stages, alongside the four highest performing third-placed teams.
Who faces who in the next round is then dependant on which teams come top of their group, and those who fall behind in second and third.
Knockout matches are the standard 90 minutes in length. If scores are level there will then be a period of 30 minutes of extra time. Should the game still be tied after that, it goes to the dreaded penalty shootout.
Here is the schedule for the knockout stage:
Round of 16: June 26-29
Quarter-Finals: July 2-3
Semi-Final: July 6-7 (Wembley)
Final: July 11 (Wembley)
Are fans allowed in stadiums?
The short answer is yes – but only one venue (Budapest) will be able to have full capacity.
The rest of the stadiums are expected to fill only a small proportion of the stands, with a number of rules in place as established by UEFA.
· Masks are compulsory in and around the stadium.
· A minimum distance of 1.50 metres must be maintained.
· Only the seat indicated on the ticket may be used.
· Washing and disinfecting hands is recommended. Disinfectant will be available throughout the stadium for this purpose.
· Handshakes, hugs, high fives and close contact with others are to be avoided.
· Everyone should also stay in their seats during halftime and limit movement as much as possible.
· Signs in the stadium will point the way.
· Anyone who feels unwell or has symptoms of Covid-19 should not go into the stadium.
The ticket holders will only have a 30-minute allocated slot to enter the stadiums prior to kick off so you might have to arrive well in advance of the event.
Which games are on TV?
The good news is that all 51 matches will be shown live on terrestrial television, with BBC and ITV sharing the duties.
You can catch the opening ceremony live on Friday on BBC1 from 7pm, followed by the first match of the tournament, Turkey vs Italy.
Here’s a full list of all the group stage matches and when you can tune in to watch them.
When are England playing?
Gareth Southgate’s side are one of the teams tipped to emerge victorious from this year’s competition, but to do so they will have to come through a testing group.
The Three Lions kick off their campaign against Croatia on Sunday, followed by matches with Scotland and Czech Republic, as they bid to reach the knockout rounds.
England matches at Euro 2020
Croatia, Sunday 13 June, 2pm, BBC
Scotland, Friday 18 June, 8pm, ITV
Czech Republic, Tuesday 22 June, 8pm, ITV
Here’s the guide to all 26 stars representing England this summer.
What about the home nations?
Well, as mentioned above, Scotland have the joy of coming up against their Auld Enemy England in the group stage in the first clash between the sides at a major tournament since Euro ’96.
Meanwhile, Wales are also in action and have a decent chance of navigating a path to the knockout rounds.
Czech Republic, Monday 14 June, 2pm, BBC
England, Friday 18 June, 8pm, ITV
Croatia, Tuesday 22 June, 8pm, ITV
Switzerland, Saturday 12 June, 2pm, BBC/S4C
Turkey, Wednesday 16 June, 5pm, BBC/S4C
Italy, Sunday 20 June, 5pm, ITV/S4C
Who are the favourites?
France are the bookmakers hot tip to win the competition outright, following on from their World Cup win in 2018.
Didier Deschamps’ team is littered with star quality, but have been put in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Germany and Hungary, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, who are looking to defend their trophy.
Italy won all 10 of their qualifying matches and are expected to progress comfortably to the knockout stage, while Spain, Belgium and of course England are also in the mix.
However, the competition has seem outsiders reign supreme in the past, with Greece’s victory in 2004 a prime example that underdogs can have their day on the international stage.
Players to watch
Where do we begin?
As ever with international tournaments, Euro 2020 is jam-packed full of superstars.
They don’t come much bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo, though France’s Kylian Mbappe is quickly rising out of his shadow.
The likes of Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante are also on Mbappe’s side, but Ronaldo does have Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes as a teammate.
England’s hopes look a lot more promising than in years gone by, with captain Harry Kane and talented youngster Phil Foden primed to excite fans.
Belgium possess the talents of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, while Italy have prolific goal scorer Ciro Immobile leading their attack.
Spain’s emphasis is very much on the team, though Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara will likely be pulling the strings, and Wales of course have Gareth Bale firing their charge for silverware.
Who do you think will win Euro 2020? Have your say below.