8 to 10 teams can win Euros: Southgate

World Cup semi-finalists England among the favourites as familiar foes Croatia in their way

LONDON • England manager Gareth Southgate believes the margins will be fine and "eight to 10 big nations" are in the frame to win Euro 2020 after the draw for the Finals was made on Saturday.

His side will be among the favourites after reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia last year, although they will be up against Croatia - the side who knocked them out - in Group D along with Czech Republic and a play-off winner.

With the tournament being spread across 12 nations, England will have the advantage of playing each of their group games at Wembley, as well as the semi-final and final if they progress.

Asked for his thoughts on the draw, Southgate, who played in England's Euro 96 squad that reached the semi-finals at home, said: "I'm never sure whether it's a good draw. We have played two of the teams before and for us to play at Wembley is something special.

"We know the quality of (Croatia's) midfielders. There are eight to 10 big countries. The margins are really, really fine."

If England win their group they could face a last-16 tie in Dublin against Germany, France or holders Portugal - all of whom are in a tough-looking Group F.

"The group has the winners of the last three big international tournaments," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.

"It's a tough group but we are going to believe in our chances."

France coach Didier Deschamps also admitted it is the "hardest group" and added: "We will have to be ready right away."

  • EURO 2020 DRAW

  • GROUP A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

    GROUP B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia

    GROUP C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, Play-off winner A/D

    GROUP D: England, Croatia, Czech Rep, Play-off winner C

    GROUP E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Play-off winner B

    GROUP F: Portugal, France, Germany, Play-off winner A/D

    • Play-off winner A: Bulgaria/Hungary v Iceland/Romania

    • Winner B: Bosnia and Herzegovina/Northern Ireland v Slovakia/Ireland

    • Winner C: Norway/Serbia v Scotland/Israel

    • Winner D: Georgia/Belarus v North Macedonia/Kosovo

Germany coach Joachim Low called it a "Group of Death" and believes World Cup holders France - who followed their 1998 triumph by winning Euro 2000 - are the strongest team. He said: "They are the world champions and have been getting stronger for the last three of four years."

Wales, who enjoyed a dream run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals and who clinched qualification only in their final game last month, have been placed in Group A with Turkey, hosts Italy and Switzerland.

Euro 2008 and 2012 champions Spain, in Group E which is played in Bilbao and Dublin, face Sweden, Poland and play-off winner B - either Bosnia, Slovakia, Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Belgium's opponents in Group B will be Denmark and Russia - who are both host nations - and Finland, who will be making their first appearance in a European Championship or World Cup.

The Netherlands, who like Italy missed out on the last World Cup, were pitted against Ukraine, Austria and play-off winner A or D in Group C, which will be played in Amsterdam and Bucharest.

Dutch coach Ronald Koeman said: "I say this with some care, but I think we're the favourites in our group."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2019, with the headline '8 to 10 teams can win Euros: Southgate'. Print Edition | Subscribe