Euro 2024 fixtures: The best group games you cannot miss

EditorLast Update :
Euro 2024 fixtures: The best group games you cannot miss

Ahead of the start of Euro 2024, Sports Mole picks out the top group games that must not be missed.

The wait is almost over for 24 Euro 2024 hopefuls and 24 sets of glass-half-full and glass-half-empty supporters, as the latest edition of the continental championships gets underway in just a few days time.

Twenty-three sides who went through the rigmarole of qualifying and came up trumps will join hosts Germany in this year’s tournament, which runs for exactly one month from June 14 to July 14, concluding with the final in Berlin on the latter date.

Before the two finalists go head-to-head for the right to conquer Europe, the first 12 days and nights will be all about the group fixtures, some of which will throw up some tantalising battles between revered nations.

Here, Sports Mole picks out a selection of Euro 2024 group matches that you cannot afford to miss.

Group A

Germany vs. Scotland (June 14, 8pm BST, Allianz Arena)

© Reuters

As hosts, Germany have the honour of competing in the inaugural match of the tournament on the evening of June 14, when Group A rivals Scotland arrive at Bayern Munich’s iconic Allianz Arena.

Now led by the youthful Julian Nagelsmann, who formerly manned the Allianz Arena touchline during his short-lived Bayern Munich stint, Die Mannschaft have several mistakes to rectify from prior Euros and World Cup campaigns but have made a promising start to the calendar year.

Indeed, the Euro 2024 host nation have already toppled France and the Netherlands in exhibition matches, while Scotland took second place in qualifying Group A behind Spain – whom they impressively beat 2-0 in the section – but have won just one of their last four fixtures.

World Cup opponents in 1986 and Euros opponents in 1992 – two games that were won by the Germans – the Euro 2024 openers are reuniting for the first time since a Euro 2016 qualifier almost nine years ago, when a Thomas Muller brace and Ilkay Gundogan effort secured a thrilling 3-2 success for Die Mannschaft.

Group B

Spain vs. Croatia (June 15, 5pm BST, Olympiastadion)

Spain's Rodri celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 26, 2024© Reuters

One of a handful of tantalising fixtures taking place in the ‘Group of Death’, where reigning champions Italy and the unfancied Albania are also present, Spain and Croatia scrap for supremacy in their opening tie in Berlin on June 15.

The mouthwatering showdown pits the 2008 and 2012 winners against the losing 2018 World Cup finalists, one year on from their nerve-jangling battle in the 2023 UEFA Nations League final, which the Spaniards won on penalties.

Now set to meet at the Euros for the fourth tournament running, Spain edged a 5-3 spectacular with Croatia in the Euro 2020 last 16 and also prevailed 1-0 in the groups in 2012, but the Chequered Ones ran out 2-1 victors in this phase in 2016, where Ivan Perisic was the 87th-minute hero.

Spain vs. Italy (June 20, 8pm BST, Veltins-Arena)

Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma celebrates as his team beat England to win Euro 2020 on July 11, 2021© Reuters

The winners of three of the last four editions of the European Championships, Spain’s showdown with Italy at the Veltins-Arena on the evening of June 20 is arguably the pick of all the group games at this summer’s tournament.

After failing to grace the 2022 World Cup with their presence, the Azzurri bid to defend their continental title with a new-look setup under Luciano Spalletti, whose side accepted a runners-up finish behind England in qualifying Group C.

Unsurprisingly, there is a long and rich head-to-head history between Italy and Spain, the latter of whom came up trumps in last year’s Nations League semi-finals after the Azzurri won on penalties at the same stage of Euro 2020.

Before starring three years ago, however, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were both members of the Italy backline that shipped four goals to Vicente del Bosque‘s Spain in the Euro 2012 final.

Croatia vs. Italy (June 24, 8pm BST, Red Bull Arena)

Croatia players pose for a team group photo before the match on March 23, 2024© Reuters

Concluding the trio of blockbuster Group B matches, Croatia and Italy bring the curtain down on the section at the Red Bull Arena on June 24, where the Azzurri will bid to end an eye-watering 82-year winless run against their Chequered foes.

Since triumphing in their maiden meeting – a 1942 friendly – Italy have failed to win any of their subsequent eight matches against Croatia, who prevailed in the 2002 World Cup group stage before managing a 1-1 draw at Euro 2012.

The latter result marked the first of three straight two-goal stalemates between the Group B rivals, who have not crossed paths since a pair of Euro 2016 qualifying ties, in which Antonio Candreva struck in both games for the reigning European champions.

Group C

Denmark vs. England (June 20, 5pm BST, Deutsche Bank Park)

England's Kobbie Mainoo looks dejected after Iceland's Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson scores their first goal on June 7, 2024© Reuters

A repeat of their unforgettable Euro 2020 semi-final, Denmark and England reach the mid-point of their Group C campaigns with an intriguing battle at the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt on June 20.

The Scandinavian powerhouses will have vengeance on their minds following their 2-1 extra-time loss to the Three Lions at Wembley three years ago, and both sides arrive in Germany having topped their preliminary sections.

The last time that Denmark and England met in the group stages of the European Championships came 32 years ago, where a drab goalless draw was played out before the former stunned the continent by going all the way. An omen?

Group D

Netherlands vs. France (June 21, 8pm BST, Red Bull Arena)

France's Benjamin Pavard celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 17, 2023© Reuters

Having already locked horns in their Euro 2024 qualifying group, the Netherlands and France – two of the favourites to hoist the iconic trophy aloft this summer – quickly renew hostilities in Group D, clashing in Leipzig on June 21.

Les Bleus subjected their Dutch foes to a 4-0 humbling and 2-1 defeat in their qualifying section, underlining their credentials as the fancied team in this head-to-head, especially as seven of their last eight clashes with Oranje in all competitions have now ended in victory.

However, the Netherlands did come out on the correct end of the scoreline in the Euro 2000 and Euro 2008 group stages against the French, offering a crumb of comfort ahead of a titanic battle which will almost certainly determine the destiny of top spot in Group D.

ID:545533:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect11003: