Euro 2024: group-by-group analysis

<span>Photograph: Adam Davy/PA</span>
Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

GROUP A – Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland

Scotland will feel entitled to scent blood when they kick off the tournament against a Germany side under huge pressure to deliver. The start of Julian Nagelsmann’s tenure has been clouded by friendly defeats against Turkey and Austria; he is presiding over a team in transition and Scotland, a well-oiled machine under Steve Clarke, will feel capable of landing an early blow. It is not a stretch to suggest Hungary, who qualified commandingly, will fancy their chances of competing for top spot. They drew with Germany in Munich at Euro 2020 and only 18 months have passed since they outplayed England at Molineux in the Nations League. Switzerland complete the quartet but will need to garner some momentum. After storming through the early stages of the qualifiers, Murat Yakin’s side stumbled to draws against Belarus, Israel and Kosovo before losing to Romania. Their tournament expertise means, though, that they cannot be discounted.

Related: Euro 2024: England in group with Denmark; Scotland face Germany opener

GROUP B – Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania

The Albania manager, Sylvinho, who made his name as a player with Arsenal, spoke before the draw of “creating dreams”. Progress through one of the toughest groups they could have imagined would seem the stuff of fantasy, although their performance in outdoing the Czech Republic and Poland during the qualifiers merits attention. Italy, marooned in pot four and a shadow of the team that triumphed at Wembley two and a half years ago, would surely have preferred to avoid Spain and Croatia, although the latter will need to squeeze out one last show of majesty from a 38-year-old Luka Modric if they are to progress far. On paper Spain should have too much for all three opponents, although they were dealt a severe blow last month when the Barcelona midfielder Gavi sustained a serious knee injury. He will almost certainly miss the tournament and Luis de la Fuente, the veteran coach who stepped in from the shadows last year, must find a viable contingency.

Luka Modric
Luka Modric will again be key for Croatia. Photograph: Toms Kalniņš/EPA

GROUP C – England, Denmark, Slovenia, Serbia

Gareth Southgate may have frowned inwardly when Denmark were drawn out first to join England; Slovenia and Serbia offer less stressful tests on paper although both are capable of carrying a sting. Serbia, packed with attacking talent but traditionally less than the sum of their parts, will aim at least to compete for second spot in their first European Championship. Their manager, Dragan Stojkovic must hope his talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has not been blunted since swapping the Premier League for a club career in Saudi Arabia. Denmark will relish the chance of revenge over England after feeling robbed at Wembley in the Euro 2020 semi-final, but the group’s shape may hinge on their meetings with a functional Slovenia. The sides faced each other in qualifying, Kasper Hjulmand’s team edging top spot in Group H thanks to a 2-1 win over in Copenhagen. If England do stutter against Serbia or Denmark and require points, they may not feel unhappy about playing Slovenia on the final match day.

Related: Red faces for Uefa as Euro 2024 draw disrupted by ‘pornographic noises’

GROUP D – France, Austria, Netherlands, Playoff winner A (potentially Wales)

France will be expected to cruise towards the final stages but may face complications in one of the trickier groups. They were run close by an improving Netherlands in Amsterdam during qualifying in October and a contest for first place may yet materialise if if Ronald Koeman can harness the best from a bright new generation. Nobody should discount Austria, who appear formidable under Ralf Rangnick, from springing a surprise: they overcame Germany convincingly in Vienna last month and went toe to toe with Belgium in qualifying. Should Wales make it through the playoffs, a far from unlikely scenario, they will face an uphill task to regain some face after flopping at last year’s World Cup. France will hope to have done the hard work by the time they face Rob Page’s side, or whoever arrives in their place, in Dortmund on 25 June.

Kylian Mbappé celebrates a goal during France’s qualifying win over the Netherlands in March.

GROUP E – Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Playoff winner B

The level of interest in an outwardly underwhelming set may hinge on whether Ukraine – who need to outdo Israel, Iceland and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the playoffs – qualify and provide a good news story. Serhiy Rebrov’s team might even be fancied to win a group that Belgium, still managing a transition between generations, are not guaranteed to rip apart. There will be plenty of eyes on Domenico Tedesco’s Diables Rouges, who qualified without fuss and hope to have cast off the disappointment of an early World Cup exit. A resurgent Romania, who showed rare consistency to top Group I in comfort, are in fine form under Edward Iordanescu and may be capable of causing a surprise, although a lack of experience at the top level may prove harmful. Slovakia, who gave Portugal two close games during the qualifiers, will hope a core of Milan Skriniar, Stanislav Lobotka and Ondrej Duda keeps them in the mix.

GROUP F – Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Play-off winner C

Roberto Martínez and Portugal, who qualified with a perfect 10 wins from 10, should be able to ease through without alarm. Should Greece join them through the playoff route the group would prompt memories of Euro 2004, when both Portugal – twice, including the final – and the Czech Republic were shocked by Otto Rehhagel’s team. This time the biggest threat may come from Turkey, who made fools of everyone who tipped them as dark horses in 2021 but might just justify their billing this time under the smart management of Vincenzo Montella. Away wins in Germany and Croatia over the past two months offer tantalising promise. The Czech Republic, captained by Tomas Soucek but containing little other stardust, made heavy weather of qualifying at times and may have to scrap for third spot.