Team Talk – Group D
Croatia is a small and young country, however, when it comes to football, they are already very big. We all remember Croatia during the 2018 World cup... During the Euro qualifying rounds, they managed to finish first in their qualifying group. Regarding the team, there are a few changes compared to their 2018 world cup line up. First there is the international retirement of a few players such as : Mandzukic, Rakitic and Subasic. Subasic will be replaced by Livakovic who is a very good goalkeeper. Regarding their defense, at first sight, it seems a little weak. If we take a closer look at their midfield, we have a rather solid line up, which includes Kovacic, Brozovic and of course… Modric, who will most likely play a little lower than he is used to in order to give more support to the defense. If this is the case, there is a high chance that we will see Nikola Vlasic, from CSKA Moscow, a 23 year old player, considered as the best player in this league. He is someone to keep an eye out for. In the attack, Perisic will be playing left wing. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to show the same standard as when he was playing during the world cup. Kramaric, who will play as a striker has finished his season with a total of 25 goals in all competitions combined with Hoffenheim. On the right wing Croatia has decided to play with Rebic who has had a very good season at Milan. These three last players are often injured so they will have to be extra careful. The question now is, will they be able to keep up with the level we have witnessed during the last international competition? We’ll find out on the 13th of June as they will be facing England for their first match.
Fun Fact : Croatia is home to the world’s smallest town, known as “Hum”. It’s population is between 17 and 23 people.
“It’s cooooming home”
During its qualifying rounds, England won all its games, apart from Czech Republic (2-1), but still managed to end up first of their group. However, more recently, they ended up 3rd in their group for the Nations league behind Belgium and Denmark. We can say that they are entering the Euros with a limited level of collective certainty but they have some incredible assets amongst their team. It’s going to be very hard for Southgate to pick the players in his starting squad.
In 2021, Southgate changed his defense from 3 to 4 players, thus, the very complementary Maguire - Stones duo should be the center backs of the England formation. Regarding the left full back, it is going to be between Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw. The right full back is another story… No other country has this amount of extremely good players in this position. Walker, Alexander - Arnold, Trippier, James, Wan Bissaka and many more. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be very hard for Southgate to pick if he only selects 2.
Regarding the attack, we will have Kane as captain and center forward, but who is Southgate going to choose to support him? Once again, there is an incredibly wide range of players. The most likely for now would be Rashford and Foden, who can deal with different types of situations, open up some spaces and create some movement that Kane would need.
In the midfield, there are 2 players which are very likely to be part of the starting squad, these are Rice and Mount. The 3rd player will be the one who will determine the physiognomy of the matches. Henderson is still Southgate’s first choice who is a powerful player, or will we have someone like Kalvin Phillips, who has been very impressive in the last couple games.
England has a huge reservoir of individual talents, but the collective certainty remains limited. Will they base their play with 40% possession and create some real speed during their transitions or with 65% and more quality in small spaces, with Foden or Grealish for example?
This is definitely a team to keep a close eye on.
Fun fact: If England reaches the final, there is only one game that they won’t have played on home ground.
Scotland has brought a lot to football, however, football has not brought much joy to Scotland, at least for now. Indeed, they are the inventors of the pass During the last few years, Scottish football has greatly evolved. Scotland has brought a lot to football; however, football has not brought much joy to Scotland, at least for now. Their last qualification for an international competition was in 1998 and before this was the 1996 Euros, but never managed to pass the first round. They are, however, the inventors of the pass that was back then, largely criticized.
This year’s Euro qualification is, as you can understand an important event. More than 50% of the country’s population watched the match that led to their qualification.
Regarding the team, we will have Marshall as the goalkeeper who has become a true legend after stopping the penalty that made them win the match and qualify.
Scotland’s main advantage is their defense, they have conceded very few goals during the play off and qualifying rounds. If we take a closer look at it, they will be 3 central backs. But on the left side we will have the duo Robertson – Tierney, who usually play the same position (left back) but they are considered as some of the best Sottish players. Thus, Robertson will play a little higher. In the midfield, there will be Mcgregor from the Celtics and Mcginn from Aston Villa who are also very good players, even though Mcginn has lacked a little consistency during this past season. For the attack, we usually see the Dykes and Christie duo, however there are a few young players that might make their appearances such as Oliver Burke or even Ollie Mcburnie.
Other players from the new generation with very high potential might be on the field, like: the 19 year old player Billy Gilmour from Chelsea, David Turnbull from the Celtics who is 21 and Alan Campbell from Motherwell. The represent the future of this Scottish team and we hope seeing at least one of them on the field for the competition.
We wish the best of luck to this Scottish team !
Fun fact: Scotland has approximately 790 Islands !
It’s first participation to a major international competition was a huge success. They managed to reach the final of the Euros 1996, winnng against Portugal in the quarter finals and France in Semis. They however lost against Germany in the Final. The following years have been the golden age for Czech Republic. During the 2021 qualifying rounds, they finished 2nd, 6 points behind England, who they however managed to beat in the last minutes of the match. If we take a closer look at their team, there will either be Vaclik or Pavlenka in goal. Kudela was supposed to be one of the center backs but got a 10 matches suspension for having a racist behavior which is not helping their defense as it is one of their weaknesses. On the other hand, their midfield is their strength, with Kral, 22 years old on which the country has high hopes, but most importantly, he will be playing alongside Soucek, the best players in the team. He has played 100% of westham’s minutes in PL this season. Their captain, Darida is experienced but has a more defensive style of playing. Their striker, Schick from Leverkusen has missed out on most of the games due to an injury but could be very effective if he is feeling en-forme. They will be playing Scotland for their first match on the 14th of June. It is a very ambitious team that may surprise us.
Fun Fact : Czech people are the world’s heaviest consumers of beer!
For more information on where you can watch Euro 2021, head to your local Belushi’s website and secure your space.