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The main favorite and secondary teams? Discovering Group D at Euro 2024

Artem RossinskySport
One of the most interesting groups of Euro

OBOZ.UA continues the series of introductions to Euro 2024 groups. It's time to get acquainted with the quartet D. We expect a lot of struggle for the second place because if France is predicted to have an easy way out, it is not easy to name its partner in this case. Today, we'll try to figure out whether the Euro favorite will have any problems and whether Austria, Poland, or the Netherlands deserve to go further.

Poland: time to repeat the 2016 UEFA European Championship

It was Euro 2016 that was the most successful for the Poles: for the first (and so far the last) time, they overcame the quartet stage and reached the quarterfinals. If you haven't followed this team before, Poland has only been playing in the European arena since 2008; before that, they failed to qualify. Our neighbors are the first of three teams to qualify for the Euros through a second chance. In the playoffs, they had a tough fight with Wales: the match turned out to be very intense:

Despite the proximity of the Euros, Poland has not yet announced its final bid, only the preliminary one is known. There are Bednarek, Kiwior, Puchacz, Frankowski, Szymanski, Zalewski, Grosicki, Urbański, Buksa, Milik, Lewandowski and Piatek. It is likely that coach Probierz will evaluate the results of the games against Ukraine and against Turkey.

The main favorite and secondary teams? Discovering Group D at Euro 2024

What is certain is that after the tournament we will no longer see Wojciech Szczesny in a Polish jersey. The legendary goalkeeper will retire from the national team right after the Euros. He is already 33 and it seems that the goalkeeper has begun to think more about his plans after football as he has not even theoretically considered his participation in the preparations for the World Cup 26. How many legends will finish their performances this summer... As for Poland itself, with such a selection of players from the top teams in Europe, only France should be a problem in the group.

Austria: the task is to create another sensation

The Austrians managed to do the impossible: in a qualifying group where everyone predicted Belgium and Sweden would leave, they took second place. In general, the national team can boast that it put up a good fight against both of them. They lost to the Belgians only once (almost creating a comeback), while the Scandinavians were beaten twice. With such competition, they not only left the Swedes out of the European tournament but also made it to the Euros for the second time in a row.

Austria's tricky thing is that they use their own version of German, called Österreichisches Deutsch. Therefore, when you get acquainted with their lineup, the reader may think "they're from the German team!". But no. Although there hasn't been an application yet, we expect to see Limer, Danso, Zabitzer, Baumgartner, Wimmer, Posch, Seiwald and Schlager there. Head coach Ralf Rangnick will stay on (Bayern were interested in him, but chose Kompany) and can fully focus on the team's affairs.

However, it is the Austrians who look the weakest in the group so far. During a friendly against much weaker Serbia, they won 2-1, creating only three chances in the entire game. This can be attributed to the search for the optimal formation, but there is less and less time for this search. Therefore, in our forecast, we will rather bet that Austria will not reach the playoffs of this year's Euro.

Netherlands: the second battle against France

The best achievement at the Euros for them is the victory in 1988. But it was so long ago that 2 generations of players have already changed. Since the triumph, the Netherlands has been constantly lagging behind: at the beginning of the century, they reached the semifinals, then a maximum of 1/8, and did not qualify for the tournament in France at all. This time it was easier: they lost twice against France, but scored points in other matches and got ahead of Greece. As in the case of Denmark and Slovenia, fate was insidious: the French qualified for the quartet at the Euros themselves.

The Dutch team can be named without any problems: Kopmeijers, van de Ven, Ake, Malen, van Dijk, Simons, Depay, Blind. Gakpo, Dumfries. They have won the Europa League, UPL, Serie A, Bundesliga; medals from their own, as well as English, Spanish and German championships. There is no shortage of experience, but now we need to convert all this into a reliable result. After all, anyone can score 6 goals against Gibraltar, but minimal victories over the Greeks and Irish are not what Koeman's team is expected to achieve.

The main favorite and secondary teams? Discovering Group D at Euro 2024

Moreover, Group D has been selected such that only the favorite has an easy chance of qualifying. The other three will be fighting to the last. And the Netherlands were lucky: France fell to them in the second round when they will feel the Euro spirit and have a chance to correct their mistakes. In this scenario, the Netherlands have a better chance of reaching the playoffs than Poland and Austria. Although every match in this group will be interesting.

France: all the way to the final?

Two-time European champion France hasn't missed a final tournament since 1988. And if there are changes in the players and results of the playoffs, they have not been on the coaching bridge for 12 years in a row: they are still led by Didier Deschamps. The Tricolors definitely don't want to remember the last Euro: the Swiss drew 3-3 in the last 16 and then won on penalties. Now it's a new attempt and the rivals in the group look passable.

The coach decided that a reduced final application would be enough for him: there are 25 players. Areola, Clauss, Hernandez, Konate, Dembele, Thuram... It seems that the chance for the third European Cup in history is growing with each new name. There are also Upamecano, Zaire-Emery, Tchouameni, Kante, Camavinga, Barcola. And of course, Griezmann and Mbappe. This Euro will be special for another famous footballer: along with Szczesny and Kroos, Giroud will complete his career with an international tournament.

The main favorite and secondary teams? Discovering Group D at Euro 2024

Certainly with the strongest squad in the last decade, France is going to win. Not only because bookmakers think so. Objectively, French players are rich in experience of facing the top players in Europe. The fact that they will overcome the group is not a question. Next, the Tricolors will meet a large number of teammates or rivals in the top leagues; it seems that the potential champions know a lot about how to play with other top teams on the continent. And so even the semifinals are an achievable goal for them.

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