The 2024 European Football Championship It will begin on June 14 in Munich, where Germany, the host team, will face Scotland. This was determined by the draw organized yesterday by UEFA at the Hamburg Philharmonic Palace, which set Spain’s debut for the next day, June 15, against Croatia. It will be the start of Group B, a corral where Spain is expected to face Italy in Gelsenkirchen on June 20 and Albania in Düsseldorf on the 24th. The first six leaders of each group plus the four seconds with the most points and the best goal average will qualify for the round of 16. The final will be played on July 15 in Berlin.
“We have neither preferences nor hobbies, in a Euro Cup all rivals are complicated,” declared Luis de la Fuente proudly, upon his arrival at the gala. Luck brought him a couple of surprises. Croatia, semi-finalist of the last World Cup and finalist of the penultimate one; and Italy, champion of the last Euro Cup, which they won at Wembley in 2022. Exactly the same rivals that Spain encountered—and defeated—in the final phase of the Nations League played last June for the joy of Luis de la Fuente, who He lifted his first trophy as head of the senior team.
Against Italy and Croatia in the Nations League, the Spanish players redeemed part of the misfortune they suffered in the Qatar World Cup, from which they were eliminated by Morocco in the round of 16. Now fortune offers them added revenge: Italy eliminated Spain from the last Euro Cup in the semifinals, in the penalty shootout.
”Yes, the draw could have been better,” confessed Luciano Spalletti, the Italian coach. “We would have liked a softer start. But all of us who love this game enjoy contrasting ourselves with teams like Spain.” Italy’s history of confrontations with Spain in the final stages of the Euro Cup remains in favor of Italy, at least if only regulation time is considered and penalties are excluded: two wins, four draws and one loss. The only defeat azzurrathe memorable 4-0 win in the kyiv final, elevated Xavi and Iniesta’s team to legendary status, and defined the upward trajectory of the Red in this century against a rival that is going through the greatest identity crisis that its fans remember.
Italy qualified for this Euro Cup in agonizing fashion, on the last day of the regular phase, after drawing 0-0 against Ukraine, which also earned ten points. The team had just experienced a upheaval when Roberto Mancini, the 2021 champion coach, left the position to emigrate to Saudi Arabia, where they offered him the position of coach, multiplying exponentially – he will earn close to 30 million euros a year until 2026 – the salary they paid him in Florence.
Luciano Spalletti succeeded him. The last Serie A champion with Naples has reached such a degree of wisdom that the technical secretariats of the main clubs in Europe place him among the five most capable coaches that exist. The depleted Italian youth team presents him with a colossal challenge. With the virtual retirement of Verratti, in the Qatar league, the team is looking for references in a defense to build and score in an attack prone to drought. Jorginho, Arsenal’s 31-year-old substitute midfielder, and Federico Chiesa, Juventus’ inexhaustible winger, make up their undisputed pair of leaders on the field.
Holland, France and Austria
Albania, which sent the play-offs, will be the opponent with the least poster in Group B, the quartet that will put the championship into orbit with Spain-Croatia. The event is presented as a new mystery for the Croatians, that gang governed by two veterans and a Methuselah who with each passing year pick up the gauntlet of those who question their validity. The old Luka Modric, the masterful Marcelo Brozovic, who changed Inter for Saudi Al-Nasser, and the versatile Mateo Kovacic, who now plays for City, dismantled Brazil in Doha, piece by piece, the last time they signed up in a great championship. So Gvuardiol was a large central apprentice who will arrive in Germany with two more apprenticeship courses. With his help, in Berlin the Croatians will give another twist to their endless ride: they will face Rodri and Pedri.
No group promises more than B. If anything, D, which will bring together France, Holland, Austria and a fourth team pending—like two other teams—to qualify through the play-offs. France, champion and runner-up in the last World Cup, goes to Germany reinforced by a long process of trial and error that has consolidated the leadership of Deschamps on the bench and Mbappé and Griezmann on the field. The memory of the calamitous Euro 2022 serves as fuel for them.
Germany qualified for the Eurocup without competing, as tradition dictates. At the time of the draw in Hamburg yesterday, another 20 teams, the top two in each of the ten qualifying groups, had secured a place in the final tournament. The three places pending assignment will be decided in a play-off with a play-offs.
He play-off It will be played between March 21 and 26 with a three-draw scheme of four teams each. In the first draw, Poland will face Estonia and Wales will face Finland; in the second, Israel with Iceland and Bosnia with Ukraine; and in the third, Georgia with Luxembourg and Greece with Kazakhstan. Each draw will produce two finalists and one qualifier with credentials to go to Germany in June.
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