1. Investigating the Group A National Teams in the Euros 2020

    With the UEFA European Championship Qualifiers completed, next on the menu for the 2020 Euros is the group stages. And in anticipation of this section of the tournament being just around the corner, we thought we would start by looking into how the groups have performed and make some predictions for the upcoming fixtures. In this blog post we are going to explore Group A which contains the following national teams:

    • Italy
    • Switzerland
    • Turkey
    • Wales

    Throughout the post we are going to look into each national team in Group A in depth so that we can get a better picture on how the group stages will pan out. So, if you want to find out more about what could be expected from Group A, then keep on reading.

    italyItaly’s Current and Previous Performance

    The Italian national team is currently ranked 13th in the FIFA World Rankings with 1607 points. Italy are a relatively strong team so we could expect them to do really well in the Euros. However, going by their unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, could this of been the motivation for them to pull their socks up and be on top of their game during the Euros, or could this be the start of their downward spiral?

    To begin with we are going to see how the Italian national squad fared during the Euro 2020 Qualifiers. Below is a breakdown of the matches in which they played during the qualifying round of the Euros to earn themselves a place in the group stage:

    • 23/03/2019 – Italy (2) V Finland (0)
    • 26/03/2019 – Italy (6) V Liechtenstein (0)
    • 08/06/2019 – Italy (3) V Greece (0)
    • 11/06/2019 – Italy (2) V Bosnia and Herzegovina (1)
    • 05/09/2019 – Italy (3) V Armenia (1)
    • 08/09/2019 – Italy (2) V Finland (1)
    • 12/10/2019 – Italy (2) V Greece (0)
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  2. Reviewing the Euro 2020 Qualifying Draw

    After the nail biting performance of the national teams during the international tournament earlier this year, the run up to release of the Euro 2020 schedules were greatly anticipated by fans worldwide. Therefore as earlier this week the fixtures and groupings for the UEFA European Championships Qualifiers 2020 were announced, we thought we would put this article together for our readers. This blog therefore covers how the groups have been drawn and who are expected to be the ones to beat.

    What the Euro 2020 Qualifying Groups Look Like

    In advance of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, the qualifiers are to take place in order to determine which 24 teams advance to the Championship. The qualifying tournament runs in addition to the brand new 2018/19 UEFA Nations Cup, which offers an alternative route to qualification for the 2020 tournament. Here is the breakdown of each country that is eligible for a place in the upcoming games and who they are playing against in their groups:

    • Group A – England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo
    • Group B – Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxemburg
    • Group C – Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus
    • Group D – Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar
    • Group E – Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan
    • Group F – Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta
    • Group G – Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia
    • Group H – France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra
    • Group I – Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino
    • Group J – Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein

    Previous Winners of the Euros Championship

    Established in 1960, the UEFA Euros is going into their 15th tournament during 2020. This means that there have been a range of winners who have already fought vali

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  3. Everything You Need to Know About the Nations League 2018/19

    At the moment the national teams are currently battling it out on the football pitch to win the new Nations League trophy. And with the extra bonus of four places in the Euro tournament in two years’ time up for grabs, the anticipation to succeed in Nations League is high.

    As this is a very new tournament we wanted to put this post together to cover all of the need to know information about the ongoing games. From how the season is scheduled to who are the strongest teams so far, read below to find out all the latest info.

    What is the Nation’s League?

    The Nations League was first set-up in 2018 as an alternative way for national teams to acquire a place in the Euros, and replaced the current friendly matches for competition matches. This series of matches will take place every two years on the run-up to the next European league tournament.

    How the Nations League works is that all 55 national teams will be split into 4 leagues depending on their skill levels and successes. By having these matches tiered this way, it will make the games much fairer between the teams as they will be against similar performing clubs. Therefore, this eliminates any mishap with higher ranking teams pitted against lower ones.

    Then within these leagues they are split again into groups of 3 and 4. From here each country plays at home and away with their assigned competition. These matches have been scheduled to take place in September, October and November 2018.

    When the winners of each group have been decided, the top teams in B, C and D will be promoted and the lowest in A, B and C will be demoted. From here the clubs will play again until June 2019 where the top 4 teams from league A will fight for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place.

    Impact on Euro 2020

    In addition to establishing the top 4 teams in the Nations League, this tournament also gives the opportunity of 4 countries to win a p

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  4. Euro 2016 Group Stage Predictions

    The 2016 UEFA European Championship won't get underway until June 10th of next year. As of early December, though, the group stage draws for the tournament are set. With 24 teams spread across six groups, which countries will rise and which will fall in the first round of this prestigious football tournament? Read on to check out our predictions for each of the six groups.

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    The Group: A
    The Teams: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland
    The Likely Outcome: France are the natural frontrunners here. In addition to being the tournament hosts, France are also the only soccer team in this group that have won a previous European Championship title-let alone two. France won in both 1984 (also at a tournament they hosted) and 2000 and have had a fairly solid year, friendly-wise. Romania went undefeated in the qualifiers but picked up five draws out of their 10 matches. If there's a threat here, it could be Albania, a Euro debutante team that won a friendly against France in June. Don't discount Switzerland, though: they scored more goals in the qualifiers (24) than Romania and Albania combined (21).

    The Group: B
    The Teams: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia
    The Likely Outcome: This one seems fairly cut and dried. England, fresh off a perfect 10-game winning streak in the qualifying rounds, should win the draw handily. Russia have the next highest seeding (and the most Euro experience, with 10 previous tournaments under their belts), but the likely second-place team is Wales. Another debutante team, the Welsh soccer squad have the passion and hunger that Russia don't right now. Plus, they've got Gareth Bale.

    The Group: C
    The Teams: Germany,

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  5. The Netherlands Beat Wales - Finally Snagging A Win but Too Late for Euro 2016

    When the UEFA seeded teams for the Euro 2016 qualifying rounds in January 2014, the Netherlands were seeded third, behind Spain and Germany. The team's success at the 2014 World Cup only further affirmed their status as one of the frontrunners for Euro 2016-not just for the qualifiers, but also for the final tournament. Unfortunately, the Dutch had a disastrous run throughout the qualifying competition, losing five of their ten matches and ultimately finishing in fourth place in Group A-not even earning a spot in the playoffs.

    Now, thanks to a post-qualifier friendly fixture with Wales, it seems the Oranje might have done considerably better had they been drawn into a different group. The Netherlands beat Wales 3-2 in a Friday, November 13th friendly, scoring a surprising away victory against a team that will feature at the European Championship next summer.

    The Match

    As the third-place teams from each of the qualifying groups battled for the final Euro 2016 spots, via a playoff round, the rest of Europe's national soccer squads met one another in friendly matches. For the Netherlands, the occurrence was rather awkward: the Dutch saw their hopes of qualifying for Euro dashed on October 13th when they lost a home match against the Czech Republic. To add insult to injury, the Oranje would be playing their friendly against Wales-the second-place team from Euro qualifying Group B.

    Netherlands 2014 World Cup Home ShirtWales enjoyed a markedly better record in the European Championship qualifying rounds than the Netherlands did, winning six of their games, drawing three, and losing just one. In comparison, the Dutch soccer squad won four, drew one, and lost five.

    Still, whether it was the lack of pressure

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  6. Gareth Bale, Kevin de Bruyne, and Eden Hazard the Stars of Euro Qualifying Group B

    On paper, Group B of the Euro 2016 qualifiers never seemed like one of the must-watch contests in the qualifying competition. The group had its share of good teams-Belgium and Wales are each currently ranked in FIFA's global top 10. However, the draw for the group was odd, with Bosnia and Herzegovina being the pot one draw, despite having never reached a European Championship tournament in the past. As a result, Group B didn't have a heavyweight team like Spain, England, Germany, or Italy to draw a lot of eyes, and was more or less regarded as one of the 'less interesting' groups in the competition. But what a mistake that was, the stars of Euro qualifying group B Bale, de Bruyne and Hazard elevated the group to one of the must watches of the competition.

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    Star-Making Performances

    While it's true that Group B didn't produce one of the most buzz-worthy team performances of the qualifying competition-like England's 10-game winning streak in Group E. However, Group B did yield a handful of impressive individual player performances that are worth discussing. After all, it's possible that a few of the standouts from Group B could be the stars of next year's European Championship.

    One of the most notable players from Group B, rather surprisingly, did come from Bosnia and Herzegovina. 29-year-old striker Edin Dzeko tallied seven goals in 10 fixtures, leading his team to an impressive goal total of 17. Had the Bosnia soccer squad had a better defensive side (they conceded 12 goals), they might have edged out Wales to take second place. As is, Dzeko is one of the players to watch in the playoffs, to see if his strength as an offensive star can carry his team to a surprising last-minute qualification.

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  7. World Cup 2018 UEFA Qualifying Group D: Who Will Qualify?

    Group D is unique among UEFA's 2018 World Cup qualifying groups in that there really isn't a heavyweight team among the six countries competing there. Group A has the Netherlands and France; B has Portugal; C has Germany; F has England; G has Spain; and H has Belgium. But World Cup 2018 UEFA Qualifying Group D -which consists of Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, and Georgia-will almost certainly give the 2018 World Cup in Russia one of its bigger underdogs.

    Group D Teams and World Cup History

    That's because none of these national football teams have much of a pedigree on the global scale. Wales for instance, have been to the World Cup just once-back in 1958-though they did manage to reach the quarterfinals that year.

    Austria probably have the most consistent history at the World Cup of any of the countries in Group D. The Austrian national soccer team had a lot of success at the tournament in the early days (they finished third in 1934 and fourth in 1954), but lost a lot of their luster as the FIFA soccer event continued to grow and evolve. Austria haven't qualified since 1998.

    Serbia have technically played in 11 World Cups, but 10 of them only "kind of" count, because they happened when Serbia was a part of Yugoslavia or Serbia and Montenegro. As a singular, independent country, the Serbians have only reached the World Cup once, with a group stage run in 2010.

    Republic of Ireland have qualified three times. Furthermore, they have actually advanced beyond the group stage in each of those appearances, exiting after the quarterfinals in 1990, and reaching the round of 16 in both 1998 and 2002. However, Republic of Ireland have failed to qualify for each of the last three Cups.

    Moldova and Georgia, finally, have never qualified for FIFA's prestigious global football tournament.

    Picking out the Frontrunners

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