The stage is set for Euro 2024. After the draw on Saturday in Hamburg, Germany, we now know what the groups look like, with 21 teams having already qualified. Three other sides will have the chance to book their tickets to the prestigious tournament in March's playoff.
In case you missed it, here is how the group stages will play out:
🚨🏆 Who’s gonna win Euro2024? 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/Kj9agMGydy
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 2, 2023
With that said, here are four takeaways from the Euro 2024 draw.
Germany could choke
By now, it's common knowledge that Germany fails to turn up in the big competitions. That's part of the reason Hansi Flick was sacked after just two years at the helm. While his Bayern Munich replacement Julian Nagelsmann is now in charge, there's still nothing guaranteeing the Germans will produce the goods at Euro 2024, even though the tournament is on home soil.
Despite having a plethora of talented players like Ilkay Gundogan, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane, and many others, Germany is simply not finding results in recent memory. They never made it out of the group stages at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and bowed out in the Round of 16 at Euro 2020 against England.
At first glance, their group for next summer's festivities doesn't look all that difficult with Hungary, Switzerland, and Scotland. But, Germany's form has been a topic of discussion for far too long now. I mean, they just tasted defeat against Austria and Turkey while also losing to the likes of Poland, Japan (4-1), and Colombia earlier this year.
Could Germany have landed in a tougher pod? Absolutely. But even with how things look in Group A, there are absolutely no guarantees they even progress to the knockout stages unless we see a drastic turnaround in the months leading up to Euro 2024.
Group B is Group of Death
There's always one in every major competition. Here, the Group of Death is very much Group B, where Spain, Croatia, Italy, and Albania will go to battle for spots in the last 16. This is the Albanians' second-ever Euros appearance, also featuring in the 2016 edition. There isn't much expected of them and it won't be easy to even finish in the top two.
For Spain, they're a powerhouse. That's common knowledge. Espana has the opportunity to get revenge on Italy, who eliminated them in the Euro 2020 semifinals. This side is the epitome of success. However, we can't sleep on Croatia.
Despite many believing the Croatians' best years were behind them, they shocked the world in Qatar and made a run to the semifinals before losing to eventual winners Argentina, ultimately settling for third place. Luka Modric's time with the national team is coming to a close and Euro 2024 is probably his last dance. Croatia can compete with the best of them.
As for the Italians, you could see the concern on Luciano Spalletti's face when he found out this group. There are barely any players left from their Euro 2020 winning squad, which makes it hard to believe the Azzurri can be competitive in Germany with minimal chemistry. Honestly, they're probably the one side in Group B I'd bank on not getting through between the three powerhouses.
England should finish top
It could've been an easier pod for England. Serbia, Denmark, and Slovenia are no pushovers. That being said, the Three Lions are one of the best teams in the world and should have no issues finishing top of this group with flying colors. Sure, Gareth Southgate's men didn't look all that convincing in the latter stages of qualifying, but the talent of this squad is unmatched. Harry Kane is firing on all cylinders at Bayern, Bukayo Saka is a clear Premier League star, Jordan Pickford is still a world-class keeper despite playing for Everton, and Jude Bellingham is proving to be one of the best players in the world.
England was on the verge of a World Cup final last December and also lost in heartbreaking fashion to Italy in Euro 2020 in penalties at Wembley. When it comes to recent competitions, the Three Lions regularly find themselves in the latter stages. It should be no different at Euro 2024.
France does not have it easy
Although France has proven their worth time and time again over the last number of years, Didier Deschamps' side will have their work cut out for them in Group D. The Netherlands are once again one of the better countries in world football and have beaten them before. Austria is no pushover, either.
However, Les Bleus were unbeaten in qualifying and do have Kylian Mbappe plus newcomer Warren Zaire-Emery. Whether France finishes first or second in this group, they won't have all that difficult of an opponent in the Round of 16. We're talking about the likes of Turkey, Czech Republic, or Slovakia, among a couple of others.
More likely than not, we'll see France in the quarterfinals at the very least, but they will need to bring their best in Group D.