Teams such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia, Austria’s group opponents, are given at least outside chances to win the European Championship final on July 11 at Wembley Stadium. Two semi-finals and five other matches will be played in London. The final round will be held in eleven countries – something new in the more than 60-year history of the European Championship.
Scenes restrictions are also new. Because of CoV, a full stadium is planned only in Budapest. The use of other yards varies according to local requirements, but with the exception of Saint Petersburg and Baku it will initially be well below 50 percent. However, the tournament is a step back towards normalcy – fans from 24 participating countries are also allowed to travel.
The start of the European Football Championship
The European Football Championship kicks off on Friday evening. Italy meets Turkey in Rome. Fans can watch the match in their own areas and at the stadium.
The usual suspects
The pandemic made it necessary to postpone EM for one year last spring. Since then, nothing has changed significantly in terms of distribution of opportunities. World champion France is a strong contender for the throne of Europe thanks to its star strikers Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann and returning Karim Benzema, as well as thanks to their defensive strength. As early as 2000, the French followed the World Cup title with the European Championship.
The top-ranked and third-ranked Belgium in the World Cup is seen as one of the biggest contenders. England are also one of the best – the 1966 world champions have a very talented and young but also a bit fickle team. On the other hand, Portugal can undo an experienced team. The defending champion’s offensive division is probably the best of all the European Championship participants alongside France – in addition to Cristiano Ronaldo, this includes Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Andre Silva.
France and Portugal are already meeting in the group stage. Group F, the first class of all six groups, was completed by Germany and Hungary. Due to the rule that the best four-thirds in the group also qualify for the Round of 16, the top three teams can be promoted. The first big blow of the tournament between Germany and France will rise next Tuesday (15 June) in Munich. Before that, England and Croatia will duel on Sunday in London.
In addition to the English and Germans with stadiums in London, Munich, Italy (Rome), Denmark (Copenhagen), Russia (Saint Petersburg), Scotland (Glasgow), Spain (Seville), Hungary (Budapest) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam) enjoy the home advantage in the group stage.
Austria aims for first climb
The transition to the knockout stage is the biggest goal of the selection of ÖFB, which did not go beyond the stage of the EM group. The draw was nice with Franco Voda’s team, and Group C faces North Macedonia (June 13, Bucharest), the Netherlands (June 17, Amsterdam) and Ukraine (June 21, Bucharest).
For Austria, it is the third participation in the European Championship. After your “Goodbye” in 2008 as an organizer, you are now participating for the second time due to the qualification being achieved in a sporting manner. The previous record of the European Championship can be expanded: in six matches there were only four defeats, two draws and two goals. It was achieved by Ivica Fástik in 2008 in a 1-1 draw with Poland from an injury-time penalty, and by Alessandro Schopf in 2016 in a 2-1 draw against Iceland.
A strong team gives hope
On the third attempt, you should finally work with the promotion, even one win may be enough for a round of 16. In any case, the quality in the team is there. Led by two-time Champions League winner David Alaba, the team includes several armies who regularly play in the Bundesliga. The EM card was sovereignly dissolved in 2019 despite a failed start, and the League of Nations group’s victory was secured the previous year and thus the ascent to the Great Powers.
If there is another sense of accomplishment, you can be happy to survive for the first time in the group stage in nearly 40 years. This was last achieved at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, when Austria reached the second round with a score of 0: 1 against Germany, the “disgrace of Gijon”. In the end, the ÖFB team finished eighth. The biggest successes were for a long time with a fourth place at the 1934 World Cup in Italy and three at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. In the last European Championship in France, the ÖFB team, previously praised, was eliminated to finish last in the group behind Hungary, Iceland and Portugal. This time there should be more reasons to be happy for Alaba & Co.