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The Best of the Rest
Should England make it out of the group stages, who are they likely to meet en route to the final?
Counter Cut’s content this month is sponsored by The New Talbot.
What we know for certain is that should England qualify from Group A, as winners or runners-up, they will play a team from Group B in the quarter finals. Finish top and they will play Group B runners-up. Finish second and they will play the winners of Group B.
Group B is this years ‘Group of Death’. 8 time winners Germany, tournament favourites Spain, 2017 finalist Denmark and Finland making up the four. Germany will be looking to avenge their worst ever finish in the tournament, a fifth place finish, in 2017. They will face stiff opposition in Spain, who’s team boasts players who have reached the last two Champions League finals with Barcelona. Denmark enter the tournament in good form, winning all of their World Cup qualifiers, conceding only 1 goal, so will feel they can go toe to toe with the best in Europe. The last time the tournament was held in England, Finland made it to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, in this group, it’s hard not to see them finish bottom of the pile.
Group C kicks off with a rematch of the 2017 quarter final between that year's winners Netherlands and Sweden. The two strongest teams in the group go head to head at Bramall Lane on 9th July and will most likely decide who tops the group. Switzerland and Portugal make up the other two teams in group C. Neither side had qualified for the Euro’s until 2017 and Portugal only made the cut this year after Russia were banned after the invasion of Ukraine. Fans of Aston Villa might want to keep an eye out for Portugal v Switzerland as team mates Diana Silva and Aliesha Lehmann go head to head.
Finishing up this year's group stages, France, Belgium, Italy and Iceland are in Group D. Boosted by their strong domestic leagues France and Italy would be a safe bet to qualify for the knockout stages. Both nations have only lost once in the last year and a half with Italy drawing another two. Belgium have had an excellent World Cup qualifying campaign so far losing to only Norway and could be a tricky proposition but have struggled against more established international sides. Iceland also come into the tournament off the back of a strong World Cup qualifying campaign losing once at home to Netherlands. They have however failed to beat Italy in their last two meetings.
It looks as though it’s going to be another great summer of football. Let's just hope this one doesn’t end in heartache!
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Counter Cut’s July content is sponsored by The New Talbot. With a range of starters, traditional curries and mixed grills, there is something for everyone. All complimented with an extensive selection of drinks from draught beer to delicious cocktails!