Belgium bid for European glory

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring at a past international match. Photo/PD/FILE

Paris, Wednesday

Star-studded Belgium will be the clear favourites for Group B at Euro 2020 as they aim for a first ever major tournament win, while dark horses Denmark boast a squad packed with talent.

Here AFP Sport casts its eye over the four teams trying to reach the knockout stage.


Roberto Martinez’s side are one of the clear favourites for Euro 2020 thanks to a host of star names who have propelled the Red Devils to the top of the FIFA rankings.

Belgium scored 40 times in their perfect qualifying campaign, putting seven past Group B rivals Russia, and conceded just three.

They have quality in every position but could be without star man Kevin De Bruyne who suffered two facial fractures in Manchester City’s Champions League final defeat to Chelsea at the weekend.

Another key flair player, Eden Hazard, comes into the tournament in the worst form of his career off the back of two injury-ravaged seasons at Real Madrid.


With a host of players plying their trade in Europe’s top leagues, Kasper Hjulmand’s Denmark look a strong bet to bloody some noses at the delayed Euro, with a strong squad led by playmaker Christian Eriksen and backed by the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Delaney and RB Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen.

In Simon Kjaer they have a dominating presence in central defence alongside Champions League winner Andres Christensen and Kasper Schmeichel is one of the strongest goalkeepers at the tournament.

Their form coming into the Euro has been impressive as well, smashing 14 goals past Israel, Moldova and Austria without reply in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifiers and there are quiet hopes they can repeat the heroics of 1992, when they won the whole thing.

Playing all three of their group games in Copenhagen is also sure to be a big boost.


Underdogs Finland will come into the Euro full of enthusiasm as they prepare for their first ever major tournament, and they are taking inspiration from Iceland who reached the quarter-finals in their first big time outing five years ago.

The focus will be on striker Teemu Pukki but Finland boast talent elsewhere in the squad, including Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.

Home and away wins in the Nations League over both Ireland and Bulgaria show they are capable of putting a run of results together, as did their shock friendly win over world champions France.


Russia approach the Euro in much the same fashion as they did the 2018 World Cup, as a team not expected to go very far in the tournament. 

Captain Artem Dzyuba will lead the line for Stanislav Cherchesov’s team but there isn’t much else that inspires in this Russia squad.

Cherchesov will be hoping Aleksandr Golovin sparks into life. Part of a Monaco team that pushed for the French Ligue 1 title this past season, the midfielder is one the few Russian players to ply his trade away from his home nation and has the quality to supply Dzyuba. 

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