Home » Dan’s Euro 24 Predictions – Group A analysis of Scotland, Switzerland, Hungary and Germany’s chances

Dan’s Euro 24 Predictions – Group A analysis of Scotland, Switzerland, Hungary and Germany’s chances

Dan’s Euro 24 Predictions – Group A analysis of Scotland, Switzerland, Hungary and Germany’s chances

Dan’s Euros Group Stage Predictions

First of all, let me stress I hate the current format where 24 teams compete in the group stages and 16 qualify for the knockout stages.

In the last two editions, 3 points for some were enough to advance. That’s right, 1 win can be all you need to be in the last 16!

Being English, I may be viewing this from the perspective of one of the favourites, but the current guidelines make me zone out. If you’re even a half decent team it’s almost harder to be eliminated

The best tournaments have jeopardy and consequences. Why would I care if Germany lose their opener when I know they only have to win 1 match to qualify?

UEFA will argue that this criterion gives hopes to the underdogs, ensuring that you can get to your final group match and still be in contention.

That’s not their true motives of course.

The more participants means more money. That of course shouldn’t come at the expense of the quality of the competition.

I much rather expand to 32 teams and have 8 groups of 4 teams with the top 2 from each going through.

At least it would be competitive ….

It’s still not obvious where Julian Nagelsman views which is Kai Havertz’s best position. Even trying him at left back at one point. There might not be room for the 24-year-old as the main striker come opening night.

The first game of Euro 2024 could have two Gunners face one another if Kieran Tierney starts for Scotland, although recent reports stress Arsenal are only interested in this tournament adding value to a player they want off the wage bill.

A familiar face will be Xhaka who captains Switzerland. While some feel it took too long for the midfielder to be pushed further forward at club level, he’s always been trusted by his country to be an attacking outlet

There are positive and negatives to being hosts.

The plus side is this is a huge footballing nation playing in front of thousands of their own people, fans who might recognise their team might need an arm round the shoulder.

Equally there are banana skins in this group. One slip up and suddenly you can’t get away from the media on your morning walk, supporters are outside your hotel, coverage every time you put on your TV, everything you do dissected.

For years, those of a certain age were brought up on Germany not having the best teams, but always finding a way because of their mentality. Hence why they are the most successful football country in Europe.

Recent tournaments though, they have not had the best teams and …. have been mentally weak as well.

Question marks exist how some of their young talent will cope with the pressure and expectation of hosting the event?

The last two years should have been filled with excitement and anticipation yet it’s hard to think of a host with more of a chaotic build up.

Less than 12 months ago, Hansi Flick was the first ever German national boss sacked, giving Julian Nagelsman little time to prepare. That’s seen various players given chances in different roles as tactics have been experimented with in friendlies. That includes Kai Havertz at left back!

Nagelsman’s priority has been to bring back as much experience as possible to support a youthful squad. Hence why Toni Kroos will play one more competition before retirement.

The hope is, on and off the pitch, he can bring composure and give the likes of Musila and Wirtz the settled stage to steal the show.

The latter is one to watch.

Win, lose or draw, there’s been a huge emotional reaction to friendly results so imagine that outcry if any points are dropped in the Group stages (and that can and will happen!)

If they were not playing at home, Germany wouldn’t be considered potential winners but equally that could be the reason the next month is a disaster. It could be a distraction for a team who could have done without this headache while in transition.

Will either be inspired and get close, or this will be a mess. Can’t see them at least not being one of the best third place teams though?

Have Hungarians had this much expectation for a Euros since the 1970’s? Obviously not comparing this version to those great teams.

This will be their third successive European Championship after three decades of not qualifying for a major tournament.

They were unlucky 3 years ago to be drawn in the Group of Death yet still held both France and Germany, leading in both games.

They followed that up by drawing twice with Germany and then beating England twice, home and away in the Nations League.

While they face Germany again, they won’t fear them and will view Scotland and Switzerland as beatable, especially with the away support they are expected to bring with them.

Many will be aware of the progress of Dominik Szoboszlai, but in general this is team really pleasing on the eye, it’s just can they take those chances in the final third (a problem their peers in this group equally have)?

As their manager has pointed out, this team’s legacy is they have a country ‘proud and believing in their football again ‘.

Which strangely might make it harder for the squad? They can no longer hide behind being underdogs which means playing with less freedom.

Many now will view not qualifying out of this group as failure and how do certain players cope with that expectation?

As has been the case for years now you know what you will get from Switzerland.

They will be well organised, hard to break down and have the experience to display game management to get them over the line.

They are a hard team to beat but in terms of a match winner, they are still relying on a world class pass from Xhaka or a moment of magic from Shaqiri.

That was evidenced in qualifying where they were the draw specialists, drawing half of their fixtures.

While their participation in Germany was never in doubt, their manager has been under pressure to be more positive, forcing him to deny rumours of crisis talks with his players and for the SUI to stress that Yakin’s job is safe.

Fans simply think that their nation should be beating Israel, Kosovo, Belarus and Romania and it’s led to serious debate in the country. Pundits and ex-players believe handling being favourites is a mental thing which makes their first two games of the Euros awkward. They haven’t been free flowing in qualifying so that’s not going to change now

Hungary and Scotland should try and take advantage because while they are bringing unwavering support, one poor performance from the Swiss and fans will make it clear how they feel.

Have the know how to cope with outside noise but it feels like they are battling against the wind.

So, Scotland may never get a better chance of getting past a group stage of any tournament for the first time in their history and should be disappointed if they don’t.

Under UEFA’s current format, three points can be enough to qualify for the knockout stages.

One win and you can advance!

Steve Clarke’s team beat Spain in qualifying so should have nothing to fear in Group A.

Yet that’s what I said in the last Euros and the Scot’s played like a team who never believed, letting the moment pass them by. Bear in mind two of those fixtures were at Hampden Park!

There is a huge difference to being underdogs with nothing to lose, compared to expecting to get a result. It’s in the Scottish DNA to give the hosts a scare on opening night then fail to carry that momentum on.

While remaining unbalanced, the squad does now have players from Liverpool, Aston Villa and Man United. Including the Celtic party they have confident individuals.

The issue is do they have that player in the final third to take the few chances they make.

In qualification that’s been Scott McTominay!

Only Ronaldo, Lukaku, Kane and Mbappe scored more!

He’s reported to international duty with a niggle and that can’t happen. Injuries to any of their key players and it’s over for them

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