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Euro 2021 Group D Preview: England favored to win group as they face Croatia, longtime rivals Scotland

England are heavily favored in Group D to advance. Who could join them in the knockout stages of Euro 2021?

England v Poland - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Group D in the 2021 UEFA Euros sees rivals England and Scotland go head-to-head while Croatia and Czech Republic will also have their say in who advances from the group. England are the favorites to win the group, but it will be a battle amongst all four teams to see who finishes in the top two.

England

England, far and away the favorites to win the group, are paired with more than one significant foe as they’ll take on long-time rivals Scotland — a rivalry that dates back to November 1872 with 114 meetings through all competitions. They’ll also have to take on Croatia, who ended England’s 2018 World Cup run with a 2-1 win over the Three Lions in the semi-finals. Of course, England got back at the Croatians just a few months later in Nations League play when they turned the tables and secured a 2-1 win of their own. They’ve won all three of their World Cup Qualifiers thus far, with a 5-0 win over San Marino followed by a 2-0 victory over Albania, and a 2-1 win over Poland.

Key players: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Jesse Lingard (West Ham), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Croatia

The 2018 World Cup runners-up have a lot to play for after their steady decline in play since that year’s tournament. They were able to just barely stay in Nations League A after winning only one game in the proverbial “Group of Death” where they had to face off against powerhouses France, Portugal, and Sweden. Their only win was on match day three with a 2-1 win over Sweden, but the Swedes flipped the tables with a 2-1 win of their own on match day five. They’re favored to finish in the top two in Group D, but they’ll have to do it without longtime star Ivan Rakitic who announced his retirement from international football near the end of last year, following in the footsteps of another star in Mario Mandzukic who did the same back in 2018 just after their World Cup heartbreak.

Key players: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Ante Rebic (AC Milan), Nikola Vlasic (Everton)

Scotland

Scotland’s journey back to a major international tournament has been a long time coming — 23 years to be exact — but after a 5-4 penalty shootout win against Serbia back in November, it finally happened as they narrowly qualified for the 2021 UEFA Euros. Their last appearance in any major international competition came in 1998 when they crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage after failing to win a single match. Their last appearance in the Euros came in 1996 where they finished third in Group A and failed to advance to the knockout rounds. Now they’ll put their focus on the road ahead as they take on some incredibly tough opponents in Group D this year as they rely on guys like Ryan Christie and Andy Robertson to lead them through.

Key players: Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal), Ryan Christie (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle), John McGinn (Aston Villa)

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic will be making their seventh appearance at the Euros after being crowned champions in 1976 while finishing as the runners-up just 20 years later in 1996. The Czechs will be expected to try and keep pace with Croatia. While they’re much less favored to finish in the top two, they’ve had similar results as the Croatians in recent World Cup Qualifying and Nations League play and will look to take that momentum into the Euros this year. They opened their first three WC Qualifiers with a win, a draw, and a loss, but most notably the draw came against world powerhouse Belgium as the match ended 1-1 thanks to a 50th-minute goal from Lukas Provod.

Key players: Tomas Vaclik (Sevilla), Vladimir Coufal (West Ham), Tomas Soucek (West Ham), Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen)

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Euro 2021 Group D Odds

Team To win To win (Jun 15) To win (Jun 19) Top 2 Top 2 (June 15) Top 2 (Jun 19)
Team To win To win (Jun 15) To win (Jun 19) Top 2 Top 2 (June 15) Top 2 (Jun 19)
England -245 -455 -162 -1250 OTB OTB
Czech Republic +1200 +500 +130 +200 -162 -590
Croatia +350 +2400 OTB -150 +130 +360
Scotland +1900 +4500 OTB +310 +1600 +2900

Group D Schedule

  • Sunday June 13, 9:00 a.m. England vs. Croatia (Wembley Stadium, London)
  • Monday June 14, 9:00 a.m. Scotland vs. Czech Republic (Hampden Park, Glasgow)
  • Friday June 18, 12:00 p.m. Croatia vs. Czech Republic (Hampden Park, Glasgow)
  • Friday June 18, 3:00 p.m. England vs. Scotland (Wembley Stadium, London)
  • Tuesday June 22, 3:00 p.m. Czech Republic vs. England (Wembley Stadium, London)
  • Tuesday June 22, 3:00 p.m. Croatia vs. Scotland (Hampden Park, Glasgow)

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