Didier Deschamps (France) laughed, Joachim Low (Germany) looked ashen-faced and Fernando Santos (Portugal) stared into the distance. Group F, with its six European Championship titles, features holders Portugal and the most recent two world champions in France and Germany, all three of whom reached the semifinals in 2016. Whichever team makes up the numbers via the playoffs, it will be hard to avoid the thought they have simply won the right to finish bottom.
Before the draw, Low said that Germany should not be considered as one of the favorites for the Euro’s:
“We don’t belong to the tournament favourites. France, England have been playing with the same players for years. There are the Dutch, Spain.
“Us, with our young team, we are not among the favourites because we are still in the process of change.
“Maybe in two or four years when the players are at their peak. I mean a lot is possible with this team and we are working on that because it does have a lot of quality.”
X factor: This could be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final international tournament, and, recently his best form has been reserved for Portugal, with 10 goals in qualifying. The 34-year-old is 11 goals away from passing Ali Daei’s mark of 109 as the most prolific international goal scorer of all-time. Ronaldo tends to turn it on against elite nations; remember that hat trick against Spain in the last World Cup?
Must-watch game: France vs. Germany (June 16) Since the end of Spain’s dominance, France and Germany have become Europe’s preeminent nations, with one knocking the other out of two of the past three major tournaments. Recent results suggest France have the edge; Antoine Griezmann, for example, inspired a comeback win in the Nations League. This game will set the tone for the rest of the group, and eyes will be on Low. Can he go again after disappointing at the past World Cup and in the Nations League, where Germany only avoided relegation because the competition got restructured and expanded.
Prediction: 1. France 2. Germany 3. Portugal 4. Romania (assuming qualification)
Germany Euro 2020 Tickets
Tuesday 16 June: France v Germany (21:00, Munich) – Buy Euro 2020 Tickets
Saturday 20 June: Portugal v Germany (18:00, Munich) – Buy Euro 2020 Tickets
Wednesday 24 June: Germany v Play-off winner A or D (21:00, Munich) – Buy Euro 2020 Tickets