Date: 9th June 2021 at 3:45pm
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With the 2020 European Championships set to finally kick off on Friday, European fans are gearing up to the football festival of a major international tournament for the first summer since 2018 – when France lifted the World Cup. 

Opening fixtures can be predictably cagey, with teams wanting to give little away – especially with this year’s group system meaning teams can qualify in third place and it’s likely that just one win could send a few through.

We will see what some sides are all about though, while hopefully learning a bit more about the tournament’s surprise packages.

With this in mind, we have predicted the score of each of the opening round of fixtures – why not make your own prediction and test yourself against Shoot?

Turkey vs Italy (Group A)

Friday 11 June, 20:00

Prediction: Turkey 0-1 Italy

Italy are currently on a 26-match unbeaten run and, despite Turkey being tough opposition and tipped by us as a dark horse for the competition, expect that to continue. Ciro Immobile and Domenico Berardi should have the quality to find one opening against a rigid defence, while Italy’s defence has reigned supreme.

Wales vs Switzerland (Group A)

Saturday 12 June, 14:00

Prediction: Wales 0-1 Switzerland

Switzerland have had some good results in the leadup to this tournament and although they’ve actually shipped a few goals at the back, the cagey nature of tournament openers could see this one a slow but tense affair. Wales failed to score in either of their warm-up games against France and Albania, and that could continue in matchday one.

Wales will need Gareth Bale at his best during this tournament if they are to replicate anything like the semi-final run of 2016

Denmark vs Finland (Group B)

Saturday 12 June, 17:00

Prediction: Denmark 2-0 Finland

In their last five fixtures, Denmark have scored 17 goals and conceded just one – winning five. The only game they didn’t win they held Germany to a 1-1 draw. They’ll have too much quality for the likes of Finland, and will expect to get off to a good start if they’re to put in a serious showing this tournament.

Belgium vs Russia (Group B)

Saturday 12 June, 20:00

Prediction: Belgium 2-0 Russia

Although Belgium haven’t quite delivered on the big stage during this ‘golden generation’, they are the No. 1 ranked national team in the world. Russia always spring a good result and give a good account of themselves, but expect a raring Romelu Lukaku to be right up for this – even if Kevin De Bruyne is nursing injury.

Lukaku is Belgium’s all-time record scorer and the fastest player to reach 60 international goals, breaking Gerd Muller’s record

England vs Croatia (Group D)

Sunday 13 June, 14:00

Prediction: England 1-1 Croatia

Croatia probably aren’t the team they were in 2018 when they defeated England at the semi-final stage of the World Cup. They only mustered a 1-1 draw with Armenia and failed to score in defeat to Belgium during their warm-ups, but England’s best squad haven’t even played a warm-up together. It may also work out that finishing second in this group is favourable due to a potential meeting with the ‘group of death’ (Group F), so expect this to not be the Hollywood affair that the hype garnered is going to suggest.

Austria vs North Macedonia (Group C)

Sunday 13 June, 17:00

Prediction: Austria 2-2 North Macedonia

North Macedonia are something of an unknown quantity, but many will remember fondly (or nicht) their 2-1 victory over a basically full-strength Germany in March, during World Cup qualifying. Austria weren’t bad against England in a warm-up fixture that eventually finished 1-0 to the Three Lions, but drew 0-0 against Slovakia days later. North Macedonia have nothing to lose though and should go for it, leaving what could be a surprisingly entertaining affair.

Most of Austria’s inspiration will be required to come through new Real Madrid acquisition David Alaba

The Netherlands vs Ukraine (Group C)

Sunday 13 June, 20:00

Prediction: The Netherlands 1-1 Ukraine

The Netherlands will be weakened without Virgil van Dijk and Donny van de Beek, and we tip them to face tough opposition against Ukraine. The Eastern Europeans are undefeated in 2021 (six matches), although that did include four consecutive 1-1 draws, including against France, and Andriy Yarmolenko needs just nine goals to break the all-time record for his national team. Memphis Depay is proven quality though and will make a difference.

Scotland vs Czech Republic (Group D)

Monday 14 June, 14:00

Prediction: Scotland 1-2 Czech Republic

Scotland have an extremely likeable team and last qualified for a major tournament in 1998, so will definitely be keen to give it their all. The likes of Che Adams in attack, Scott McTominay, Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson are all household Premier League names for the Tartan Army, but the Czech Republic are another highly tipped side this time around, with their host of Premier League stars too – and 18-year-old striker Adam Hložek, who has 15 goals and eight assists in 19 games during their domestic league season. Expect this one to be a fun affair.

Poland vs Slovakia (Group E)

Monday 14 June, 17:00

Prediction: Poland 1-0 Slovakia

Poland and Robert Lewandowski have never brought the magic at major tournaments (the striker only scoring once at each of 2012 and 2016 tournaments), despite being one of the greatest players of the generation. This is probably the last chance saloon when it comes to the European Championships for a peak-of-his-powers Lewandowski, and after a ropey start to qualifying, they may not reach the 2022 World Cup either. That being said, expect a drab match but a narrow victory to the Poles.

Robert Lewandowski will need to take his chances if he wants to make an impact on an international tournament during his illustrious career 

Spain vs Sweden (Group E)

Monday 14 June, 20:00

Prediction: Spain 1-1 Sweden

Something doesn’t seem quite right about the culture of the Spanish side at the moment, despite beating Germany 6-0 in November last year. Sergio Ramos is a bizarre omission from the squad, and there’s usually at least one surprise sprang each tournament – we think Sweden, who have won each of their last five fixtures, will bag a result here.

Hungary vs Portugal (Group F)

Tuesday 15 June, 17:00

Prediction: Hungary 1-2 Portugal

Hungary are starting to get the recognition they deserve as quite a tasty side, but they’ll be without star man and Red Bull Leipzig midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai through injury. These two sides played out an extremely entertaining 3-3 draw in the 2016 tournament, which saw Cristiano Ronaldo net a brace to come back from 3-1 down, on the way to winning the tournament. Expect another fiery match and don’t be surprised if the Hungarians suffer a similar fate when it comes to the serial winner leading the Portuguese – but perhaps without getting themself the cushion first.

Portugal are the current holders of the European Championship after victory over France in Paris 

France vs Germany (Group F)

Tuesday 15 June, 20:00

Prediction: France 2-0 Germany

Germany’s recent results tell a puzzling story. If you look at their last six, the sixth most recent result was a 6-0 drubbing delivered by the Spanish, while their most recent was a 7-0 drubbing they delivered to the Latvians. Those results sandwich a dominant 3-0 win over Iceland, an uninspiring 1-0 victory over Romania, that 2-1 loss to North Macedonia and a 1-1 draw with Denmark. France on the other hand are machines, looking to add to their World Cup medal. Even in Joachim Low’s swansong tournament as Germany boss, France will prove to have far too much quality.

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