Gareth Southgate and England have been given a group that, at least on paper, looks like an easy one to qualify from. It has two Nike teams and one each from Adidas and Puma, and both Nike teams are expected to make it out of the group comfortably.
Group D- Croatia, England, Scotland, Czech Republic (2 x Nike, 1 x Adidas & Puma)
The 2018 World Cup runners up will be sporting Nike uniforms at this summer’s Championships. Even without the retired Ivan Rakitic, they boast of an insanely strong midfield, featuring the likes of Mateo Kovavic, Marcelo Brozovic, and workhorse skipper Luka Modric. As good as they are in the centre of the park, there are doubts over their depth in the striking department. Nevertheless, a pretty strong squad, and their jerseys, as you can see, are pretty nice as well!
The Three Lions could perhaps not have asked for a better group. They have a good recent record against Croatia and the Czech Republic aren’t quite the force they were in the early 2000’s. It probably comes as no surprise that Southgate’s men are second favourites at Unibet for the tournament after reigning world champions France.
Southgate had an embarrassment of riches to select from and had to end up leaving out players like Jesse Lingard, who was instrumental in helping West Ham qualify for Europe. There are plenty of natural right backs in the squad- the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Reece James and Trent Alexander Arnold have all been selected, and Southgate was quoted as saying he would have picked 5-6 if allowed to, such is the quality in that department.
There are only three players in the squad who ply their trade outside the PL- Trippier at newly crowned La Liga champions Atleti is one, and the other two (Jadon Sancho & Jude Bellingham) come from Dortmund
The Scots, perennial underachievers on the global footy stage, were surprise qualifiers for this event, beating both Israel and Serbia on penalties in the playoffs, with the final win coming away in Belgrade.
There are plenty of proven PL performers in Steve Clarke’s side, with the likes of Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and John McGinn in their ranks. They will always be up for a clash against England, and with their other two being played on home soil at Hampden, the Scots could be dark horses here.
Czech Republic (Puma)
The Czechs have undergone some turbulent times in recent years, picking up only one point from their Euro 2016 group and failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup altogether. They finished second behind England in qualifying and also handed them a rare defeat, coming from behind to beat them 2-1 in Prague.