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New to EURO? What to expect – and who to support!

Is UEFA EURO 2020 going to be your first EURO? You're in for a feast. UEFA.com explains.

Turkey fans enjoy the atmosphere at EURO 2016
Turkey fans enjoy the atmosphere at EURO 2016 Getty Images

The UEFA European Championship is like a World Cup, but just for European teams. Between 11 June and 11 July, there will be 51 games, with the group stage – running from 11 to 23 June – a torrent of live football, with three matches most days.

All 24 teams at the final tournament are guaranteed to play at least three games before the top performers in the group stage move on to the knockout phase – where things get even more exciting. From that point, every game is sudden death: win and teams reach the next round, lose and they are going home.

Meet the teams: Austria
Meet the teams: Austria

Two teams will ultimately make it all the way to the 11 July final at London's Wembley Stadium.

You can enjoy the tournament how you want; just watch the games and soak up the atmosphere across the 11 host cities. However, having a team to follow could make it even more fun. If your home country isn't involved, maybe look at the players from your favourite club side and get behind them at the finals.

If you want to try and find a team that captures your imagination, matches your personality type or wears your favourite colours, read through our guide to every contender below.


Few countries need to get a monkey off their back as much as Austria. It is nearly three decades since their last victory at a major finals (2-1 against the United States at the 1990 FIFA World Cup) and no team has played more matches at the EURO finals without winning (six). Coach Franco Foda is hoping to change that this summer, telling UEFA.com: "It’s about time!" Could that be their winning mantra?
Colours: red, white
Group stage opponents: Netherlands, North Macedonia, Ukraine


Meet the teams: Belgium
Meet the teams: Belgium

Back the Red Devils and entertainment is guaranteed. The top scorers in qualifying with 40 goals in ten matches (all of which they won), Belgium have just one major tournament success in their history – can they add a second 101 years after striking gold at the 1920 Olympic Games? Striker Romelu Lukaku hopes a settled squad can help them, explaining: "If you keep getting better and the team plays together for a long time, it gets easier."
Colours: red, yellow
Group stage opponents: Denmark, Finland, Russia


The Vatreni will be appearing in their fifth consecutive EURO – a huge achievement for a nation of less than five million citizens. However, forget the statistics; Croatia’s unmissable red-and-white checked kit makes them the must-support side for the style-conscious fan. Losing World Cup finalists in 2018, they could easily have beaten France in the decider, talisman Luka Modrić lamenting: "We were the better team but sometimes better teams don't win."
Colours: red, white
Group stage opponents: Czech Republic, England, Scotland

Czech Republic

Meet the teams: Czech Republic
Meet the teams: Czech Republic

Those of a nervous disposition should look no further than the Czech Republic. They have triumphed in all three penalty shoot-outs they have been involved in at EURO finals – no nation has won more. Antonín Panenka's decisive chipped kick in the 1976 decider against West Germany is still the stuff of folklore.
Colours: red, blue
Group stage opponents: Croatia, England, Scotland


Love a fairy tale? Not even Hans Christian Andersen could have scripted the one in 1992 when Denmark, who failed to qualify, were drafted into the finals ten days before the tournament started and went on to win it. Coach Richard Møller Nielsen's instructions were – as goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel recalled – "make sure you don't embarrass yourselves". However, Denmark have now lost 14 EURO matches – no nation has suffered more defeats – so could do with a pick-me-up.
Colours: red, white
Group stage opponents: Belgium, Finland, Russia


Meet the teams: England
Meet the teams: England

If goals are your thing then England are your pick. Their eight qualifiers spawned an average of 5.38 per match (F37 A6) – the most of any nation. The Three Lions are also playing in their tenth EURO, which is the most participations any country has racked up without ever winning the title. With the final scheduled to take place in London, has their time finally come?
Colours: white, blue
Group stage opponents: Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland


The obvious choice if you want to plump for the history boys – Finland have qualified for a EURO/World Cup for the first time at the 33rd time of asking. They are here on merit too, having qualified with their highest ever win percentage (60%) and points per game (1.8) of any EURO/World Cup qualifying campaign in their history. Still, striker Teemu Pukki could barely believe it when they confirmed their finals place, saying: "I'm speechless. This is sick. We made it!"
Colours: white, blue
Group stage opponents: Belgium, Denmark, Russia


Meet the teams: France
Meet the teams: France

Any fan of flair, attacking football and Gallic genius will surely look no further than reigning world champions France for this competition. As if to underline the fact, history tells us there have only been four occasions when a team has won five matches at a single EURO – France have achieved that feat three times. Can coach Didier Deschamps complete a EURO double, having won the 2000 competition as a player?
Colurs: blue, white, red
Group stage opponents: Germany, Hungary, Portugal


The only choice for those who love the traditional powerhouse. Appearing in their 26th consecutive major tournament, the three-time winners have progressed from the EURO group stage on seven occasions – no team has advanced more times – and have the most wins (26) and most goals (72).
Colours: white, black
Group stage opponents: France, Hungary, Portugal


It doesn't get much tougher than a group featuring the last three winners of the EURO and World Cup but this competition loves an underdog – 1992, 2004 ... 2021? Not many were backing the once mighty Magyars in 2016 but, with the jogging-trouser-clad Gábor Király excelling in goal, Hungary won their group having very nearly knocked out eventual winners Portugal in what was perhaps the match of the tournament.
Colours: red, white, green

Group stage opponents: France, Germany, Portugal


Meet the teams: Italy
Meet the teams: Italy

Enjoy the drama of a penalty shoot-out? If so, the Azzurri are the team to follow as they have been involved in a record five such nail-biters. They are also unbeaten in 40 EURO qualifiers, dating back to 2006, so translating that form into silverware is surely the next step for the 2012 runners-up. Moreover, they get to play their group stage games in Rome; as coach Roberto Mancini put it: "It’s one less trip."
Colours: blue, white
Group stage opponents: Switzerland, Turkey, Wales


If you believe in fate then the Dutch could deliver for you. Having failed to make the last EURO and World Cup, it is the Netherlands' longest absence from major finals since the mid-1980s – when they marked their return by winning EURO '88. Coach Frank de Boer is happy not to overstate his side's case: "Belgium are my favourites, followed by France, Spain and Germany. We are with England, Italy and Portugal, if we are at our best."
Colours: orange, white
Group stage opponents: Austria, North Macedonia, Ukraine

North Macedonia

First-time qualifiers North Macedonia won 2-1 in Germany in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in March, with Igor Angelovski's side hoping Goran Pandev can help them continue to punch above their weight at EURO 2020. The 37-year-old forward came out of international retirement to help rebuild the team, and scored their play-off final winner in Georgia. "I just wanted to help the guys because this is a young group," the Genoa man said.
Colours: red, yellow
Group stage opponents: Austria, Netherlands, Ukraine


Meet the teams: Poland
Meet the teams: Poland

Pin your hopes on Poland if you have faith in Robert Lewandowski's skills. The Bayern München man is their most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer – and the 32-year-old striker's powers show no sign of waning following another stellar season in he Bundesliga. He was a winner and top scorer in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League with 15 goals. Can he match that at EURO?
Colours: white, red
Group stage opponents: Slovakia, Spain, Sweden


The form horse in the tournament and the nation with the course and distance pedigree. The current holders and inaugural UEFA Nations League winners have progressed from the EURO group stage on all seven occasions so no worries about staying power either. And we've yet to even mention Cristiano Ronaldo. Their group looks difficult, but coach Fernando Santos said: "We will prepare well for this EURO and look to go into it with incredible conviction, looking to defend the title."
Colours: red, green
Group stage opponents: France, Germany, Hungary


Want to see a nation turn back the clock? Having won the inaugural EURO as the USSR back in 1960, Russia have failed in all 14 attempts to repeat the feat since. No previous European winner – in either this tournament or the World Cup – has a longer barren run so feel free to help them scratch the 61-year itch.
Colours: red, white
Group stage opponents: Belgium, Denmark, Finland


Meet the teams: Scotland
Meet the teams: Scotland

Ryan Christie's tearful post-match interview after Scotland's play-off shoot-out win against Serbia touched hearts, and the squad's exuberant dressing room rendition of Baccara's disco hit 'Yes Sir, I Can Boogie' hit provided more social media gold. At their first major tournament since 1998, the Scots will face neighbours England: if you want an emotional finals, these are the men to follow.
Colours: blue, white, yellow
Group stage opponents: Croatia, Czech Republic, England


Slovakia have shown class in their two previous final tournaments, making it through the group stage of the 2010 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2016. Marek Hamšík was in both of those squads, and remains an inspirational figure at 33. If you like good hair and stylish football, Slovakia could be for you.
Colours: white, red, blue
Group stage opponents: Poland, Spain, Sweden


Meet the teams: Spain
Meet the teams: Spain

The choice of the purist, the kings of tiki-taka have lost none of their total football philosophy after winning two of the last three EUROs. In qualifying unbeaten, they had the greatest pass-completion percentage, the highest average possession and more shots than any other team. Could they claim a record fourth EURO triumph?
Colours: red, blue, yellow
Group stage opponents: Poland, Slovakia, Sweden


The Blågult have suffered three consecutive EURO group stage eliminations – no nation has ever had a longer run. Spain represent tough opponents in the group stage, but coach Janne Andersson seems calm: "We've got some healthy competition: tough and healthy competition."
Colour: yellow, blue
Group stage opponents: Poland, Slovakia, Spain


Fed up of being eliminated before the knockout rounds? Then get behind Switzerland. They have successfully negotiated every group stage under coach Vladimir Petković but were eliminated in the first sudden-death stage at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and UEFA EURO 2016. They held Germany and Spain to draws in the UEFA Nations League in 2020, though, and have it in them to go toe-to-toe with the very biggest sides on their day.
Colours: red, white
Group stage opponents: Italy, Turkey, Wales


Meet the teams: Turkey
Meet the teams: Turkey

If you're a fan of the art of defending then Şenol Güneş' men are the team for you. Turkey kept eight clean sheets in qualifying – more than any other nation. They also took four points from their two matches against world champions France so you can add big-game mentality to their list of credentials. They will feature against Italy in the tournament opener in Rome, and the coach said: "In every opening game there are surprises and I hope we can also spring one."
Colours: red
Group stage opponents: Italy, Switzerland, Wales


Want to see a great player inspire a new generation as a coach? Andriy Shevchenko might be your man. Ukraine have lost five of their six matches at the finals, the sole exception a 2-1 victory against Sweden in 2012. The scorer of their two goals in that comeback win was the country's record goalscorer Shevchenko. Their draw looks tough, but the boss is not one to be scared. "Ukraine still have a good chance of progressing," he said.
Colours: yellow, blue
Group stage opponents: Austria, Netherlands, North Macedonia


Of all the automatic qualifiers, Wales are the nation with the smallest population – little more than three million – so if you want to root for a team that fights above its weight, they deserve your support. The Dragons will give you a run for their money too, having reached the semi-finals in their first EURO finals appearance in 2016.
Colours: red, white
Group stage opponents: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey

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