Can England start of with a win?
Austria vs. North Macedonia
Austria are one of the 3 favourites to qualify from the group along with Ukraine and Netherlands. North Macedonia are making their debut at the Euro’s and similar to Finland they can cause an upset but no one really expects it. Austria go into this game having lost one and drawn one of their friendlies while North Macedonia have drawn one and won one. On paper Austria should be winning this game as they have the quality but North Macedonia can take encouragement from Finland’s performance yesterday and will feel that they have a chance.
Netherlands vs. Ukraine
The favourites from the group take on one of the contenders as Netherlands play Ukraine. Netherlands go into this game having drawn one and won one of their friendlies while Ukraine have drawn one and won two of their friendlies. Netherlands for sure have more quality available to them but Ukraine have been consistent under Shevchenko and have a real unity in their squad. I feel that this will be an open game and both sides will have a good chance of getting 3 points. Netherlands will be favourites though.
England vs. Croatia
Two top contenders for the tournament go head to head in this game as they play a replay of the World Cup game from 3 years ago. England have a rejuvenated squad from 3 years ago with arguably more quality but maybe not as skilled of a manager. Croatia have the experience and quality on the pitch to cause damage in any game. England won both their friendlies with a solitary goal. Croatia drew one and lost one. With England it’s very much of a situation of what lineup Southgate picks. He can pick a lineup based on merit which would see players like Grealish, Sancho, or Foden start on the wings or he can go with sentiment and pick Rashford or Sterling. Croatia are a much more stable team in that they have worked under Zlatko Dalic and done well. England have the potential to actually play well and do well in these Euro’s whether they are allowed to is a different question while Croatia have a chance of actually winning something with what is arguably a golden generation.