Euro 2020 Preview: Group B

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(Photo credit ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Laura Paterson Aug 02, 2021, 4:36 PM

Group B comprises one of Euro 2020’s undoubted favorites Belgium, Euro 1992 winners Denmark, 2018 World Cup quarter-finalists Russia, and tournament debutants Finland. Which teams are most likely to progress from Group B to stake their claim in the Uefa Euro 2020 knockout phase?

Read on to inform your predictions with our Euro 2020 odds.

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UEFA Euro 2020 Schedule: Group B

All times listed are CEST (Central European Summer Time).

DateTimeMatch
June 12 202118:00Denmark v Finland
June 12 202121:00Belgium v Russia
June 16 202115:00Finland v Russia
June 17 202118:00Finland v Russia
June 21 202121:00Denmark v Finland
June 21 202121:00Denmark v Russia

Belgium

ManagerFIFA World RankingsOdds to Win Group BOdd to Win Euros
Roberto MartinezNo.1-150+550
(Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Belgium enter the Euros as one of the early favorites and rightly so. The Red Devils have been at the top of the FIFA World Rankings for nearly three years, and they swept aside all opponents in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Belgium didn’t have easy opponents in the qualifiers either, coming up against teams like Scotland and Russia, yet they won all ten of their games and plundered an embarrassing number of goals along the way.

The current crop of players wearing the red jersey has been dubbed the “Golden Generation” by fans, and, under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez, they have come a long way in the last four or so years. Belgium were quarter-finalists in the Euro 2016 competition and took home the bronze medal in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, the much sought-after silverware continues to elude this talented team, and it’s something they will hope to change in the coming month.

Their form coming into the tournament is sublime – having lost just once in a 2-1 defeat to England in the UEFA Nations League. The 8-0 demolition of Belarus in March’s World Cup Qualifiers shows just how devastating Martinez’s team can be when they hit the ground running.

This is a squad brimming with talent, and almost every face on the roster is a recognizable one. The only supposed weakness could be the aging defense, with Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, and Thomas Vermaelen all 32 or older.

Key players

In years gone by, Eden Hazard would have undoubtedly been an automatic pick as one of Belgium’s key players. However, he has had a fairly poor season with Real Madrid – hampered by injury – and has struggled to replicate the form that made him a fan-favorite at Chelsea. Hazard will have to step up if he is going to have any impact in a team that is brimming with other talented players.

If there are two players any coach would like to have in their team based on current form, it would be Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, and this is exactly the superstar duo that will take the Red Devils to new heights in this tournament.

Despite a horrific injury in the Champions League final, De Bruyne is expected to be fit, and Martinez will be able to unleash the game’s best attacking midfielder. Lukaku has had the season of his life at Inter Milan, scoring 24 goals in the Serie A, helping his team to the trophy, and ending Juventus’ decade-long domination.

Denmark

ManagerFIFA World RankingsOdds to Win Group BOdds to Win Euros
Kasper HjulmandNo.10+275+2800
(Photo by LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Denmark failed to qualify for the 2016 Euros, but they qualified for the 2020 Euros in fine fashion. The Danes had far from an easy group, drawn alongside teams like Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland, but they managed to see through an unbeaten qualifying campaign to finish as runners-up of their group.

Hjulmand’s team is in great form at the moment, having lost just one of their nine games since October 2020. They won all three of their World Cup qualifiers in March – scoring 14 goals and not conceding a single one.

AC Milan’s veteran defender, Simon Kjaer, leads the team, and he is joined by other quality players like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Andreas Christensen, and Christian Eriksen. Youngsters Mikkel Damsgaard and Andreas Skov Olsen are showing great promise and should add valuable depth for the Red and Whites.

The only concern for the Danes could be their lack of firepower at the front, with none of their strikers (Yussuf Poulsen, Martin Braithwaite, or Kasper Dolberg) finishing up their club seasons in prolific style.

Still, Denmark have their famous trophy at Euro 1992 to drive them on. While Hjulmand might not expect a repeat of the 1992 heroics, he will undoubtedly expect some progression from his team and will demand that they reach the knockout round at a minimum.

Key players

The most notable player and biggest influence for the Danish team is Christian Eriksen. The talented playmaker is having an incredible season for Inter Milan, and his form will be a great asset for his team. In fact, Eriksen might be one of the few people that was relieved that the tournament was postponed last year – given that he was having a torrid time and has been rejuvenated in the last ten months. He is undoubtedly raring to show the world what he can do.

While Eriksen will be able to give the Danes the flair and creativity that they need on the field, it’s the other end of the pitch that holds the key to the Red and White’s impressive defensive record. Kasper Schmeichel helped Leicester City to their first-ever FA Cup win this season and looks set to bring his goalkeeping talents to the national stage. The Dane keeps a tight, tidy, and organized goal, and he has extra motivation for winning the Euros just like his father, Peter, did in 1992.

Finland

ManagerFIFA World RankingsOdds to Win Group BOdds to Win Euros
Markku KanervaNo.54+1800+20000
(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The Euros mark a historic occasion for Finland, as it is the first time they have ever qualified for a major tournament. They managed this under the management of Markku Kanerva, who has improved the team markedly since he took the reins in 2016.

They qualified for the Euros as runners-up in their group behind Italy and had a decent qualifying campaign, beating the likes of Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They put in some decent performances during this period, but their form has slipped since and could be a major concern for Kanerva. He will have to get his team to play at a different level than the one that saw them draw two and lose three of their last five games. Hopefully, the excitement of playing in a major tournament will be all the motivation that they need.

Key players

Although the youngsters like Onni Valakari and Marcus Forss show promise, it will be the more experienced players that have to step up. The main man is Teemu Pukki, who pretty much pulled Finland through the qualifiers single-handedly, scoring ten goals in ten games. If he regains his fitness and his form, he could become the country’s leading goalscorer. With just two more goals, he will equal the record of the legendary Jari Litmanen.

Glen Kamara is another leader on the pitch, and the Ranger’s midfielder will be hugely important for Finland. He has just come out of a title-winning season with the Rangers, and the tough, hard-tackling central midfielder will be Finland’s best hope of protecting their vulnerable backline.

Russia

ManagerFIFA World RankingsOdds to Win Group BOdds to Win Euros
Stanislav CherchesovNo.38+400+8000
(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

ussia showed huge intent when they made it to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, things have been a bit stagnant for The Red Bear since then. They did qualify with relative ease, losing only two of their matches and finishing second behind Group B opponents, Belgium.

Despite this, they failed to qualify for two UEFA Nations League tournaments, and their World Cup qualifications hang by a thread after their humbling defeat to Slovakia in March. The team’s form is certainly questionable at the moment, and Cherchesov will hope that winning just two of their last ten games isn’t a sign of things to come. The good news is that Russia will be playing two of their three games at home in front of over 30,000 fans.

Russia will have one of the oldest teams in this tournament, with the likes of Yuri Zhirkov, Artem Dzyuba, Fedor Kudryashov, and Mario Fernandes leading the line. They will be without Igor Akinfeev, as the former captain has retired from international soccer, and this could be a big miss for this team.

Key players

This isn’t a team that oozes creativity and flair, but one player that certainly ticks those boxes is Aleksandr Golovin. The attacking midfielder had an impressive season for AS Monaco in Ligue 1, and he’ll be the player that the team relies on to create chances from higher up the pitch.

Artem Dzyuba is another player that the Russians will rely on. Although the big man is 32, the veteran forward is coming off the back of a prolific goal-scoring campaign with Zenit St. Petersburg. He is going to be instrumental in helping his team in front of the goals in order to enjoy a similarly impressive run that we saw they were capable of during the World Cup.

Teams most likely to qualify from Group B

It will be a massive upset if Belgium fail to qualify at the top of Group B. Despite the current struggles of Eden Hazard, Roberto Martinez has a hugely talented side that should be able to see off any threat from their opponents.

Denmark is likely to be next in line, especially given how well they did in the World Cup qualifiers in March. They have a stable backline, a world-class goalkeeper, practical and reliable midfielders, and a rejuvenated Christian Eriksen. The Danes might struggle for goals, but all in all, this is a team that should do enough to clinch second spot.

More Coverage

Check out all of BetMGM’s Euro 2020 preview coverage below.

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Overall Euro 2020 tournament betting preview

Group A betting preview

Group B betting preview

Group C betting preview

Group D betting preview

Group E betting preview

Group F betting preview

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About the Author

Laura Paterson

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Laura is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.

Laura is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.