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EURO 2021 GROUP A: Schedule, Table, Favourites & Preview

Euro 2021 Group A Preview

Group A of Euro 2021 sees some closely-matched teams face off in an interesting group. Italy are the favourites to top the table by some distance but there won’t be any easy matches for the Azzurri.

Switzerland are a side that will trouble Roberto Mancini’s Italy. The Swiss national team is stacked with quality players and they are well-drilled enough to cause anyone problems.

Turkey and Wales complete this competitive group. They each represent unique problems that the other nations in this group have to deal with. Turkey had the best defensive record in qualifying and any side that manages to break them down will have done well. 

Wales boast some quality offensive players, they have perhaps the strongest attack in the group. They reached the semi-finals in 2016 and will be eager to achieve something similar here. This is a highly unpredictable group.

EURO 2021 GROUP A TABLE

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EURO 2021 GROUP A SCHEDULE AND TIPS

Date Game Time (UK) Venue
11/6/21 Turkey vs Italy 20:00 Stadio Olimpico, Rome
12/6/21 Wales vs Switzerland 14:00 Olympic Stadium, Baku
16/6/21 Turkey vs Wales 17:00 Olympic Stadium, Baku
16/6/21 Italy vs Switzerland 20:00 Stadio Olimpico, Rome
20/6/21 Switzerland vs Turkey 17:00 Olympic Stadium, Baku
20/6/21 Italy vs Wales 17:00 Stadio Olimpico, Rome


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As one of the host nations, the schedule favours Italy. They’ll play all of their group matches on home soil including the opening fixture of the tournament. Turkey vs Italy will open Euro 2020 on 11 June at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. 

Wales take on Switzerland in Baku, Azerbaijan in the other match. The two cities are a few thousand miles apart which will be difficult for all of the sides other than Italy. 

As the group favourites, Italy will hope to qualify within two matches. They play Switzerland in their second fixture as Wales take on Turkey in Baku. That may give the advantage to Gareth Bale and co. They face Italy in the final group stage match. If Roberto Mancini’s men have already qualified for the knockout stage then they may have one eye on the next round.

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EURO 2021 GROUP A ODDS AND FAVOURITES

Euro 2021 Group A Winner Odds

Bookmaker
Italy 1.07 1.05 1.06 1.06 1.07
Turkey N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wales 8.50 9.0 7.0 7.0 8.0
Switzerland N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Euro 2021 Winner Odds

Bookmaker
Italy 7.0 6.50 7.0 7.00 7.50
Turkey 501.0 2001.0 2001.0 751.0 501.0
Wales 81.0 81.0 91.0 91.0 91.0
Switzerland 81.0 81.0 91.0 91.0 101.0

*odds as at 18th June 2021


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EURO 2021 GROUP A PREVIEW

It’s a highly competitive group. Aside from Group F, there aren’t many tougher groups than this one. Italy were handed a tricky draw against some of, if not the best sides in the four pots. 

Switzerland have had a good few years. They got improved seeding after an impressive finish at the 2018 UEFA Nations League and haven’t looked back since. They topped qualifying Group D ahead of Denmark to get this far. They also reached the knockout stage of this competition in 2016 as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

Turkey surprised some people with their qualification campaign. They finished just two points behind France in qualifying group H with the best defence in all of qualifying. Wales made it out of a tricky qualifying Group E and will aim to replicate their semi-final appearance in Euro 2016.

Italy are the favourites on paper and the schedule favours them. Roberto Mancini’s side will play all three of their group matches on home soil as one of the host nations. The onus is on the other three nations in the group to do the brunt of the travelling. Wales and Turkey will set up camp in Baku while Switzerland will make Rome their base. The Swiss play Italy in their second match so will have to make that 16-hour round trip to Azerbaijan twice in nine days. That will cause fatigue. 

This is all to the benefit of Italy but the other three sides know that every match matters. The extended format means that even a third-place finish could be enough to secure passage into the knockout stage of the competition. 


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Euro 2021 Group A Prediction

Italy are the big favourites to win the group. They are highest in the rankings, the best track record in this competition and are playing all of their matches on home soil. The lack of travelling time will also help Roberto Mancini’s men. They had a flawless qualification campaign and could do well in this tournament. They’re just 1.62 to win the group.

The qualification odds are a little more open. Defence plays a big role in major tournaments. No side had a better backline than Turkey when qualifying for this tournament and a similar outcome would give them an advantage here.

We are backing Turkey to qualify at odds 1.73.

EURO 2021 GROUP A: ITALY

FIFA World Ranking Best Result at European Championships Last European Championship result (2016) Coach
#13 Winner (1968) Quarterfinals Roberto Mancini

Italy have a good chance of going far in this competition. The format of Euro 2021 favours the host nations as Italy have the big advantage of playing all of their group matches in Rome. Success has eluded them in this competition for over 50 years. They’ve finished runners-up twice in the last few decades but Italy were eliminated from the group stage just as often.

This is a young side in transition. Roberto Mancini named just one outfield player over the age of 30 in their last competitive match, a 2-0 win against Lithuania in March. That makes a change for the Azzurri who have relied heavily on experience in the last decade. That was to their downfall when they failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They lost their play-off to Sweden after naming a back three and goalkeeper with a combined age of 137.

Roberto Mancini was appointed soon after and quickly brought about changes. He ushered in this new wave of talent and the new Azzurri showed their quality with 10 wins from 10 when qualifying for this tournament. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Manuel Locatelli and Nicolo Barella have all become key players for the Azzurri.

Mancini’s Italy haven’t lost a match since September 2018 and they don’t intend to start soon.

Euro 2021 Group A, Italy, Prediction

The draw was reasonably kind to Italy but the schedule is a luxury. They excelled in the qualifiers but these group stage matches won’t be as straightforward. Success for Italy would mean three wins in the groups and a good showing in the knockout round, laying the foundations for this young group.

They may well do it. The Azzurri have some quality players and should have more than enough to get through Group A in the manner they want. Players like Marco Veratti, Georgio Chiellini and Lorenzo Insigne have more than enough quality to get Italy into the knockout stage. Goals may be an issue in the later stages but they should have enough to win the group.

Italy group prediction: 1st

EURO 2021 GROUP A: TURKEY

FIFA World Ranking Best Result at European Championships Last European Championship result (2016) Coach
#29 Semifinals (2008) Group Stage Senol Gunes

It’s been a promising couple of years for Turkey. This group of players has been playing together for some time and manager Senol Gunes is reaping the benefit. This proud footballing nation is due a strong showing at a major tournament and this may well be it. They reached the semi-finals of this competition back in 2008 as well as the semis of the World Cup six years prior.

But this is a new generation of players and one that is stacked with quality. It’s built on a solid defence, the best backline in European Championship qualifying. Juventus’ Merih Demiral is partnered in the centre of defence by Leicester City man Caglar Soyuncu. They were part of a backline that kept eight clean sheets in 10 qualifiers and conceded just three times. 

But it’s not just about their defence. Turkey have quality all across the pitch with Cengiz Under and Yusuf Yazici in midfield. That’s without mentioning their star man, Hakan Calhanoglu. The playmaker has enjoyed an outstanding season for AC Milan and is hoping to take that into the European Championship.

The stage looks set for Turkey to impress. They’ve had a solid few years under manager Senol Gunes. That includes some encouraging results in the last year like the 3-3 draw with Germany and the 4-2 victory against the Netherlands. Don’t be surprised if this Turkish side upset the odds and impress at Euro 2021.

Euro 2021 Group A, Turkey, Prediction

That’s certainly the expectation. A strong defence is often the best indicator of success in competitions like this. Turkey certainly have that and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this side reach the knockout stage.

They’re a difficult side to beat. They’ve lost three of their last 24 matches and the centre-back pairing of Soyuncu and Demiral played together in just one of them. Their trip to Rome is in the first fixture and after that, it’s consecutive matches in Baku. That’s why Gunes’ side have made the Azerbaijan capital their base for this tournament. They could be the surprise package in this tournament.

Turkey group prediction: 2nd

EURO 2021 GROUP A: WALES

FIFA World Ranking Best Result at European Championships Last European Championship result (2016) Coach
#23 Semifinals (2016) Semifinals Ryan Giggs

If Wales are half as successful in this tournament as they were at Euro 2016 then it will be considered a fine achievement. The Welsh national team made it all the way to the semi-finals in 2016 in their first major tournament appearance since 1958. Just getting there was an achievement but they exceeded expectations and are eager to do so again here.

They may well do it. Wales had a solid qualifying campaign, finishing just three points behind the 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia. The big issue for them will be getting their key players fit. Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale haven’t started a match together for their nation since back in November 2019. The Juventus midfielder made just two appearances during qualifying for this tournament.

New stars have emerged. Dan James and Joe Rodon have become established players, as has Harry Wilson. It’s a tight squad but injuries aren’t the only thing that will count against them. The uncertainty surrounding head coach Ryan Giggs will certainly make things more difficult for Wales.

But success would be a bonus. Few expect Wales to come anywhere close to replicating their achievement in 2016. A strong showing in the groups and perhaps even a knockout match would represent an excellent tournament for them. But if Wales click as they did last time then who knows how far this team can go.

Euro 2021 Group A, Wales, Prediction

Success is relative and a good tournament for Wales would be progression to the knockout stage of the competition. They may just do it providing their top players stay fit and gel together as they did in 2016. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey haven’t had the best time with their clubs this season but the standard of players around them has risen in recent years. 

That all bodes well for Wales. They have a strong defence that has conceded more than once in just two of their last 18 matches, keeping 10 clean sheets in the process. The issue has been their away form. Wales struggle when travelling and they’ll hope that setting up camp in Baku will serve them well. One suspects that the opening match against Switzerland will go a long way to deciding which side progresses.

Wales group prediction: 3rd

EURO 2021 GROUP A: SWITZERLAND

FIFA World Ranking Best Result at European Championships Last European Championship result (2016) Coach
#12 Round of 16 (2016) Round of 16 Vladimir Petkovic

Switzerland have hit a ceiling in major tournaments over the last few decades. They’ve made it out of the groups about half the time but have been eliminated in the first knockout match the rest of the time. The Swiss have never been further than the round of 16 in the European Championships and they expect better from this generation of talent. 

They have some quality players and manager Vladamir Petkovic has crafted a tight squad in his seven years in the job. But early tournament exits can’t go on forever and the Swiss are eager for this to be their time to shine. They impressed in qualifying, topping Group D ahead of Denmark in second. 

They have some issues, especially in offence. Historically, the Swiss have struggled to score goals. They’ve found the net just eight times in the European Championship before despite making it to the final tournament four times. It’s still an issue for the team today. They found the net 19 times in qualifying but 10 of them came against Gibraltar, a side that conceded an average of 3.875 goals per match.

They’ll need a better showing from this tournament. This generation of talent has players from some of the best clubs in Europe. Another early knockout is not good enough.

Euro 2021 Group A, Switzerland, Prediction

Many expect Switzerland to finish second behind Italy in Group A but it’s far from certain. They’re the second-favourites to qualify at 1.57 ahead of Turkey and Wales. 

It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the Swiss make another early exit from this group and fail to meet expectations. The schedule may well hurt them as Switzerland base themselves in Italy but play two matches in nine days in Baku. That’s two 16-hour return trips either side of that crucial crunch match against Italy in Rome.

The lack of firepower may well hurt them. Wales don’t concede too many goals and Turkey had the best defence of any side in qualifying. Making that trip from Rome to Baku to take on those two defences may be a step too far for Petkovic’s Switzerland.

Switzerland group prediction: 4th.

Other Euro 2021 Groups

Euro 2021 – Group B
Euro 2021 – Group C
Euro 2021 – Group D

Euro 2021 – Group E

Euro 2021 – Group F

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