June is around the corner and Euro 2020 is upon us. Who will dominate the group stages and be at the top of the group table? Which teams will qualify for the next round of the tournament? Who will we witness being booted out of the championship?
The much awaited action is starting on 11 June and for a whole month we are ready to eat, watch soccer, sleep and repeat! There is a different kind of excitement aroused by nations leagues compared to clubs football. There’s a sense of unity and calmness that draws people together to stand in solidarity in support of their country.
The usual goal forecasting, and guessing who will get which award has already started. England’s Three Lions are this year’s favourite to win the tournament, and we must say, the odds are really in their favour. Bookies already have their predictions at all stages and for a complete analysis, you can check out Unibet Euro 2020. If history has anything to do with it, we think France also has a pretty good chance of taking the cup a second time after the win in 2000.
Since a lot of noise is around group D though, we decided to take a look at the countries represented there, and what big data is predicting versus what punters are saying. England, Scotland, Croatia and the Czech Republic are in this group and here’s a look at their previous meetings.
History between the teams.
Every team in group D shares an intimate match day; though the matches are dated into different tournaments and years, there is still a sombre and bitter history.
Without a doubt, the oldest and the most talked-about rivalry is the England vs Scotland matchup. This is one game we think will keep everyone on their toes, given the teams’ history. As much as England’s Three Lions are expected to be on top of their game, Scotland’s Tartan Terriers will definitely bring a stern challenge.
The Tartan Terriers suffer from deep resentment of losses against the Three Lions. The Scottish side was last seen winning against the English side way back in 1999, and the closest they came to winning was in 2017 when they drew 2-2 with England in the FIFA World Cup. Because they came so close, they think they can conquer England this time around. Some of the best moments of both teams can be found here.
Another team that might bring a challenge for the England team is the Croatian side. The two share a rollercoaster ride of losses, draws and wins. 2018 saw these two teams going up against each other and trying to prove who is more dominant. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Croatia had the upper hand as they won 2-1. But, England tightened up their defence and drew 0-0 with Croatia in the first leg of the UEFA Nations League. These two teams have a vendetta to settle and determine who is the better team and in turn, gain more points.
The Czech Republic is one team that most people are underestimating. It cannot be argued that this side has a very poor history against any of their group opponents. Against Croatia, Czech does not have a single win, against Scotland their last win was way back in 2010 and against England they have a recent win of 2-1. This win against the Three Lions gives the Czech team some confidence that they might actually make it into the next round.
Gareth Southgate’s men are in extraordinary form at the moment. They won seven of their eight matches during the qualification stage and of those seven, they scored 37 goals. Increasing their odds of winning is the fact that three of their group matches are being played at Wembley stadium. England is literally playing most of their matches on home turf. This places their winning odds at 5/11, making them the most-likely winners of the tournament.
A team that has been a headache to the Three Lions, Croatia, comes second on the best group odds. Their odds are 7/2. They are the 9th favourites to win the tournament. The Czech Republic and Scotland take the third and fourth spot respectively. The Czechs’ odds are at 10/1whilst Scotland’s are at 16/1.
Five-star Haaland: Manchester City’s star striker reminds everyone he’s an utter goal machine
Erling Haaland is well and truly back to business as usual after his five-goal contribution in Manchester City’s 6-2 thrashing over Luton Town.
Fittingly bagging five goals in the fifth round of the FA Cup as the holders cruised into the quarter-finals, Haaland barely wasted any time getting back on the scoresheet as he opened the scoring inside three minutes of the away fixture.
It only took him another quarter of an hour to get his second and while it looked for a brief moment like Luton might have some glimmer of hope after an absolute corker from Jordan Clark, who managed to grab two on the night, the goalscoring phenom managed a first-half hattrick on the 40-minute mark.
Clark’s second came in the 52nd minute to bring the scoreline to 3-2, once again making it look like they might have something to cling on to, only for the Norwegian number nine to resume the annihilation by grabbing his next just a few minutes later and his fifth only moments after that.
While the 23-year-old had looked somewhat off his best over the last few weeks, he did manage to find the net once again in Man City‘s last home game against Brentford and despite striking out against Bournemouth, it looks like the floodgates are once again open.
Fans can argue till the cows come home about the level of opposition and quality of defending on the night, but the reality is that many a team have struggled in the cauldron that is Kenilworth Road and anything can happen in knockout tournaments like this — after all, that’s the ‘magic of the cup’.
Oh yeah, and he broke another record in the process before being taken off — the same thing happened the last time he scored five too. Preventing injuries/preserving players’ energy aside, Guardiola seemingly doesn’t fancy letting him score six for some, even though we all know he would.
He literally could’ve had six but Pep clearly thought five was plenty and subbed him off in the 77th minute, but it goes without saying that the legend in the making regaining his form right before the Manchester derby this weekend only spells disaster for Man United.
The Red Devils looked lacklustre in their previous game at home in the 2-1 defeat to Fulham and they haven’t won at the Etihad Stadium in their last three visits, while the Blues are now unbeaten in their last 18. Sunday is going to be a blockbuster.
You can watch the highlights from Manchester City’s emphatic FA Cup victory over Luton and yet another star showing from Erling Haaland down below:
The Class of 92 are looking for new investors to get behind Salford City FC
The Class of 92-backed Salford City are looking for new investors to back the Greater Manchester side in their bid to become a contender for Championship football.
Having first been taken over by the Manchester United legends back in 2014 and now a decade into their joint ownership, the Class of 92 managed to take Salford out of the lower rungs and National League by 2019 and string together three successive promotions to get them into League Two by 2020.
However, progress has slowed in the years since and despite remaining an established EFL outfit, they are still yet to make the jump to the next division and are currently in 19th place in the fourth tier with a negative goal difference.
Having seen the success of Wrexham AFC’s takeover by celebrity duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in recent years, not to mention their former home of Man United finally welcoming new albeit partial ownership in Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the M7-based side has already put the wheels in motion.
Releasing a statement on the club website, Salford City said: “The Board have launched a process to explore new strategic partners for the club to support its ambitious growth targets.
“Current owners and management (led by the Class of ’92) remain fully committed to the club but are open to the possibility of the right new partner investing alongside the group with a view to capitalising on the club’s significant sporting, media/commercial and infrastructure opportunities.
They go on to detail that they will be considering a wide range of options and potential partners but also that “some interest in new equity investment in the club has already been received.”
Aware that the process coincides with the 10th anniversary of their being on board, they are keen to make sure this new strategic plan includes “the development of its football infrastructure, expansion of its commercial and media operations and a continued rise through the football pyramid.”
Speaking on the announcement, CEO Nicky Butt, who replaced Gary Neville back in October 2022, said: “We are backing Salford City with as much commitment and confidence as ever. We have achieved very special things here but there are major opportunities in front of us and we want to make sure we have the right mix of investment and strategic partners to take advantage of those opportunities.
“We had an original 10-year plan and with strong foundations now in place, it was always the intention to explore options for the next phase. That includes potentially bringing in new partners to help us grow the club and best serve the fans and community.”
With Naming Tifosy Capital and Advisory named as their exclusive financial advisor, it seems apparent that the hunt for new partners won’t just begin right away but that it already has, though there are no early indications as to who their first interested party might be.
With two draws, two wins and a loss from their last five, The Ammies will be hoping to get back to winning ways with tonight’s home fixture against Colchester United as they look to climb the table. You can watch the highlights from their last outing away to Mansfield Town down below: