The draw for the European Championships took place in Bucharest today and it threw up quite a few surprises.
The major headline is that of Group F, which has heavyweights Germany, Portugal, and France. The latter two sides were in the final of the last edition, in which Portgual ultimately prevailed. The trio will be joined by playoff winner A in the group.
2018 World Cup semi-final opponents England and Croatia meet each other in Group D, where they are joined by the Czech Republic and playoff winner C. Belgium, the top-ranked team in the world have a relatively easier group. The Red Devils will compete with Finland, Denmark, and Russia in Group B.
The Netherlands are one of the favourites for the tournament, and they are in group C alongside Ukraine, Austria, and playoff winner D. Italy and Spain have satisfactory groups as well, and they should have an easy path to the knockouts on paper. The top two sides from each group will advance to the round of 16, along with four best third-placed teams.
Full draw (host cities in brackets):
Group A (Rome, Baku): Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales
Group B (St. Petersburg, Copenhagen): Russia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland
Group C (Amsterdam, Bucharest): Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, (one of Georgia, Kosovo, Belarus, North Macedonia)
Group D (London, Glasgow): England, Croatia, Czech Republic, (one of Scotland, Israel, Norway, Serbia)
Group E (Bilbao, Dublin): Spain, Poland, Sweden, (one of Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Slovakia or Ireland)
Group F (Munich, Budapest): Germany, France, Portugal, (one of Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary)Published 30 Nov 2019, 23:45 IST