England have drawn Croatia, Czech Republic and a play-off winner, which could be Scotland, in Group D at Euro 2020 in what is a favourable result for one of the hosts of next summer’s tournament.
England lost to Croatia in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, and more recently lost to Czech Republic in qualifying for Euro 2020, but Gareth Southgate will be very satisfied with a draw which saw England steer clear of the biggest sides in Europe.
There was also the boost of winning a coin toss to ensure all three of England’s group games will be played at Wembley. The tournament spans 12 cities across the continent, with the semi-finals and final to also be played at Wembley.
The third side in the group will come from a play-off path which includes Scotland, as well as Israel, Norway and Serbia.
The ‘group of death’ is undoubtedly Group F, featuring 2014 World Cup winners Germany, reigning world champions France, and reigning European winners Portugal.
England would meet the second-placed team from Group F in the round of 16 should they win Group D, and would meet the winner of Group E – which includes Spain, Poland and Sweden – should they finish second. But Southgate made clear he would not be aiming for anything less than top of the group.
“It is a bit like we were before today,” he said. “If you can win and be top seeds you can take control of your own destiny. Let’s hope we have that decision to make, we have to be confident in our own ability and take on whoever comes.
“I’m never sure what a good draw is. We have played at least two of the teams before and for us to be playing at Wembley is something very special and we are really looking forward to the tournament.”
Wales were drawn with Italy, Switzerland and Turkey in Group A, avoiding the trickier Group B where away trips to Russia and Denmark awaited as well as the world’s No1 ranked team, Belgium.
The tournament will be the first European Championships to be played across the entire breadth of the continent, using 12 different venues from Dublin to Baku, beginning on Friday 12 June in Rome and culminating on Sunday 12 July in London.
Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland.
Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, Georgia/North Macedonia/Kosovo/Belarus.
Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland/Norway/Serbia/Israel.
Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina/Slovakia, Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, Iceland/Bulgaria/Hungary/Romania.