Portugal, France and Germany in Euro 2020 super group

SHOWS: BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (NOVEMBER 30, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRANCE MANAGER, DIDIER DESCHAMPS, SAYING:

"It is like this, we have to accept it. We have to prepare ourselves accordingly. Generally, a team has to start a tournament strongly anyway. Each match will be very important, and then we can think about the rest of the competition."

2. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMANY MANAGER, JOACHIM LOEW, SAYING:

"First of all, I am very happy. These are highlight games against Portugal, France. The European champions and the World Cup winners. The players will be looking forward to these kind of games. It's a tough group. Everyone in this group will have to play to their potential if they want to have a chance of getting to the knockout stages."

3. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) PORTUGAL MANAGER FERNANDO SANTOS, SAYING:

"It is historically tough. But if you're a candidate (to win) - and Portugal is a candidate - you're a candidate because you admit and accept it and have the conviction that you can play against any other opponent. It is not going to be easy for anyone to beat Portugal. But it's also not easy to beat them, but we're going to be in the game all the same and it will be decided at the match."

4. SOUNDBITE (English) ENGLAND MANAGER, GARETH SOUTHGATE, SAYING:

"We have obviously played the two teams that we know recently with success and also been beaten. There will be no complacency on our side. We obviously have the advantage of playing at home. But both teams have different problems, and Croatia, we have had some fantastic games with already in the last 18 months, and the Czech Republic were much improved when we played them in Prague from when we played them at Wembley."


STORY: Defending champions Portugal and the last two world champions, France and Germany, were thrown together in what German coach Joachim Loew described as the group of death following a lop-sided and complicated Euro 2020 draw on Saturday (November 30).

England were drawn against Croatia in a repeat of last year's World Cup semi-final while other favourites were given a much easier ride in the 24-team tournament which will be played in 12 different countries across the region.

The clear pick of the six first round pools was Group F, to be played in Munich and Budapest, which pitted France, Portugal and Germany, plus the winners of either playoff A or D.

However, the sting was slightly taken away by the format which allows four of the six third-placed teams to qualify for the round of 16.

UEFA's decision to rank the teams according to their result in the qualifiers, combined with Portugal's performance in their group, meant they ended up among the third seeds while France were one of the second seeds.

England and Croatia, who have met in the Nations League since Croatia's 2-1 win in Moscow last year, will be joined in Group D by the Czech Republic and the winners of playoff C - either Scotland, Norway, Serbia or Israel.

The Group D winners will face the runners-up from Germanys group in the round of 16 while the second-placed team will travel to Copenhagen to meet the Group E runners-up - potentially an easier match.

The Group will be played in London - host for the semi-finals and final - and Glasgow.

Other favourites were given a much easier-looking ride.

Italy, who won all 10 qualifying games as they bounced back from failing to make the last World Cup, will face Turkey, Wales and Switzerland in Group A, in Rome and Baku.

Euro 2008 and 2012 champions Spain, who will jointly host Group E in Bilbao with Dublin, play Sweden, Poland and playoff winner B - either Bosnia, Slovakia, Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Belgium's opponents in Group B will be Denmark and Russia -who are both host nations - and Finland, who will be making their first appearance in a European Championship or World Cup.

The Netherlands, who like Italy missed out on the last World Cup, were pitted against Ukraine, Austria and playoff winner A or D in Group C, which will be played in Amsterdam and Bucharest.

Under the complex rules, all host nations will play their group games at home, meaning a number of teams had been allocated their groups before the draw.

(Production: Iain Axon, Kurt Michael Hall)