The 2nd day of action at the European Championships will see 6 nations face off, eyeing a potentially crucial positive start to the tournament.
Below, check out five things you need to know about Saturday’s fixtures.
Stars on the move (Wales vs Switzerland)
Wales and Switzerland will get the weekend’s Euro 2020 action underway, in a Group A showdown in Baku. Ahead of the fast-approaching clash, however, it is not matters on the pitch, but instead away from it, which have taken centre stage in the pre-match chatter.
This comes with an absolute host of stars from both sides currently at the heart of rampant transfer speculation.
On the Welsh side of things, Aaron Ramsey’s future appears more certain than ever to lie away from Juventus, with a Premier League return potentially on the cards. The midfielder, though, is joined at the heart of the gossip columns by Dragons teammates Gareth Bale, Harry Wilson and Neco Williams, who could be granted a loan move away from Liverpool this summer, amid interest from the likes of Norwich City and Burnley.
For Switzerland, meanwhile, captain Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal departure appears to be inching closer by the day, with Jose Mourinho’s Roma in pole position to land the midfielder. Fellow Premier League star Xherdan Shaqiri will also likely be on the move ahead of next season, on the back of a bit part campaign with Liverpool.
How will home advantage favour Denmark?
Denmark’s opening Euros fixture versus Finland will be their first of three group games to be played in Copenhagen. This, for obvious reasons, will hand the Danes a major boost in their efforts to emerge from Group B, albeit with Belgium still heavy favourites to top the table.
Kasper Hjulmand’s men have long excelled in familiar surroundings, having remarkably lost just one of their last 20 outings on home soil.
Expect a comfortable 3-point haul versus Nordic rivals Finland, with a spot in the knockout rounds to follow.
Belgium: a team of domestic champions
Belgium, widely viewed as being amongst the favourites to go all the way this summer, are set to get their campaign underway in a showdown with Russia.
Roberto Martinez’s squad is jam-packed with world-class talent, and features a contingent of stars who enjoyed particularly fruitful club campaigns in 2020/21. In fact, domestic league titles were secured by no less than five of the Red Devils’ players, in the form of Kevin De Bruyne (Premier League), Yannick Carrasco (La Liga), Romelu Lukaku (Serie A), and Club Brugge pair Simon Mignolet & Hans Vanaken (Jupiler League).
Not only that, but Leicester City trio Timothy Castagne, Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet clinched the FA Cup, whilst Borussia Dortmund counterparts Thorgan Hazard, Thomas Meunier and Axel Witsel too added to their respective trophy cabinets, en route to DFB Pokal glory in Germany.
Could further celebrations be on the cards for Belgium’s golden generation this summer?
Nostalgic memories | Denmark & Wales
Expect to hear plenty of fond stories of years gone by in the buildup to Saturday’s action, as Danish and Welsh supporters alike reminisce about their historic European Championship campaigns of the past.
The latter of course firmly defied the odds en route to the semi-finals of the last edition of the tournament, ousting the aforementioned Belgium in sensational fashion along the way.
It is Denmark, though, who remain the architects of the greatest Euros upset in history. Back in 1992, the Danes were expected to watch on from home, after failing to clinch qualification for the tournament proper. Yugoslavia’s subsequent disqualification, however, opened the door for them to step in, setting the stage for one of football’s most memorable triumphs.
Behind the talents of the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Brian Laudrup, Denmark went all the way, eventually downing Germany by two goals to nil in the competition’s finale, to bag the nation’s first-ever international trophy.
One to watch out for
Our player to watch out for on Saturday is Belgium’s Jeremy Doku.
The attacker only turned 19 late last month, but, despite the talent at the disposal of Roberto Martinez, has already established himself as a regular contributor at international level. Since making his senior debut off the bench in a Nations League meeting with Denmark last September, Doku has racked up a further seven caps, finding the net twice along the way. The Antwerp native has long been viewed as one of the finest young talents on the continent, and will no doubt be eager to further his glowing reputation this summer.
Whilst a start versus Russia looks altogether unlikely, expect Doku to emerge from the bench at some point, to add further flair to an already potent Red Devils frontline.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) May 27, 2021
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