The Group D of UEFA Euro 2020 consists of England, Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic. The six matches of this group will be played in London and Glasgow. 1988 England are the clear favourites to progress from this group with Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic with equal chance to qualify claiming the second spot. However, even finishing third could beneficial because four of the best third-placed teams qualify for the knockout phase. And last time, Portugal who finished third in their group went on to lift the trophy.
Ahead of the start of the tournament, here are the profiles of the coaches of all four teams:
England: Gareth Southgate
His four major tournaments as a player included EURO ’96, and a famous semi-final penalty miss against Germany. As manager he has changed the mood around England, leading the team to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
England has won 18 of its 24 homes games under Southgate since he took charge late in 2016, losing twice. England also won its only major title, the World Cup in 1966, on home soil and reached the England-based European Championship semifinals in 1996, losing on penalties.
Southgate has also talked up the benefits of his squad being based at St. George’s Park, England’s plush national soccer center, around matches.
Croatia: Zlatko Dalić
A former midfielder who never represented his country, Dalić took over from Ante Čačić in 2017 and led the team to the 2018 World Cup final. Dalić is the rare European coach who made a name for himself in the Middle East. A former midfielder who never represented his country, Dalić coached Al-Hilal to the Saudi Crown Prince Cup then reached the Asian Champions League final with Al-Ain. Croatian soccer federation president Davor Šuker has acknowledged that it was a gamble hiring Dalić in 2017. But the gamble paid off immediately when Dalić guided Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final. Duplicating the success of 2018 would be a surprise.
Scotland: Steve Clarke
The former Chelsea player started his coaching life as Ruud Gullit’s assistant at Newcastle United in 1998. He took the Scotland helm in May 2019 after a fruitful tenure at Kilmarnock. The Scots have never come close to returning to the World Cup. For the European Championship, there were near-ish misses when trying to qualify for the tournaments in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
“The thing that has impressed me about Steve is, he is unflappable,”Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United coaching great who led Scotland at the 1986 World Cup said of Clarke, whose long career includes spells as assistants to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool. “He’s composed, he’s calm and I think that transmits itself to the team,” Ferguson said. “There’s no panic.”
Czech Republic: Jaroslav Šilhavý
Holder of the record for most Czech top-flight appearances (465), the 59-year-old won two titles as coach before taking the Czech reins in September 2018.
A former player, Šilhavý had been an assistant to coach Karel Bruckner from 2002-08 at a time when the Czechs were known for their free-flowing attacking soccer, helping the team reach the semifinals at Euro 2004.
Unlike Bruckner, Šilhavý doesn’t have the stars of the past like Rosický, Pavel Nedvěd or Karel Poborský, but he still has players who can make a difference. The core of his team is formed by former and current players from Slavia Prague, a team that just clinched its third straight Czech league title and has reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League twice in the last three years.
In 2016, then-Czech Republic coach Pavel Vrba didn’t take striker Patrik Schick to France because, at 20, he seemed to be too young and inexperienced. Šilhavý is unlikely to make the same mistake in the case of Hložek, who has drawn interest Liverpool, Leipzig, Dortmund and AC Milan.