With the European Championship only around a month away, making accurate predictions is somewhat feasible, even though some are bound to be horribly wrong.
This is the second in a series of articles that will predict the outcome of all UEFA Euro 2020 groups. Group B consists of Denmark, Finland, Belgium and Russia.
Euro 2020 Group B Prediction
Belgium Favorites, Despite Two Away Matches
Belgium comfortably defeated Russia home and away in Euro 2020 qualifying, before Covid-19 forced matches to be played in empty stadiums.
In the Nations League, the Red Devils replicated that feat against Denmark, without spectators too. Regardless, it’s unlikely home fans would’ve given Denmark the three goals necessary to win.
Debutants Finland are arguably on par with Russia, but still weaker than Denmark, meaning Belgium should beat them without too much hassle, despite Finland’s proximity to the St Petersburg venue and presumably greater support from the stands.
Belgium are currently one of the best teams in the world and possesses an exciting blend of youngsters and veterans. Their motivation to win their first major tournament will be through the roof.
Denmark the Presumptive Runner-Up
Denmark did well to get ten points in their Nations League A group, going undefeated against England over two fixtures. Their start to World Cup qualifying is arguably still better, even though the opposition is comparatively easy. Fourteen goals in three matches, maintaining a clean sheet every time, one of which was a 4-0 demolition away against Austria with all goals scored in the second half.
Additionally, their squad consists of several great players representing the likes of Leicester City, AC Milan, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan.
They will also enjoy home advantage in all of their group matches. Around 11,000 to 13,000 (over half being Danes) spectators will likely feel like a lot after being accustomed to empty stadiums.
Russia did well to reach the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup, but Denmark have undoubtedly surpassed them, enjoying greater success in the Nations League and World Cup qualifying.
Russia and Finland to Eliminate Each Other
Russia and Finland both played in Nations League B, obtaining eight and 12 points respectively. In Russia’s defence, their group was tougher, but this time they will enjoy home advantage in two of their group matches, including the one against Finland.
Despite Russia’s lacklustre Nations League campaign, they remained undefeated at home, even without fans. So, it would not be unreasonable to consider them slight favourites over the Finns in front of 34,000 spectators (mostly Russians), despite its close proximity to Finland.
Then again, Finland won two away matches in the Nations League, albeit against historically struggling Irish and Bulgarian sides. They also drew 1-1 away against Ukraine in World Cup qualifying, but that was because of a last-minute penalty. However, the Finns have another ace up their sleeve – the motivation and passion that playing in your maiden tournament brings.
While this motivation alone is unlikely to grant Finland an away win against Russia, it can certainly be enough to manage a draw. And since they will both likely lose to Belgium and Denmark, this draw will presumably spell the end for Russia’s and Finland’s tournament.
To read our predictions for other groups, click below.