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Euro 2024: Group D preview and team guide

The European Championship is round the corner and ahead of the action we have profiled each of the 24 competing teams.

Group D features a heavily-fancied France side, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland.

Euro 2024: Group D preview and team guide

Poland

  • Head coach: Michal Probierz
  • Key player: Robert Lewandowski
  • One to watch: Sebastian Szymanski
  • FIFA Ranking: 28
  • Best Euro performance: Quarter-finals (2016)

Poland snuck into the tournament after a disappointing qualification campaign, earning a place at Euro 2024 through the Nations League play-offs. Having finished third in their group behind Albania and the Czech Republic, Poland beat Estonia and Wales, the latter via a penalty shootout, to reach the tournament.

Robert Lewandowski remains Poland’s biggest threat despite heading towards his 36th birthday and 26 goals for Barcelona this season shows he can still cut it at the top level. Piotr Zielinski and Arkadiusz Milik offer further experience and Arsenal’s Jakub Kiwior holds together the defence, while Sebastian Szymanski will be hoping to take his club form onto the national stage.

The midfielder signed for Fenerbahce from Dynamo Moscow last summer after a successful loan spell at Feyenoord and has been one of the stars of the Turkish Süper Lig this season. He ended his first season in Istanbul with 13 goals and 19 assists in all competitions.

Netherlands

  • Head coach: Ronald Koeman
  • Key player: Virgil van Dijk
  • One to watch: Xavi Simons
  • FIFA Ranking: 7
  • Best Euro performance: Winners (1988)

The Netherlands have been handed a tough draw but will be confident of bettering their last-16 performance at Euro 2020. Ronald Koeman’s side has a nice mix of youth and experience, with Virgil van Dijk the leader for the Oranje at centre-back.

Van Dijk has returned to his best level again for Liverpool this season and forms part of a formidable defensive group, featuring Micky van de Ven, Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake and Stefan de Vrij. Jeremie Frimpong will hope an electric season at Bayer Leverkusen can earn him the nod over Denzel Dumfries at wing-back.

In midfield, Xavi Simons’ excellent development over the last two seasons has made him a firm part of Koeman’s plans, where he will look to provide creativity alongside Atalanta midfielder Teun Koopmeiners. Memphis Depay, despite an up-and-down couple of seasons, will lead the attack and trails only Robin van Persie for goals for the Oranje.

After experimentation with a back three in recent years, the Netherlands have reverted to a traditional 4-3-3 of late. Koeman will hope his team can do better in their reunion with France, in a match-up likely to decide who tops the group. The Dutch lost both games to France in qualification, including a heavy 4-0 defeat in Paris.

Austria

  • Head coach: Ralf Rangnick
  • Key player: Michael Gregoritsch
  • One to watch: Kevin Danso
  • FIFA Ranking: 25
  • Best Euro performance: Round of 16 (2020)

After group stage exits in every tournament since 1954, Austria finally broke their curse by reaching the Round of 16 at Euro 2020. The Austrians pushed eventual winners Italy close before losing in extra time and arrive at this summer’s tournament in fine fettle, after comfortable qualification as runners-up to Belgium. Ralf Rangnick turned down interest from Bayern Munich to stay on as manager and has led Austria to five consecutive wins, including a 6-1 thumping of Turkey during March’s international break.

Michael Gregoritsch has found real form at international level of late with eight goals in his last 10 appearances for Austria, and the Freiburg forward will be supported by Marko Arnautovic, fresh from winning the Serie A title at Inter Milan.

Kevin Danso, who has attracted interest from Premier League clubs, will marshall a backline shorn of star player and captain David Alaba to an ACL injury. The latter will travel to the tournament as Austria’s non-playing captain in a united front.

France

  • Head coach: Didier Deschamps
  • Key player: Kylian Mbappe
  • One to watch: Warren Zaïre-Emery
  • FIFA Ranking: 2
  • Best Euro performance: Champions (1984, 2000)

France will start as favourites for this summer’s tournament, having won the World Cup and reached another final in the last six years. Les Bleus have tournament experience, exciting youth, and arguably the game’s best talent in Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe scored eight goals, including a final hat-trick, to win the Golden Boot at the World Cup 18 months ago and arrives at Euro 2024 on the back of his most prolific – and final – season at Paris Saint-Germain. If France go deep into the tournament, their captain will have had an influential role in their success.

N’Golo Kante has made a shock return to the squad, in a midfield group that will be without the suspended Paul Pogba. Real Madrid duo Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga should start in the engine room, with Antoine Griezmann offering attacking support further forward.

Of the emerging names, William Saliba has failed to nail down an automatic role with France despite another standout season at Arsenal, while Warren Zaïre-Emery is hoping to build on becoming the nation’s third-youngest debutant and second-youngest goalscorer.

After becoming the third coach to win the World Cup as a player and manager in 2018, Deschamps can become just the second to do the same with the European Championship, after Germany’s Berti Vogts.

Read – Euro 2000 – Zidane’s zenith as France reign supreme

See more – Euro 2004 – Charisteas completes Greek miracle in Lisbon

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