Portugal, France, Germany drawn together at Euro 2020 as England get Croatia
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Bucharest (AFP) –
Reigning European champions Portugal will come up against World Cup winners France and Germany in the standout group at Euro 2020 following Saturday's draw for the tournament, while England were placed with Croatia.
Neither France nor Portugal were in Pot One for the 24-team competition being held in 12 cities across Europe, making them the dangerous teams to avoid for the top seeds in the draw in Bucharest.
In the event, they came out together in an incredibly tough Group F alongside Germany, who will play group games at home in Munich. That is where Joachim Loew's team will face France in their first match on June 16.
Group F will be completed by one of the winners of the play-offs to be played next March, leaving open several possibilities including Hungary, who will play at home in Budapest should they make it.
France beat Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 on home soil, before losing in the final to a Portugal side who claimed the title for the first time.
Meanwhile, England were drawn with Croatia and the Czech Republic in Group D, with Gareth Southgate's team to play home group games at Wembley, which will also be the venue for the semi-finals and the July 12 final.
That group will be completed by the team to emerge victorious from Path C in the play-offs, between Serbia, Norway, Israel and Scotland. The latter have the added incentive of knowing they will play home games in Glasgow in the group stage should they qualify.
- Home advantage? -
England faced the Czech Republic in qualifying, winning 5-0 at Wembley but suffering their only defeat of the campaign in Prague, where they went down 2-1 in October.
England will kick off at home to Croatia on June 14 in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup semi-final, which was won by the Croatians.
However, should England win their group they will have to play the runners-up from Group F, setting up a possible clash with Germany, France or Portugal in the last 16.
England coach Gareth Southgate told the BBC: "If you can win and be top seeds then you have to take control of your destiny. Let's hope we have the decision to make. We will take on whoever comes. Everyone will be thinking the same about playing us."
Southgate said being based at Wembley would be "a brilliant experience for our fans, the public and the players" but played down the importance of home advantage in a tournament spread over 12 countries.
"Ten nations have that opportunity so it doesn't make it an advantage for winning the tournament unless we can get to the semi-finals then we have it back in our favour."
Elsewhere, Italy will face Turkey in Rome in the tournament's opening game on June 12, with Switzerland and Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales also in that section, Group A.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini said: "Are we favourites? The teams we face are all competitive. The fact of playing in Italy helps us."
Spain will take on Sweden and Poland as well as a play-off winner in Group E.
© 2019 AFP