EURO 2020: Group D – Matchday 1 Review and Updated Outlook

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Group D

England broke their Matchday 1 spell and a 3-way battle for the knockout phase expected

England faced Croatia and was arguably the better team of the night.

England’s midfield work rate and aggression choked Croatian super star Luka Modric. While Croatia’s counter-attacks proved unable to open the English defence, English players converted their biggest chance with Raheem Sterling. Kalvin Phillips‘ movement off the ball and assist to Sterling showcased his impact on the game. After all, he achieved an impressive 91% (31/34) of passing accuracy.

If you were worried about the English midfield duo Rice and Phillips, fear no more! Their Euro debut was impeccable.

The two teams enjoyed almost equal possession of the ball, and their total successful passes (389 and 385) and passing accuracy (85%) were almost identical in a very close battle for the ball. Both teams had 8 shots and only 3 on target.

None of Croatia’s players had an outstanding performance. As expected, Mateo Kovacic and Modric dominated Croatia’s possession of the ball. On the defensive front Šime Vrsaljko put in some decent work while Duje Ćaleta-Car’s failed effort to tackle Phillips led to the goal. The latter had the highest percentage of completed passes, 98% (49/50).

The difference maker for the English was that they enjoyed their trademark bursts of high tempo. Croatia was unable to follow at times, failing to successfully counter their opponents’ higher athleticism.

Special shout out to the youngest player to ever play in a Euro game, Jude Bellingham at the age of 17.

Radar plots of stats for midfielders in the England vs Croatia match for the Euro 2020 competition in Group D.
Radar plots of stats for midfielders in the England vs Croatia match for the Euro 2020 competition in Group D.

Group D’s second national team of the island of Great Britain was disappointing in front of their fans against the Czech Republic.

Scotland had the majority of possession (56%), while the game was played mostly in the middle of the field (47.1%). Furthermore, Scotland produced almost double key passes than their opponents, 14 and 6 respectively.

Despite this, Scotland’s dominance on the ball didn’t translate to goals. They did not hit the target (4) enough times to overcome Vaclik‘s high quality performance. However, their expected goals rate was double their opponents (xG: 1.8 and 0.9). Interestingly, the Scottish left wing duo Robertson and Armstrong hugged the line to produce crosses for Dykes without success.

The majority of the Czech Republic‘s attacks (50.3%) came from their right side with Boril and Jankto whose production in the first half was the silent difference maker. They were lethal on their counter attacks and Patrick Schick scored an amazing effort from the middle of the field to wrap up his impressive night.

The Czechs lost more duels: 45.6% success rate compared to Scotland’s 54.4%. In a nutshell, it could be argued that Scotland was the better team on the field. Nevertheless, the Czech Republic is a tactically sound team that converted their chances. Their 7 shots on target and Patrick Schick were more than enough for them to win.

Radar plots of attacking stats for forwards in the Scotland vs Czech Republic match for the Euro 2020 Group D.
Radar plots of attacking stats for forwards in the Scotland vs Czech Republic match for the Euro 2020 competition in Group D.


England now faces their northern neighbour in a do or die match for the Scots. Both teams will need to increase the amount of chances they have to score. Scotland must be more potent to have any real chances to achieve a victory. Our predictions don’t lie, Scotland has a small chance of winning this game (9%), while England’s journey in EURO 2020 could be long.

The Czechs will secure qualification with a win (27%) and even a draw (28%) could prove enough. However, Croatia is the favourite and will certainly enjoy the ball possession. Croatia will play for the win and are expected to attack the ball from the first minute of the game. Will that be enough for them to find the goals that lead to victory? Let’s find out!

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