Group B fixtures, UK kick-off times and TV coverage
June 12 - Denmark 0-1 Finland. Read the match report here. Belgium 3-0 Russia. Read the match report here.
June 16 - Finland 0-1 Russia. Read the match report here.
June 17 - Denmark 1-2 Belgium. Read the match report here.
June 21 - Russia 1-4 Denmark. Read the match report . Finland 0-2 Belgium. Read the match report here.
Denmark: It's just shy of 30 years since Denmark’s memorable 1992 European Championship success and while replicating the same achievement this year looks a tall order, the Danes do have a strong squad capable of progressing into the latter stages.
They’ll be hoping that their undefeated Group D qualification campaign to reach the finals (W4, D4) might be a good omen for things to come.
Belgium: The pressure is on Belgium who, despite having a wealth of talent at their disposal, are still yet to win a major tournament.
They suffered a disappointing quarter-final exit in this competition five years ago but did finish third in the 2018 World Cup.
They are also top of FIFA’s world rankings and reached the Euros with ease – topping Group I with 10 wins from 10 games. As a result, anything less than reaching the semi-finals again this summer will surely be viewed as a failure.
Russia: This is Russia’s first tournament since reaching the World Cup quarter-finals on home soil back in 2018, and their fourth European Championship in succession.
They’ll be one of the older-aged sides at the tournament this year, so expectations are low and a repeat of their World Cup success is unlikely.
Yet it’s worth noting only fellow Group B participants Belgium managed to defeat Stanislav Cherchesov’s men during qualification (W8, L2).
Finland: No matter what happens across these next few weeks, Finland will enjoy participating in their first-ever major tournament.
They’re massive underdogs in a tough Group B, but they’ll perhaps take confidence from the knowledge that four of the five first-timers in 2016 did make it out of the groups.
Belgium and Finland are set to be at the biggest disadvantage in Group B, given that Denmark get to play all of their group stage fixtures at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
Russia will play two of their three matches on home soil, at the Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg.
Pre-tournament form guide
Denmark will be more than satisfied with their form heading into the tournament, having lost just one of their previous 12 matches (W9, D2, L1). Significantly though, that one defeat was a 4-2 loss against group rivals Belgium in the UEFA Nations League last November.
In fact, their only two defeats since October 2018 have come against the Red Devils, which doesn’t bode too well for their Group B meeting.
Since the start of 2019, only England have managed to secure victory against Belgium (W19, D3), and all but one of their 19 wins in that time saw them score two goals or more.
As a result, confidence should be at an all-time high for the side ranked No 1 in the world.
Belgium open their tournament against Russia, who have won three of their previous five matches (W3, D1, L1) – but each win came against teams currently ranked outside FIFA’s top 50 nations.
Failure to win against the tougher opponents in that sequence is perhaps a better indicator of Russia’s current level.
Given the form of their group rivals, Finland’s prospects of progression look slim and their recent results certainly back that up – they’re without a victory since November 2020.
Both Belgium and Denmark are expected to progress into the knockout stages, and the winner of this group will face a third-placed side in the next round.
That should act as huge motivation to finish top, so there will be plenty at stake when the two sides meet in the second round of matches.
Belgium are hot favourites to win the group, given their current standing in world football. But the home advantage for both Denmark and Russia does go some way towards levelling the playing field in this group.
Roberto Martinez’s side should have enough to see off their rivals, leaving the other three teams to fight for second.
We’re tipping Denmark to win that battle, however Russia could have a good chance of being one of four best third-place teams to advance.