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Euro 2024: Group F Preview

I'm quite glad that alphabetical order means we've saved Group F til last, as it has the potential to be a really fun one in my opinion. Portugal look quality, the Czech Republic and particularly Turkey have the potential to cause problems, and Georgia have some real standout players for their first ever Euros appearance.

Here's your Group F Euro 2024 preview.

Previous previews: Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E.

Group F

🇹🇷 Turkey | Manager: Vincenzo Montella | FIFA Ranking: 40th

When you look at Turkey's squad, they have a lot of the components required to be considered 'dark horses' in this tournament yet nobody is giving them that label. Why? Because literally everybody referred to them as dark horses for Euro 2020 and got burned badly because Turkey lost every single match at that tournament.

As a result, a similar disappointment feels possible here, but when you run through some of the players that they have, we can surely expect to at least be entertained?

Hakan Calhanoglu will play the deep midfield role that he's become so good at for Inter, Orken Kokcu is a magnificent playmaker even if he hasn't quite shown it for Benfica just yet, 19-year old Arda Guler is already becoming a star at Real Madrid, and Galatasaray winger Kerem Akturkoglu is a considerable goal threat.

Turkey qualified top of their group ahead of Croatia who they beat 0-1 away having been beaten at home, yet their inconsistency is well proven through contrasting friendly results. Last November they beat Germany 2-3 in Berlin. In March they were beaten 6-1 by Austria.

The first game provides Turkey with opportunity as they face Euros newbies Georgia. Lose that match and this tournament may well go the same way as Euro 2020, but win and the potential will look suddenly look quite strong.

Turkey are expected to be well supported in Germany and in Vincenzo Montella, they have an Italian manager who brings plenty of passion himself. Previously in charge of numerous top Serie A Clubs including Roma, Fiorentina and Milan, Montella earned this job off the back of an impressive spell with Adana Demirspor in the Super Lig.

As just mentioned, results have been mixed in his first year in charge, so it will be fun to find out what we get from Turkey in this major tournament.

🇬🇪 Georgia | Manager: Willy Sagnol | FIFA Ranking: 75th

Appearing at a European Championships for the first time is already a considerable achievement for Georgia, who defeated Greece on penalties in a play-off to reach this stage. Led by former French international Willy Sagnol, Georgia have plenty of unknown players playing for fairly unrecognisable clubs as you might expect, yet they also have two stars that could end up being among the most expensive players in all of Europe this summer.

Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili is only 23 years of age yet is recognised as one of LaLiga's best between the sticks and is expected to transfer for a hefty fee in the coming weeks. He tends to be a busy man on international duty as Georgia's defence isn't the best, though the tally of 18 goals that Georgia conceded during their 8 qualifying matches was inflated by a particularly bad day at the office when they were beaten 1-7 at home by Spain (they only lost 3-1 away).

Fortunately, Georgia are often in a position to respond at the other end, as Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia or 'Kvaradona' as he's sometimes referred to as, is a very, very talented player. Also only 23 years of age, Kvaratskhelia played a starring role in Napoli's Serie A title win in 2022/23 and put up similar numbers this year (11 goals and 6 assists) despite Napoli having a far more disappointing campaign.

For his country, Kvaratskhelia will play slightly more centrally as a second striker in a 5-3-2 simply so that he can see more of the ball and affect things more regularly. Georges Mikautadze will likely play alongside him having scored 13 Ligue 1 goals for Metz this season.

Georgia have their two slightly more winnable games first in this tournament, with an opener against Turkey, then their match with Czechia, before the fairly daunting prospect of a clash with Portugal.

Even with Mamardashvili in goal, defence is the concern for Georgia when playing at this level, as their three central defenders are fairly old-school giants as opposed to modern ball playing defenders which means they're going to be vulnerable to a press.

Nevertheless, it's always fun to cheer on an underdog in their debut tournament and Georgia's group could have been far worse. Having beaten Sweden and Bosnia and drawn with Norway and Scotland (among other good results) in recent years, they certainly have a chance in games against Turkey and Czechia if at their best.

🇵🇹 Portugal | Manager: Roberto Martinez | FIFA Ranking: 6th

Portugal are going to be right up there with the very best in this tournament in my opinion, they look really, really good. There are perhaps slight concerns over Roberto Martinez's 'failure' to get over the line in a tournament with Belgium, but I think this is an even stronger squad than he ever had with the Red Devils and Portugal put up a perfect 10/10 wins in qualifying while conceding just 2 goals.

In terms of their squad, there's no obvious weakness as you can see below. Diogo Costa is a quality goalkeeper. Ruben Dias can be partnered by either a seasoned veteran in defence in Pepe or an up and coming star in Antonio Silva. Diogo Dalot and Nelson Semedo are good right backs, Nuno Mendes is a good left back, and Joao Cancelo is quality on either side.

Portugal's midfield is perhaps the best in the tournament. Every single listed midfielder is excellent technically, with Bruno Fernandes one of the best attacking players in the competition, and Joao Palhinha providing the kind of steel required to ensure Portugal won't be overrun in the middle of the park either.

Then there's the attack which is full of options. I'm not sure any of them will start every game of the tournament such is the quality and depth, but it will of course be fascinating to see how Martinez manages football icon Cristiano Ronaldo who is still full of goals at the age of 39 and will be appearing at an incredible sixth European Championships.

Having won Euro 2016, Portugal were eliminated in the last edition at the Round of 16 stage by Martinez and Belgium. A disappointing quarter-final exit at the 2022 World Cup to Morocco was the end of Fernando Santos' time in charge. We can expect a more attacking Portugal under Martinez which has been desired by fans, but the Spaniard will of course need to deliver a trophy if he's to match what his predecessor achieved.

The group looks favourable for Portugal to get off to a good start and I think they're going to take some stopping. Martinez is yet to really settle on a formation which is understandable given the amount of options he has in attack, but a 4-3-3 is perhaps most likely. However, even putting tactics to one side, with the individual quality available and just sheer experience of winning big trophies and scoring numerous title winning goals in the case of Ronaldo, I wouldn't bet against Portugal going all the way.

🇨🇿 Czech Republic | Manager: Ivan Hasek | FIFA Ranking: 36th

Czechia have a fantastic record of qualifying for the Euros, with this their 8th consecutive appearance at a European Championships. They've also reached the knockout stages in 4 of those previous 7, finishing as runners-up in 1996 and reaching the semi-finals in 2004.

However, the 2024 squad is not the strongest we've seen from the Czechs, and it might be a struggle to even make it out of this group. Expect a pragmatic, defensive side that is reasonably tough to beat, but they're unlikely to score many goals.

There's been a fairly recent manager switch because Jaroslav Silhavy stepped down from his role after sealing qualification for this tournament, citing the enormous pressure involved. In his place, former midfielder Ivan Hasek is back in charge for a second stint, and things have gone quite well in terms of preparation as they've won 4/4 friendlies against Norway, Armenia, Malta and North Macedonia.

In attack, Patrik Schick was very impressive at Euro 2020 - you might remember him scoring from the halfway line against Scotland - but the issue is that he may well need to keep attempting wonder goals because this is a squad that is very short of attacking creativity so it's unlikely he'll be provided with too many big chances.

West Ham's Tomas Soucek is a noticeable name as a more defensive midfielder in this Czech team (also a goal threat from set pieces), while Tomas Holes (Slavia Prague) and Ladislav Krejci (Sparta Prague) are good central defenders with the latter linked to a potential move to LaLiga this summer.

A tough opener against Portugal will put the Czech Republic under pressure in Group F, but they'll still feel a place in the knockouts is quite doable considering they have a fixture against Georgia and four of the best 3rd-placed teams will progress. This is not a squad that looks capable of going deep in the tournament, though.

Do you see any surprises in Group F? How far will Portugal go in this tournament?
95,034 caps
Portugal to the semi-finals....
12 Jun 17:30
49,530 caps
Golden Boot outsider - Jota @ 50/1. He could score a lot of goals in this group.
12 Jun 20:10
1,782 cap
If he keeps fit which is unlikely. 13 Jun 12:37
85,784 caps
Portugal group F winner as well as tournament winner. Go Portugal.
13 Jun 05:22