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Euro 2024: What you need to know

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Euro 2024 is set to begin in Germany on 14 June with the host nation Germany playing Scotland in Munich. The final will be played on 14 July in Berlin.

All 51 matches will be played across 10 stadiums, marking Germany’s organisation of another international football event after the 2006 World Cup.

All matches will be shown on TVNZ+ and times below are NZ time.

Italy are the defending champions, having beaten England in the final of Euro 2020 in London, when the tournament was postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below you can find details, insights, and the schedule for every team during the group stage.

GROUP A

Germany

Three-times European champions and the Euro 2024 hosts, [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/sport/519403/germany-eye-title-as-fans-get-ready-for-euro-2024-party

Germany are among the favourites] under Julian Nagelsmann, who was appointed coach in September.

Die Mannschaft will rely on players like 21-year-old Bundesliga champion Florian Wirtz alongside Bayern Munich midfielder Jamal Musiala and Barcelona midfielder and captain Ilkay Gundogan.

Hungary

Hungary secured a spot at Euro 2024 without losing a game in qualifying, topping their group with a game to spare after a dramatic draw against Bulgaria.

Captain Dominik Szoboszlai and striker Barnabas Varga, the team’s top scorers during the qualifiers, will be key if Hungary are to reach the round of 16 which they failed to achieve in 2020.

Scotland

Scotland finished second in their qualifying group to reach their second European Championship in a row.

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay, who scored seven goals in eight qualifiers, will be a key player as Scotland bid to advance to the knockout stage for the first time.

Switzerland

The road to Euro 2024 was tricky for Switzerland who finished second in their group after recording five draws, four wins and one loss, sparking debate about the future of manager Murat Yakin.

Switzerland will rely on seasoned veterans like Inter Milan goalkeeper Yann Sommer and captain Granit Xhaka of Bayer Leverkusen to reach the knockout stages.

Schedule

Germany v Scotland June 15 at 0700 in Munich

Hungary v Switzerland June 16 at 0100 in Cologne

Germany v Hungary June 20 at 0400 in Stuttgart

Scotland v Switzerland June 20 at 0700 in Cologne

Germany v Switzerland June 24 at 0700 in Frankfurt am Main

Scotland v Hungary June 24 at 0700 in Stuttgart

Spain's forward Lamine Yamal runs with the ball

Spain’s forward Lamine Yamal runs with the ball Photo: AFP

GROUP B

Spain

Spain are seeking their third European title after back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2012 and a semi-final loss to Italy in the last tournament.

The team, coached by Luis de la Fuente since the 2022 World Cup, will feature 16-year-old Barcelona winger Lamine Yamal and experienced players like Manchester City midfielder Rodri and Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

Croatia

Croatia will aim to advance beyond the European Championship quarter-finals for the first time, blending youthful talent with seasoned leaders like Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivan Perisic.

The team, who reached the World Cup final in 2018 and the semis four years later, will have Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol at the heart of their defence. Zlatko Dalic has coached the team since 2017.

Italy

Italy are the reigning champions, but much has changed since their success in 2021. In August, Luciano Spalletti, who had led Napoli to the Serie A title, became the new manager after Roberto Mancini unexpectedly resigned after five years at the helm.

The team secured a spot at Euro 2024 by finishing second in their qualifying group. Their squad has been bolstered by promising young talents after many veterans left following Euro 2020. Italy also won the European Championship in 1968.

Albania

After making their debut in 2016, Albania are set to compete in their second-ever European championship after they won their qualifying group, ahead of the Czech Republic and Poland, thanks to a seven-game unbeaten streak.

Albania, who appointed Brazilian manager Sylvinho in January 2023, have nine players from Italy’s Serie A and will count on young talents such as Inter Milan midfielder Kristjan Asllani and Chelsea striker Armando Broja.

Schedule

Spain v Croatia June 16 at 0400 in Berlin

Italy v Albania June 16 at 0700 in Dortmund

Croatia v Albania June 20 at 0100 in Hamburg

Spain v Italy June 21 at 0700 in Gelsenkirchen

Albania v Spain June 25 at 0700 in Duesseldorf

Croatia v Italy June 25 at 0700 in Leipzig

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur Photo: PHOTOSPORT

GROUP C

Slovenia

It will be Slovenia’s first major tournament in 14 years following the 2010 World Cup and their second appearance in the competition after their debut at Euro 2000.

RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko, top scorer in qualifying with five goals, is in the squad along with 31-year-old Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak and former Atalanta attacking midfielder Josip Ilicic.

Denmark

The 1992 European champions were semi-finalists at Euro 2020 where Christian Eriksen collapsed due to a heart attack during their opener against Finland.

Manchester United striker Rasmus Hojlund scored seven goals in qualifying, while Eriksen provides creativity in midfield.

Serbia

This is the first time Serbia have qualified for the European Championship as an independent nation, having last competed as Yugoslavia at Euro 2000 and finished runners-up in 1960 and 1968.

Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic is the team’s top talent, along with Saudi Arabia-based Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and 35-year-old captain Dusan Tadic who is now with Fenerbahçe.

England

The Three Lions, runners-up in the last edition, are one of the favourites to lift a trophy that England have never won before as they also chase their first major title in 58 years.

Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham and Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane will lead the way for coach Gareth Southgate’s side.

Schedule

Slovenia v Denmark June 17 at 0400 in Stuttgart

Serbia v England June 17 at 0700 in Gelsenkirchen

Slovenia v Serbia June 20 at 0100 in Munich

Denmark v England June 20 at 0400 in Frankfurt am Main

England v Slovenia June 25 at 0700 in Cologne

Denmark v Serbia June 25 at 0700 in Munich

Kylian Mbappe (France) celebrates after scoring.

Kylian Mbappe (France) celebrates after scoring. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

GROUP D

Netherlands

The Netherlands are preparing for their 11th European Championship and are the team with the most third-place finishes in the tournament.

The 1988 European champions will hope for more goals from Atletico Madrid striker Memphis Depay, who is five goals shy of Robin van Persie’s all-time scoring record for the team.

France

Twice European champions France are among the favourites to hoist the trophy, having reached the final at three of their last four international tournaments.

Real Madrid’s new recruit Kylian Mbappe will lead the team while midfielder N’Golo Kante made a surprise return to the squad after making his last appearance in 2022.

Poland

Poland, who have not missed a European championship since making their debut in 2008, will look to get through the group stage for a second time after reaching the quarter-finals in 2016.

The team has injury concerns over strikers Robert Lewandowski and Karol Swiderski following their last friendly against Turkey, while Arkadiusz Milik suffered an injury in another warm-up match against Ukraine that ruled the Juventus striker out of the tournament.

Austria

Austria have played only 10 games at European Championships, having featured in three previous editions of the tournament, reaching the last 16 once at Euro 2020.

Despite an injury to Real Madrid’s David Alaba, the squad still has some talent in its ranks including Bayern Munich’s Konrad Laimer, Inter Milan’s Marko Arnautovic and Borussia Dortmund’s Marcel Sabitzer.

Schedule

Poland v Netherlands June 17 at 0100 in Hamburg

Austria v France June 18 at 0700 in Duesseldorf

Poland v Austria June 22 at 0400 in Berlin

Netherlands v France June 22 at 0700 in Leipzig

Netherlands v Austria June 26 at 0400 in Berlin

France v Poland June 26 at 0400 in Dortmund

Belgian footballer Kevin De Bruyne playing for Manchester City.

Belgian footballer Kevin De Bruyne playing for Manchester City. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

GROUP E

Belgium

Belgium will participate in their seventh European Championship, and are looking to redeem themselves after failing to get past the group stage at the 2022 World Cup.

Under manager Domenico Tedesco, the Red Devils are expected to be strong contenders, after qualifying top of their group, with six wins and two draws in eight matches.

Slovakia

Slovakia will play at their third consecutive European Championship and hope to reach the knockout stages after failing to do so at the last tournament.

Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka will lead from midfield, while Paris St Germain defender Milan Skriniar will marshal the defence in front of Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Romania

Romania, who will play in their sixth European Championship, were a surprise package in the qualifiers, remaining unbeaten and topping their group, above Switzerland.

Led by Tottenham Hotspur defender Radu Dragusin and Deportivo Alaves’s Ianis Hagi, the Tricolorii were held to goalless draws against Bulgaria and Liechtenstein in their final two friendlies before the tournament.

Ukraine

Making their first appearance in a major tournament since Russia’s invasion started in February 2022, Ukraine will participate at their fourth straight Euros.

With talents such as Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, Chelsea winger Mykhailo Mudryk and Arsenal fullback Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ukraine are well-equipped to reach the knockout stages.

Schedule

Romania v Ukraine June 18 at 0100 in Munich

Belgium v Slovakia June 18 at 0400 in Frankfurt am Main

Slovakia v Ukraine June 22 at 0100 in Duesseldorf

Belgium v Romania June 23 at 0700 in Cologne

Slovakia v Romania June 27 at 0400 in Frankfurt am Main

Ukraine v Belgium June 27 at 0400 in Stuttgart

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his team's goal.

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his team’s goal. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

GROUP F

Turkey

Turkey, who are taking part in their sixth Euros, last reached the semi-finals in 2008, when they lost 3-2 to Germany in a thriller.

Inter Milan star Hakan Calhanoglu and Real Madrid’s young talent Arda Guler are set to lead the Crescent Stars into their third consecutive Euros.

Georgia

Georgia will participate in their first major finals as an independent nation, after they secured their spot in the tournament by defeating Luxembourg and then Greece in the playoffs.

The team is spearheaded by Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Metz forward Georges Mikautadze and are underdogs to reach the knockout stage.

Portugal

Five times Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will shoulder Portugal’s hopes at Euro 2024, with manager Roberto Martinez hoping to guide them to a second European title after their triumph in 2016.

Portugal will play at their eighth consecutive Euros after securing qualification with a 100 percent winning record in their group.

Czech Republic

Under the guidance of coach Ivan Hasek, the Czech Republic will hope to find some form after an uninspiring qualifying campaign in which they finished second in their group behind Albania.

Champions in 1976 as Czechoslovakia, they enter Euro 2024 with some seasoned players in their ranks such as West Ham United’s Tomas Soucek and a revitalised Patrik Schick, who was joint top scorer with five goals at Euro 2020.

Schedule

Turkey v Georgia June 19 at 0400 in Dortmund

Portugal v Czech Republic June 19 at 0700 in Leipzig

Georgia v Czech Republic June 23 at 0100 in Hamburg

Turkey v Portugal June 23 at 0400 in Dortmund

Czech Republic v Turkey June 27 at 0700 in Hamburg

Georgia v Portugal June 27 at 0700 in Gelsenkirchen

Round of 16 matches June 30, July 1, 2, 3

Quarter-finals July 6 and 7

Semi-finals July 10 and 11.

Final July 15

-RNZ/Reuters

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Fiji News

All Blacks v Fiji: what you need to know

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Here is all you need to know about the match, where it’s going down and how you can follow the action.

All Blacks v Fiji: Live blog coverage on RNZ Sport

Kick-off: 2:30pm, Saturday 20 July NZT (Friday 7:30pm local)

At Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego

San Diego seems like an odd choice of venue?

It does, given that this is actually an All Blacks home fixture, so normally this would be played somewhere like Hamilton or Napier. However, NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has been upfront about the commercial opportunities that taking games to the United States brings and besides, this isn’t the first time this has happened.

The All Blacks played two horribly mismatched tests against the USA in Chicago and Washington DC, but it is their 2016 game against Ireland in the Windy City that is the most famous. The Irish picked up their first ever win over the All Blacks, a 40-29 result, in front of 60,000 at Soldier Field Stadium.

This week’s game is not the first time the All Blacks have played in San Diego, though. Way back in 1980 they beat the USA 53-6 at Chargers Stadium, which has since been demolished and replaced with the new, 35,000 seat Snapdragon Stadium. Fred Woodman, Portia Woodman-Wickliffe’s uncle, scored a hat trick in that win over the Americans.

All Black captain David Kirk in action during the Rugby World Cup match between the All Blacks and Fiji at Lancaster Park Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday 27 May 1987.

All Blacks captain David Kirk in action during the Rugby World Cup match against Fiji at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, in 1987. Photo: ©PHOTOSPORT. www.photosport.co.nz

Saturday afternoon footy!

How good … unless you’re involved in senior club rugby finals around the country. But that’s OK because you can keep an eye on the action with Jamie Wall’s live blog, here on RNZ Sport.

How have Fiji gone lately?

Pretty good, if last year’s Rugby World Cup is anything to go by. The Fijians made the quarter finals and only just lost to England, who they had actually beaten at Twickenham before the tournament began. They did suffer a shock loss to Portugal in the pool stages, however that result may well have said more about the Portuguese and their rapid improvement in test rugby lately.

This year, they have started their season with a good 21-12 away win over Georgia in Batumi and the Fijian Drua made the Super Rugby Pacific playoffs.

Temo Mayanavanua and Scott Barrett swap jerseys.

Temo Mayanavanua and Scott Barrett swap jerseys after the All Blacks vs Fiji match in Hamilton, in 2021. Photo: Jeremy Ward/Photosport

What about the All Blacks in their first two tests?

They won both, which is the main thing.

England turned out to be a very well drilled and effective side, who are clearly on an upward trend in terms of playing both positive rugby and to their traditional strength of forward play and kicking. Scott Robertson’s team were able to nullify both – just – due to a noticeable shift in tactics in the first test and the impact of Beauden Barrett in the second.

However, not much from those games can really be taken into this test against Fiji. The starting side is going to be completely overhauled with four potential debutantes getting a run, Patrick Tuipulotu has been left at home to recover, and the focus on field will be very much ‘get the win and get out’.

What else are the All Blacks doing this week?

Selling. The whole point of this event is to grow their brand in a new territory, this time the West Coast of the United States.

There will be plenty of media spots and visits to sponsors, presumably to have repetitive conversations about what rugby actually is and why they don’t wear pads and helmets. As well as selling the All Blacks brand, the long term goal here is to build interest in the 2031 Rugby World Cup, which is being held in the USA.

Rieko Ioane scores a try.

Rieko Ioane scores a try against Fiji in Hamilton, in 2021. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

What’s going to happen?

Fiji certainly have the ability to cause the All Blacks some problems, their previous results indicate they are a much more balanced side than the ones that have come to New Zealand in the past. The average winning margin for the All Blacks in those tests was a staggering 58 points, but it’s a fair call that this one will be slightly closer.

For the All Blacks, they will just want to get in, do their commercial work and get out with a win, because the next challenge is a Rugby Championship competition they haven’t lost in five seasons.

VIA RNZ

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Black Ferns run in 10 tries in massive win over Australia in Brisbane

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The Black Ferns crushed Australia in a stunning 62-0 win in their Laurie O’Reilly Cup women’s rugby test in Brisbane.

The world champions ran in 10 tries at Ballymore with winger Katelyn Vaha’akolo scoring four of them.

The Wallaroos trailed 29-nil at halftime and were held scoreless again in the second half.

Errors, penalties and a disjointed attack saw the Wallaroos cough up ball all over the place and their tackling was disappointing at times as they fell off the Black Ferns’ attackers.

New Zealand were dominant at the set-piece and played with pace and freedom on attack.

“It’s beautiful to see our attack flourishing,” New Zealand captain Ruahei Demant said.

“I’m really proud of the effort the girls showed today on attack and particularly on defence.”

Last time the teams met the scoreline was a lopsided 67-19 in Auckland two months ago.

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The one change All Black fans might need to get used to

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Analysis – The All Blacks and England will no doubt be making a few adjustments for this weekend’s test at Eden Park.

First off, there’s the injury enforced selections, but the inclusion of Finlay Christie and Fin Baxter into both starting lineups had been well telegraphed. But while it’s highly unlikely Scott Robertson and Steve Borthwick will divulge much more about how they plan to win, the 16-15 result in Dunedin did show one pretty big difference between what the All Blacks of the last four or even eight years would’ve gone about dealing with a tough opponent.

The All Blacks scored two well taken first half tries, but only managed to string more than 10 phases together twice. One resulted in Sevu Reece’s try, but the other was an abomination of poor decisions that led to Marcus Smith’s penalty goal just before the break. Robertson’s response was to toss the original plan out and simply kick as much as possible (23 times to be exact) in the second half, the All Blacks didn’t even look like scoring a try and weren’t too fussed about it either.

Damian McKenzie. New Zealand All Blacks v England, 1st Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Damian McKenzie. New Zealand All Blacks v England, 1st Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin. Photo: Michael Thomas/www.photosport.nz

“We all found out the nature of it, that’s it’s test football. The jeopardy at the end there, how we create those moments, and we might get 10 phases, we might not. It might be a stop-start, set piece game or could be more kicking. If it is two or three phases and we’re kicking, we’ll play the ball slowly… it depends on the nature of the game,” Robertson said.

It was, in short, an admission that the English had adjusted to the All Black plan after Reece’s try so well that the next time they tried it, it ended with the worst possible result.

“We looked at it and thought: OK, how can we create opportunities out of it… just had a focus on what we think would work. You can concentrate a bit too much on the opposition at times, but we know they’re coming,” said Robertson.

The response was a more pragmatic, humble one from the All Blacks, who in the past would’ve simply backed their natural ability to run the ball out of their own end.

England coach Steve Borthwick.

England coach Steve Borthwick. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz

Borthwick said that the slightest of tactical changes can make a world of difference.

“I think they are really important. The level of analysis to try and really understand that is vital. There will be one or two things again this weekend as well, hopefully we can cause New Zealand one or two problems.”

We’ve heard a lot about rush defence and line speed this week, but really, it’s nothing new and the base concepts are something the All Blacks have managed to circumvent plenty of times. The real trick Borthwick played was with who and how he employed it, sending mixed signals to the All Blacks about who was coming after them so they could never get a read on what was going to happen. Clearly, Robertson couldn’t either, hence the fallback to a much more conservative Plan B.

To their credit, the All Blacks executed it almost perfectly after Imanuel Feyi-Waboso’s try, keeping England pinned in their half and giving them little option than to kick it straight back. Given the state of the game right now, one that heavily favours tactical kicking due to the 50/22 rule and a clearance to touch inside one’s own half being almost as useful to the opposition as a penalty, it makes an awful lot of sense that Robertson would play to that advantage.

But it might take some sort of getting used to, something Borthwick wryly noted in a conversation with a local at Dunedin airport.

“He said ‘you guys played well yesterday, but you’ll get beat in Auckland. Next time we’ll beat you with style’. I think there’s some expectation there from New Zealand supporters that there be style and New Zealand to play with a different style than they did… it’ll be interesting to see if New Zealand do.”

While that bloke’s sentiments might resonate with a lot around the country, he might need to get on board with the fact that it only took this All Black side about 20 minutes of things not going their way to completely shift down to grind mode, rather than stepping up a gear and scoring tries.

Sign of the times? Almost certainly, but if that’s what it takes to win, so be it.

All Blacks v England

Kick-off: 7.05pm, Saturday 13 July

Eden Park, Auckland

Live blog coverage on RNZ Sport

All Blacks: 1, Ethan de Groot 2. Codie Taylor 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. Scott Barrett (captain) 5, Patrick Tuipulotu, 6. Samipeni Finau 7. Dalton Papali’i 8. Ardie Savea (vice-captain) 9. Finlay Christie 10. Damian McKenzie 11. Mark Tele’a 12. Jordie Barrett 13. Rieko Ioane 14. Sevu Reece 15. Stephen Perofeta

Bench: 16. Asafo Aumua 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi 18. Fletcher Newell 19. Tupou Vaa’i 20. Luke Jacobson 21. Cortez Ratima 22. Anton Lienert-Brown 23. Beauden Barrett

England: 15. George Furbank 14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso 13. Henry Slade (vice-captain) 12. Ollie Lawrence 11. Tommy Freeman 10. Marcus Smith 9. Alex Mitchell 8. Ben Earl (vice-captain) 7. Sam Underhill 6. Chandler Cunningham-South 5. George Martin 4. Maro Itoje (vice-captain) 3. Will Stuart 2. Jamie George (captain) 1. Fin Baxter

Bench: 16. Theo Dan 17. Bevan Rodd 18. Dan Cole 19. Alex Coles 20. Tom Curry 21. Ben Spencer 22. Fin Smith 23. Ollie Sleightholme

 

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