Spain have advanced beyond the group stage at five of the last six European championships and are unlikely to encounter problems in Group E where they are joined by Sweden, Poland and Slovakia.
Qualification was a breeze for La Roja who amassed 26 points from ten games, scoring 31 goals.
The Iberians are
3/10 to advance to the last 16 as group winners and have the advantage of playing all three group matches in Bilbao, starting with Sweden on June 14.
Sweden were in Spain’s qualification group and had a solid campaign, losing just once, to ensure they take part in a sixth consecutive European championship finals.
Poland qualified as Group G winners – taking 25 points from a possible 30 – while Slovakia came through the playoffs, getting the better of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Spain Should Make Successful Start
Spain finished five points above Sweden in qualifying and should be too strong for the Scandinavians in their Group E opener.
There were suggestions that Spain were a team in decline after they bowed out of World Cup 2018 in a penalty shootout defeat to hosts Russia in the round of 16.
The tournament marked the end of Andres Iniesta’s and David Silva’s involvement with La Roja but a new generation of talent has come through and there is still plenty of experience and leadership in the group with Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets continuing their international careers.
The squad lacks a world-class striker but there are very few weak links and the defence is rock solid.
Just five goals were conceded in qualifying and clean sheets were kept in four of five home games, including the 3-0 success over Sweden in June 2019.
Sweden have bowed out at the group stage at the last three European championships and picked up just one point at Euro 2016, having failed to score in two of three games.
Slow Start in Store for Slovakia
Slovakia were one of the least convincing teams in Euro 2020 qualifying and could be out of their depth in the finals, starting with their opening match against Poland in Dublin.
Stefan Tarkovic made an immediate impact as Slovakia’s new head coach, steering them to a 2-1 extra-time victory away to Northern Ireland in the Path B playoff final.
But he only got the job because his predecessor, Pavel Hapal, could not arrest the decline in performance.
Slovakia were third in qualifying Group E, behind Croatia and Wales, and had a miserable time in Nations League B, Group Two – losing four of six games to seal relegation to League C.
Poland were far more convincing in qualifying – winning eight of ten games – and could give a few of the elite nations a scare if reaching their full potential.
Robert Lewandowski is the obvious talisman, scoring 63 goals in 116 internationals, and his class ensures the Poles are solid
20/23 favourites to make a winning start.
*All odds correct at time of writing