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UEFA Euro 2024 Group D preview: Tough group for favourites France


France are seen by many as the UEFA Euro 2024 favourites, but they won't have it easy in Group D against the Netherlands, Austria and Poland...

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Euro 2016 finalists, 2018 World Cup winners and runners-up four years later - international teams don't come much bigger than France. That said, they exited the rearranged 2020 competition in the last 16 following a penalty shootout loss to Switzerland, and head to Germany with only two wins in their last five - a run that includes a friendly defeat to the tournament hosts.

Star man: Kylian Mbappé

Perhaps the best footballer in the world right now, Mbappé needs no introduction. The 25-year-old can decide games on his own, and is virtually impossible to stop when he's really in the zone. The Real Madrid-bound captain has 47 goals for Les Bleus, including 12 at World Cups, but he's never netted at the Euros.

Coach: Didier Deschamps

Deschamps has been at the helm for 12 years, rebuilding the team's image following their chaotic 2010 World Cup exit and re-establishing them as a force to be reckoned with. Despite some indifferent recent form, faith in the former midfielder - who won the 2000 competition as a player - remains high.

One to watch: Eduardo Camavinga

Still only 21, Camavinga has already won two UEFA Champons League titles. He also has LaLiga and UEFA Nations League winner's medals to his prodigious name. As long as he has the keys to the midfield, les Bleus will be a match for anyone.

Watch: The best of French players in the Bundesliga


There aren't many who would bet against France going all the way. They might have to upset the locals to do it, with a final against Germany a possibility.


France have the individual quality to top Group D. A potential quarter-final against Belgium will be a serious test of their credentials, but anything less than a semi-final appearance will be considered a disappointment.


The Netherlands have fond memories of major tournaments on German soil. They reached the 1974 World Cup final, before going one better in 1988, hopping back home over the border as European champions. Injuries to key men Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners have rocked the boat, but the Oranje remain among the competition's dark horses. 

Star man: Virgil van Dijk

Surprisingly for a country that spawned 'Total Football' back in the 1970s, the current Dutch crop's best player might just be defender Van Dijk. A tower at the back for club and country, his defensive prowess, leadership skills and game wits honed under Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool could take the Netherlands far alongside Bayern Munich's Matthijs de Ligt and Nathan Aké of Manchester City.

Coach: Ronald Koeman

Koeman was part of the team that won the trophy in 1988. The 61-year-old doesn't send his charges out to play with quite the same attacking pizzazz of yesteryear, but his pragmatic hand will make them tough to beat. 

One to watch: Xavi Simons

That said, Koeman does boast one of the most exciting playmakers at the finals in RB Leipzig's Xavi. The 2023/24 Rookie of the Season nominee dazzled in the Bundesliga whilst on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, and could prove one of the stars of the tournament.

Watch: The best of Xavi in the Bundesliga


The Netherlands should be getting out of the group, at worst as one of the third-placed finishers. From there, they have the quality to ruffle some feathers. 


A place in the knockouts or even a deep run is not beyond the realms of possibility, but it's often boom or bust with the Dutch.


Austria lost only once in qualifying, finishing second - a point behind Belgium - in Group F. A Bundesliga-heavy contingent certainly won't be fazed by the prospect of facing France & Co. in Germany.

Star man: Marcel Sabitzer

Sabitzer is perhaps the stand-out player in the camp. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder came into his own in the latter part of 2023/24, coming up with some big performances - and blockbuster goals - to help BVB reach the Champions League final.

Watch: The best of Marcel Sabitzer

Coach: Ralf Rangnick

Much like Total Football is the brainchild of the Dutch, Rangnick is the godfather of Gegenpressing. The former Hoffenheim, Schalke and Leipzig coach didn't have much joy in England with Manchester United, but quickly got Austria singing from the same hymn sheet after taking over in April 2022. The 65-year-old even oversaw a friendly win over Germany not too long ago.

One to watch: Nicolas Seiwald

Despite making just six starts across his debut season at Leipzig, Seiwald is one of the first names on the Austria teamsheet. The energetic midfielder can be expected to run his socks off, even more so in light of club colleague Xaver Schlager's injury-enforced absence.


Austria are under no illusions as to the size of the task at hand, but there is a sense of cautious optimism in the air. "We have the potential," teased Rangnick recently.


Austria don't tend to do well at major finals, but it's not like they need to move mountains to reach the knockouts. Don't be surprised if they advance as one of the best third-placed nations.


After finishing third in their qualifying group, Poland scraped past Wales on penalties to reach the tournament proper. Worrying for them, talisman Robert Lewandowski is expected to miss their opener against the Netherlands.

Star man: Robert Lewandowski

'Lewy' hit 312 goals during a record-breaking stint in the Bundesliga. The goals have continued to flow at Barcelona, just not with quite such alarming regularity. Now 35 and possibly playing in his last finals, the 81-goal Poland skipper will be all fired up and ready to go on Matchday 2.

Watch: All 312 of Lewandowski's Bundesliga goals

Coach: Michał Probierz

For all Lewandowski's qualities in front of goal, Probierz is credited with rescuing Poland's qualifying campaign. Since the country's former U21 boss took over in September 2023, they've gone eight games without loss. 

One to watch: Nicola Zalewski

Winger Zalewski adds a touch of flair to the Poland mix. The 22-year-old is one of the younger players in the squad, but has shown what a nuisance he can be for opposition players in Italy with Roma.


Group outsiders, Poland know they need that bit of luck to have any chance of progressing. 


Poland have won their last five, but their prospects surely hinge on Lewandowski being fully fit and firing on all cylinders. If he's not, it could be over for them at the first hurdle.

Euro 2024 group previews