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- © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga

UEFA Euro 2024 Group F preview: Portugal to cruise through with Cristiano Ronaldo?


Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are without doubt the clear favourites in UEFA Euro 2024 Group F after their perfect qualifying campaign, but can they keep that up in a section containing Turkey, Georgia and 2020 joint-top scorer Patrik Schick with his Czechia team.

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There was no stopping the celebrations in Tbilisi when Nika Kvekveskiri put away the decisive penalty in the play-off final shootout against Greece to send Georgia to their first major tournament. They only finished fourth in qualifying Group A behind Spain, Scotland and Norway, but a good UEFA Nations League campaign ensured them a spot in the play-offs, which they duly converted into a place at Euro 2024.

Top star: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

When your nickname is Kvaradona, you know you’re a good player, and there are similarities between the Georgian forward and the late Diego Maradona. Kvaratskhelia loves to leave opponents in a spin with his mazy runs and has brought great joy to the people of Naples by helping Napoli to the 2022/23 Serie A title – their first since Maradona led them to the Scudetto in 1990. The 23-year-old Georgian was also named the best young player in the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League. Much like Maradona, the hopes of a footballing nation rest on his shoulders.

Coach: Willy Sagnol

Sagnol is best known in Bundesliga circles for his time at Bayern Munich, including as a brief spell as interim coach, but has been in charge of Georgia’s national team since February 2021. Qualification for Euro 2024 has made him a hero over there, but it’s still up in the air whether he’ll stay after the tournament. “My only plan is to focus fully on the Euros,” the 47-year-old recently told kicker.

Georgia coach Willy Sagnol (r.) enjoyed a trophy-laden time at Bayern Munich. - imago sportfotodienst

One to watch: Gabriel Sigua

Georgia’s squad is relatively experienced, with Sigua the only player under the age of 23. The central midfielder made his senior debut with Dinamo Tbilisi at the age of 17 in 2023 before being signed by Swiss giants Basel. He’s yet to nail down a place in the team but has had some encouraging performances, with three goals from 14 (mostly substitute) league outings a promising haul.


Sagnol has stressed that he wants his team to represent the country in a dignified way and to show their ability. There’s no talk of the knockout stages but of the scale of the task they face. “We have absolutely nothing to lose,” the former defender and five-time Bundesliga champion said. And he’s right. Should the Crusaders get out of the group, it would be another little miracle for the Caucasus nation.


Anything above fourth place would be a huge success for Sagnol and his team. They will no doubt be targeting points against the Czechia and Turkey, while a result against Portugal would probably top the lot for Kvaradona & co.. However, elimination at the group stage would not be a shock.


The 2016 European champions enjoyed a flawless qualification campaign with 10 wins from 10. Ranked sixth in the world, they’ve been at every Euros since 1992 and will again be ones to watch in Germany.

Top star: Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal’s team is littered with attacking talent like Manchester-based duo Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes, but there’s still no getting past the nation’s talisman. Ronaldo is at his sixth Euros since first appearing on home soil in 2004, boasts 130 international goals from 207 caps and scored 35 this past season for Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, but what’s he got left in the tank at 39? His influence on the team will be pivotal one way or the other.

Coach: Roberto Martínez

The Spaniard had six years in charge of Belgium but failed to steer them to a trophy, so can he now do it with Portugal? Martínez took over from Fernando Santos in January 2023 after a reign of over 3,000 days and having guided the Seleção to their only international title with the 2016 Euros. But it was time for change, with captain Ronaldo even saying, “it was a good change”.

One to watch: João Neves

Some of Europe’s biggest teams have a close eye on Benfica’s midfielder. The 19-year-old has been a regular for his boyhood club since the end of the 2022/23 campaign and emerged as one of their key players this past season thanks to his distribution and ability to overcome opposition pressing. He’s not yet secured his place at the heart of the national team, but he will one day based on what we’ve seen so far.


There’s no question that Portugal are coming to Germany looking to stay until the very end. They’ve always got out of the group stage whenever they’ve got to the Euros finals. Another round of 16 elimination, like they suffered to Martínez’s Belgium three years ago, would also go down as a failure.


Portugal are clearly the favourites in Group F and are expected to finish top. How far they ultimately go this summer will come down to Ronaldo – there’s no getting away from that fact.


The Czechs have appeared at every European Championship since they split from Czechoslovakia – champions in 1976 – in 1992. They even reached the final in their first tournament but were beaten on golden goal by Germany at Wembley in 1996. They got to the semis in 2004, although it’s been quarter-finals or group-stage elimination since then. Just one loss in qualifying saw them finish second behind Albania on goal difference, four points ahead of Poland.

Top star: Patrik Schick

The Bayer Leverkusen striker has struggled with injuries since he finished as joint-top scorer at Euro 2020 alongside Ronaldo with five goals, but he’s back in form now just in time for a tournament on familiar territory. The 28-year-old has proven he’s also the man for late goals, striking several times beyond the 90 minutes for the Werkself this season. He’s got 19 goals in 38 caps for his country and is the focal point of the team.

Watch: The best of Patrik Schick

Coach: Ivan Hašek

Despite a relatively trouble-free qualification campaign, Jaroslav Šilhavý stepped down as coach and was replaced by Hašek. The Czechs have chalked up four wins from four since then, although admittedly not against the greatest opposition. Portugal in particular will be a step up from the likes of North Macedonia, Malta, Armenia and Norway. Hašek earned 54 caps for Czechoslovakia and was Footballer of the Year twice. He led Slavia Prague to league titles in 2000 and 2001, and was previously Czech FA president and interim coach in 2009, but has mostly spent his coaching career in the Middle East.

One to watch: Adam Hložek

Hložek made just 11 starts for Leverkusen in 2023/24, with the likes of Florian Wirtz and Amine Adli ahead of him in the pecking order, but still produced seven goals and five assists across his 36 competitive appearances. The 21-year-old showed his class with a hat-trick of assists against Frankfurt, and has started his country's last two fixtures in his preferred attacking midfield role.


The Czechs are not the dark horses they once were, which has somewhat dampened expectations. Getting out of the group would be considered a success.


Hašek's team are not expected to beat Portugal on Matchday 1, but a win against Georgia in their next fixture would surely put them in a decent position going into the Turkey game. It's a tough call, though.


Turkey headed off Croatia in qualifying Group D, but don't tend to perform quite so well in major competitions. They've gone out in the groups at three of the last five tournaments, with their best showing a run to the 2008 semi-finals.

Top star: Hakan Çalhanoğlu

Germany-born Çalhanoğlu is fresh off a personal-best season at club level, after contributing 13 goals to Inter Milan's Serie A title win. It's the first time since 2013/14, with Hamburg, that he's finished a league campaign on double figures for goals. The 30-year-old midfielder also chipped in with a few assists.

Watch: Çalhanoğlu's best free-kicks

Coach: Vincenzo Montella

Turkey won their first three games after Montella replaced Stefan Kuntz in September 2003, but are currently five without victory - a run that includes a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Ralf Rangnick's Austria. The former Italy striker sets his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

One to watch: Arda Güler

Güler's been tipped for big things by club coach Carlo Ancelotti. The 19-year-old made 10 La Liga appearances under the Italian at Real Madrid in 2023/24, scoring six goals. 


On paper, Turkey know have the edge over Georgia and the Czechia. Escaping the groups is the stated objective and an achievable goal.


If Turkey live up to their potential, they should get at least get out of the group. With Lady Luck on their side, they might even sneak as far as the quarter-finals.

Euro 2024 group previews