Scotland will have to end their 23-year wait to play in the important tournament Monday, and Spain, successfully COVID, prepared to face Sweden later.
Playing at the highest level for the first time since the 1998 World Cup, the Scots will face the Czech Republic in Glasgow at 14:00 GMT, before a new appearance for Spain reaches its fourth European crown without the captain Sergio Busquets, who tested positive for coronavirus.
Scotland’s Group D match has been slightly overshadowed by the ban on racism that excluded Czech defender Ondrej Kudela from the tournament.
The Slavic Prague player was suspended for 10 matches for racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara on a visit to Scotland in the Europa League in March.
“I don’t think he said anything racist, there was no evidence, but a lot of people from the islands (the UK) convicted him and received a severe sentence,” said Tomas Soucek, a midfielder from the Czech Republic and West Ham.
Fans of Scotland will be sure to celebrate at Hampden Park, with their side finally back in the big moment.
“I hope it inspires a nation, I hope we can make them happy. There can already be a real uproar across the country, “said Scotland captain Andy Robertson.
England starts winning
On Sunday, England launched their bid for the glory of Euro 2020 with a 1-0 win over Croatia.
Raheem Sterling scored for a sun-baked Wembley when he won his first European Championship final match for the first time in the tenth attempt.
Sterling scored his first goal in a major tournament as England avenged Croatia’s defeat in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
The striker’s final finish in the second half was enough for the locals to make the Wembley people happy.
Sterling grew up in the shadow of London’s Wembley and justified coach Gareth Southgate’s decision to keep faith with him by scoring the only goal just before the hour.
“I’ve always said that if I played at Wembley in a major tournament, I score. I had to score in the backyard and I was delighted to do so, ”he told the BBC.
England, who are looking to end a 55-year wait to secure a major trophy, play all three group matches at their London home. If they beat Group D, they will also play in the round of 16, while London will also host the semi-finals and the final on 11 July.
The Netherlands, back in a major tournament for the first time since 2014, defeated Ukraine 3-2 in an exciting Group C match in Amsterdam.
Dutch captain Georginio Wijnaldum advanced the hosts early in the second half before Wout Weghorst doubled their lead.
Ukraine tied with two quick goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk, but a header from Denzel Dumfries five minutes from the end won Frank de Boer’s group victory.
Northern Macedonia lost 3-1 to Austria in their first match in a major tournament as an independent nation in Bucharest, despite the draw of 37-year-old captain Goran Pandev.
The coronavirus, which delayed the tournament by a year, is still showing a big headache.
Portugal defender Joao Cancelo has tested positive for COVID-19 and has left Euro 2020, with Diogo Dalot taking his place in the squad.
Spain’s preparations have been severely affected by the virus, with Busquets disappearing for Monday’s clash with Sweden in Seville, while defender Diego Llorente was only able to rejoin the group on Saturday after a fourth consecutive negative test.
“It’s been a tough week, no doubt, but no complaints, no excuses,” Spanish coach Luis Enrique said.
The other initial Group E match causes Robert Lewandowski’s Pole to face Slovakia in St. Petersburg.
France, holder of the World Cup, with the memory of Karim Benzema, is the favorite to win the continental crown.
On Tuesday they begin their campaign against Germany in Munich, with the Portuguese starters facing Hungary in the other Group F match.