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Four Canaries ready for international duty - UEFA Euro 2020 preview

11 June 2021

UEFA Euro 2020 kicks off today, and there are four Norwich City players set to represent their nations over the next month of international football in the competition.

Our Euro 2020 preview takes a look at the four Canaries and their countries one-by-one, how they performed in the qualifying stages and what they’ll be hoping for from the finals.

The competition is being held across the continent for the first time in its 60-year history, with 11 host cities in all. To find out how to watch each game, view the broadcast guide here.

Teemu Pukki - Finland

History is being made in Finnish football and Pukki is right at the heart of it. In November 2019, Pukki scored twice as Finland beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in Helsinki to qualify for their first ever major tournament.

Pukki scored ten of Finland's 16 goals in qualifying, making him the joint third top scorer behind England’s Harry Kane (12), Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Israel’s Eran Zahavi (11).

The Finnish athlete of the year now has 30 international goals to his name and is looking to beat Jari Litmanen’s Finland record of 32.

The Eagle Owls won six of their ten Euro 2020 qualifiers to finish second in Group J behind Italy, four points ahead of Greece.

They will go into Group B alongside Belgium, Denmark and Russia.

Finland’s Euro 2020 begins against Denmark (winners of Euro 92) in Copenhagen, Finland coach Markku Kanerva saying: “It's very nice to start the tournament playing against Denmark, one of our naughty neighbours."

They will then face Russia in Saint Petersburg Stadium, who Finland haven’t beaten since the 1912 Olympic Games. Russia won the first European Championship, Euro 1960, as the Soviet Union.

The group stage will conclude against Belgium in Saint Petersburg. The only previous Euro meeting between the sides came in qualifying for Euro 2008, Roy Hodgson’s Finland winning 2-0 thanks to a goal from former City forward Jonatan Johansson.

In that game, an eagle owl landed on the crossbar at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium before Finland’s goals were scored, hence the nickname of Huuhkajat being adopted.

Belgium lost the final to West Germany in 1980, but have won every qualifying match for this tournament (40 goals in ten matches making them the top scorers in qualifying overall).

finland v wales.jpg

Tim Krul - Netherlands

Netherlands will feel they have a point to prove going into Euro 2020, having missed out on Euro 2016.

The 1988 winners will be looking to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2008.

They were unbeaten in their final six qualifiers to secure their Euro return as they finished second in Group C, two points behind Germany.

Krul, who has featured regularly in recent World Cup qualifiers and UEFA Nations League games, will compete with Jasper Cillessen and Maartern Stekelenburg for the number one jersey.

Netherlands go into Group C as favourites with Austria, North Macedonia and Ukraine their opponents.

They’ll fancy their chances as well, given that all three matches will be played at home in the Johan Cruyff ArenA, Amsterdam.

krul holland training.jpg

Grant Hanley - Scotland

For Scotland, qualifying for Euro 2020 wasn’t quite so straightforward. After finishing third in their group and nine points behind Russia, it was their performance in the UEFA Nations League that allowed them to compete for Euro 2020 via the play-offs.

In the semi-finals, they beat Israel 5-3 on penalties, with City midfielder Kenny McLean scoring the winning spot-kick.

The following tie, a play-off final against Serbia, also went to penalties, with Scotland winning 5-4 and McLean again getting on the scoresheet.

This will be Scotland’s first Euro appearance since 1996 and they haven’t made it past the group stage in their two previous attempts. It’s also their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

Hanley will have his sights set on reaching 50 international caps for his country having recently featured in their World Cup qualifiers.

hanley v poland.jpg

Scotland kick off Group D at Hampden Park in Glasgow against Czech Republic, before a tantalising prospect at Wembley Stadium on Friday, June 18.

England v Scotland is the world’s most played international, the two sides having met on 114 occasions, including the first ever official international match in 1872.

The Three Lions will be the favourites in the group as they look to make amends for 2016’s shock exit to Iceland. As for Scotland, they’ll wrap up the group stages against Croatia in Glasgow, who they have never lost to in the five matches between the sides.

Przemyslaw Placheta - Poland

Poland will be making their fourth consecutive appearance at a European Championship. Last time, they made it to the quarter-finals before losing to Portugal on penalties.

In qualifying, they held off Austria to finish top of their group by six points and are ranked eighth overall going into the finals based on their qualifying performance.

Placheta has only made three senior appearances to date, so he’ll be hungry to take his chances should he be deployed against Slovakia, Spain or Sweden in Group E.

placheta pre italy.jpg

That match against Spain in Seville will be a real test for Poland, the former having won the Championship in 1964, 2008 and 2012 to become the first country to retain the trophy.

Three European Championships makes Spain the joint most successful team in the competition alongside Germany/West Germany.

Full schedule of Norwich players at Euro 2020 (all times in UK time)

Saturday, June 12

  • Denmark v Finland (5pm) - Teemu Pukki

Sunday, June 13

  • Netherlands v Ukraine (8pm) - Tim Krul

Monday, June 14

  • Scotland v Czech Republic (2pm) - Grant Hanley
  • Poland v Slovakia (5pm) - Przemyslaw Placheta

Wednesday, June 16

  • Finland v Russia (2pm) - Teemu Pukki

Thursday, June 17

  • Netherlands v Austria (8pm) - Tim Krul

Friday, June 18

  • England v Scotland (8pm) - Grant Hanley

Saturday, June 19 

  • Spain v Poland (8pm) - Przemyslaw Placheta

Monday, June 21

  • North Macedonia v Netherlands (5pm) - Tim Krul
  • Finland v Belgium (8pm) - Teemu Pukki

Tuesday, June 22

  • Croatia v Scotland (8pm) - Grant Hanley

Wednesday, June 23

  • Sweden v Poland (5pm) - Przemyslaw Placheta

Saturday, June 26 - Sunday, June 11

  • Knockout stages - fixtures TBC

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