Euro 2020: France manager Didier Deschamps wary after drawing 'hardest group'
France manager Didier Deschamps wary after world champions are drawn with Portugal and Germany; says team will have to be ready in a hurry
Bucharest: France face a major hurdle if they are to add the European Championship to their World Cup crown after coming out in the same Euro 2020 group as Germany and reigning European champions Portugal in Saturday's draw in Bucharest.
Neither France nor Portugal were in Pot One for the 24-team competition being held in 12 cities across Europe, making them the dangerous teams to avoid for the top seeds.
In the event, they were all put together in a high-calibre Group F alongside Germany, who will play all their group games in Munich. That is where Joachim Loew's team will face France in their first match on June 16 and then Portugal on June 20.
"It is the hardest group, but we must accept it. It means we will have to be ready right away," said France coach Didier Deschamps. Group F will be completed by one of the winners of the play-offs to be played next March, leaving open several possibilities. France favourites: Loew
France beat Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 on home soil, before slumping in the final against Portugal. With the four best third-placed sides all going through, it is possible all three will progress to the Last 16, but Loew is in no doubt France are the strongest team. "They are the world champions and have been getting stronger for the last three or four years. They are the group favourites," he said.
Wales to face Italy
Italy will face Turkey in Rome in the tournament's opening game on June 12, with Switzerland and Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales also in that section, Group A. Wales will play two matches in far-flung Baku, starting with Switzerland on June 13.
They played there this month, and won, against Azerbaijan in a qualifier. "Obviously come the championships it will be six or seven months down the line but we know what to expect, the facilities were fantastic there, and I think it's also great for the fans that they have got two games there," said Wales boss Ryan Giggs. Spain will play Sweden and Poland as well as a play-off winner in Group E, with Luis Enrique's team playing in Bilbao.
Finland will face two hosts, Denmark and Russia, as well as much-fancied Belgium in Group B at what will be their first Euro. The Netherlands, on the rise after missing Euro 2016 and the last World Cup, face Ukraine and Austria along with another play-off winner in Group C.
Euro 2020 draw
Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, Play-off winner
Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Play-off winner
Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Play-off winner
Group F: Portugal, France, Germany, Play-off winner
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