BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Defending champions Portugal will be in the same Euro 2020 group as France and Germany while England meet Croatia in a repeat of last year’s World Cup semi-final following a lop-sided and complicated draw on Saturday.
World champions France, 2014 World Cup winners Germany and Portugal will be joined in Group F, to be played in Munich and Budapest, by the winners of playoff A or D in by far the toughest of the six first-round pools.
Portugal were among the third seeded teams because of their relatively poor performance in the qualifiers while France were one of the second seeds.
Their consolation is that, in addition to the top two teams in each group, the four best third-placed sides also qualify for the round of 16
England and Croatia, who play the first Group D match in London, will be joined by the Czech Republic and the eventual winners of playoff C — either Scotland, Norway, Serbia or Israel.
The tournament will be played in 12 different European countries in a one-off format to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Championship.
Other favourites were given a much easier-looking ride.
Italy, who won all 10 qualifying games as they bounced back from failing to make the last World Cup, will face Turkey, Wales and Switzerland in Group A, in Rome and Baku.
“We have a slight advantage by playing at home. Maybe some will think we are favourites but we need to confirm everything on the pitch, as always,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said.
Euro 2008 and 2012 champions Spain, who will jointly host Group E in Bilbao with Dublin, play Sweden, Poland and playoff winner B — either Bosnia, Slovakia, Ireland or Northern Ireland.
Belgium’s opponents in Group B will be Denmark and Russia —who are both host nations — and Finland, who will be making their first appearance in a European Championship or World Cup.
The Netherlands, who like Italy missed out on the last World Cup, were pitted against Ukraine, Austria and playoff winner A or D in Group C, which will be played in Amsterdam and Bucharest.
Under the complex rules, all host nations will play their three group games at home until there are two hosts in the same group, in which case a draw decides where they meet.
This meant that a number of teams had already been allocated to their groups before the draw began.