Euro 2020 Qualifying: Match Odds, Dates, TV Schedule and Predictions

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2019

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal kisses the trophy following the UEFA Euro 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

The opening games of 2020 UEFA European Championship qualifying begin on Thursday, with the continent's biggest nations ready to feature.

Defending champions Portugal are set to host Ukraine in Group B on Friday, with Cristiano Ronaldo back in the squad for the first time since the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The forward was omitted from squads after allegations from American woman Kathryn Mayorga that he raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009 resurfaced in September. Ronaldo has denied the allegations, but Las Vegas police are still investigating the case.

Elsewhere in Europe, Belgium face Russia on Thursday, and England welcome the Czech Republic to Wembley Stadium on Friday.

Spain and Italy also feature on Matchday 1 against Norway and Finland, respectively, on Saturday.


Euro 2020 Qualifiers, Matchday 1 Odds and Score Predictions

Thursday, March 21 (kick-off 7:45 GMT/3:45 p.m. ET unless stated)

Netherlands v Belarus (Group C), Home 1-7, Away 22-1, Draw 17-2 [2-0]

Northern Ireland v Estonia (Group C), Home 10-21, Away 17-2, Draw 33-10 [2-1]

Croatia v Azerbaijan (Group E), Home 1-8, Away 30-1, Draw 10-1 [4-0]

Slovakia v Hungary (Group E), Home 13-7, Away 17-4, Draw 25-9 [2-2]

Austria v Poland (Group G), Home 15-11, Away 23-10, Draw 26-11 [1-2]

FYR Macedonia v Latvia (Group G), Home 2-5, Away 9-1, Draw 17-5 [1-1] 

Israel v Slovenia (Group G), Home 13-10, Away 53-21, Draw 41-18 [1-3]

Belgium v Russia (Group I), Home 6-17, Away 9-1, Draw 50-11 [4-1]

Kazakhstan v Scotland (Group I), 3 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET, Home 18-5, Away 27-11, Draw 19-20 [1-2]

Cyprus v San Marino (Group I), 5 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET, Home 1-20, Away 66-1, Draw 20-1 [3-0]


Friday, March 22

England v Czech Republic (Group A), Home 3-10, Away 13-1, Draw 50-11 [2-1]

Bulgaria v Montenegro (Group A), 5 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET Home 5-4, Away 13-5, Draw 12-5 [1-1]

Portugal v Ukraine (Group B), Home 4-9, Away 9-1, Draw 18-5 [3-2]

Luxembourg v Lithuania (Group B), Home 25-15, Away 11-5, Draw 9-4 [0-3]

Moldova v France (Group H), Home 30-1, Away 1-8, Draw 19-2 [1-4]

Andorra v Iceland (Group H), Home 20-1, Away 1-5, Draw 73-10 [0-3]

Albania v Turkey (Group H), Home 45-17, Away 23-18, Draw 43-19 [1-1]


Saturday, March 23

Georgia v Switzerland (Group D), 2 p.m. GMT/10 a.m ET, Home 11-2, Away 19-29, Draw 37-13 [1-3]

Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland (Group D), 5 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET, Home 75-1, Away 1-25, Draw 75-4 [0-4]

Spain v Norway (Group F), Home 1-5, Away 18-1, Draw 36-5 [2-1]

Sweden v Romania (Group F), 5 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET, Home 13-6, Away 41-10, Draw 13-5 [1-1]

Malta v Faroe Islands (Group F), 5 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET, Home 19-8, Away 16-11, Draw 11-5 [2-1]

Italy v Finland (Group J), Home 1-3, Away 47-4, Draw 17-4 [1-0]

Bosnia and Herzegovina v Armenia (Group J), Home 3-8, Away 43-5, Draw 21-5 [1-1]

Liechtenstein v Greece (Group J), Home 22-1, Away 1-6, Draw 87-10 [0-2]

Matches will feature on Sky Sports via the red button in the UK and ESPN and Univision in the United States. England vs. Czech Republic will be broadcast on ITV in the UK. Live-stream links: Sky GoITV HubWatchESPNUnivision NOW.                      

All odds via Oddschecker.


Euro 2020 Preview

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JUNE 7:  Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the International Friendly match between Portugal and Algeria at Estadio da Luz on June 7, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Portugal and Ronaldo pulled off a huge shock at the Euros four years ago, but the field is stronger as the latest edition of the competition begins.

France have since been crowned world champions after their exceptional performance at Russia 2018, and Paul Pogba has rediscovered his best form in a Manchester United shirt.

However, it is Belgium who now lead the way in FIFA's world rankings, and the Red Devils will be expected to coast through qualification in Group I against Russia, Scotland, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and San Marino.

Eight of the top 10 teams in the world are now from Europe, with the continent dominant after no South American nation progressed past the quarter-finals at the World Cup.

Croatia were the surprise package last summer as they fought their way to the final.

England's striker Harry Kane speaks during a press conference at St George's Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on March 19, 2019, ahead of their UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying football matches against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. (Photo by Paul EL
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

England were the other European side who bucked the trend at the World Cup, falling to the Croatians in the semi-final, but the presence of Harry Kane will give the Three Lions the firepower to blast their way through the group phase against Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro and the Czech Republic.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward was top scorer with six goals in Russia.

The old guard of Spain and Italy will be expected to better their recent competitive performances, and both nations should prevail in the opening qualifying stage.

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, while Spain were disappointingly eliminated on penalties in the round of 16 by host nation Russia despite being among the pre-tournament favourites.

Spain are in Group F along with Sweden, Romania, Malta, Norway and the Faroe Islands, while Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Armenia and Liechtenstein join Italy in Group J.