Euro 2020 Qualifiers: England prepare for Czechs and Montenegro

England manager Gareth Southgate
Can Gareth Southgate steer England to Euro 2020?

The start of the Euro 2020 qualifiers are only a week away, so Max Liu has had a look at the odds in the opening round of matches involving the home nations and more...

"Following the Friday match against the Czechs at Wembley, England will play Montenegro in Podgorica on Monday 25 March."

England are 2/9 to get their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign off to a winning start when they play Czech Republic at Wembley a week on Friday (22 March).

Manager Gareth Southgate named his 25-man squad on Tuesday, with a first call-up for West Ham's Declan Rice whose change in nationality from Ireland was recently ratified by Fifa.

Among the notable absentees from Southgate's squad, Manchester United's Jesse Lingard and Tottenham's Harry Winks were both deemed not yet fit enough, following their injuries.

Following the Friday match against the Czechs, England will play Montenegro in Podgorica on Monday 25 March. England go into the matches in good form, having followed up an impressive World Cup by winning their Nations League group in the autumn.

After the match against Montenegro, England's next competitive match will be their Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands in June. In the autumn, the Three Lions will resume their Euros qualifying campaign with fixtures against their other group rivals, Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Wales to face World Cup finalists

Wales' first Euro 2020 qualifier is at home to Slovakia on Sunday 24 March. It should be a stern test for Ryan Giggs' team, as will be their second qualifier when they travel to play Croatia in their next match in June.

Against the odds, the Welsh reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France under former-manager Chris Coleman. In 2020, they will be determined to book their place at the finals once again.

Can Scotland make strong start?

Scotland begin with what should be a winnable away match against Kazakhstan on Thursday 21 March. The Scots are 8/11 to come home with three points.

After that they host San Marino on the Sunday and Alex McLeish must believe his team can start their campaign with six points from two matches. If so, that will put them in a strong position when they face Belgium - the number one ranked team in the world - later in the campaign and potentially tricky opponents Cyprus and Russia.

Ireland start against Gibraltar

Ireland are an unbackable 1/80 to win their opener away to Gibraltar on Saturday 23 March. Things will get tougher for Mick McCarthy's men, however, three days later when they travel to Georgia.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are 7/2 to start with a win at home to Estonia on 21 March. They also host Belarus the following Sunday but the big fish in their group are undoubtedly Germany who have won the Euros three times.

Holders host Ukraine in opener

Portugal won the Euros for the first time in 2016 and they begin their qualifying campaign against Ukraine in Lisbon on Friday 22 March - a match the champions are 2/5 to win.

The same night, world champions France travel to Moldova for their opener.

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