Biggest Derbies at the EURO 2024 Group Stages

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 8. veljače 2024.

International football is always brimming with passion and excitement, yet this gets multiplied on any tournament. But the derby matches bring the levels of intensity that much higher. So we're taking a look at the biggest derbies at the EURO 2024 group stages - the fieriest clashes expecting us in the first phase of the competition.

Based on the strengths of the national teams involved, then cultural, historical, and geographical rivalry. But also old sporting scores meant to be settled.

Of course, for a derby to be such in terms of cultural, historical, or political rivalries, both sides have to have a gripe with each other.

In chronological order, here are the biggest derbies at the EURO 2024 group stages.

Spain vs Croatia Group B, 15th June, 18:00, Olympiastadion Berlin

Spain vs Croatia

A sporting derby. As Croatia has reached the top four of the last two World Cups, losing the final in Russia back in 2018, while Spain won the WC in 2010. However, Croatia hasn't been as successful in the EUROs as much as in the global tournament. With their last exit - courtesy of Spain, as in the first knockout stages the Red Fury celebrated 5:3 after extra time in 2021. Croats will be itching to set the record straight on their biggest loss ever, as the 6:0 from Spain in 2018 still burns and can be washed away only by a memorable big-tourney win. The first derby of EURO 2024 also has a magnificent backdrop of the Olympiastadion Berlin - so it truly can’t be missed.

Slovenia vs Serbia (Group C), 20th June, 15:00, Munich Football Arena

Slovenia vs Serbia

More of a political derby. Two teams had two pretty calm matches in the 2022 Nations League - although Slovenia lost their away game 4:1 - but the EUROs leave no place for error and hence the stakes are much higher. Especially as there is much to ignite in the duel of two countries that used to be a part of one. There aren't much - or any - hard feelings between Serbs and Slovenians now, but there is an undeniable desire to get one over the former compatriots. Bragging, or better said teasing, rights are on the line. With a strong diaspora in the city, the Serbian team might get the home team advantage at the Munich Football Arena, completing the derby feel.

Spain vs Italy (Group B), 20th June, 21:00, Gelsenkirchen Arena AufSchalke

Spain vs Italy

A sporting derby. A clash of styles too. The technique-first approach meets the tactics-first. Juggernauts of European and world football battle it out in the hardest group of the EUROs 2024. It's a battle of the eighth and ninth team on the FIFA rankings, with the 10th, Croatia, also in Group B! Spain so far has the much better record, with six wins and just two losses, with five draws. While the last game the two countries played also a Spanish triumph in the 2023 Nations League. However, Italy are the defending champions and they brushed away Spain on their way to the title in the semis.

Netherlands vs France (Group D), 21st June, 21:00, Leipzig Stadium

Netherlands vs France

A sporting derby. A clash of France, the second team on the FIFA rankings, and the Netherlands, currently placed sixth. While the two countries were evenly matched, or the Netherlands was slightly ahead, for most of their history, in the five most recent direct duels, France has two 4:0 wins. With the last one happening in the 2023 qualifying stage for the tournament. Yet, without a doubt, the neutrals will be lining up for this one as we can expect to see an interesting stylistic match-up. The Dutch are always able to pose a surprise in big tournaments as they showed in 2022 WC.

Croatia vs Italy (Group B), 24th June, 21:00, Leipzig Stadium

Croatia vs Italy

A sporting derby. With a hint of politics in the back. But in sporting matters, it's the much larger and established footballing country that has the score to settle. Not in the last three games though, all of them finished 1:1 - in 2015, 2014, and 2012. Overall however, Italy has yet to record a win against Croatia, while the boys in checkered shirts have won three times against their neighbours across the Adriatic since their independence in the 1990s.

Biggest Derbies at the EURO 2024 Group Stages - Probable Section

Now we enter the hypotheticals - but probable - biggest derbies at the EURO 2024 group stages. Because the qualifying play-offs are set to introduce three more teams into the groups. Yet of the 12 total teams, only one has the potential to spice up their group - Greece.

As their play-off route sees them pitted against Kazakhstan in the semis at home, and then have to face the better of the duel Georgia vs Luxembourg, Greece has to be expected at the EURO 2024. Bringing not one, but two derbies.

Turkey vs Greece (Group F), 18th June, 18:00, BVB Stadion Dortmund

Turkey vs Greece

A political/historical/cultural derby. Often in these non-sporting or quality-based derbies, it’s only the fans that care. Not in the case of Turkey and Greece. We can expect fireworks from both squads. This can be one of the biggest derbies even if it was a friendly. Especially since the 2020s there have been some militaristic clamouring in the media. With Germany home to many Turkish nationals, this just might be the biggest derby of the entire tournament overall. With the backdrop of the possibly best ground in Europe - BVB Stadion Dortmund, it’s bound to be a memorable match.

Greece vs Portugal (Group F), 26th June, 21:00, Gelsenkirchen Arena AufSchalke

Greece vs Portugal

Old score to settle. National teams win and lose, in friendlies, qualifiers, or tournaments. Those wounds heal, even when there’s a political background to them. However, some losses scar and never go away. That’s the case of the 2004 EURO final played in Portugal, where Greece shocked the world and won against the hosts. Cristiano Ronaldo is of course the only one who was on the pitch that day, yet the whole nation is always itching to get back against the Greeks.

Of course, the Greeks won in the opening match of the tournament against the hosts too, in the group stages. So the embarrassment is strong with the Portuguese. Since then, the countries have played two friendlies with one of them ending in a draw, and the Greeks winning the other.



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