Euro 2024 Group B fixtures & predictions: La Roja’s next generation to strike hard

Group B has earned the “Group of Death” moniker ahead of this summer’s Euro 2024 tournament, with Spain, Italy and Croatia making up a trio of candidates with serious qualification credentials in the section.

Amongst a Group B lineup completed by minnows Albania, Spain are favourites to claim top spot. That said, the early prices suggest there could be little to separate defending Euro champions Italy and the World Cup's most recent bronze medallists Croatia.

Euro 2024 predictions
Rodri will be tasked with setting the tempo for Spain – Photo by Icon Sport

Euro 2024 Group B winners prediction & group forecast

Group Winners – Spain

While the current Spanish squad falls short when compared to previous La Roja rosters in terms of individual ability, Luis de la Fuente’s outfit are still a side to be feared. To almost no surprise or fanfare, they topped their Euro 2024 qualifying group unbeaten ahead of main qualification rivals Scotland and Norway.

De La Fuente was installed as Spain’s new Head Coach to replace Luis Enrique, following the country’s disappointing Round of 16 exit at the World Cup in Qatar. And the 62-year-old, who had been involved in developing the junior-level international squads for a decade, has masterminded eight wins in 12 games since.

Building around a core of promising young players, De La Fuente led Spain to glory in the 2023 UEFA Nations League final, ousting Croatia on penalties.

Spain’s Nations League triumph showed that the country’s latest generation of talent had tournament-winning capabilities. And with prospects like Gavi, Pedri, Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams supported by the top-class experience of Rodri, Alvaro Morata and Dani Carvajal, the Spaniards look optimally balanced enough to make a serious challenge.

Euro 2024 predictions
Gianluigi Donnarumma is vastly experienced despite his tender age – Photo by Icon Sport

Runners Up – Italy

Italy’s triumph at the 2020 European Championships was equally spectacular and unexpected. But having since failed to qualify for the last World Cup in Qatar, the Azzurri could be a dangerous proposition given the redemption arc they crave.

With Luciano Spalletti – who guided Napoli to a first Serie A title since 1990 last year – onboarded last September, Italy have been improving. So much so that they have lost only once in eight games since the appointment of their new tactician.

A second-place finish behind England was enough to carry them through their Euro 2024 qualification campaign, and Spalletti has been trying to implement the kind of attacking principles that allowed Napoli to end their long-standing Scudetto drought.

With players like PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, Inter trio Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolo Barella and Federico Dimarco, and Napoli’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Italy have a strong spine to build around. Spalletti’s coaching could also extract a better output from Gianluca Scamacca, Wilfried Gnonto and Giacomo Raspadori in the final third.

Euro 2024 predictions
Veteran Luka Modric is still the heartbeat of Croatia's team – Photo by Icon Sport

Third Place – Croatia

Croatia have become regular participants in the latter stages of tournaments, though Group B’s sheer difficulty could scupper their chances of a deep run into Euro 2024.

Croatia qualified in second place for the competition behind Turkey after they earned an average of 2.0 points per game, though their haul of 13 goals in eight matches pointed to the dearth of chance finishers in their ranks.

Indeed, of the teams that qualified, only little-fancied Albania and Czech Republic finished their campaigns with fewer goals.

The Vatreni have some rock-solid performers at the back though (Gvardiol and Vida to name but two) and an effective blend of silk and steel in midfield (Brozovic, Modric and Kovacic). If they somehow make it through, expect wins-to-nil and plenty of tense moments.

Euro 2024 prediction
Kristjan Asllani is a star player for Albania – Photo by Icon Sport

Eliminated – Albania

Albania will play on the European Championship stage for only the second time in their history this summer. But they were knocked out at the Group Stage on their last Euros adventure in 2016, and a similar outcome surely awaits eight years on.

Albania’s improvement since the appointment of Brazilian Sylvinho in January 2023 has been notable, with Inter's Kristjan Asllani, Sassuolo's Nedim Bajrami and Fulham's Armando Broja the standouts from a new crop of talented young players.

Yet, even without being placed into a ‘group of death', Albania tend to struggle when playing outside their homeland. Damningly, they have failed to win 13 of their last 15 away fixtures, lending significant justification to eye-watering average odds of 25/1 for them to top Group B.

Euro 2024 predictions
Toni Kroos and Germany could be lying in wait for Spain in the knockout round – Photo by Icon Sport

Group B Winners – Potential Round of 16 opponents

If Spain live up to their tag as favourites to claim top spot in Group B, they will be in line to face one of four possible opponents in the Round of 16 in Cologne on June 30th.

The teams that finish third in Groups A, D, E and F will all have a shot at facing La Roja at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne next month, depending on how many points they collect in the shake-up.

A glance at those sections suggests nations Switzerland, Austria, Ukraine, Czech Republic could be potential opponents for Spain in the tournament’s first knockout round, however, permutations will be cloudy until the dust starts to settle on the group stage.

However, a route to a quarter-final date with host Germany looks easier to plot, even at this early stage. The Germans are expected to top the pile in Euro 2024 Group A, and that could put them on track for a collision course with Spain.

Simon Winter is a professional football tipster and sports journalist with over ten years in the industry. Best known for his time with Racing Post, Simon has also had work published by Freesupertips, Bloomberg Sports, bet365, Paddy Power, Colossus Bets, These Football Times and more. Simon covers the Bundesliga and Serie A for Football Whispers.