UEFA Euro 2020 - Qualifying Opponents in Profile
2 December 2018

UEFA Euro 2020 - Qualifying Opponents in Profile

Wales have been drawn in Group E for UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying and have been matched with Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. 

Here's a closer look at our opponents ahead of the qualifiers that will take place between March and November 2019. 



The World Cup finalists leaped up to 4thplace in the FIFA world rankings as a result of their performances in Russia during the summer. The top seeds in the group, Croatia have a relatively short but distinguished history in the international game, and have produced a number of famous players over the years. 

Meet the Manager - Zlatko Dalić

The 52-year old took charge of the national team in October 2017, and extended his contract to take in EURO 2020 when he guided Croatia to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a play-off victory over Greece. Croatia progressed to the final in Russia before suffering defeat to France. A defensive midfielder during his playing career, Dalić spent the majority of his time with Croatian side Varteks, and began his management career with the club in 2005.

Star Player – Luka Modrić

One of the best creative midfield players in the world, Real Madrid star Modrić is the current captain of the national team, and has made 118 international appearances since making his debut in 2006. Voted the best men's player by both UEFA and FIFA in 2018 following his performances in the Champions League and the World Cup. 

Previous Meetings

Wales have never beaten Croatia in their four previous meetings. The two teams first met in an international friendly in August 2002, where a goal from Simon Davies in Varazdin earned Wales a 1-1 draw. Croatia ran out 2-0 winners in a second friendly between the two teams in May 2010, while Croatia did the double over Wales in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

Recent Form

Despite their performance in Russia, Croatia finished bottom of UEFA Nations League A Group 4, suffering a 6-0 defeat to Spain on the opening matchday. A 0-0 draw with England and a 3-2 victory over Spain improved their position, but a 2-1 defeat to England on the final round of fixtures confirmed their relegation.

Fun Fact

The Croatian town of Hum is considered to be one of the smallest in the world, with a population of between 17 and 23.

Robbie Keane draws Wales into Group E at the EURO 2020 Qualifying Draw in the Republic of Ireland.
Robbie Keane draws Wales into Group E at the EURO 2020 Qualifying Draw in the Republic of Ireland.



Wales opened the UEFA EURO 2016 finals with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia in Bordeaux, and while Wales went on to reach the semi-finals, Slovakia were eliminated in the Round of 16 with a 3-0 defeat to Germany. It remains the only major tournament that the nation have ever qualified for.

Meet the Manager – Pavel Hapal

The recently appointed manager replaced Ján Kozák in October this year following his resignation. The 49-year former midfielder has also managed the Slovakian U21 squad, and made 31 international appearances for Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic during his playing career, scoring just once.

Star Player – Marek Hamšík

The creative attacking star of Italian outfit Napoli, Hamšík is Slovakia's all-time record appearance holder having played 111 games for his country. The 31-year old has spent the majority of his playing career in Italy, joining Napoli over a decade ago from Brescia. The last of his 22 goals for Slovakia came against the Czech Republic in October. 

Previous Meetings

Wales and Slovakia have only met three times before. Drawn together in EURO 2008 qualifying, Slovakia claimed a convincing 5-1 win in Cardiff in October 2006, with Gareth Bale opening his international account with the consolation goal for John Toshack's side. The defeat was avenged in September 2007 as Wales claimed a 5-2 win in Trnava. Wales then claimed a famous 2-1 win against Slovakia in the opening group game of EURO 2016.

Recent Form

Slovakia were relegated to League C of the UEFA Nations League having lost three of their four games against Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Their results prompted the resignation of former manager  Ján Kozák.

Fun Fact

There are over 6,000 caves in Slovakia, and more continue to be discovered.

Ryan Giggs was in attendance for the draw in Dublin.
Ryan Giggs was in attendance for the draw in Dublin.



Considered as one of the best national teams in the world during the 1950's, Hungary were blessed with a wealth of footballing talent. However, their last appearance at the finals of the World Cup was in 1986, while they reached the Round of 16 at EURO 2016, but exited the tournament with a 4-0 defeat to Belgium.

Meet the manager – Marco Rossi

The Italian was appointed as manager in June this year, having previously coached at club level in the lower Italian leagues, Hungary and Slovakia. The 54-year old represented Brescia and Sampdoria at the peak of his playing career, and began his coaching journey with      Italian side AC Lumezzane in 2004.

Star player – Balázs Dzsudzsák

The captain of the national team, Dzsudzsák is just a couple of games short of making a century of international appearances. The 31-year old is currently playing club football in the United Arab Emirates for Al-Ittihad Kalba SC, and scored twice against eventual champions Portugal at EURO 2016 in the 3-3 group stage draw. The midfielder has also played club football in the Netherlands, Turkey, Russia as well as in his native Hungary.

Previous meetings

Wales have won five of their previous ten meetings with Hungary. The two nations first met at the 1958 World Cup, where a 1-1 group stage draw was followed by a 2-1 play-off victory. Wales also claimed respective 2-1 and 2-0 friendly victories when the teams last met in March 2004 and February 2005, Craig Bellamy scoring a brace in the latter match in Cardiff.

Recent form

Hungary finished in second place of Nations League C Group 2 with victories over Greece, Estonia and Finland. However, a 1-0 defeat to Finland in the opening match back in September meant that their opponents would eventually finish above them and win the group.

Fun fact

Founded in 897, Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. 



Currently 107thin the FIFA world rankings, Azerbaijan are the lowest seeded team in the group, and have never qualified for the finals of a major tournament since becoming an independent nation in the early 1990's.

Meet the Manager – Gurban Gurbanov

A former striker, Gurbanov made 68 appearances for Azerbaijan between 1992 and 2005 and is the all-time record goalscorer with 14 goals, while his club career saw him represent 16 different teams. Appointed as manager of the national team in November 2017, Gurbanov combines his role with also being manager FK Qarabağ in the Azerbaijani Premier League, a position he has held since 2008. 

Star Player – Maksim Medvedev

A defender with FK Qarabağ, Medvedev has made over 50 appearances for his country since making his debut back in 2009. The 29-year old is a key figure in at the back for Azerbaijan.

Previous Meetings

The two nations have met six times since the first match in November 2002, and Wales have claimed five wins during that time. The only time Wales have dropped points against Azerbaijan was in a 1-1 draw in Baku in September 2004, with the late Gary Speed on target. The last meeting between the two nations was in June 2009 when a goal from Dave Edwards earned a 1-0 victory.

Recent Form

Azerbaijan claimed second place in Nations League D Group 2 as they did the double over the Faroe Islands and twice drew 1-1 with Malta. However, the campaign ended with a 4-0 defeat to Kosovo, despite the two teams playing out a 0-0 draw on the opening matchday.

Fun Fact

When bread goes stale, Azerbaijani cooks hang it up in bags separate from the rest of the rubbish, to signify their respect.

The UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying Draw in full.
The UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying Draw in full.