Hungary vs. Portugal
Tuesday, noon (ESPN, PrendeTV)
A stacked Portuguese team led by Cristiano Ronaldo and João Félix begins to defend its European Championship title. Hungary’s squad has far less talent, but will be playing at home in Budapest — the only city in the tournament where full-house crowds are allowed. Around 67,000 fans are expected to be on hand to cheer the Magyars on.
Unfortunately, they won’t get to see their country’s brightest star, RB Leipzig playmaker Domonik Szoboslai. He’s out of the tournament due to an adductor strain that has sidelined him for months.
Will the Union’s Dániel Gazdag get asked to replace him? The odds seem long, since Gazdag didn’t play in Hungary’s pre-tournament friendlies. But he’s on the squad, and if he plays he’ll become the first Union player to play in a Euros.
France vs. Germany
Tuesday, 3 p.m. (ESPN, Univision)
This is a game for which the soccer world will come to a total halt. France is the reigning World Cup champion, and was the runner-up in the last Euros five years ago. Germany enters the ring at home in Munich with four World Cups and three European titles.
The Allianz Arena field will be graced by a galactic collection of superstars. France is led by Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté and Antoine Griezmann; Germany by Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Leroy Sané and Toni Kroos.
Kanté, Havertz and Werner are among six players combined from the squads who play for Champions League winner Chelsea. Sané is one of 12 who play for Bayern Munich.
The last time France entered a Euros as a World Cup champion (1998), it won the tournament (2000). Will history repeat itself? Or will Germany beat France at a Euros for the first time? Yes, really, it’s never happened. Their only previous meeting was in 2016, a 2-0 France win in the semifinals.
Curaçao vs. Panama
Tuesday, 7 p.m. (Universo, Paramount+)
Panama won the first leg of this World Cup qualifying playoff series 2-1 at home, but Curaçao’s 87th-minute goal could have a huge impact. Because away goals are the first tiebreaker, Curaçao can advance to the final round of qualifying with a 1-0 win in its home game.
Canada vs. Haiti
Tuesday, 9:05 p.m. (Paramount+, TelemundoDeportes.com)
After winning at Haiti 1-0, Canada is 90 minutes away from reaching the final round of qualifying for the first time since 1997 — the first year Concacaf used a group stage for the final round ahead of a 32-team World Cup. It’s time for this team to finish the job and finally end its drought.
At the same time as this game, El Salvador hosts St. Kitts & Nevis (Universo, Paramount+) bringing a 4-0 aggregate lead home to San Salvador. La Selecta is on track to host the United States on the opening day of the final round, Sept. 2. Three days later, Canada or Haiti will be the Americans’ first home opponent in the campaign.
Finland vs. Russia
Wednesday, 9 a.m. (ESPN, PrendeTV)
Finland’s win in its first ever European Championship game won’t be remembered for the result. Instead, it will be remembered because Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapse on the field. If the Finns — including Minnesota United’s Robin Lod and Jukka Raitala — can beat Russia in St. Petersburg, it should be a far more celebratory occasion.
United States vs. Nigeria
Wednesday, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
The last chance for U.S. women’s team players to make their case to be on the Olympic team is also the inaugural event at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, the new home of Major League Soccer’s Austin FC.
Also Wednesday: Turkey vs. Wales, noon; (ESPN, PrendeTV) Italy vs. Switzerland, 3 p.m. (ESPN, PrendeTV)
Denmark vs. Belgium
Thursday, noon (ESPN, PrendeTV)
The global condemnation of UEFA for resuming the Denmark-Finland game that evening instead of postponing it to the next day has only barely abated. And while everyone’s thankful that Christian Eriksen is fine after collapsing on the field, we know now that UEFA wasn’t fully telling the truth when it said players wanted to quickly resume playing. Behind the scenes, the governing body had its thumb on the scale.
“Coronavirus allows you to postpone a match for 48 hours. A cardiac arrest obviously does not. That, I think, is wrong,” Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I felt that the players — and us close to them — were put under that pressure and were given that dilemma. … The only real leadership would have been to put the players on a bus and send them home and then deal with it after.”
Now the Danes must play again, and they must face a stacked Belgium team led by Romelu Lukaku — a close friend and former teammate of Eriksen’s.
Colombia vs. Venezuela
Thursday, 5 p.m. (FS1, UniMás, TUDN)
Union midfielder José Andrés Martínez became the first active player from the team ever to play in a Copa América when he started for Venezuela in its tournament-opening 3-0 loss to host Brazil. It wasn’t surprising that the Vinotinto lost to a stacked host team led by Neymar, and Martínez had a respectable outing — including a brief tussle with Neymar at one point.
Also Thursday: Ukraine vs. North Macedonia, 9 a.m. (ESPN, PrendeTV); Netherlands vs. Austria, 3 p.m. (ESPN, PrendeTV); Brazil vs. Peru, 8 p.m. (FS1, UniMás, TUDN)