Euro 2020 is in full swing, and the teams in Group D will be raring to go after months – in fact, a whole extra year – of anticipation.
In Europe, many national broadcasters are showing their respective nations' games on free-to-air TV channels, and some are showing additional games too, even in the group stages. Others are showing the entire tournament. However, outside of Europe, in places like the USA and Australia, the games will be shown exclusively on subscription and cable TV services.
First up in Group D is England vs Croatia. This guide will show you how to watch the euros on a free, legal stream using just a VPN and avoid paying one of those hefty fees in the process.
Unblock England vs Croatia in 5 steps
Just below are the five things you'll need to do in order to unblock England vs Croatia on a channel like BBC iPlayer.
This whole process will only take a few minutes after you've signed up for your VPN account, and then you'll be all ready to go.
- Sign up to ExpressVPN or NordVPN .
- Download the VPN software on the device you'd like to stream from.
- Pick a server in a region or country that is home to the streaming service you want to watch the game on.
- Navigate to the streaming service of your choice through your search engine.
- Sign up for an account with that service, which will likely require a username and/or email address.
Once you've finished this process, you're all set and ready to stream the game. But make sure you read on to find out how to stream the game for free and to get the latest pre-tournament team news for all the Group D teams.
How to watch England vs Croatia outside of Europe
Below is a quick rundown of the channels showing most – if not all – of the Euro 2020 games, as well as what language the commentary is in and some additional information you might need to be aware of for streaming.
There are various other channels the games are being shown on all over the world, and UEFA has a complete list on their website (but it doesn't include any additional information or commentary languages) – but these are the channels that will probably garner some of the largest audiences.
|Channel (country)||Commentary Language||Additional streaming Information|
|BBC iPlayer (UK)||English||Splitting games with competitor ITV (both channels are showing the final simultaneously).|
|ITV Hub (UK) ||English||Splitting games with competitor BBC ((both channels are showing the final simultaneously). Has first Semi-final pick.|
|RTE Player (IRL) ||English||Showing all games from the Euros live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player apart from final group games with concurrent kick-off times. Those games will either be on RTÉ2 or RTÉ Player.|
|M6 (FRA) ||French||Splitting 23 out of 51 games with TF1. It will show 12 games total. Has the first choice of quarter-final.|
|TF1 (FRA) ||French||Splitting 23 out of 51 games with M6. It will show 11 games in total. Has the first choice of semi-final and more France games.|
|Spanish||The free-to-air broadcasting group will be showing all 51 games of the championships.|
|TVI (POR) ||Portuguese||Agreed sub-licensing deal with Sport TV Portugal to show 22 games, including all of Portugal's fixtures.|
|RAI (ITA) ||Italian||Italian free-to-air broadcaster RAI has secured a licensing deal with Sky Italia with 27 matches including all of Italy's games.|
|TRT (TUR) ||Turkish||National broadcaster TRT is the primary rights holder for Euro 2020 in Turkey.|
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What time does England vs Croatia start?
England vs Croatia kicks off at 15:00 CET (Central European Time) which is 14:00pm GMT on Sunday 13 June. The match – which will be the first time the two sides have met since Croatia edged out the three lions in the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup – will take place at Wembley Stadium in London, where England usually play their home qualifying and friendly games.
The two other teams in Group D, Scotland and the Czech Republic, also kick off at 15:00 CET (14:00 GMT), but on Monday 14 June. That fixture will take place in Glasgow's Hampden Park, home to the Scottish national football team.
What channel is England vs Croatia on?
English fans will be able to watch the game live on both BBC One and BBC iPlayer. ITV and BBC are sharing the rights to the entire tournament, but the BBC has bagged the three lions' opening game in what will surely be a coup for the ratings.
In Croatia, public-service broadcaster HRT has secured the rights to air all 51 matches of the tournament after brokering a sub-licensing deal with United Media. The games, according to UEFA's website, will also be available on subscription service SportKlub, which is airing the games in a number of other neighboring European countries.
Do I need a VPN to watch England vs Croatia?
In places like the UK and Croatia, you can watch every game of the tournament on a free-to-air channel. This is the case in many European countries, for various reasons; some even see it as a public duty to broadcast the games to as many people as possible. This isn't the case in all European countries (as you'll see below), some of which only have the right to show a selection of the games.
Outside of Europe, however, it's a slightly different story. Without cable TV or a channel subscription in the US, for example, you won't be able to watch any of the games because they're on ESPN. Similarly, in the Middle East beIN Sports are the only channel with the rights, and they command an expensive subscription fee. What's more, channels like the BBC are what is known as 'geo-restricted' – they only have the rights to show the content they broadcast in the country they're based in so, based on the IP addresses of users who visit their site, block certain users if they aren't from that country.
European football is a huge export, and millions of people in these places will want to watch the games. With geo-restrictions and the rise of pay-TV channels, They'll be forced to choose between a subscription or no games at all – unless they download a VPN, that is. VPNs reroute all user traffic through private servers and, in turn, mask their IP addresses. The websites that users visit see the IP addresses of the servers, rather than the users' devices. Most good VPN networks have servers in more than 50 countries – some even more – so subscribers can easily bypass restrictions in whatever country they want by simply connecting through a server there.
Let's say you're in Australia, and you want to watch the England vs Croatia game without buying an Optus subscription. You can simply get a VPN, reroute your connection through a VPN server in the UK, and voilà, you'll be able to access BBC iPlayer on your computer and stream the game in HD, for free, in English, and not have to worry about fees or lagging. It's a really simple process with a really big payoff, and you can do this with various channels – bypassing geo-restrictions like this to view desired media is one of the main use cases VPN providers cater towards (some VPNs even have servers specifically designed for streaming).
Stream England vs Croatia online for free
You might be thinking to yourself – surely buying a VPN costs money, so how is this any cheaper than buying a pay-TV channel subscription. Well, firstly, the vast majority of VPN subscriptions are cheaper than a pay-TV subscription (and you can do a lot more than just watch football with them). The other is that almost all good VPN providers – such as ExpressVPN – offer 30-day money-back guarantees, which essentially means you can get a refund if you contact them within that 30-day window.
Conveniently, Euro 2021 runs for 30 days. So, you can technically download ExpressVPN, use it for a full month to stream the Euros, and then claim your money back. This means you can watch the Euros for free because you won't incur any permanent cost for your troubles – so it's well worth the download.
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You might be wondering how VPN providers like ExpressVPN offer this, other than that they're confident in the product they're putting out. The truth is, that's for good reason; users find out quickly there's so much you can do with a VPN that it's worth the money. As well as significantly improving your online privacy, you can unblock Netflix libraries, prevent your ISP from bandwidth throttling you and so much more.
Why you should avoid illegal streams for Euro 2020
Unfortunately, like most major sporting events over the past decade, a huge number of people around the world will attempt to stream Euro 2021 illegally.
However, streaming sports illegally is a dangerous business. Cybersecurity software firm Webroot recently analyzed several illegal sport streaming websites and found that 92% of the sites they looked at contained some sort of malware. All those ad overlays and pop-ups aren't just irritating – most of them are put there for a reason, and it's not a very nice one. The long and short of it is, if you're using a pirate site to watch football, you're putting yourself in harm's way. Even if you can't afford (or don't want to pay for) a subscription to a channel or service, options like a VPN mean there's no good reason to head over to these sites.
The other problem with illegal streaming sites (apart from, of course, the fact you're viewing content provided by people who don't have the right to show and are therefore stealing it) is that the picture quality is often poor, streams can cut out in the middle of the game and you might be forced to choose between a commentary language you understand and delay-free game. This isn't a decision anyone should have to make – especially with the first major international football tournament to take place since the pandemic began, and a VPN means you can avoid the frustrating weigh-up altogether.
Group D: meet the teams
Croatia shocked many football fans in 2018 by reaching the World Cup final for the first time in the club's history – beating Group D rivals England in the semi-final – but for those who've been closely following the development of the Croatian national team over the past decade, it didn't come as a surprise. Billed as the 'golden generation' by pundits and fans alike, the squad that got them to the final included Ballon D'or winner Luka Modric, the only player to break the stranglehold Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have had over the individual award for the past 12 years.
Chelsea's (then Real Madrid's) Mateo Kovacic, Sevilla's (then Barcelona's) Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic of Inter Milan and Mario Mandzukic, then of Juventus and now plying his trade with rivals AC Milan, are all likely to make Croatia's squad for the competition, as are a string of other players from elite clubs. Few teams in the tournament will be as well-drilled as the Croatians, who have built a team around the outstanding individual qualities of players like Modric and Perisic, and they'll be hoping to repeat their World Cup heroics.
However, due to a mixture of retirements, injuries, and drops in the form of key players, coach Zlatko Dalic has been keen to play down expectations for the tournament. "This is not the level of a year or two ago, this is our reality... this is the process of creating a new national team and I stand behind it," Dalic said in late 2020. They may have won their qualifying group for Euro 2020 but in a lot less of an emphatic fashion than teams like Italy and Belgium, both of whom emerged from the pre-tournament games without a loss or a draw on their record.
The Czech Republic are the second team in this unusually connected group which will see them play Nations League group rivals Scotland, as well as England, whom they shared a qualifying group with for the tournament. The Three Lions, on the other hand, play against fellow Britons Scotland and World Cup Semi-final heartbreakers Croatia. The Czech team will be hoping they can nick a place in the knockout stages after becoming the only team to beat the Three Lions – one of the favorites to win the Euros – during qualification. However, they also lost to Scotland twice in that fateful Nations League group.
The Czechs have a fantastic record in the tournament, including a win as Czechoslovakia in 1976 and a runners-up medal in 1996. Their 'golden generation' of talented attacking players – headed up by midfield talisman Pavel Nedved, who'd won the Ballon D'or the year prior – also made the semis in 2004, losing out to eventual winners Greece. That squad contained a large cohort of cult heroes that will evoke considerable early-2000s nostalgia including Petr Cech, Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros, Vladimir Smicer, Jan Koller, and Karel Poborsky. A team to be reckoned with.
17 years later, and all eyes will be on another attacking midfielder looking to stamp his mark on an international tournament for the first time. Tomáš Souček, who's been nothing short of a revelation this season for Premier League side West Ham, is one of the key reasons why the London club is still in the running for European football for next season, notching 9 goals since the start of the campaign. The 6'4 man will likely occupy one of the defensive midfield births in a 4-2-3-1 formation that has been utilized regularly by manager Slovan Liberec over the past year.
England is certainly amongst the favorites to go far, if not win, Euro 2020, with a wealth of young attacking talent currently unmatched not just in Europe, but all over the world. Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United have all stormed towards European finals this year powered by young English stars such as Phil Foden – who has 14 goals in all competitions this season – Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford. 17-year-old Jude Bellingham also grabbed a goal in Dortmund's quarter-final defeat to Manchester City, and players like Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and West Ham's Declan Rice have effectively secured their places in the squad thanks to excellent Premier League performances.
However, all attention has been on England's defense since center-back Harry Maguire – who has completed 90 minutes in every single Premier League game this season – was spotted on crutches at his club's fixture against Leicester on following a ligament injury sustained in the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on 9 May. It's unclear what Southgate will do to mitigate the issues caused by his potential absence; whether a back three or four is still an open question.
There was quite an uproar after the 26-man squad was announced and it transpired that Gareth Southgate had chosen four right-backs: La Liga winner Kieran Trippier, Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Champions League finalists Kyle Walker and Reece James. Many pundits questioned whether the team was unnecessarily defensive, despite the evolving role of the full-back in modern football as an increasingly integral part of teams' attacking play and the fact that experienced players like Kyle Walker can slot into positions like center-half.
However, after Alexander-Arnold's injury in the recent warm-up game against Austria, many pondered whether Southgate would opt for another defender to replace him. It turns out he has, and in the process has given Brighton's Ben White the chance to impress at a major tournament. England have nothing short of a glut of right-back options, perhaps best illustrated by the fact that Manchester United star Aaron Wan-Bissaka has barely been mentioned, so adding a center-back by trade will help shore up a position where England are unusually short staffed.
Back at the other end of the pitch, Harry Kane – who finished the season leading the way in both the goals (23) and assists (14) charts – will be confident he can translate this onto the international stage after a stellar 12 months for Tottenham. He will be flanked by players like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling cutting in off the wings in what looks to be one of the more formidable attacks at the tournament.
All this being said, England has only ever reached the semi-finals of the Euros, their last venture to the latter stages of the competition coming a quarter of a century ago. Since then there have been several moments to forget, including failing to qualify for the tournament in 2008, getting knocked out without actually losing a game in normal time in 2012, and then losing to minnows Iceland in 2016, a country with a population the size of Coventry.
Scotland have qualified, through the qualifier playoffs, for their first European Championship in 25 years, last appearing at the competition in 1996, when they were also placed in a group with England. It's also the first major football tournament they've qualified for since the 1998 World Cup. They had to win not one, but two penalty shootouts to reach Euro 2020, so if they do get to the knockout stage, they may be one of the teams who won't mind taking games beyond the final whistle.
Scotland are somewhat unlucky in the sense that their two most gifted players by a long mile – Kieran Tierney of Arsenal and Andy Robertson of Liverpool – are both left-footed full-backs who play on their favored side for their clubs. Getting them both on the pitch simultaneously will require one to play out of position, as has been the case during qualifying. Boss Steve Clarke opted for a flexible 3-5-2 in one of their most recent fixtures, a 4-0 victory against the Faroe Islands, starting Tierney as the left-sided center-back and Robertson in front of him as a left wingback-cum-winger.
Other plays to watch include penalty shootout hero David Marshall and Manchester United's Scott McTominay, who is emerging as one of Scotland's brightest young talents. Aston Villa's John Mcginn has also been impressive both on international duty and for his Premier League club Aston Villa. Although on paper Scotland are probably the weakest team in the group, they'll certainly be fired up for the grudge match with England, and if they can nick a win against the Czech Republic – a game that looks relatively evenly poised – or a draw against Croatia for that matter, they may stand an outside chance of progressing.
Group D standings