THE long-awaited Euro 2020 kicks off tonight - bringing some light relief to football fans across the county.

Somewhat confusingly, the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, to give it its official title, is being played in 2021 thanks to the pandemic putting a stop to it last year.

The tournament’s opening match sees Turkey and Italy go head-to-head at 8pm this evening (July 11) with the rest of the group stage fixtures taking place throughout June.

England's first game is on Sunday (June 13), when they will face Croatia at 2pm. They will return on Friday, June 18 against Scotland and Tuesday, June 22 against Czech Republic for their remaining Group D matches.

The groups

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia

Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia

Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany

Yeovil Express:

Watching at home

If you have plans to take in the action at home, you can watch it live or catch up later via the BBC and ITV services.

The first game of the tournament will be shown on BBC1, as well as England's first match against Croatia on Sunday, and ITV will host England's remaining two group stage fixtures.

In England, up to six people from multiple households can meet indoors so if you are planning to invite friends over, it is advised you wash your hands often, keep rooms well-ventilated and maintain social distancing. Personal judgement should be used when hugging friends after a goal.

An outdoors gathering, in the back garden for example, can number up to 30.

Watching in the pub

Despite continuing pandemic-related restrictions, it will be possible to watch Euro 2020 games at the pub.

The UK Government has updated the Covid-Secure workplace guidance for pubs so that it reflects Step two of its Roadmap for England.

As the tournament begins on 11th June and ends on 11th July it potentially covers both Steps three and four. Should the roadmap go to plan, in England, the final step out of lockdown, scheduled for June 21, will remove all social limits. However, this could be delayed over concerns about the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

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When inside pubs, social distancing guidelines should be followed and face coverings worn when not sitting down. For pubs with outdoor screenings, up to 30 people can meet.

While some pubs are offering limited walk-in spaces, others are operating a strict bookings only policy so it’s advised to give your local a call before just turning up.

Somerset pubs where you can enjoy a feast of football this summer include Mambo in Taunton who have selected private areas each with its own TV as well as an all-weather big screen in the garden. You can make a booking on 01823 351055 and they also offer walk-in space on a first-come-first-served basis.

Allstars Sports Bar in Taunton is also available for bookings during the tournament on 01823 334880. To make a booking for The Malt Shovel, in Bridgwater, visit their website at www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/somerset/malt-shovel/euro-2021/

  • Know a pub showing the tournament? I’ll be compiling a list for the website so drop me an email at Jamie.jones@countygazette.co.uk if you know somewhere that should be included