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Euro 2016 Quickfire Preview

A short preview of each team as no doubt you’ve already read countless previews in the build up to the tournament, so without further ado here we go

Group A:

France – The hosts and the bookmakers favourites, with the awful events in Paris back in November 2015 then a third European Championship would be a perfect way to unite the country. It’s theirs to lose and with home advantage you can’t really look to much further than Didier Deschamps side

Romania – The second team in Friday’s opening match with only 8 teams being knocked out in the first round stage then they will surely fancy their chances of progression to the Round of 16, can they upset the party and stop France from opening their account with a win

Albania – Arguably the rank outsiders. A debut major tournament for this nation and they will be looking to make the most of their invite even if it ends after just after 3 group games, any points they can pick up will be celebrated with some fervour

Switzerland – Will be competing with Romania for the group’s second place berth. They have more than enough to get out of this group especially with only 8 teams going home early. If they didn’t get out of the group then they would have to consider that a massive disappointment

Group B:

England – They haven’t progressed past the Quarter Final of a major tournament since 1996. Can they at least match the Semi Final achievement of 20 years ago, if they were that would no doubt be deemed success but could they possibly go all the way. England expects again

Russia – England’s first group opponents and they will look to continue the Three Lions record of no opening win in the previous 8 tournaments. It’s going to be a tough group someone has to go home, Russia will need to win at least once to make sure it’s not them

Wales – Gareth Bale finally gets to show his talents on the biggest stage for National sides, the question is how will his supporting cast help him out along the way. Bale can’t do it all but you would imagine to at least drag Wales very close to the round of 16

Slovakia – A key game with Wales will be their opener on Saturday. Defeat for Slovakia and they will have an uphill battle to get out of the group but you get the feeling that this could very well be a group where all teams take points of each other, it certainly won’t be a forgone conclusion

Group C:

Germany – World Champions and bookmakers second favourites. They’ll certainly be in the running although a warmup defeat to Slovakia certainly raised some eyebrows. Could a lack of out and out firepower be their undoing this time around

Ukraine – Always at tournaments but never really seem to set them alight. Gone are the days of the goals of Andrei Shevchenko so they will have to relay on the attack prowess of Andriy Yarmolenko and Yehven Konoplyanka this time around

Poland – With Robert Lewandowski in their ranks they have one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe. A definite contender for the tournament golden boot, can Poland at least get out of the groups with Lewandowski’s goals you would very much imagine so

Northern Ireland – The fans are definitely here to party over at least the next fortnight whether that party continues depends on results for Michael O’Neill’s side. If Will Grigg can stay on fire then they have every chance of making the Round of 16

Group D:

Spain – Defeat to Georgia last night would have raised many eyebrows but I wouldn’t read to much into that. Not quite the side that won both the 2008 and 2012 editions of the tournament but I wouldn’t rule them out of a hat-trick of titles just yet

Czech Republic – Impressed in qualifying after getting the better of Holland can they carry that form into the tournament proper. Could this be the swansong for talisman Tomas Rosicky, they won’t quite reach the heights of that 1996 side but expect them to get out of the group

Turkey – Not often in major tournaments these days but when they are they always entertain. Memories of 2008 spring to mind when they kept clawing themselves from exits in dramatic circumstances, the first target will be getting out of this group stage

Croatia – Luka Modric will be pulling the strings in Midfield as Croatia will certainly fancy the runners up berth in this group. Again this could be a very tight group where the three sides below Spain take points off each other so there will be all to play for

Group E:

Belgium – Injury to Vincent Kompany would have been a massive blow but they still have more than enough talent in their squad to have a serious go at winning the competition, the only danger could be if they lose a midfielder in what is a very lop sided squad

Italy – The evergreen Gianlugi Buffon represents Italy for the last time at a major tournament but apart from him there’s no real stars in the squad. A lack of firepower could be the Italian’s downfall as Antonio Conte aims to win the trophy before leaving to take the Chelsea job

Republic Of Ireland – Martin O’Neill’s squad will certainly look to make a better fist of this than their appearance in the 2012 edition. They went home without a point that time, so even one would be an improvement but getting out of the group will be a real success

Sweden – All the focus as of late has been where will Zlatan Ibrahimovic end up after the tournament finishes. That talk can be put to one side for at least a couple of weeks as the mercurial Swede shows us why is the most hotly talked player in European Football right now

Group F:

Portugal – Could this finally be the time when Portugal win a major tournament and Cristiano Ronaldo can be added to the pantheon of greatest players of all time. With the golden generation they are going to have their work cut out but they will look to perform better after a disappointing 2014 World Cup

Iceland – One of the surprise outfits in qualifying as they got out of a difficult group including Czech Rep, Turkey and Holland. Their first ever major tournament they have absolutely nothing to lose and they will have many neutral fans supporting them along the way

Austria – A lot will rest on David Alaba if they are going to get out of this group, but in fairness the draw hasn’t been particularly tough on them. The fixture against local neighbours Hungary will go a long way to deciding their tournament fate

Hungary – They’ll be having to evoke the memories of Puskas and that great side of the 1950’s if they are to get any joy from this tournament. They’ve done well to qualify but they are one of the teams making up the numbers.

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