Written by Tharushan Fernando
09 Jun, 2016 | 1:28 pm
Euro 2016 will put 24 teams on the grass over 30 days at 10 different locations in France.
With the final set to take place at the Stade de France in Paris on the 10th of July.
Spain will look to hang on to the title that they won in 2008 and retained 4 years later in 2012 while Albania, Iceland ,Slovakia,Wales and Northern Ireland have qualified for the first time.
Since 1995 edition (that took place in England) the tournament saw 16 teams but has now increased to 24 with six groups of four teams
This would mean that the top two teams will qualify for the from the group stages.
This format of group stages would open the doors for a team to push themselves in to the last 16 even with one point. Following the number oriented group-stages the tournament will then go on to a knockout stage.
The countdown to the European Championship is gathering pace with hosts France kicking off the tournament against Romania at the Stade de France on Friday.
Germany comes in to the tournament after taking home the World Cup and will be brimming with confidence with the likes of Thomas Müller, Lukas Podolski in the front and a midfield that consists of names likely to make the best of opponents tremble. And the Germans don’t stop with mid field prowess but has taken a threatening world class defense with the likes of Boateng and Hummels and the Wall of a keeper Manuel Neuer bringing up the rear. Germany finished top of their qualification group but their place in France was not without troubles with upsetting defeats by Poland and the Republic of Ireland.
Spain, the reigning champs since holding on to the title since 2008 and managing to retain it during 2014 are also favorites. They boast a team-sheet-on paper- that is potentially the best. Iker Casillas and David de Gea make sure that Spain will not be without a world-class keeper throughout the tournament. And the same could be said for a veteran defense that has César Azpilicueta ,Jordi Alba ,Juanfran ,Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos, who are undeniably used to big-stage battles. The middle will be controlled by the likes of Sergio Busquets ,Cesc Fàbregas ,Andrés Iniesta ,Koke,David Silva .Coach Vicente del Bosque will have Lucas Vázquez,Aritz Aduriz,Álvaro Morata and Pedro to handle the ball up front.
Historically Germany and Spain have dominated the tournaments with 3 titles each to their name but with 24 teams ready wreak havok on the field the two Footballing giants will have to bring more than just their A-Game
England, who is renowned for big names, physical style and their unlucky habit of failing in big tournaments have brought in a team that will be a force to be reckoned with. Joe Hart will guard the English net while Gary Cahill ,Danny Rose ,Chris Smalling ,John Stones,Kyle Walker will work in front of him. England will also have the options of Dele Alli,Eric Dier ,Ross Barkley ,Jordan Henderson ,James Milner ,Raheem Sterling and Jack Wilshere in the middle alongside Harry Kane,Marcus Rashford,Wayne Rooney,Daniel Sturridge and the Jamie Vardy from the whole ‘premier- league’s Leicester’ debacle
The home-team will look to Hugo Lloris to save the ball from hitting the back of the net with Lucas Digne,Patrice Evra ,Christophe Jallet,Laurent Koscielny,Eliaquim Mangala ,Adil Rami ,Bacary Sagna and Samuel Umtiti bringing up the rear
The French midfield will be handled by the likes of Yohan Cabaye ,Kingsley Coman ,N’Golo Kanté ,Blaise Matuidi ,Dimitri Payet,Paul Pogba,Morgan Schneiderlin ,Moussa Sissoko while André-Pierre Gignac, Olivier Giroud ,Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial will take charge in the front
The Italians will not be taken likley with players like El Sharaawy, Insigne and Zaza trying to attack the ball up front
The engine room in the middle will be one to watch with Antonio Candreva ,Daniele De Rossi ,Alessandro Florenzi ,Emanuele Giaccherini,Marco Parolo , Stefano Sturaro and Thiago Motta
The Italian coach also have Andrea Barzagli,Leonardo Bonucci,Giorgio Chiellini ,Matteo Darmian, Mattia De Sciglio and Angelo Ogbonna at his disposal in terms of defense while boasting a keeper line-up that is equal to having a wall from post to post (that includes Gianluigi Buffon,Federico Marchetti ,Salvatore Sirigu)
The name that will be pulling hairs and a constant bother in players minds will be Cristiano Ronaldo and fans from rival sides will agree on the 31 year-olds un-tamable skill. (Portugal’s other forwards Éder,Nani and Ricardo Quaresma will have to try to keep up with Real’s Protagonist while the midfielders will have to take responsibility to feed the ball to the goal-scoring- defender-bully that is Ronaldo)
Belgium will also bring a line-up that is not short of influential names. They will have Thibaut Courtois ,Jean-François Gillet ,Simon Mignolet as keepers.The back-end will be taken care of by the likes of Toby Alderweireld,Laurent Ciman ,Christian Kabasele ,Jordan Lukaku ,Thomas Vermaelen,Jan Vertonghen. Midfield tactics will inlcude Yannick Carrasco ,Kevin De Bruyne,Mousa Dembélé ,Marouane Fellaini ,Eden Hazard ,Radja Nainggolan ,Axel Witsel.
Belgium will also feature the shooting prowess of Michy Batshuayi ,Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku
Zlatan Ibrahimović will be at the helm of the Swedish strike-force;enough said.
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