EUROPEAN football is in good shape and continually changing with many countries playing a very attractive style of football. This makes European football exciting and gives fans plenty to shout about. Craig Moore takes a look at Euro 16 and the favourites to win.
Germany will be one of the teams to beat and it will be interesting to see how Spain bounce back after their early exit at 2014 World Cup. England are once again going to have some support. I think England will take the best players on form rather than reputation, so they will be a real danger. But there are so many other good teams with France, Belgium, Portugal and others which can surprise.
It’s always hard to pick the underdog or the team that flies under the radar. There’s always one though and you need some luck in how the draw works for you. In saying that, I think it’s possible for teams like Croatia or even Romania to show they can possibly get a nice run.
I’m predicting this will be a tournament where we will be talking more about the goals rather than really tight games. In group stages you need to play with real intent to get what you need to progress. As you move on, the game becomes a little more difficult and not as much seems to be given away.
France - Unibet Odds: $4
Hosts France can certainly win it and they deserve to be favourites in their group with Albania, Romania and Switzerland. Being the hosts can be a huge advantage and France have shown before they have what it takes at home and can handle the pressure. They will handle it again without any problem in the early stages.
Romania might take second spot in the group ahead of Switzerland. It will be interesting to see who plays for
France but tried and tested Olivier Giroud will be key. Antoine Griezmann has been doing well and standing up on the big stage. Looking forward to seeing if this is the tournament where he really makes a statement.
Germany - Unibet Odds: $5
Historically, the Germans always seem to do just enough and are very professional in tournaments like this. But they have not been in the best of form of late, winning just 2 of the last 6. They’re in a group with Northern Ireland, Poland and Ukraine and I think they’ll fight for top spot with Poland but they will progress to the next stage. I remember Mesut Ozil shining at the 2010 World Cup and I think if he can step up again, then
Germany will have many opportunities. Thomas Muller is also a top player and he seems a great character and continually makes a difference. He has scored nine goals in qualifying and has a real eye for a goal.
Spain - Unibet Odds: $6
Spain will have a fantastic squad but I think this tournament will be a platform to bigger and better things in the future for them. This is more of a redevelopment era for them and I don’t see Spain as a potential winner. They’ve drawn a very tough group containing Croatia, Czech Republic and Turkey. Croatia are potentially a very good side and the Czech Republic and Turkey also cannot be underestimated. Spain can match up well against all of them, so it will just depend on how the team arrives and what players turn up in form. These tournaments always provide a future star and this group may do exactly that.
England - Unibet Odds: $9
England have a very strong squad but a very different one from the sides we’ve seen from England in the recent past. This will be an exciting young English side with more scope than they’ve had for some time. This will make them very dangerous and if the stars align, they will go deep and go close to lifting the trophy. If
England are to have a chance of doing anything, they will need plenty of goals from the likes of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane. They will give any defence a torrid time and if they can bring their league form to the table, then England are a massive chance. Their group includes Russia, Slovakia and Wales.
Belgium - Unibet Odds: $11
The Belgium team are riding on the back of a golden generation - but can they stand up as a unit for their country? The big question for me is do these players have the same drive and determination as they do when playing and achieving great things for their clubs? If they turn up, they can enjoy a decent ride, but I don’t see them getting to the final. Kevin De Bruyne is a very good player and can score or assist. He travels beautifully with the ball and can go by people. Once he opens his body, he can be very dangerous. The Belgians will face Italy, Republic of Ireland and Sweden in their group.
Italy - Unibet Odds: $19
I’m backing the Italians to come through the first phase in a tough-looking group, pitted against Belgium, Ireland and Sweden. Italian football is changing and I love the way they play attacking football now. At 1-0 the game isn’t always over now but in years gone by, they would switch off knowing the result was locked in.
Having said that though, they still settled for 1-0 wins both at home and away against tiny Malta en route to France 2016. Italy still know how to defend and they will be very strong and cunning in defence, but it’s their attacking players and style of football which will be the key to any success they might have.