Who’ll win the Euros (and more)? FFT writers make their tournament predictions...

Opening themselves up to post-tournament blushes, our staffers pick their victors, top scorers, disappointments and young ‘uns to watch...

Gary Parkinson, Global Digital Editor

Who'll win it? It’s a genuinely open field, thanks partly to the new format and mostly to the major teams’ frailties, but I’m starting to suspect Spain will make it three Euros on the bounce. They have an embarrassment of creators amid a good mix of experienced heads and enthusiastic newcomers; not having a striker didn’t bother them last time, and their defensive woes aren’t as marked as many other major nations. They’ve also got a very winnable group and path to the semis.  

Who'll bag the Golden Boot? Cristiano Ronaldo. The Boot’s not normally won by a self-appointed legend but Portugal have three inexperienced group opponents who might yield space in the box and, crucially, free-kicks around it.

Which big nation will disappoint? Italy. Their experienced backline might help them grind out a few results but their midfield is ravaged by injury, their attack hobbled by mediocrity. Semi-finals it is, then.

Who’s the youngster (U23) to watch? Renato Sanches is hardly unknown – he’s already beaten Ronaldo’s record for the youngest Portuguese to go to a major tournament – but he’s a whirlwind of creative energy and will want to show why Bayern paid a £27m fee that could rise to £61m.

Gregor MacGregor, Deputy Digital Editor

Who’ll win it? It's the year of the outsider (if not underdog). So looking beyond the likes of Germany (suffering from those post-World Cup retirements, after recent home losses to Slovakia and England?) and Spain (uninspiring frontline minus Diego Costa and Paco Alcacer), Italy (well beaten by Germany and Belgium recently) and France (defensive problems/injuries), then I'm plumping for Belgium to finally come good.

Who'll bag the Golden Boot? Can't look further than Ronaldo, who has the Portugal team set up to facilitate him here, and a relatively weak group stage in which to fill his boots. Otherwise, Olivier Giroud is in fine form for France, and the hosts are likely to do well.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Portuguese hopes still rest on Ronny's shoulders

Which big nation will disappoint? Plenty will tip Italy – and here's another. A narrow win over Scotland is their only win in the last five games and that Graziano Pelle-focused attack doesn't inspire confidence.

Who’s the youngster to watch? Leroy Sane's pace on the break could prove very useful for Germany as matches reach the latter stages, while Kingsley Coman be equally decisive on the flank for France.

Huw Davies, Managing Editor

Who’ll win it? France. A spate of defensive injuries is a concern, as is a lack of competitive fixtures going into the tournament, but look how playing on home soil worked out for them in '84 and '98. They've got individual talents, a strong midfield and a very easy path to the semi-finals.

Who’ll bag the Golden Boot? This isn't an easy call. When James Rodriguez hit six goals in the 2014 World Cup, it was the most any player had scored in a major tournament since Ronaldo in 2002. At the last European Championship, Fernando Torres won the Golden Boot with three, despite barely playing. This year, Ronaldo's the favourite because he'll face relatively weak teams, but so too will Antoine Griezmann. I think it'll come down to whichever random player from a random nation scores a random hat-trick in a random game, but for the sake of argument, let's say Griezmann.

Which big nation will disappoint? Where to start? Germany, Italy, Belgium, England, Spain, Russia and Portugal all have problems. But while Italy probably won't reach the last eight and Belgium will likely fail to live up to expectations again, a Croatia team featuring Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in midfield are set to implode under an unpopular manager and may well exit in the group stage.

Croatia 10-0 San Marino

Because why wouldn't you pick San Marino to play in your last warm-up game?

Who’s the youngster to watch? France's Kingsley Coman is an obvious shout, if he gets minutes, but keep an eye on Switzerland's Breel Embolo, 19, and Portugal's young Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva, who is wanted by big clubs right across Europe.

Joe Brewin, Digital Features Editor

Who'll win it? France's defence isn't looking great at all – they had to call up their eighth-choice centre-back in the end – and, unfortunately for them, history has proved that defences win tournaments. Among the favourites only Spain can boast one of those, and despite their lack of top-drawer striker they won’t be lacking ideas when breaking down the opposition.

Who'll bag the Golden Boot? A lot of this depends on personnel choices: i.e. will Giroud or Gignac play? Gomez, or Gotze as a false nine? But you can always rely on Thomas Muller – and Germany in general – at a major tournament. You might be surprised to hear he's never scored at the Euros before. But with Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland coming up in Group C, he'll get chances. Usually, you can bank on him taking them.

Which big nation will disappoint? Portugal have been touted as a dark horse, and even those from within the country seem quietly confident. But beyond Ronaldo, there really just doesn't seem much there... for now. Promise comes in the form of several potentially excellent youngsters, but that's all they are for now – and for the most part, untested on a big stage. Their Group F opponents could be stubborn.

Who’s the youngster to watch? Arkadiusz Milik, 22, will be desperate to put in a good shift with other clubs keen on him this summer. Robert Lewandowski will hog the limelight for Poland but Milik has played a supporting role well – and this could be his moment to take centre stage.

Arkadiusz Milik

Milik is successfully diverting attentions away from Lewandowski

Chris Flanagan, Staff Writer

Who'll win it? France. There's not a lot to choose between the hosts, Spain and Germany, but France have won the last two tournaments they've played on home soil and seem to have a squad capable of doing it again.

Who'll bag the Golden Boot? Antoine Griezmann. He could be run close by Harry Kane, but if France go a little further than England it could give Griezmann the extra games needed to claim the boot.

Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann is coming off the back of his best goalscoring season

Which big nation will disappoint? The losers of the likely quarter-final between Portugal and England. Sadly it has Portugal penalty shootout victory written all over it, a la 2004 and 2006.

Who’s the youngster to watch? Kingsley Coman. A hugely exciting talent who already has four domestic league titles to his name at the age of 19 – two with PSG, one with Juventus and one with Bayern Munich. He could have a real impact off the bench for France.

Gregg Davies, Chief Sub-Editor

Who'll win it? France. Despite late injuries to Lassana Diarra and Raphael Varane, it’s hard not to see past the hosts’ formidable-looking line-up. With Paul Pogba pulling the strings, les Bleus are more than capable of emulating previous home-soil successes at Euro 84 and the 1998 World Cup.

Who'll bag the Golden Boot? Thomas Muller. Group games against Poland, Ukraine and Northern Ireland give the 26-year-old the chance to hit the ground running, and with Germany always likely to go far, the penalty-taker can add to a mantelpiece that already features a World Cup Golden Boot.  

Which big nation will disappoint? Italy. The losses of midfield cogs Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti are big blows, with Antonio Conte hoping unity can make up for a lack of talent. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wizardry helped eliminate the Azzurri at Euro 2004 and he’ll be eyeing a repeat on his Sweden swansong.

Who’s the youngster to watch? Poland’s Milik. The 22-year-old striker scored 24 goals for Ajax in 2015/16 and is already into double figures for the national team, with his six goals in nine Euro 2016 qualifiers helping to take the strain off the White Eagles’ talisman Robert Lewandowski.

Ben Clark, Digital Apprentice

Who'll win it? Spain for the third time on the trot. I have a feeling France might wilt under pressure and end up losing out in the semi-finals. Germany haven't looked too promising to me, and England... well, why are people tipping us to win anyway? Though Spain don't have a natural striker, their defence and midfield oozes quality.

Who'll bag the Golden Boot? Thomas Muller. He's not your natural striker, but he turns up on the big occasions. He's on course to become the overall World Cup top scorer, and having scored nine goals in qualifying for Germany, he's a fundamental part of Germany's attack.

Which big nation will disappoint? Italy. The fact that the Italian press are comparing success this summer with Denmark in '92 and Greece '04 just about says it all. Looking at their squad, they look numb – their only strength is at the back and they have been depleted in midfield with injuries.

Who’s the youngster to watch? Tin Jedvaj for Croatia. He was at Roma before Bayer Leverkusen, but he's broken into the Germans' side this season and looks very mature for his age. He certainly injects some pace into an ageing Croatian backline and could be a key part of them progressing into the latter stages of the tournament.

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