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Back of the Net’s alternative Group D preview (ft. Rosicky’s big chance)

The teams

Despite losing to Georgia in a pre-tournament friendly, Spain will start among the favourites – but their current crop may not match up to the sides that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 without an opposition team kicking a ball, or in many cases even being aware the game had started.

Croatia could be dark horses, in that they’ll make a quick start to the competition, trip in the second round and be put down humanely in the quarters.

Turkey made it to Euro 2016 despite losing every one of their qualification games, taking advantage of the fact every country in Europe but Holland made it to the finals. There are 16 Turkish-based players in Fatih Terim’s squad, more Turkish-based players than any other side.

The Czechs are very well organised, so we can expect them to get to every game with plenty of time to spare.

The players

Tomas Rosicky will look forward to one last chance to get injured on the biggest stage for the Czech Republic. Petr Cech will retire from international football after the tournament, leaving his nation simply called the Republic.

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Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz is a threat, but his level may have dropped since he moved to Chinese side Beijing Guoan to realise his lifelong dream of having loads of money.

Spain’s lineup will be familiar to all football fans and Vicente del Bosque has been universally applauded for selflessly leaving Diego Costa out for the greater good of humanity.

The managers

Del Bosque will resign after the championship to focus on removing the moustache that has been attached to his upper lip for nearly 20 years.

Fatih Terim is Turkey’s coach by default as nobody can name another Turkish manager.

Croatia boss Ante Cacic was a shock appointment. Nearly 90% of Croats polled stated they are ‘Anti-Cacic’, while 10% stated their support for ‘Ante Cacic’ in a poll that was labelled “confusing” by 90%. Cacic’s defence is often seen as a weak point and he recently fell out with Dejan Lovren, raising his popularity level greatly.

  • THE OFFICIAL FFT GUIDE Spain • Czech Republic • Turkey • Croatia

Back of the Net expert tip

If you seal an envelope but have forgotten to put something inside, put it in the freezer for an hour or two and it’ll open up without ripping it.

Group A • Group B • Group C • Group D • Group E • Group F

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