Back of the Net’s alternative Group F preview (ft. Gabor Kiraly's defiance)
Portugal remain haunted by Euro 2004 when they heroically managed to find a way to lose to Greece in the final, and as ever they will be accused of being a one-man team. However, there’s no arguing with Bruno Alves’s devastating talent and he will believe he can single-handedly inspire a run in the competition.
Just 10 years ago Iceland was uninhabited, so reaching Euro 2016 at all has been a momentous achievement that has thrilled neutrals and the 500 football writers who have successfully pitched articles about their miraculous rise.
Austria and Hungary have been thrown together again for the first time since the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, an event which is likely to be weigh heavily on the players’ minds as they line up in France. The nations may opt to merge again, pooling enough points to squeeze through and lose to the Ottoman Empire in the next round.
Hungary’s Gabor Kiraly will become the oldest player to compete at a European Championship and is expected to continue his baffling war on shorts, or “the devil’s trousers” as he labels them, opting instead for long, grey P.E teacher’s tracksuit bottoms.
Eidur Gudjohnsen will be keen to prove that he still exists despite almost certainly featuring in Championship Manager ’93.
Portugal have no standout talent to speak of but are a team of hard-working players bound together by a strong team identity.
Austria have David Alaba who can play in any position and has on occasion been asked by Marcel Koller to play as many as nine roles simultaneously.
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Portugal boss Fernando Santos is partial to a cigarette on the touchline and slowed many qualification games down by asking the referee for a lighter.
Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson lead Iceland, and their solid alliteration has proved hard to beat. Lagerback will call time on his career after the competition, leaving a legacy of functional football and looking exactly like a bank manager.
Bernd Storck manages Hungary. We know this because we consulted Wikipedia. Any further questions? No, good.
Back of the Net expert tip
You can remove marks on wood furniture using a walnut. Just cut it in half and rub it into the scratch. Don’t have a walnut? Pecans and brazil nuts work too.