UEFA Euro 2016: A Preview

From June 10th, 24 international football teams (and not 16, as has been the norm) will compete in the 15th edition of the UEFA EURO football championships for a month in France. 10 stadia will host the matches, with there going to be an extra round of knockouts: a 16-team Knockout stage before the quarterfinals, similar to the Champions League format. The winner will have to win four in a row to lift the trophy, as compared to a 16-nation tournament since 1996. The final will be held at Saint-Denis on 10th July. 

Here’s a quick lowdown on football’s second biggest tournament:

Defending Champions: Spain (2012, 2008)

The Spanish football team went through one of the most successful decades in international history by winning Euro 2008 (beating Germany 1-0 in the final), World Cup 2010 (beating Netherlands 1-0 in the final) and Euro 2012 (beating Italy 4-0 in the final). However, Spain were routed 1-3 by France in the 2014 World Cup, and are now 6th in the World Rankings. 

Debut: Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Slovakia 

Most Appearances: World Champions Germany (11)

Most Titles: Spain, Germany (3)

Most Finals: Germany (6)

Number of Teams in Euro 2016 Qualifying Rounds: 53

Best Qualifier: England (wins 10 out of 10 rounds)

Notable Exclusions: Netherlands (2010 World Cup finalists, third in 2014), Denmark, Greece, Scotland

The six groups of four teams each are:

Group A – France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland 

Prediction: France, Switzerland


Group B – England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia

Prediction: England, Wales

Group C – Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland

Prediction: Germany, Poland

Group D – Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia

Prediction: Spain, Turkey

Group E – Belgium, Italy, Republic Of Ireland, Sweden

Prediction: Italy, Sweden

Group F – Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary

Prediction: Portugal, Austria

Dark Horses: Croatia, Ukraine, Belgium and Hungary.  

Outright Favorites: Germany 

Contenders: France, England, Spain

Matches to Watch Out for: 

Switzerland v/s France (June 19), England v/s Wales (June 16), Germany v/s Poland (June 16), Spain v/s Czech Republic (June 13), Italy v/s Sweden (June 17), Hungary v/s Portugal (June 22)

Stars to Watch Out for: 

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Marcus Rashford (England), Jamie Vardy (England), Harry Kane (England), Mario Gotze (Germany), Mats Hummels (Germany), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Gareth Bale (Wales), Adnan Januzaj (Belgium), Daniele de Rossi (Italy), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Sergio Ramos (Spain), David Silva (Spain), Jordi Alba (Spain), Anthony Martial (France), N’Golo Kante (France), Olivier Giroud (France), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Pepe (Portugal)


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