The 2016 UEFA Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2016, will be the 15th edition of the UEFA Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organised by UEFA.
This year’s edition will be the first time that 24 teams will lock horns in the championship having been expanded from the previous 16-team format used since 1996. The teams will be put in six groups comprising four teams before proceeding for three knockout stages (Round of 16, Quarter-final and Semi-final) and the final.
On Friday June 10, 2016 hosts France will square up against Romania at the Saint-Denis stadium in the tournament’s opening match. Other teams in Group A include Albania and Switzerland.
As the games come, pundits will begin to speculate as to which team would remain the last team standing come July 10, 2016. Two-time defending champions Spain will begin their defence on June 13 against Czech Republic in Group D while World Champions Germany will face Ukraine in Group C on June 12.
Will Vincente del Bosque’s La Furia Roja win the title for the third straight time? Or will the German Machines step up this time and be counted. Other teams that will definitely come to the party are hosts France who would have home support to cheer them on. The Les Blues have the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet and Anthony Martial in their fold and are coached by Didier Deschamps a EURO 2000 winner with the French team.
The Three Lions of England who had a 100% record during the qualifiers will also prove to be a team gunning for the title with the likes of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, Spurs’ Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, Wayne Rooney and debutant Marcus Rashford both of Manchester United in the attack line. The Three Lions would have their work well cut out for them when they face neighbours’ Wales led by Champions League winner Gareth Bale.
Other teams to look out for would include the Italian national team, runners-up at the last EUROs. The Azzuris led by Chelsea-bound Antonio Conte have their ever reliable goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon in the squad. The Italians are known to build their football on a strong defensive backline and the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci are dependable assets. The Portugese team would be a team to underestimate at your own peril as they have Cristiano Ronaldo leading the frontline. Many would say that he alone cannot lead the team to glory, but he’s one player who knows how to turn up at big occasions just like he did scoring the winning penalty at the just concluded Champions Final at the San Siro. Ronaldo is a goal machine, and if he gets the required service needed from Ricardo Quaresma and Nani he would bang in the goals.
The Belgians have a team made up of a group of young talented individual players. With Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke, and Divock Origi in their strike force, they would surely be a force to reckon with at the tournament. They would however miss the presence of their captain Vincent Kompany, but if Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen repeat their form for Tottenham in the just concluded season then they would do just fine.
As the EURO 2016 tournament kicks off today, the world awaits which team would lift the trophy come July 10, 2016.