Hosts France have the honour of kicking off Euro Football 2016 with a crunch tie against Romania at the Stade de France on 10 June.
France are clear favourites to top Group A in the Euro Football 2016 odds and gain automatic qualification for the last-16.
But Switzerland, Romania and Albania will pose credible opposition for the two-time European champions and, with three qualification places potentially up for grabs, this won’t be easy for the French.
Didier Deschamps’ men have their weaknesses, while there are a few stars studded among the opposition teams in this group.
So, let’s take a look at who should qualify out of Group A, and who should have stayed at home…
France to win the Euro Football 2016
France have twice won the European Championship, in 1984 and 2000. In both tournaments they relied on an exceptional player to inspire them to victory.
Michel Platini scored nine goals during the 1984 tournament in France. The striker bagged seven of those in the group stage to ensure Les Bleus finished top with some degree of comfort. Zinedine Zidane was the leader of the 2000 side that stunned Spain, Portugal and then Italy in the final in Rotterdam.
Juventus star Paul Pogba, 22, could be the man to stoke fire in the French hearts. The former Manchester United youngster helped Juve to the Champions League final last season and is a fixed feature in the French side.
Route to the Euros:
France were automatic top seeds at Euro Football 2016 because they are hosting the tournament and therefore weren’t in the Euro qualifiers groups.
France are second favourites after Germany to win Euro Football 2016. That is mainly due to being hosts rather than a display of their actual form. France have won the Euros and the World Championsip on home soil. They are favourites to top Group A and are a solid bet to do so.
Romania: Can they make it past group stage?
This will be Romania’s fifth appearance at a European Championships. Their maiden run was also in France back in 1984, when they finished bottom of Group B with just a solitary point from three games.
In fact, Romania can boast just one victory from 13 games in the Euros. That was during their most successful outing in 2000, when they stunned England 3-2 in Charleroi to progress to the quarter-finals, where they subsequently lost 2-0 to Italy.
Razvan Rat boasts 108 cpas for Romania and remains integral to their defence at the age of 34. The Rayo Vallecano left-back won seven Ukrainian championships during a 10-year career at Shakhtar Donetsk. Romania conceded just two goals in the whole of qualifying for Euro Football 2016 — the fewest of all competing nations.
Route to Euros:
With Rat installed as captain Romania were solid at the back, conceding in 1-1 home draws against Hungary and Israel. They didn’t lose a game in qualifying but five draws meant they finished second behind Northern Ireland, with group favourites Hungary third.
Don’t back Romania to win Euro Football 2016 unless you think they can ‘do a Greece’ from 2004. Instead, finishing second in Group A could is a smarter betting option.
Switzerland: Can the Swiss make it to the Semi-finals of Euro Football 2016?
Switzerland have never progressed out of the European Championships group stage but this year they should do just that. Their best performance was on home soil in 2008 when they beat Portugal 2-0 in Basel, having already been knocked out after defeats to Czech Republic and Turkey.
Switzerland’s midfield is one of the best at Euro Football 2016 and Xherdan Shaqiri has all the talent to be player of the tournament, if the Swiss get into the latter stages. Stoke City’s Shaqiri has struggled to impress since leaving Inter Milan for the Premier League but he is a talent many teams would love to have this summer.
Route to Euros:
Switzerland confidently strolled through behind unbeaten England in the Euro Football 2016 qualifying tables. They finished five points clear of rivals Slovenia and Shaqiri finished as the team’s top scorer with four goals.
The Swiss have never made the knockout stage in European Championship history but that should all change. They are favourites to finish second in Group A and stand a very good chance in reaching the quarter-finals.
Albania: Favourites to finish in last place
This is Albania’s first appearance in the European Championships. In fact, it is the first time they will play any major tournament. They have won just 18 of 93 previous Euro qualification fixtures, four of which came during the campaign for this instalment.
Albania are clear favourites to finish rock bottom of the group. However, third place can see you into the last-16 if you’re lucky and all Albania need is a win and positive goal difference to potentially achieve that.View market