An early look at who are the favourites for Euro 2016

Date published: Monday 29th February 2016 9:59

Euro 2016: Draw for the finals made

Euro 2016: Draw for the finals made

Football fever will hit France in the summer as Euro 2016 takes place. For the first time 24 countries, instead of 16, will take part for a chance to pick up the Henri Delaunay Trophy.

Spain will be looking to win it for a record third time, but Germany are favourites and the bookies also fancy France and Belgium. So how far could your country go, and could England even actually end all those years of hurt and win it?

Group A

Hosts France will battle with Romania, Albania and Switzerland.

The hosts, with top players such as Hugo Lloris and 2015 team of the year winner Paul Pogba, are probably favourites to top the group and Switzerland and Romania will probably vie for the second place in the next round.

Group B                                                                                               

England share this group with Russia, Wales and Slovakia. It will also be the first time England and Wales have met at a major tournament so expect to see Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale going head-to-head.

The Three Lions should get through the group stages easily as they were the only team to win every qualifier in the build-up to the competition. However it will be interesting to see who comes in second between the 3 other evenly matched teams.

Group C

The favourites, Germany are in Group C, along with Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland.

Top players like Mesut Özil, and Thomas Muller should help the Germans top the table, while Bayern Munich’s top striker Robert Lewandowski should ensure Poland’s progress.

Group D

Holders Spain will be battling it out in Group D with Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia.

Spain had a poor showing at the 2014 World Cup, but players like David Silva, Juan Mata and Diego Costa should all help them top their group.

Many will fancy Croatia to also progress with top talent such as Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric at their disposal.

Group E

Underdogs Belgium are the one to watch in this group, with players like Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke all looking to make an impact.

They face tough opposition from Italy, Sweden and Ireland.

Sweden will be banking on the talents of Zlatan Ibrahimović to see them through, but it is most likely to be 2012 winners Italy and Belgium at the top of the group.

Group F

Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal will be looking for an easy ride through Group F with Iceland, Austria and Hungary to play.

Austria, who have top Premiership players like Marko Arnautovic, are probably most likely to join Portugal in the last 16.

The knockout stages

England could actually be helped by the layout of the Euro 2016 draw as the winner of Group B plays either third place in group A, C or D, or if England come second then they play runner up in Group F, most likely Austria.

If that were to happen then England would most likely meet France in the quarter finals and would probably put France up against Germany in the semi-finals.

On the other end of the schedule, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Poland are most likely to be battling it out to progress. The younger and more exciting Belgians, with their strong strikers, could be a strong bet to face Germany in the final, and as we saw giant killings when Greece won in 2004 and Denmark in 1992, this could well be the year of the underdog.

There are more ways to take part in the tournament than just watching the games, you could even make some money from it.

Many will take part in the growing popularity of fantasy football sports, letting fans bet on and set up leagues with workmates or friends that combines the best players. Hopefully some of the teams will be in the tournament long enough to help you climb the tables and get bragging rights.

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