Group C is probably not the strongest one at the tournament finals and does not contain too many high-profile sides apart from 2014 World Cup winners Germany, but we do expect to see some close battles and very good football. Die Mannschaft are clearly the favourites for the top spot, but Poland and Ukraine definitely have the potential to surprise Joachim Low’s side, whereas it is up to Northern Ireland to prove they will not be going to France only to make up the numbers.
One of world’s most successful national teams finally ended the long wait for a major trophy as they won the 2014 World Cup title in style, but Joachim Low has since faced problems in the squad rebuilding process after several key men retired from international duty. Germany eventually won the first place in arguably the toughest group in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, and given their track record at tournament finals, they look a good bet to finish top of Group C despite the fact that they are clearly not in the best possible shape. Joachim Low has serious fitness doubts over Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, while Ilkay Gundogan had been earlier ruled out, and he has yet to decide on whether Mario Gotze will act as a false nine or Mario Gomez will play as an out and out striker.
Prediction: Germany to finish in 1st place
Betting Odds: 1.40 (2/5) @bet365
Poland missed a very good opportunity to achieve success on home soil at the Euro 2012 finals, but it appears the team have finally matured and they look ready to make things right in France. The White Eagles are able to count on one of Europe’s most prolific strikers, as well as players like Grzegorz Krychowiak and Lukasz Piszczek, while Ajax hotshot Arkadiusz Milik is definitely the man to watch at the tournament finals. The best thing about Poland is that they work really well as a team and are quite impressive in the build up play, with Robert Lewandowski coming deep to receive the ball and open up space for his teammates. The White Eagles will face stiff competition from Ukraine for the second place in the standings, but we believe they will eventually come out on top.
Prediction: Poland to finish in 2nd place
Betting Odds: 2.62 (13/8) @Ladbrokes
Ukraine are another side that have been on an uptrend of late and they did well to qualify for the tournament finals, even if they had to go through the play-offs. Zbirna are a hard-working side that do not concede too many goals, while they heavily rely on Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka in attack, although Roman “Ukrainian Rooney” Zozulya is now back in the side as well. This team definitely have the potential to do well at the Euros, but they rely too much on their key men, while they are also quite predictable when going forward and those are the reasons we doubt they will be able to finish above Germany and Poland. But, they should have no problems defeating Northern Ireland and possibly qualifying from the third position.
Prediction: Ukraine to finish in 3rd place
Betting Odds: 2.70 (17/10) @Ladbrokes
We cannot exactly say that Northern Ireland did not deserve to qualify for the 2016 European Championship, but it is perfectly clear they would not be going to France had they been drawn in any other qualifying group. And even though the Green and White Army can be trusted to fight for their lives at the showpiece tournament and work hard in an attempt to bridge the gap behind others sides in the group, we just don’t see how they are going to match the likes of Germany, Poland and Ukraine with only a couple of footballers in the squad currently playing at the big stage. Everybody can see that Northern Ireland lacks quality in every area of the pitch and backing them to finish rock bottom is a real no-brainer.
Prediction: Northern Ireland to finish in 4th place
Betting Odds: 1.66 (4/6) @Betfair
Group C Fixtures
12th June @18:00 – Poland vs Northern Ireland
12th June @21:00 – Germany vs Ukraine
16th June @18:00 – Ukraine vs Northern Ireland
16th June @21:00 – Germany vs Poland
21st June @18:00 – Ukraine vs Poland
21st June @18:00 – Northern Ireland vs Germany