Headlined by Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal, Group F also contains teams that not too many people expected would qualify for the showpiece tournament, with each of Austria, Hungary and Iceland ending a lengthy dry spells to book a ticket to France. Das Team are probably the only side capable of challenging the Selecao for the first place in the group, whereas Foci and Strakarnir Okkar are likely to be involved in the head to head battle for the third place, and attempt to make it to the first knockout stage via an alternative route.
Even if their top players usually have important roles to play in top European sides, Portugal have failed to impress at major competitions, but they defied the odds to reach the Euro 2012 semi-final and narrowly missed out on the final. The Selecao have since struggled at the 2014 World Cup, but then showed a massive improvement under Fernando Santos and they look capable of going far in France. Portugal boast experienced players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma, but also talented youngsters such as Danilo Pereira, Renato Sanches and Rafa Silva, and they boast a very good team spirit. And with the Selecao looking good in both 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations, we don’t think they will have too many problems progressing from the first place in Group F.
Prediction: Portugal to finish in 1st place
Betting Odds: 1.91 (10/11) @WilliamHill
Austria were arguably the biggest surprise package in the Euro 2016 Qualifying, dropping just two points on the road to France and leaving very good Russia and Sweden sides to trail in their wake. With little experience at major tournaments, Das Team need to prove they can perform when it really matters, and they were fortunate to be placed in the same group with Hungary and Iceland, who are not exactly world beaters. Austria have shown some weaknesses in warm-up games and they are unlikely to match in-form Portugal, but bar a serious injury crisis, they will have enough quality and character to qualify from the second position. It is important to note though that head coach Marcel Koller lacks proper replacements for the starting XI, which could prove an issue in the latter stages.
Prediction: Austria to finish 2nd place
Betting Odds: 2.80 (9/5) @Ladbrokes
Similar to Austria, Iceland defied all predictions to secure an automatic qualifying berth by finishing above Turkey and Netherlands, and while that is a remarkable achievement in itself, the Nordic side will have to prove they deserve to be playing at this level. Strakarnir Okkar proved incredibly disciplined in the qualifiers, working hard for the team’s cause and such an approach is likely to produce decent results at the tournament finals as well. Nevertheless, this Iceland side are not only hard workers as they’ve got some very good individuals as well, with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Johann Berg Gudmundsson all capable of carving out opportunities for themselves and their teammates, so we believe the Nordic team can beat Hungary to the third place in the standings.
Prediction: Iceland to finish in 3rd place
Betting Odds: 3.00 (2/1) @Betfair
Hungary were once one of world’s strongest national teams, but the current side is nowhere near the top of European football, despite somehow making it to the Euro 2016 finals. The mere fact that Foci finished third in what was by far the weakest group is enough to suggest they do not exactly deserve to be competing in France, although they did well to frustrate Norway in the play-offs. Hungary have serious problems up front, while key midfielder Zoltan Gera is now 37 and winger Balasz Dzsudzsak is struggling through injury, so, taking everything into account, they are likely to finish bottom of the group.
Prediction: Hungary to finish in 4th place
Betting Odds: 2.00 (1/1) @Ladbrokes
Group F Fixtures
14th June @18:00 – Austria vs Hungary
14th June @21:00 – Portugal vs Iceland
18th June @18:00 – Iceland vs Hungary
18th June @21:00 – Portugal vs Austria
22nd June @18:00 – Hungary vs Portugal
22nd June @18:00 – Iceland vs Austria
Check out also:
Euro 2016 Group A Prediction & Betting Odds
Euro 2016 Group B Prediction & Betting Odds
Euro 2016 Group C Prediction & Betting Odds
Euro 2016 Group D Prediction & Betting Odds
Euro 2016 Group E Prediction & Betting Odds