The 2016 European Championship will be held in France from June 10th to July 10th, and everything suggests this is going to be a highly entertaining tournament, with quite a few sides vying for the coveted trophy. We now take a look at the leading contenders for the Euro 2016 trophy and assess their chances of winning the final at Stade de France on July 10th.
As tournament hosts, France were always going to be among the title contenders, especially having won the 1998 World Cup on home soil, and we believe Les Bleus have been rightly made the number one candidates for the trophy. Didier Deschamps has got a star-studded squad at his disposal, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet all in excellent form, but the best thing about them is that all these world-class players are more than happy to give their best for the team cause. Even without the suspended Karim Benzema, France looked really well in March friendlies as they showcased amazing technical quality and direct style of play, and with plenty of experience throughout the squad, they should have no problems coping with the increased pressure. We, therefore, believe they will thrive while playing in front of home fans and lift the first major trophy in the 21st century.
Germany finally ended the long wait for a major title as they impressed to win the 2014 World Cup, but the team have since experienced plenty of problems. Die Mannschaft still boast a formidable squad with Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus, to name just a few, but they are not heading to France in the best possible shape. Key playmaker Ilkay Gundogan has been ruled out through injury, while both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira struggle for fitness, and that is going to be a major issue. Germany are likely to face problems in full-back positions, while Joachim Low has yet to decide on his starting striker, with Mario Gomez and Matio Gotze vying for one place up front. We do expect Die Mannschaft to go far in France, but this squad is simply not good enough to go all the way.
Spain will be going to France as reigning European champions, but it is clear this is not the team that won three major trophies in a row between 2008 and 2012. La Furia Roja do have some new players coming through the ranks, but they have yet to leave their mark on international level, and after crashing out in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup, this could prove another disappointing tournament for Vicente Del Bosque’s side. With Diego Costa overlooked, Alvaro Morata is expected to be starting up front, and while he is a very good player, his goalscoring record is far from impressive, and it is not as if the current Spain midfielders are scoring a lot of goals at the moment. Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla are also missing, so we don’t think La Furia Roja can mount a serious title challenge in France.
It’s been quite a while since England last impressed at a major competition and that is something that Roy Hodgson and his men will be hoping to correct in France. The Three Lions were outstanding in the qualifying campaign, winning all ten fixtures, but they will have bigger fish to fry at the tournament finals. England have some in-form players in Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, while Wayne Rooney has looked really good in midfield during the business end of the season, but the lack of experience and shaky back line are going to be major issues. We do expect to see the Three Lions in the closing stages of the competition, but definitely not in the final.
The golden generation of Belgian football has yet to achieve a tangible success, although the promising showing at the 2014 World Cup and the first place in the FIFA Rankings definitely served as a major boost. The Red Devils head to France in great spirits despite failing to impress in March friendlies, and there are no doubts they have the quality to match the top sides. However, Belgium boss Marc Wilmots lacks cover for his star players, while there are no doubts that captain Vincent Kompany is going to be sorely missed. And with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke struggling for form at the moment, chances are the Red Devils will not be lifting the trophy in France.
As far as other sides are concerned, Italy and Portugal are probably the only two teams that have a realistic opportunity of going all the way, but the Azzurri have too many problems at the moment and there is no way they can reach the final stages of the competition. Meanwhile, the Selecao could prove to be a surprise package as coach Fernando Santos appears to have been spot on with pairing wingers Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani in attack, while talented youngsters Joao Mario, Danilo Pereira and Rafa Silva are bound to make an impact in France.
Euro 2016 Winner Prediction
Looking at other top sides and the problems they face at the moment, picking France to win the Euro 2016 seems like a logical choice. Les Bleus are very strong in all areas, they work well as a team and usually perform at a high level when playing in front of the home fans, so our money is definitely on France this time out.
Euro 2016 Winner Betting Odds
France 4.5 (7/2) @Betfair
Germany 5.0 (4/1) @Coral
Spain 6.5 (11/2) @WilliamHill
England 9.5 (17/2) @Ladbrokes
Belgium 12.0 (11/1) @WilliamHill
Italy 19.0 (18/1) @Coral
Portugal 23.0 (22/1) @888sport
Croatia 34.0 (33/1) @BetVictor
Austria 41.0 (40/1) @bet365
Poland 51.0 (50/1) @WilliamHill
Switzerland 71.0 (70/1) @888sport
Russia 76.0 (75/1) @888sport
Wales 81.0 (80/1) @Ladbrokes
Turkey 91.0 (90/1) @888sport
Sweden 101.0 (100/1) @WilliamHill
Ukraine 101.0 (100/1) @BetVictor
Iceland 126.0 (125/1) @Coral
Czech Republic 126.0 (125/1) @Coral
Rep of Ireland 151.0 (150/1) @Ladbrokes
Slovakia 151.0 (150/1) @bet365
Romania 261.0 (260/1) @888sport
Hungary 401.0 (400/1) @888sport
N Ireland 501.0 (500/1) @888sport
Albania 501.0 (500/1) @BetVictor