Euro 2016: How far can England reach in France?

England enjoyed a remarkable Euro 2016 qualifying campaign as they won all of their ten games to finish with 30 points. They ended up scoring 31 goals at a rate of more than three per game and conceded a mere three to have a fantastic goal difference of +28.

However, critics did try to devalue the great run by pointing out that beating teams like Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino isn’t exactly a great achievement. But it should also be kept in mind that Roy Hodgson also used the games to try out new players. Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Dele Alli all made their debuts and look likely to be on the road to France this summer.

For a football-mad country like England, it is almost embarrassing that they have never won the European Championship in its 56-year existence. The biggest achievement for the Three Lions remains their triumph at the 1966 World Cup and the island nation is still looking to add another major international trophy to their cabinet.

At Euro 2016, they have been placed in Group B that comprises of Russia, Wales and Slovakia. Hodgson’s men will be overwhelming favourites to win the group ahead of their rivals. Their only tough match appears to be against Wales, which will be led by Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, but otherwise England appear to have a free run to the Euro 2016 round of 16.

The team which will most likely see Joe Hart in goal, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Phil Jagielka, Nathaniel Clyne, Kyle Walker, and Ryan Bertrand in defence, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Ross Barkely, Raheem Sterling, Ryan Mason, Jesse Lingard, and Adam Lallana in midfield, and Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, and Wayne Rooney up front is undoubtedly brimming with talent.

Underperforming in the big tournaments is a chronic problem for the Three Lions and a number of new faces in the first team for France may mean that they do not carry any baggage from the past tournaments.

Things augur well for England and they should definitely be vying for a semi-final run at the very least.