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UEFA Euro 2016 contenders: England

If there is one thing that has remained consistent for England on the biggest of stages in the recent past, it is that they have been poor. England have consistently failed to live up to the expectations at major tournaments and their capitulation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was painful for their supporters.

The Three Lions were in a tough group with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, but still there is no excuse for going home from the first round without a win. At the last Euros, England went home at the quarter-final stage after losing to Italy in the quarter-final in a penalty shootout when Andrea Pirlo scored that memorable Panenka against Manchester City number 1 Joe Hart.

Panenka Andrea Pirlo Penalty (Italy vs England) Euro 2012 from TonyMontana on Vimeo.

Despite the World Cup debacle, manager Roy Hodgson managed to held on to his job and led the side through a successful qualification campaign for the Euros next summer. England won all of their games in qualifying campaign to finish with a 100 per cent record. Although, it wouldn’t be harsh to say that their group lacked any credible opponents.

England look strong going into Euro 2016 in France and are expected to do well in the continental tournament. They have been placed in a relatively easy Group B with Russia, Wales and Slovakia. The Three Lions are expected to finish top of their group. Russia haven’t been very convincing under the stewardship of Leonid Slutsky, while Slovakia aren’t exactly a team that strike fear in the heart of the opposition. Wales were great during the qualifying campaign, but on paper, at least, their English rivals should have the upper hand.

The England squad looks strong with the likes of Phil Jagielka, Chris Smalling, John Stones and Gary Cahill in central defensive options. Luke Shaw, who is nursing a long-term injury, will be an automatic selection in the first team if he manages to get fit in time. The midfield will see the likes of Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling amongst others.

The only area of concern for the Three Lions would be up front where Harry Kane is their best bet. Jamie Vardy might replace the Manchester United and England skipper Wayne Rooney, if his form for the Red Devils doesn’t improve by the end of this Premier League campaign.

The 30-year-old Rooney becomes England’s all time leading goalscorer, beating Sir Bobby Charlton’s 49 goals tally, with this penalty against Switzerland.

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