The host nation is the pre-tournament favourites to win the Henri Delaunay trophy this summer. France are placed in a relatively easy group alongside Switzerland, Romania and Albania and are strong favourites to win all three group games on their way to the round of 16. A strong team under the management of a hard taskmaster in Didier Deschamps has meant that expectations are high for Les Bleus to end their 16-year trophy drought this summer.
Joachim Low’s men are the world champions and on paper, at least, they seem to possess the strongest squad. 2014 World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm has since retired, but the Germans have been able to retain most of their squad from Brazil and will also be bolstered by the addition of Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus as well as youngsters like Leroy Sane. It will be hard for any team to stop the Germans once they get going.
Don’t be fooled by the results of the Spanish national team at the 2014 World Cup. That team was carrying a lot of players past their primes and were ceremoniously booted out of the competition in the first round. However, La Furia Roja has undergone a transformation since and they have a completely new looking midfield bolstered by the likes of Isco, Koke, Santi Cazorla and David Silva amongst old stalwarts like Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
Any team would be lucky to have in their midst players of the calibre of Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku amongst others. The Red Devils have been blessed with some great talent; it remains to be seen if inexperience again proves to be a hurdle for them.
The Three Lions have never won the European Championship; however, they are going into this summer’s tournament with an unblemished record in the qualifying and bolstered by the emergence of some exciting talents in the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy. If ever there was a time to bet on the Three Lions it is now.