As domestic campaigns around Europe take a well deserved break in order to accommodate the upcoming international schedule, the fixtures could well provide a clearer indication of which teams will go into the Euro 2016 tournament as favourites. With any one of a number of teams in with a shout of glory this summer, this year’s European Championships could well be one of the most unpredictable to date. With the UK providing three of the twenty four teams competing at the tournament, Wales and Northern Ireland join England in France hoping to more than just make up the numbers.
Despite the usual front runners in Germany and Spain being views as potential favourites at this point in time, the likes of Belgium and England will be looking to continue their impressive qualifying form as they bid to upset the apple cart in France. Much could yet depend on which teams can maintain a fully fit squad from now until the end of the season. Who will Roy pick to be in his opening team? England face Russia in their opening game of the tournament, and with the likes of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw expected to return to fitness in the near future, there could still be some surprise inclusions. Bookmaker Coral offer odds of 33/1 for recent first time recruit Danny Drinkwater to be selected in the starting eleven for the opening fixture, after the Leicester City man’s impressive displays this season.
Hosts France could well provide a major threat to holders Spain for their crown, as their squad packed with talent bid for success on home soil. The news that Real Madrid star Karim Benzema will be eligible for the tournament after a blackmail scandal, means that along with the likes of Paul Pogba and Antonie Griezmann, the hosts certainly have a squad capable of challenging. Coral offer France odds of 11/4 to claim their first trophy since winning the same tournament back in 2000.
Germany host England in a friendly fixture this week, in what will be a huge test of just how far Roy Hodgson’s side have developed under his leadership. For the German’s, Joachim Low will be looking to the talents of Mesut Ozil as well as Schalke wonderkid Leroy Sane to fire them to glory. The big story concerning champions of four years ago Spain, is whether Chelsea forward Diego Costa will feature in their final squad. Having been left out of their squad for upcoming fixtures, the aggressive forward will have to impress for club side Chelsea in their remaining matches from now until the end of the season.
With many questions still up in the air, and many predicting that Euro 2016 betting will be terribly difficult to call, many will be using the results of this weeks fixtures as a basis to make their decisions.