With the Euro 2016 tournament starting on 10th June, anticipation from fans is reaching its peak. With the domestic season over – Real Madrid’s win over city rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final was the last major club fixture – attention is turning to the international game once more.
As has been widely reported, this tournament will feature 24 competing nations for the first time. In recent years, the European Championships used to have 16 teams, but one of the last acts of former UEFA president, Michel Platini, was to increase the format so that more countries could be involved – this was of particular benefit to teams such as Albania, Iceland and Romania, who have traditionally struggled to qualify for such events.
Home nation France are being touted as tournament favourites by numerous pundits. The team have an excellent spine of hungry and energetic young players who will be eager to impress on the highest stage. Despite in-form players such as Hatem Ben Arfa, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema being omitted from Didier Deschamps’ squad for different reasons, squad members such as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial mean that the squad are expected to get close to winning the tournament for the third time. The hosts are in Group A with Switzerland, Albania and Romania.
With the potential for such an exciting tournament, Bell Internet Limited are home to the collection of best odds for football fans to bet on during the month-long tournament for all the matches, including the French team and home nations fixtures.
As is always the case before a major footballing tournament, England will be under pressure to go deep into Euro 2016. The squad is without the stellar list of names of recent England sides, but it has a young, talented edge to it, especially attack-wise. Harry Kane will be England’s main striker having had two excellent years at Tottenham – he scored 28 goals last season.
Captain Wayne Rooney is expected to play less of an attacking role, having been deployed in a midfield position for Manchester United in recent months. With his energy and range of passing, he could become a mainstay in that position for years, for both club and country.
For the Three Lions, the main worry appears to be in defence, with many experts suggesting that taking just three centre-backs is a risky strategy in a tournament where each side is potentially playing seven games. Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and John Stones are they only specialist players in that position, but midfielder Eric Dier can play there if required – though he did score an own goal in the warm up friendly against Australia. England face Russia, Wales and Slovakia in Group B.
Other sides that are expected to make a major impact on the Euro 2016 tournament are Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal and world champions Germany.