Euro 2016: Group A Preview

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Teams

Albania, France, Romania, Switzerland

Fixtures

10/6/16: France v Romania

11/6/16: Albania v Switzerland

15/6/16: France v Albania, Romania v Switzerland

19/6/16: France v Switzerland, Romania v Albania

1France

France Euro 2016

Didn’t need to qualify as host nation

France have a lot to prove going into this summer’s European Championships. It’s their ninth appearance in the tournament, and they are favourites to go all the way on their home soil. A lack of competitive action in the last 18 months could see them start the competition slowly, but their squad’s strength should see them top Group A.

Their only potential banana-skin fixture will be against Switzerland (19/6/16). Otherwise, it should be a gentle start for Les Blues. They’ll miss their top striker Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), but the likes of Paul Pogba (Juventus) and Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) will fill Benzema’s place.

Potential Lineup

Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Évra; Pogba, Sissoko, Matuidi; Griezmann, Giroud, Payet.

2Switzerland

Switzerland Euro 2016

Finished as the runners-up in Group E (Euro 2016 Qualifiers)

Switzerland delivered as expected to finish behind England in the qualifiers, and they’re also anticipated to progress from the European Championship group stages. It’s a very settled squad with many of their players having racked up more than 50 caps. Switzerland could enjoy a good tournament. Pre-Euro 2016 friendly matches haven’t gone too well, but they shouldn’t be ruled out when the tournament starts in June.

Potential Lineup

Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Lang, Djourou, Rodriguez; Fernandes, Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Seferović, Mehmedi.

3Romania

Romania-Euro-2016

Finished as the runners-up in Group F (Euro 2016 Qualifiers)

Romania were very impressive in the qualifiers, avoiding defeat in their 10 games to progress as the runners-up.

Their defensive record was outstanding, but they scored few goals. Expect Romania to be organized and resilient in the European Championships, but their tactical discipline will limit their creative freedom. Their match against Albania (19/6/16) is regarded as a must-win if they are to progress to the latter stages.

Potential Lineup

Tătărușanu; Săpunaru, Chiricheș, Grigore, Raț; Pintilii, Hoban; Popa, Stanciu, Stancu; Andone.

4Albania

Albania-Euro-2016

Finished as the runners-up in Group I (Euro 2016 Qualifiers)

It will be Albania’s first participation in the European Championships. But they shouldn’t be underestimated given they finished second in a qualifying group that contained Portugal, Denmark, Serbia, and Armenia. The minnows are being tipped for an early exit from group stages. But a surprise victory against Romania (19/6/16), could see them with a slim hope of progression. Albania will be tough to break down, and they will be a threat through set pieces.

Potential Lineup

Berisha; Hysaj, Cana, Mavraj, Agolli; Kukeli, Xhaka; Roshi, Abrashi, Lenjani; Çikalleshi.

Final standings prediction: 1st France, 2nd Switzerland, 3rd Romania, 4thAlbania

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