England, Russia, Slovakia, Wales
11/6/16: Wales v Slovakia, England v Russia
15/6/16: Russia v Slovakia
16/6/16: England v Wales
20/6/16: Slovakia v England, Russia v Wales
Finished as the winners in Group E (Euro 2016 Qualifiers)
England are still unsure of their approach just days before the European Championship’s kick off. Manager Roy Hodgson might revert to a more familiar formation to incorporate width and use the pace of his best attackers. The Three Lions have real defensive flaws going into the tournament, which could see them start patiently to figure out their opponents, but it’s in their DNA to push the fullbacks on and search for the overlap to whip the ball into the box as much as possible. To score more goals, England’s attacking midfielders will feature more centrally to support their lone striker.
Finished as the runners-up in Group B (Euro 2016 Qualifier)
Wales are making their debut in the European Championship, and they will fancy their chances of progressing from the group stage given their form in the qualifiers. Chris Coleman’s Wales are hard to beat. They hit sides on the counterattack through the pace and power of winger Gareth Bale. They will also have the creativity of Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, but a collective discipline is their greatest strength.
With three centre-backs, Wales can keep the opposition quiet if they get ahead in a game. They may spend lengthy periods without the ball, but they are still deadly in the transition from their defense into attack. If their wing-backs can get on the overlap, Wales will overrun their opponents in the wide areas while they will have bodies in the box to find the back of the net.
Finished as the runners-up in Group G (Euro 2016 Qualifiers)
Russia have recovered brilliantly after their turbulent period under former manager Fabio Capello, and should showcase a more adventurous side in the Euro 2016. Under new coach Leonid Viktorovich they look robust, and they plough bodies forward when they attack.
Russia will look to get their wide men in on the overlap to put crosses into the box as much as possible, but they may be susceptible to the counterattack. Russia does gamble in numbers going forward, which leaves them wide open when they lose possession. So, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a high amount of goals at both ends with Russia in the competition.
Finished as the runners-up in Group C (Euro 2016 Qualifiers)
Slovakia are making their debut in the competition. But having made the tournament on merit, they will have their moments in Group B. Slovakia will lean heavily on the individual brilliance of Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik to provide the creativity, while they will look forward to their experienced players to nullify the opponents.
Slovakia will be solid on defense, and won’t have much of an attacking threat as a result. So, they are beatable in their group. Slovakia will use long distance shots and set pieces to score goals, but they don’t have enough quality in their side to keep the possession.