The Group A of Euro 2016 provides a favourable route for hosts France to qualify for the knock-out stages. The two other teams in the group Switzerland and Romania are struggling in their warm up matches, while the underdogs Albania are expected to pose little threat to other teams in the group. Will it be the real case when the ball is kicked-off on 10th June. We will take a look at each team and their key strengths and predict what to expect them from them during the group stages of the competitions.
The hosts are definitely one of the most exciting group of talents in the UEFA Euro 2016. The Didier Deschamps managed side are well balanced in the midfield and attack, but the injuries to Varane and Jeremy Mathieu have left them with quite a big gap to fill in the defense.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was not considered for selection, but the recent forms of Olivier Giroud and Anthony Griezmann and the young legs of Anthony Martial gives them plenty of firepower in the attacking front. But their midfield is the strongest area as Paul Pogba, Blaise Matiudi and Lassana Diarra forming a formidable partnership with N’Golo Kante and Mogan Schneiderlin as back-ups.
France are expected to finish top of the group, with only Switzerland as a potential threat. Still, there is no room for complacency as they do not want to face one of the stronger teams in the round of 16.
Group Prediction: 1st
Key Player: Dimitri Payet (West Ham United)
Albania are probably fortunate to qualify for Euro 2016 and will be making their first ever appearance in a major competition. They are certainly the dark horses in the tournament and their hopes will be resting on their captain Lorik Cana, who is also their most experienced player with 91 caps. But there is also talented players elsewhere in the form of Napoli’s 22 year old Elseid Hysaj and Nantes midfielder Ermir Lenjani.
Gianni De Biasi managed side are not expected to trouble other sides in the group, but they might be interested in Romania’s current form and will be looking to mount an upset.
Group Prediction: 4th
Key Player: Milot Rashica (Vitesse)
Romania have qualified to the tournament after remaining unbeaten in the qualifying stages, but their recent form is a big worry for their head coach Anghel Iordanescu. They managed just two wins form their last ten and need to find influence from somewhere before it is too late. Their major problems lie in the attack and none of their forwards are unable to perform consistently on the international stage.
Romania have drawn 7 of their last 10 games and they are expected to frustrate France and Switzerland, but an upset is unlikely. They are still expected to beat Albania for the third and may be a possible knock out round qualification as one of the four best third placed teams.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Key Player: Gabriel Torje (Osmanlıspor)
Vladimir Petkovic’s side are on a bad run of form on the background of the Euro 2016 in France after losing in each of their last three games. Many might argue this is the golden generation in Swiss football, but their recent performance on field suggest otherwise. Without a doubt, there is plenty of talent in their squad in the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Ricardo Rodríguez. Their lack of goals is the core of their recent problems which is further worsened by the injury of top scorer Josip Drmic.
Nonetheless the squad has plenty of experience and we can expect them to pip Romania and Albania for a second place finish in the group.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Key Player: Breel Embolo (FC Basel)