Over the last few days I have previewed each group in-depth, looking at each team individually. With just one day to go before Euro 2016 kicks off at the Stade de France it is now time for me to pick the team who I believe will be crowned champions of the tournament one month from now. The round of 16 is not easy to pick, as it is completely dependent on which of the third-placed teams progress to the next stage. I believe that Ukraine, Turkey, Sweden and Iceland will go through as third-placed teams, but Romania and Slovakia could well be the teams that progress. This means that Switzerland play Poland, Spain face Sweden, England play Turkey and Austria come up against Italy. The other matches would be Germany and Iceland, Belgium and Croatia, France vs Ukraine and Wales vs Portugal. Spain, England, Germany, Belgium and France should all progress comfortably, leaving three very interesting games. Austria and Italy will be an excellent contest, but the solidity and experience of the Italians should prevail. Either way, it will certainly be a great game to watch. Poland and Switzerland will be interesting, but Poland’s one-two punch of Robert Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik should be too much for the Swiss. Wales and Portugal are dependent on Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively, and this will make for an interesting game. It may be close, but Portugal have better depth and more options and should progress.
This leaves quarter-finals between Poland and Spain, England and Italy, Germany and Belgium and France and Portugal. France and Spain should go through comfortably enough, and this leaves two brilliant contests. England vs Italy is an incredibly interesting match-up, and while the Italians are strong England are the better side and should go through. The other quarter-final would see the two top-ranked sides in this tournament play off, and it could be a classic. The Germans have not been in good form, but they always stand up at major tournaments. In the end, the Germans should win due to their experience, but Belgium will always be tough to see off. The first semi-final is between Spain and England, both strong, youthful teams who will be sure to provide a great contest. Ultimately the Spanish have more experience and a better side, and as such are more likely to go through. The English are on the rise, however, and should not be written off. In the other semi-final the Germans play the French. This is a tight contest, but I feel that the French should progress with a stronger side full of incredible talent. As such, I predict that France and Spain will contest the final of Euro 2016. A game between these sides would be very interesting, but in the end the French are the better side and should lift the trophy. The Spanish cannot be written off, but my final pick for Euro 2016 is France.
Semi-finals: England, Germany.
Quarter-finals: Belgium, Italy, Poland, Portugal.
Round of 16: Austria, Croatia, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales.
Group Stage: Albania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia.
Golden Ball: Paul Pogba (France)
Golden Boot: Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
Best Young Player: Dele Alli (England)
This brings my Euro 2016 preview to a close, and I hope you have enjoyed it. Stay tuned over the next few months for articles on the Euros as well as coverage of the Premier League and the Champions League.