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Euro2016 - Group C Preview

Euro2016 - Group C Preview
john2hughes
Tuesday,June 7,2016
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Germany

12/06/2016 8pm Ukraine Lille

16/06/2016 8pm Poland St Denis

21/06/2016 5pm Northern Ireland Paris

 

 


The reigning world champions are second favourites behind the home nation after a rather laboured qualifying campaign. Germany lost to both Poland and Ireland in qualifying, but still topped the group. After the qualifying campaign had finished the German’s picked up an impressive away win in Spain. They have also convincingly beaten Italy recently, but were beaten 3-2 by England despite leading 2-0 with half an hour to play.

 


The German strength lies in the balance of the midfield. World Cup winners such as Khedira, Ozil and Toni Kroos are backed up by German wunderkind Julian Draxler and fresh blood like Karim Bellarabi. If there is a weakness in the German squad it is the lack of a prolific front-man, but the subtle finishing and clever runs of Thomas Muller should accommodate for that perceived weakness. Muller has 31 goals from 70 caps for the Germans and was their top scorer in qualifying with nine. Despite his heroics at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup, Muller is yet to score at a European Championship.

 


Germany 5-a-side Fancies

Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world. It’s an argument that I wouldn’t even bother to contest. He must be a shoo-in for Fantasy managers throughout the i-pools sphere. Similarly Mats Hummels is part of the resolute unit that World Cup winning campaigns are built on. He’s also got four goals in 46 appearances for Die Mannschaft. Given the points on offer for assists, Mesut Ozil won’t be far away from people’s thoughts when compiling teams. He averages a goal every four games for his national team and is always likely to be the architect for a teammate tool.

 

 

 

Poland

12/06/2016 5pm Northern Ireland Nice

16/06/2016 8pm Germany St Denis

21/06/2016 5pm Ukraine Marseille

 

 


After qualifying as co-hosts in 2012, Poland will look to fare better this time around, having pushed Germany all the way in qualifying. The Poles did manage a famous first victory over Germany in qualifying and could do well in the tournament.

 

The Polish squad is littered with players who have experience at some of Europe’s premier clubs. In Lewandowski, Piszczek, Blaszczykowski and Krychowiak Poland have four players renowned throughout Europe and in Lewandowski alone a genuine candidate for the Golden Boot. They seem best placed to qualify alongside Germany in this group.

 

Poland have won their last four friendlies since the qualifying campaign ended and have only lost once (Germany - away) in all games since June 2014. They should have enough to make the knockouts meaning that any of the four players named above would be useful additions to your fantasy teams. Lewandowski in particular will be a popular pick. If you’re looking for an outsider, then Arkadiusz Milik would be a sensible pick and Bartosz Kapustka a maverick choice. Both players represent the next generation of Polish talent.

 

 

 

Ukraine

12/06/2016 8pm Germany Lille

16/06/2016 5pm Northern Ireland Lyon

21/06/2016 5pm Poland Marseille

 

 

Ukraine finished behind Spain and Slovakia in qualifying and had to overcome Slovenia over two legs to make it to the finals. They may fancy their chances here, but few else will. For Ukraine it’s imperative that they take something from the Northern Ireland game, and having beaten Wales in a recent friendly, those signs are good. That said, Ukraine’s international schedule probably required a bit more thought. Between March and June 2016 Ukraine will play five international friendlies, all at home. Funnily enough, they’re pretty strong at home, but somebody should probably remind them that it was Euro2012 that was played on their doorstep, Euro2016 is in France.

 


Ukraine will look to Andriy Yarmolenko for inspiration. His continual links with mid to lower table Premier League sides has reached mythical legend status. A good tournament from him could see that interest become all the more concrete, and he is a consideration for any 5-a-side picks. Ukraine will be hard to break down too.

 

 

 

Northern Ireland

12/06/2016 5pm Poland Nice

16/06/2016 5pm Ukraine Lyon

21/06/2016 5pm Germany Paris

 

 

Perhaps the rank outsiders of the tournament, despite somehow topping their group, Northern Ireland are made up of Premier League cast offs, Championship and League One players. They should find this group too hot to handle. I personally would be very surprised if they scored a goal, never mind mustered a point together, but Kyle Lafferty and Steven Davies would be the likely protagonists for any of this.

 


They are unbeaten in twelve international matches now though and are clearly a cohesive and well drilled side. Michael Hughes deserves tremendous credit for both getting this far and for coming into the tournament in such good shape.

 

 

 


Prediction:

Germany to win the group, Poland second and Ukraine third. Ukraine may struggle to qualify with three points, so it could all boil down to that third group match on June 21st.

 

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