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Euro2016 - Group D Preview

Euro2016 - Group D Preview
john2hughes
Wednesday,June 8,2016
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Spain

13/06/2016 2pm Czech Republic Toulouse

17/06/2016 8pm Turkey Nice

21/06/2016 8pm Croatia Bordeaux

 

 


After a calamitous World Cup, Spain will be looking to win the European Championships for a third tournament running. However, in the four years since the destruction of Italy, Spain have lost some iconic players. Gone are the likes of Xavi and Puyol, but the bulk of that talented squad remains and they will be right among it at the business end of this tournament.

 


Fans of the Premier League may have been disappointed to see the omission of Diego Costa, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla, but this is a ringing endorsement of just how strong their squad is. Five of the nine midfielders picked in Spain’s provisional squad featured in the Champions League semi-finals, the others were Fabregas, Busquets, Pedro and a guy who played in the Europa league semi-final instead.

 


Nobody doubts Spain’s ability to retain possession, but the inexperience in attack could prove to be their undoing. The four forwards selected currently hold just 17 caps between them and have just two international goals to their collective name. Alvaro Morata may well be the spearhead of the attack, but Aritz Aduriz’s rise to prominence at the age of 35 is perhaps the best tale. Spain’s recent victories include a win over England as an indicator of form and they’ve conceded just two goals in the last 18 months of international football.

 


Spain 5-a-side Fancies

Defenders will be the call of the day when picking Spain’s fantasy elite. I will be plumping for Jordi Alba who boasts an international goal every seven games. I also think he’s more likely to start than Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta.

 

 

 

Czech Republic

13/06/2016 2pm Spain Toulouse

17/06/2016 5pm Croatia St-Etienne

21/06/2016 8pm Turkey Lens

 

 


Having won a group that featured fellow qualifiers Iceland and Turkey as well as the Dutch, the Czech Republic should be fancied to do well here. However, friendly defeats to Scotland and Poland since qualification raise a question mark against this team’s qualities.

 

Very few of the squad could be regarded as household names, and even those that are (Tomas Rosicky) could be considered in decline. It’s not as though there’s a huge amount of young blood to be displayed by the Czechs either. Brighton’s Jiri Skalak is one of the most junior members at 24 and I’m not sure we’d be fancying his chances given he’s letting Jamie Murphy into the Brighton side.

 

If you’re looking for 5-a-side gems then Michal Kadlec and Borek Dockal are probably the best bets. Kadlec has eight international goals from centre half and midfielder Dockal scores one in every four at this level.

 

 

 

Turkey

12/06/2016 2pm Croatia Paris

17/06/2016 8pm Spain Nice

21/06/2016 8pm Czech Republic Lens

 

 

The Turks beat both Czech Republic and Iceland in qualifying and have since beaten Austria and Sweden. They boast one of the best midfielders in Europe in Arda Turan and have a potential young star on their hands in Emre Mor, the 18-year-old winger currently (til Dortmund signed him yesterday - ed) tearing up the Danish Superliga. The Turks showed against England that they can cause a side problems and despite finishing third in their qualifying group have the capacity to raise their game.

 


Goals will be at a premium and the man most likely to be amongst them is Burak Yilmaz. The former Galatasaray forward is now plying his trade in the Chinese Super League, so has the feel of a forgotten man about him. If you’re looking for a 5-a-side pick to steal up on the inside rail, he could well be it. Other than that, Arda Turan will be an obvious pick and Selcuk Inan should feature prominently.

 

 

 

Croatia

12/06/2016 2pm Turkey Paris

17/06/2016 5pm Czech Republic St-Etienne

21/06/2016 8pm Spain Bordeaux

 

 

Touted as a dark horse bet despite having been eliminated in 2012 (with four points) at the group stage the Croatians will fancy their chances against both Turkey and Czech Republic. Croatia’s preparations before the tournament have been light taking on the relative might of Bulgaria, Malta, Israel and Hungary since qualifying. Little can be taken from such results, but the 3-1 away win in Rostov against Russia last November is possibly the best place to gauge their calibre.

 


There are some undisputed quality players in the Croatia squad, and many will be amongst the first picks in your fantasy 5-a-side team. It could be argued that Croatia have one of the best midfields at the tournament, being able to call upon Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacevic and Ivan Perisic. They also have one of the most reliable dead ball specialists, though at 34 questions could be asked of Dario Srna, and it may be a tournament too far.

 


Expect five in midfield and Mandzukic up front on his own as a tactic, so Croatian goals from midfield will be required. This makes Ivan Perisic my Fantasy 5-a-side certainty in all games.

 


Prediction:

Spain could win the whole thing, and they’ll certainly win the group with nine points. The third place team from this group could also make the knock outs, with them all being on a par. I don’t think the Czech Republic have enough and would expect Croatia to come out in second place. Turkey could be a likely opponent for the winner of England’s group.

 

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