UEFA EURO 2016 Preview – Group A: Enjoying a rare, harmonious age of enlightenment (sex-tapes aside), hosts FRANCE look set to excite an adoring public under the helm of much-loved World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps. Gone are up-starts Benzema, Nasri and Ribery in favour of hard-working players who’ve done things the hard way (Payet, Kante, Gignac) and a deluge of new talent (Coman, Digne, Martial). They should top the group barring Evra throwing another tantrum. Les Bleus stiffest challenge comes from former S.S. Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic’s SWITZERLAND. They are dangerous on the break with the enigmatic Shaqiri capable of anything on the greatest stage. FC Basel 1893 turned down a January offer of $44m for starlet Breel Embolo – big things are expected of him in the tournament. Debutants ALBANIA could sneak into the next round if their back four play the way they did in qualifying – they only conceded 5 goals and kept a clean sheet in all their away games. A positive result in their first game against the Swiss would set them up to potentially beat ROMANIA, who I see propping up the group. The Tricolorii have won just one of their 13 games in European Championship history, and with a lack of firepower (their 4 strikers have 16 goals in 63 international between them) that doesn’t look like changing. Captain Chiriches and his defence (2 goals conceded in 10 qualifying games) will be the key if they have any hope at all of escaping the group.
2 teams full of attacking flair, 2 teams with a rock solid defence and don’t mind having less than 10% possession – the French won’t get frustrated will they?!
Fun link between all the teams – Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will captain France, who open the tournament against Romania, captained by former Spurs player Vlad Chiricheș. Albania assistant manager Paolo Tramezzani played 6 games for Spurs in 1998, who at the time were managed by the legend that is Christian Gross, who is Swiss!