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The second international tournament out of 3 this summer will begin in France, which is EURO 2016. This tournament generally is considered one of the best tournaments around the world, on par with the World Cup in the eyes of many, as it has most of the top teams in the world. UEFA wanted to have more countries develop their football, so they have extended this years competition to 24 teams as compared to 16 historically, which should make for some great viewing.

Spain come into this tournament as an underdog considering how they collapsed badly during the world cup in 2014. Since then they have not changed much in the squad, with a lot of key players still in tact with Vicente del Bosque expected to quit after this tournament. The team struggled in their latest friendly against Georgia. Prior to that they had managed to win 2 out of their 4 friendlies, but still remain through 11 games unbeaten. Their struggle came before that in 2 friendlies against Netherlands and Germany. The squad has a lot of talented players like Iniesta, Busquets, Fabregas, Silva, Morata, Koke who would walk into many national teams around the world. The team still has opportunities scoring up front, but will probably look to keep the defence tight and not concede goals. This group is a tough one, but I expect Spain to get out of this group.

Czech Republic
Czech Republic topped their group when qualifying for the Euros this year; and will be aiming to build on that success. However, coming into this tournament, they won 3 out of the 7 friendlies that they have played so far. They have struggled against poor teams like Korea, Sweden and Scotland as well. The Czechs have done decently well on the offensive end led by Dockal with 4 goals. However, the biggest problem for them has been on the defensive end where they have continued shipping goals in 22 out of their last 23 fixtures, which shows the areas of concern that manager Pavel Vrba is facing heading into this tournament. In this extremely open group especially with the teams fighting for 2nd spot, I expect they might struggle because of their defensive options, and probably not qualify out of this group.

Croatia start of this tournament with their biggest game straight of the bat against Turkey. Since 2015, Croatia has lost just 1 game against Norway. They have a talented group of individuals who are playing for some of the top teams in Europe including Modric, Perisic, Manduzkic, Rakitic, Kovacic, Kalinic, Srna, Subsasic who will all be lining up come 12th of June. Defensively Croatia might be a bit vulnerable as they have shown conceding against Italy, Russia, Norway, Argentina but have experienced heads in Srna and Corluka to help them gather themselves in this situation. I expect Croatia to qualify out of this group, probably by beating either Turkey or Czech Republic and drawing against the other to gather 4 points.

Turkey have got their inspirational manager Fatih Terim back the helm, and with him there the team has been known to do some unbelievable things. He has always got the squad to believe in them and he will be expecting to have at least one victory in this group. Turkey have developed some talented youngsters who have started to get notice in some of the bigger teams like Burak Yilmaz, Hakan Calhangolu, Arda Turan, Nuri Sahin and Mehmet Topal. They have played some good friendly games to beat Montenegro and Slovenia, while putting a spirited effort against England. Their defence has helped them deliver good results, by just losing 1 game since 2015. I expect Turkey to win a game, but I don’t see how they can qualify when there are better attacking teams in this group.


Spain & Croatia to Qualify @ 2.25 (Bet365) – 2 points


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