Soccer

Can Germany start to cement its dynasty standing? 10 storylines for Euro 2016

French authorities on excessive alert

Final November, a number of suicide bombers blew themselves up outdoors the Stade de France amid coordinated assaults throughout Paris that killed 130 individuals and injured greater than 350. That got here 11 months after the sequence of assaults beginning with the Charlie Hebdo bloodbath. French authorities will do their greatest to thwart any and all disturbances throughout this month-long occasion. France is deploying 90,000 troopers, cops and safety guards to maintain Euro 2016 venues and cities secure. Count on to see French authorities in wartime garb and for perimeters and checkpoints to pop up kilometres from each stadium entrance.

Euro expands to 24 groups

When UEFA introduced it was increasing the European Championship match to 24 groups, pundits the world over denounced the initiative, arguing it will lower the general high quality of the match. What it did was carry newfound pleasure to the qualification course of, which gave extra groups one thing to play for. In earlier qualifying rounds, ending in third place in a bunch meant nothing. For 2016, the very best third-place crew earned a spot instantly and the opposite eight confronted off to find out the ultimate 4 spots. Northern Eire (winner of Group F), Iceland (second in Group A), Wales (second in Group B) and Albania (second in Group I) are all making their Euro debuts. Cinderella tales are probably the most compelling speaking factors.

PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Photos

Can Germany start to cement its dynasty claims?

Profitable back-to-back-to-back main worldwide trophies is akin to a Triple Crown in horse racing. It hardly ever occurs. So-called dynasties on the worldwide stage are few and much between. Having sandwiched a World Cup win in 2010 with European titles in 2008 and ’12, Spain is the final instance of a rustic capable of confer with itself because the undisputed “world’s greatest” crew. Earlier than La Roja garnered excessive reward, France stepped up in 1998 and 2000, profitable the World Cup and European Championship earlier than a dreadful exhibiting at World Cup 2002 ended its dynasty claims. Now, it might be Germany’s flip to step up and doubtlessly reclaim the glory that has evaded it since reaching three consecutive finals within the mid-1970s. Having lifted the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro two summers in the past, the Germans look poised to succeed in one other remaining as they’ve returned eight of 11 starters that beat Argentina on the Maracana in 2014. Contemplating most of Germany’s present roster will likely be round for Russia 2018, the Germans may usurp Spain as the best dynasty in historical past in the event that they play as much as their potential in France over the subsequent 5 weeks.

Iceland certified? How did that occur?

A nation of simply 330,000, Iceland shocked the footballing world by ending second in its qualifying group, which contained Netherlands, Czech Republic and Turkey. That they beat the Dutch twice was a soccer story upstaged solely by Leicester Metropolis’s Premier League championship. Through the early 2000s, soccer in Iceland was virtually invisible. In an try to bolster the sport, Iceland now has one UEFA-qualified coach for each 500 individuals, in line with the Telegraph. The Soccer Affiliation of Iceland fashioned an id, as properly. “We all the time imagine we will carry out on the highest stage, whether or not it’s sport or music. It’s one thing in our mentality, most likely,” affiliation president Geir Thorsteinsson instructed the Telegraph. On the youth stage, Iceland values self-discipline, focus and laborious work simply as a lot as technical abilities — a method that has seen it rise from UEFA minnow to Euro qualifier. Whether or not the tiny nation can take one other step ahead this month stays to be seen.

AP Photograph/Kerstin Joensson

New blood debuts for Spain

The 2014 World Cup signalled the top of an period for quite a lot of Spanish attackers who didn’t get the job finished on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Gone are David Villa, Diego Costa and Fernando Torres, opening room for Juventus teenager Alvaro Morata, who may develop into a family title if he helps information Spain again to a different remaining. Although he isn’t coming off of an enormous season in Italy, Morata will likely be tasked with doing what Costa couldn’t two years in the past — rating for his nationwide crew on the largest stage. The 23-year-old has proven flashes of brilliance and has an innate skill to take all the best touches contained in the penalty space earlier than ending from shut vary. He’ll develop into a celebrity if he’s capable of produce at his first main worldwide occasion. Subsequent to Morata, Actual Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez was favoured over the aforementioned names regardless of his inexperience. Their play will undoubtedly supply a glimpse at whether or not Spain can return to the rostrum.

Debutants wish to make some noise

5 nations — Albania, Iceland, Northern Eire, Slovakia and Wales — are competing of their first European match. One among them may make some noise. Slovakia seems to be likeliest to face out. The Slovakians superior to the spherical of 16 on the 2010 World Cup and nonetheless have gamers who keep in mind that success in South Africa. Given Slovakia’s group — England, Russia and Wales — the Falcons may make a run so long as they don’t stumble out of the gate.

Data will be damaged

Each Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) seem poised to maneuver atop the all-time scoring record on the European Championship. Each gamers want only one extra objective to match England’s Alan Shearer (7), who sits second all-time, two behind French legend Michel Platini. England’s Wayne Ronney, in the meantime, has 5 objectives, which means he’s in attain of his fellow countryman. On the age of 40, Hungarian netminder Gabor Kiraly can develop into the oldest participant to compete at a European Championship. The earlier report was held by German legend Lothar Matthaus, who was 39 years when he appeared for Germany towards Portugal in 2000. Assuming Iker Casillas begins in objective for Spain, the Actual Madrid netminder may transfer in entrance of Dutch legend Edwin van der Sar atop the all-time Euro shutout record. Each gamers have 9 clear sheets. Lastly, German bench boss Joachim Low will transfer in entrance of countryman Berti Vogts for many matches coached. Each Low and Vogts have managed 11 UEFA Euro matches.

SCOTT HEPPELL/AFP/Getty Photos

Will England lastly return to glory?

English soccer followers are a few of the most self-deprecating on the earth. They get pleasure from their pessimism. However this might lastly be England’s likelihood to make a semifinal look at a serious match for the primary time since internet hosting the European Championship in 1996. England has misplaced simply as soon as since March 2015 and made mincemeat of its qualifying group, ending 10-0-Zero with simply three objectives conceded. Jamie Vardy (Leicester Metropolis) and Harry Kane (Tottenham) completed one-two in Premier League scoring this season, the primary time a pair of Englishmen have completed atop the EPL scoring desk since Kevin Phillips (Sunderland) and Alan Shearer (Newcastle) in 2000. Working in England’s favour is its path to the semifinals. Assuming it finishes atop a reasonably weak Group B, England will face a third-place finisher within the spherical of 16 earlier than a possible quarterfinal assembly with Portugal or Italy — two sides they match up properly towards.

Glad trails to those European heavyweights

Euro 2016 might be the top of the highway for quite a lot of high-profile gamers who’ve participated in quite a lot of main worldwide tournaments over the past 10 years. France’s Patrice Evra, 35, may not make it to Russia 2018. Spain’s Iker Casillas, 35, should make the same tough resolution with higher prospects ready to step in. At 32, Andres Iniesta would possibly grasp ‘em up if Spain wins this match. For the Czech Republic, legendary ‘keeper Petr Cech, 34, is within the twilight of his profession as is captain Tomas Rosicky, 35. Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, 38, is in his 11th main match for Italy. Eire’s Robbie Keane, 35, has diminished to the purpose he’s not a 90-minute participant. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 34, is in search of the previous few stops of his membership profession. Portugal’s Bruno Alves, 34, remains to be plucking away subsequent to 38-year-old Ricardo Carvalho.

No bromance

The Xhaka brothers had been each born in Basel, Switzerland however will symbolize completely different nations at Euro 2016. And their groups are in the identical group. Midfielder Granit Xhaka performs for Switzerland however his older brother, defender Taulant Xhaka, performs for Albania due to household ties.

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