Euro 2016 – Group D Preview

Group D is far from easy for the reigning european champions, Spain. Croatia and Turkey are both teams capable of causing a shock and you can never count out 1996 runners-up Czech Republic.

Spain

Qualifying record:

9 wins, 1 loss

Top scorer:

Paco Alcácer (5)

Projected top performer:

Andres Iniesta – Despite his advancing years he’s still the key cog in that spanish midfield, if Spain are to achieve what must surely be their goal of winning the competition everything will have to go through Iniesta.

With a lack of a clear number 1 striking threat with the top scoring player in qualifying Paco Alcácer not in the squad and Alvaro Morata hardly being the most consistent goal scorer, everything is going to come from that still supremely talented midfield.

Expectations:

Retaining their crown has to be the expectation for Del Bosque, whilst not at the level they used to be they’re still a danger for any team they come up against.

Not many countries have a better Goalkeeper in De Gea and the back 4 could be in for a breath of fresh air with Hector Bellerin set to make the right back position his own for a long time.

Czech Republic 

Qualifying record:

7 Wins, 1 draw, 2 Losses

Top scorer:

Bořek Dočkal (4)

Projected top performer:

Petr Cech – When you have one of the worlds best Goalkeepers, this choice becomes very easy. What they lack in attacking ability they make up for in a very good midfield with Tomas Rosicky still being a key performer, he has spent most of the season on the sidelines but if he can find his fitness he can still be on of the most creative forces in the tournament.

Expectations:

This is where it gets tricky, they qualified top of the group with an impressive record, but being handed a tough group is a rough break. It’s tough to write them off this early after the impressive qualifying but unfortunately i can’t see them progressing past the group stage.

Turkey 

Qualifying record:

5 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses. (qualified as best 3rd placed team)

Top scorer:

Burak Yılmaz (4)

Projected top performer:

Arda Turan – When Barcelona pay £30m for you, well that could go one of two ways. In Turan’s case he had a rough first season at the camp nou, not being able to make his debut until January due to Barcas transfer ban he went on to make 18 appearances scoring 2 goals in the second half of the season. The chance to show the world what he can do when competing with the best is something he must be relishing.

The mix of him Sahin and Calhonoglu is an exciting prospect to watch at the euros.

Expectations:

Not making a major international competition for the past 8 years they’ll be keen to show the world what they can do.

Making it out of the group will be seen as a success and i fully expect them to do so.

Croatia 

Qualifying record:

6 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss

Top scorer:

Ivan Perišić (6)

Projected top performer:

Ivan Rakitic – Filling in to Xavi’s boots would daunt most midfielders, not Ivan though. He took up the role and ran with it becoming a key part of Barcelona’s midfield.

Lining up along side Modric, Kovacic & Brozovic gives Croatia one of the strongest midfields in the whole competition.

12 goals in 68 games for Barca is impressive when you consider who he’s competing with for those goals. The Croatians are my dark horse for the whole competition and Rakitic is key to their success.

Expectations:

As i said in the previous paragraph Croatia are definitely in the dark horse category for the Euros they have a strong midfield and in Mandzukic they have a genuine goal threat that few other teams in the competition have.

(Side note) Croatia also sport the tournaments best kit.

 

 

 

 

 

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