Euro 2016 – Group F Preview

Group F is there for the taking for Ronaldo’s Portugal but can David Alaba’s Austria cause the upset.

Iceland are the hipsters choice and Hungary could just be there to make up the numbers.

Portugal

Qualifying record:

7 wins, 1 loss.

Top scorer:

Cristiano Ronaldo (5)

Projected top performer:

Renato Sanches  – The obvious answer would be to select CR7 for this answer but we all know what he’s about already. Sanches was coverted by many of the worlds top teams prior to the end of last season before eventually signing for Bayern Munich in a deal which overall could cost the German giants €80 million.

He comes into the tournament off the back of breaking Ronaldos 12 year record of being the youngest international player for Portugal. At just 18 years old he could be the player to watch in the Euros with all the focus being set on Ronaldo, Sanches could shine bright and even overshadow his goalscoring machine team mate.

Expectations:

The Portuguese have always been something of a let down at major tournaments especially in the Ronaldo era, they should breeze through the group stage but after that it’s anyone’s guess.

Austria

Qualifying record:

9 wins, 1 draw.

Top scorer:

Marc Janko (7)

Projected top performer:

David Alaba – After strolling through what, on paper seemed a tough qualifying group Austria are very much in the dark horse category for the summer spectacle.

Bayern Munich star David Alaba is key to this success, whether playing in defence or as a midfielder Alaba has the class to hang with the big boys in world football and he’s also joined by a very solid looking cast of support players.

Premier League players such as Marko Arnautovic and Kevin Wimmer give the Austrians plenty of options and whilst top scorer in qualifying Marc Janko may not be to everyones tastes he is very effective.

Expectations:

Getting out of the group is a must and i think with a bit of luck a run at the Quarter Finals isn’t out of the question.

Iceland

Qualifying record:

6 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses.

Top scorer:

Gylfi Sigurðsson (6)

Projected top performer:

Gylfi Sigurðsson –  The Swansea star could be set for a big competition after leading the country in scoring during qualification.

Iceland’s best player by some distance, the attacking midfielder can provide a goal in an instant with either a long-range strike or a perfectly placed pass.

Ably assisted by veteran striker Eidur Gudjohnsen the pair provide a challenge for any team to deal with.

A strong qualification campaign has seen the minnows become a hipster choice and with players like Sigurðsson it’s easy to see why.

Expectations:

Just being here is a massive achievement in itself for the tiny country, qualification from the group would make for an excellent tournament and with the new 3rd place team rule i won’t count that out at this stage.

Hungary

Qualifying record:

4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses. (Qualified via Playoffs)

Top scorer:

Tamas Priskin (2)

Projected top performer:

Balazs Dzsudzsak – The Bursaspor winger is maybe the only genuine talented player in the squad’s ranks with an impressive club goal-scoring record for a winger he has the weight of a country laying on his shoulders for the next few weeks.

With workman like strikers and a goal keeper who wears grey tracksuit bottoms for every game, Hungary do little to excite but with a good team work ethic and Dzsudzsaks ability to get a goal they could surprise one or two.

Expectations:

Finishing the group stage in 3rd place is about as high as their expectations should be based on what is going to be a tough few weeks for the Hungarians

 

 

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