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UEFA Euro 2016: Group B Preview
By Brodey Sheppard - June 08, 2016
England take their perfect record from the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying into the tournament championships as the English headline the teams in group B.
The English will have to do battle with Great British rivals Wales as well as Russia and Slovakia, in what makes up an intriguing group. Group B will kick-off on Saturday 11th of June in Bordeaux with Wales playing Slovakia. In the nightcap, England will take on Russia in Marseille in what could make or break either team at the tournament.
Do you know all the odds comparisions for the UEFA Euro matches and which way you'll be wagering? A closer look at the groups, and here at Group B specifically, will help you.
England were undefeated in qualifying winning an amazing ten out of ten matches. Roy Hodgson’s men were the only team to complete qualifying by winning all ten of their matches.
England’s defence was extremely impressive during their ten match unbeaten run, keeping eight clean sheets. The attack was stellar as well, as Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck combined to score 13 goals. Welbeck will miss the tournament due to injury, but England have the players to top the group.
Despite the men that have emerged as top players in the English Premier League over the season, it can’t be denied that Wayne Rooney is England’s danger man. Playing in midfield at the end of the domestic league season, Rooney excelled as a passer that could spray the ball around the pitch. Yet, Rooney can still play as an out-an-out striker. His versatility and ability to motivate the side will be important if the English are to go deep into the tournament.
If you're placing a wager on England to win, then you should realise that England are the typical flat track bully. Great in qualifying, but poor once they get to the tournament. The good news is that the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard’s generation of failure is finished.
The English have a new generation of players that look exciting. Russia and Wales will give England a difficult time, but they can still overcome both due to the quality in the side. If England perform poorly in their opening two matches, they must redeem themselves against Slovakia in the last group game to have any hope of moving on. The nation is praying they can qualify for the knockout round before then. Current odds to win tournament: 10.00
Russia have picked a team with only one player not playing domestically. Schalke’s Roman Neustadter was chosen after having an excellent year with the German side. The rest are unknowns, at least for those unfamiliar with the Russian Premier League. However, Russia were solid in qualifying, finishing second to group winner’s Austria and pose a major threat to England for superiority in group B.
Artem Dzyuba led Russia in goals during qualifying with eight, which made him joint top-scorer in the group with Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Zenit Saint Petersburg striker moved to the club in 2015 and has since had a stellar year. Dzyuba tallied 23 goals in 44 games. The Russian is strong in the air and will be a difficult player to handle on set pieces.
Russia gave up five goals in the qualifying stage of the tournament. Defensively they were excellent and should be able to carry that over into their Euro 2016 group. England’s attack should give the Russians the biggest problems. However, they should be strong enough at the back to stop both Wales and Slovakia’s attacks to make it through as a second place finishers. Current odds to win tournament: 81.00
To call Wales a one man team wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Gareth Bale scored seven times in qualifying, five times more than nearest goal scorer Aaron Ramsey. Yet, Wales only lost once on their way to France, giving up a mere four goals along the way.
The defence kept six clean sheets, and beat the hipsters’ favourites Belgium in both meetings. Wales may rely on Bale to score goals, but the team is much more than the Real Madrid forward. They have grown in confidence and will surprise some people at the tournament. Their second fixture will be against England in Lens, and will be a hot match to say the least.
Gareth Bale is hands down the best player on the Welsh team, although the side does feature some quality professionals. Unfortunately for Wales, the attack has little in the way of top class other than Bale.
The Welshman scored 19 goals in 23 matches for Madrid during the La Liga season. He is in excellent form and he has the chance to become a national hero, if Wales can create some magic in France.
The defence has been good. The midfield is solid, but unheralded. However, the attack is nothing without Bale. If he gets injured, Wales are in trouble. If he is fit, Wales can finish second. Third and progressing to the next round is likely, but Wales must beat Slovakia at the very least to give themselves a chance to move on. Current odds to win tournament: 101.00
Do not take the Slovakia team for UEFA Euro lightly. The Slovakian team are just as likely to finish at the top of the group as they are at the bottom. Midfield and defence has quality through it: Martin Skrtel, Norbert Gyomber, Juraj Kucka and Marek Hamsik. The attack lacks much punch, and the forwards listed in the side – Michal Duris, Adam Nemec, Stanislav Sestak – strike little fear into the hearts of defenders. Still, Slovakia scored 17 goals in qualifying with Hamsik (five) leading the way. The team are athletic and will be able to run all day long at the Euro 2016 tournament.
Marek Hamsik is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world, and has made a name for himself with Napoli for nearly a decade. Six goals and 11 assists in 38 Serie A games helped lead the Italians to a second place finish.
Yet, Hamsik played in every league game during the season. The biggest worry for Slovakia will be whether or not he has enough fuel to carry over his form at the Euro 2016 tournament.
In this group it is hard to tell what Slovakia will do. They have quality in the squad, but not as much as England. Slovakia should battle for second or third place in the group. A bad start on the 11th against Wales and Slovakia will be behind the eight ball early on. A win in the first fixture and Slovakia will have a good chance at getting through. That confidence could see the Slovakians take points off of Russia and England. Current odds to win tournament: 151.00