England arrive in France with a promising young side who have the hopes of the nation resting on their shoulders. This squad have flown through qualification with the most impressive campaign of any team coming into the tournament, playing 10 matches, winning them all and with a goal difference of plus 28.
These statistics surely have to be respected and with a side full of young talent, England may just prove to be of interest at the likely odds.
If we were to be downbeat on the chances of the Three Lions then we would have to look back at their record over previous tournaments. Since appearing in the Semi-finals of their home tournament in the 1996 European Championships, England have struggled at the pinnacle of international football.
A sole Quarter-final is the highlight of England's performances and as the record suggests they have almost always struggled to transfer their qualifying form into tournament football which is a completely different animal, and this must worry any potential backers.
The sights set for this side have gradually being lowered from Finals to getting through to the Knockout stages, but the question is going to be can this new look team full of potential break the mould created by previous English sides and offer a performance to be proud of.
England's record during qualifying suggests that winning Euro 2016 could well be within their grasp, but previous tournament form unfortunately says otherwise. A big factor for England could well be how they perform early in Euro 2016 as the key factor missing from any English side in recent tournaments is confidence and if they can negotiate the early stages without any mishaps, then momentum may take this squad into the later stages of the competition.
As for so many English sides in the past, it has been the group stage that has provided more trouble than should have been expected and that could be the case again in France.
Facing their neighbours Wales in what will no doubt be a very feisty affair is certainly no guarantee of three points, and then a Russian side who have been flying in recent matches again doesn't present easy points on the board for England. You have to feel these two games could shape this sides tournament, and with much harder match ups potentially further down the road, the Three Lions will most certainly need a roaring start.
|Belgium / Netherlands||2000||Group Stage||11|
|Austria / Switzerland||2008||Did not qualify||-|
|Poland / Ukraine||2012||Quarter-Finals||5|
There's nothing particularly special about England's recent performances in the European Championships, but perhaps the exuberance of youth will inspire this side to new heights at Euro 2016, and equal if not better their Semi-final placing's.
|11.06.16||17.00||Wales||2 - 1||Slovakia|
|11.06.16||20.00||England||1 - 1||Russia|
|15.06.16||14.00||Russia||1 - 2||Slovakia|
|16.06.16||14.00||England||2 - 1||Wales|
|20.06.16||20.00||Russia||0 - 3||Wales|
|20.06.16||20.00||Slovakia||0 - 0||England|
An ultra competitive Group B is the fate of England. Russia and Slovakia are in the group but the most interesting match up are England's neighbours Wales - Who will meet on the 16th June in what promises to be a gritty hard fought affair. On form and with the depth of squad England have at their disposal they should come out of both this game and the group pretty convincingly, but as shown in the past, England never do things the easy way and there is more than one potential stumbling block in the games ahead.
Here's a list of the 4 teams drawn in Group B and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, England are the highest ranked team, closely followed by Wales.
The Welsh clash will no doubt be a difficult game and the FIFA Rankings confirm this fact, but the toughest test could come when England face Russia, as Russia are a side coming into the tournament with confidence at an all time high with a new manager who is unbeaten as head of the national team.
You would have to think that these 2 clashes will decide the fate of all the teams in Group B, a massive bonus for England is that they play group whipping boys Slovakia in the final game of the group stages. If they come into that game needing a win they must fancy their chances and qualification would appear highly likely.
England have great strength and depth in the attacking department, as shown with 3 different lone strikers getting on the scoresheet during qualifying, and this should come in very handy if they manage to reach the latter stages of Euro 2016.
Wayne Rooney, England's talisman lead the charge with 7 goals closely followed by Arsenal's Danny Welbeck with 6. England will also have additional attacking options with probably the hottest property in the Premier League at the moment, Leicester's Jamie Vardy, ready to lace up his boots for the cause. Along with the impervious Harry Kane who has literally carried Tottenham Hotspur on his back this season and is the tip to be England's top goalscorer at Euro 2016.
|Theo Walcott||27||Midfield / Forward||3|
England do have a bad record in the group stages of tournaments but they will surely find it harder not to qualify than get through to the knockout stages and this again may be the case in the last 16 as they will almost certainly be drawn against a team of lesser quality. If England can vanquish the hoodoo's of the last few years and get into the quarter-finals then this young team could be filled with confidence and the bet will be for England to exit late in the tournament and the Semi-finals would look the most likely time for them to take a bath.
Harry Kane has been prolific for Tottenham in the last 2 seasons of the Premier League. His goal scoring record is second to none and he's managed to transfer this into international football in just a few games. An unknown for Kane is his ability to handle the pressure of a high profile tournament such as this but at a young age nerves rarely affect these types of players and the Three Lions will be a hoping that a star is born in France at Euro 2016.
With the public pressure on the manager, Harry Kane will undoubtedly start every game in France and will get every opportunity to score plenty of goals. With his main competition Wayne Rooney more likely to be playing deeper, Harry Kane will have free reign up front and if he can get off the mark early, Kane could be one of the top goalscorers in the tournament.
England are well known for their physicality, none more so than Wayne Rooney who has the strength of an ox, however we expect to see a more possession based style of play with quick flowing counter-attacks and the two fullbacks charging forward at every opportunity. But, what we want and what we get are often two entirely different things, so don't be surprised if England try to gradually work their way into the competition starting with a couple of laboured performances.