Germany, the joint favourites for Euro 2016 will have every chance of making it back to back trophies. Their qualification campaign has been fairly smooth, however with 2 defeats and a draw it does not look nearly as impressive as their previous qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup, in which the team ranked no.5 in the world by FIFA only dropped 2 points on their way to winning the group.
That said, their campaign this time round has been some what more challenging as the added bonus of a 3rd qualifying spot meant there was seen to be no easy games, this coupled with the fact they had to do battle with a reinvigorated Polish team who were in fine form throughout qualifying made it a much trickier task to dominate the group than last time.
In short, Germany always bring their game face to the big tournaments and are certainly a side to be feared at Euro 2016, they are more than capable of reaching the later stages of the competition, and perhaps justifying their short odds.
Anything other than victory will be seen as a disappointment for the reigning World Champions and they will be out to avenge their Semi-final defeat 4 years ago. The Germans will be hoping to follow Spain's lead by doubling up in the Worlds and Euro's and they've got every chance of doing so, however, the form of a number of their individual players this time around leaves a little to be desired and the fact Germany only won their qualifying group by a mere point must be of concern.
Another argument against Germany would be that they have almost certainly not improved from 2 years ago, the captain and by far the most consistent player for Germany, Philip Lahm, retired after the 2014 World Cup and his successor Bastian Schweinsteiger is now 2 years older at 31 and has backed up a poor season last year with an even worse one this time around at Manchester United.
It can be argued that Germany are not as good a bet at Euro 2016 as they were during the 2014 World Cup, but their tournament record cannot be ignored and if they can repeat the performances that saw them beat the South American kingpins Argentina and Brazil in their own back yard, then they will surely take some beating.
|Belgium / Netherlands||2000||Group Stage||14|
|Austria / Switzerland||2008||Runners-up||2|
|Poland / Ukraine||2012||Semi-Finals||3|
Germany have won the European Championships a total of 3 times, 1996, 1980 and 1972, it's not a bad record and with Germany retaining most of their 2014 World Cup winning squad, you would have to think they have a great chance of lifting the 2016 trophy.
|12.06.16||17.00||Poland||1 - 0||Northern Ireland|
|12.06.16||20.00||Germany||2 - 0||Ukraine|
|16.06.16||17.00||Ukraine||0 - 2||Northern Ireland|
|16.06.16||20.00||Germany||0 - 0||Poland|
|21.06.16||17.00||Ukraine||0 - 1||Poland|
|21.06.16||17.00||Northern Ireland||0 - 1||Germany|
Germany would enter any group in this competition as favourites and it so happens that they carry the favourites tag in Group C. Poland, Ukraine and Northern Ireland are the unfortunate teams to be drawn alongside the World Champions and an easy passage to the knockout stages looks almost certain.
Germany's biggest test by far in the group stage will be on the 16th June when they face their neighbours Poland in what promises to be one of the games of the tournament. Both sides hold wins against the other in the qualifying rounds, so a highly competitive game can be expected.
However, Germany are usually a far better team in tournament football and if that is true in France then 9 points from 9 looks almost inevitable. If they do falter, it could blow the tournament wide open even at this early stage as a defeat to Poland would potentially mean a 2nd place finish in the group and therefor a difficult draw in the last 16 possibly against Spain.
Here's a list of the 4 teams drawn in Group C and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, Germany are the highest ranked team, with their three competitors loitering far behind.
Thomas Muller put in a sterling qualifying campaign scoring 9 goals in the process, but the rest of the squad also contributed and Germany will go into Euro 2016 having any number of world class players capable of turning the game on it's head with a lethal strike.
Thomas Muller has been top scorer for Germany in their last two tournaments and there is no reason he won't follow that trend here. With no obvious main striker, Muller will be the main man for the Germans and will undoubtedly get plenty of chances with the quality that Germany possess in midfield. Mario Gomez may start a few games up front but his record for the national side is poor and Muller will no doubt relish another chance to play at the highest international level.
|Andre Schurrle||25||Midfield / Forward||3|
The preliminary's of Euro 2016 will surely be a formality for this side and Germany will qualify for the knockout stages with no problems. In the last 16, Germany will again face a less than competitive side due to the new format in France, the challenges will come when they reach the Quarter-finals. With a few question marks surrounding the form of a few individual players coming into the tournament and their below par qualifying campaign, Germany could face a tough task from the Quarters onwards, but they are expected to battle through to the Final where experience and individual talent will see them through.
Thomas Muller has an impressive goal return in every international competition he has been to. While not a flashy player, Muller often deceives defences and is a potent finisher when given a chance, and Germany will hope his impressive record on the international stage continues. Another asset to this mans play is his ability to rise to the big occasions. As in previous tournaments, Muller seems to improve as the tournament goes on and this could be crucial against the higher ranked sides, as a goal at a vital stage from Muller could be the difference between winning and losing.
Germany play fast and efficient football, with technical ability all over the pitch, Joachim Low has the perfect balance of youth and tournament winning experience. With a high percentage shot accuracy and a well drilled defensive set up, Germany can unlock any defence with a single counter-attack. They look to dominate the game from midfield to feed Thomas Muller who's more than capable of putting the finishing touches to job.