EURO 2016: Group D Preview

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.50.08 by ADRIAN ABRAHAM 

Group D is bound to be one of the most competitive groups at Euro 2016 containing the defending champions and one of England’s pre tournament opposition.

Spain

Manager: Vicente Del Bosque

Vicente del Bosque
Vicente Del Bosque has been in charge of the Spanish national side since 2008. (Image Credit: theguardian.com)

Having won the competition in 2012 and the World Cup in 2010, Del Bosque knows that this will be the toughest tournament in his eight-year tenure with La Roja. His squad may not contain the experience it once did but take nothing away from this team as they are more than capable of winning the Championships for a third successive time.

Road to the Euros

Spain were ruthless in qualifying winning nine of their ten matches. Their only defeat coming against runners-up Slovakia in their second game.

Tournament History

Spain have won the championships in 1964, 2008 and in 2012 and will be looking to win it for a third successive time in France.

Players to watch

Del Bosque has opted to leave out seasoned campaigners such as Fernando Torres, Diego Costa and Juan Mata in a bid to rejuvenate his squad. The likes of Alvaro Morata, Bilbao’s Aduriz and Celta Vigo’s Nolito will take part in France in what some would consider a weak forward line. Morata may have only scored 12 goals for Juventus during the season but Del Bosque clearly believes in the young forward and has expressed his “great confidence” in the striker.

alvaro-morata-cropped_mtgkjr951bwo18nc0x6yazxm9.jpg
Morata is set to lead the line for Spain this summer. (Image Credit: theworldgame.sbs.com.au)

Turkey

Manager: Fatih Terim

s-233e2e1bef6b919bae936c6457495cbd6bc7913d
Fatih Terim is arguably the most successful Turkish manager ever. (Image Credit: onedio.com)

The legendary Turkish manager is in his third term in charge of the national team having famously led them to their first major tournament, Euro 96, as well as the semi-finals in 2008.

Road to the Euros

Having finished qualifying as the best performing third-placed team, Turkey benefited from the new European Championship system as they booked their place in the competition without the need of a playoff. They finished below the Czech Republic and Iceland leaving the Netherlands without a place at the Euros.

Tournament History

This will be their fourth trip to the championships having finished as semi-finalists in 2008.

Players to watch

The squad has serious potential in the form of Barcelona’s Arda Turan, Bayer Leverkusen’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Oguzhan Ozyakup of Besiktas. The Turks are more than capable of competing against the bigger nations and they proved that by beating the Netherlands 3-0 in qualifying.

Calhanoglu_15.jpg
Hakan Calhanoglu is a player who possesses a deadly free kick. (Image Credit: bayer04.de)

Croatia

Manager:  Ante Cacic

b_150920029.jpg
Ante Cacic is managing in his first major tournament as Croatia boss. (Image Credit: klix.ba)

Cacic took over from Nico Kovac last September with their automatic qualifying hopes in the balance after a shock defeat to Norway. The 62-year old has managed many domestic clubs in Europe over the last 30 years and will be under pressure to get the best out of this talented side in France.

Road to the Euros

They finished second in qualifying behind Italy in a drama filled campaign that included crowd trouble, the sacking Nico Kovac and a swastika being burned onto their ground. They only lost once during qualifying and earned two respectable draws against Italy.

Tournament History

Croatia’s best finish at the championships was when they made the last eight in 1996 and in 2008 and with the talent in their squad, any performance that doesn’t match will be considered an underachievement.

Players to watch

Luka Modric is arguably one of the best midfielders the modern game has seen, Modric will look to build on a fine season at Real Madrid as he closes in on a 100 caps for the national side.

Italy-v-Croatia--Group-C-UEFA-EURO-2012.jpg
Modric and Rakitic could form a dangerous central midfield partnership for Croatia. (Image credit: Mirror.co.uk)

Czech Republic

Manager: Pavel Vrba

pavel-vrba-viktoria-plzen_3002122.jpg
Pavel Vrba has a good record domestically but is not renowned for his work in international management. (Image Credit: skysports.com)

Vrba may not be one of the most talked about managers but he’s breathed life into a previously disappointing Czech team by introducing a more attacking and attractive style of play. Having won two league titles and ensuring Champions League qualification with Victoria Plzen, the 52-year old is a vital asset to the Czechs.

Road to the Euros

Placed in a qualifying group alongside Turkey and the Netherlands, the Czechs weren’t expected to come up with a table topping performance and book their place in France. A final day 3-2 win against the Dutch ensured they won the group by two points ahead of Iceland suggesting Vrba’s team mean business.

Tournament History

They have a decent record at the Championships having finished as runners up in 1996 and losing out to eventual winners Greece in the 2004 semi-finals. They did manage to win the championships 1976 before the country emerged from Czechoslovakia.

Players to watch

Arsenal keeper Petr Cech is closing on his 120th cap and has a measure of experience and composure that rubs off on his team-mates. Pavel Kaderabek is another talent worth keeping an eye out for. The attacking right back impressed in the UEFA Under-21 Championship a year ago and his physical presence will be a valuable asset to this Czech side.

petr cech czech.jpg
Cech could be a contender for the golden glove come the end of the tournament. (Image Credit: mcfc.co.uk)
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s