Friday, 10 June 2016 00:00

EURO 2016 - GROUP B

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When the Euro 2016 groupings were announced, most of the interest from Great Britain was to see where England and Wales end up. And when they ended up together in Group B, it only meant that they will eagerly await their clash. We preview the action from the group that would also involve Russia and Slovakia.

EURO 2016 – GROUP B: ENGLAND

It may be a surprise for many but England is yet to win a European Championship. What’s more, it is the only World Cup winning nation that has yet to win a European trophy. And just like every tournament, they embark on a hopeful journey.

If anything, the English should be worried about penalty kicks which have been their bane for the past 25 years. Starting from the 1990 World Cup and for five major tournaments since then, England lost on Penalties.

But with a new generation of players like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Joe Hart being the cornerstone of success in the qualifiers (where they were unbeaten), England will dream of a possible semi-final spot. Can they?

Qualification: Top of Group ‘E’

Key player: Harry Kane

Prediction: Top of the group and possible Quarterfinalists.

Key match: vs Wales

Best result: Semi-finals

EURO 2016 – GROUP B: WALES

For a generation of footballers from Wales, it was a dream to play in a major tournament. Making it a reality, Gareth Bale inspired Wales qualified for their first major tournament after the 1958 FIFA World Cup.

Chris Coleman coached team would want to prove that theirs is not a one man team, though it is the goals and assists of Bale that survived the qualifiers for them. Going into the second round from here is pretty possible but anything beyond will depend on the form of Bale.

Qualification: Finished 2nd in Group ‘B’ qualifiers

Key player: Gareth Bale

Prediction: Second round

Key match: vs Russia

Best Result: Never previously qualified

EURO 2016 – GROUP B: RUSSIA

Russia has a decorated history in European Championships having won once and finished runners-up thrice – but all as Soviet Union. As Russia, their best performance has been in 2008 when they reached the semi-finals.

A mid-campaign replacement of the coach – Leonid Slutski replacing Fabio Capello and winning the last four qualifiers. Reaching the semis would definitely be an overkill for the Russians, who may struggle to beat Wales for the second spot in the group.

Qualification: Finished 2nd in Group ‘G’ qualifiers

Key player: Artem Dzyuba

Prediction: Third place in the group

Key match: vs Wales

Best Result: Winners (as Soviet Union)

EURO 2016 – GROUP B: SLOVAKIA

Slovakia made it to their first Euros, in five attempts since splitting from Czechoslovakia.

Seven straight wins at the start of the campaign, including a famous win over Spain helped them record a satisfying qualification but in all possibility, this is where it could end. A chance to upset Russia is on the cards, difficult but not impossible.

Qualification: Finished 2nd in Group C

Key player: Marek Hamsik

Prediction: First round exit

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