Friday, 10 June 2016 00:00


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p> Group ‘D’ for Euro 2016 is one of those tricky groups which has the potential to surprise you. With double-defending Champions Spain set to play dangerous Croatia, Turkey and Czech Republic, this is one group which be closer than expected.


Spain looked dazed and bruised in Brazil World Cup but don’t count them out for the Euros. With a chance to be the first team to win three Euro titles in succession, Spain has a changed outlook from the World Cup. Winning nine out of 10 games in qualifying set the tone for their pursuit.

Coach Vicente del Bosque has a wealth of options in midfield with the likes of Isco, Koke and David Silva ready to replace Xavi Hernandez. David De Gea has established himself as one of the best in the last two seasons but will he start for La Roja? And then there is the conundrum of whom to start up front!

Qualification: Top of Group C

Key player: Sergio Busquets

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Key match: vs Croatia

Best result: Winners (thrice)

EURO 2016 – GROUP D: Czech Republic

The Czechs have always been one of the silent performers but don’t expect them to match the highs of Euro ’96, where they reached the finals. With no big names from the top leagues of the continent, the Czechs are expected to struggle.

The presence of Petr Cech is a great boost under the bars while Borek Dockal would be expected to chip in with goals – like he did in qualifying with four. Watch out for the industrious Vladimir Darida who could surprise a few in the tournament.

Qualification: Top of group A

Key player: Vladimir Darida

Prediction: Round II

Key match: vs Turkey

Best Result: Final (96)


A team that always punches above its weight, Croatia is a banana peel that top teams would love to avoid. In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, the squad has two of the best playmakers in club football while Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic are a handful for any team.

But Football isn’t exactly Mathematics and this is where the leadership qualities of Darijo Srna will come into play. The tough tackling Srna would have to exercise his vocal chords for the Croats to move farther.

Qualification: Second in Group H

Key player: Nikola Kalinic

Prediction: Round I exit

Key match: vs Turkey

Best Result: Quarter-finals


Turkey would have surpassed their own expectations if they repeat their Euro 2008 semi-finals appearance. Fatih Terim is back in charge but the quality of players available is limited to a few individuals.

Arda Turan and Hakan Calhanoglu are the top draw for the Turks who will look to carry on from the strong finish they had for qualifiers. Can they upset the odds of Spain? Or will they be content with extending their run with a third-place finish?

Qualification: Best third-placed team

Key player: Hakan Calhanoglu

Prediction: Second Round exit

Key match: vs Czech Republic

Best Result: Semi-finals

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