Europe’s view: Who’s your Euro 2016 group of death? What are your chances?

With the draw for Euro 2016 taking place on Saturday, we asked the Eurosport network for the local view from their respective nations.
We asked the international offices to tell us what would be a great draw and a nightmare draw from their perspective – as well as what their country’s expectations were heading into the finals before they found out their first three opponents.
Pot A: France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, England
Pot B: Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Croatia, Ukraine
Pot C: Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary
Pot D: Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland
– – –
We start with the defending European champions…
Spain
Best draw: Spain Ukraine, Slovakia and Albania.
Worst draw: Spain, Italy, Sweden and Wales.
Prospects/Expectations – Enrique Sanchez, Eurosport.es: Spain are again one of the favourites, in this case to win the championship for a third time in a row, which would be something incredible. It is a very hard challenge for Spain, but the new generation of players has potential. Despite the absence ofXavi and Xabi Alonso, Spain are an absolutely competitive team in Europe at this moment. With players like Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Piqué, Busquets, Cesc,Iniesta and Diego Costa, for example, nothing is impossible. Vicente del Bosque is still the coach of the national team and he has a chance to continue on the road to Moscow 2018. But this is another story…
Germany
Best draw: Germany, Ukraine, Hungary, Albania
Worst draw: Germany, Italy, Poland, Ireland
Prospects/Expectations – Dirk Adam, Eurosport.de: After the World Cup win in Brazil the Germans want to add the Euros. But the qualifying campaign after the World Cup was not convincing. Coach Joachim Low wants to become the most successful German coach with the most titles, but at the moment nobody really believes it will happen. We still have one of the best keepers with Manuel Neuer, but the German defence is still not good. Only JeromeBoateng and perhaps Mats Hummels have the right quality. After Philipp Lahm retired, Low is looking for an player on the right-hand side. The midfield is the strongest part of the team with experienced players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and the brilliant Thomas Muller. But there’s an open decision to make with the striker. Recently Low “reactivated” Mario Gomez. But afterMiroslav Klose also departed the national scene there’s no really good centre-forward. Perhaps Mario Gotze will play up front.
France
Best draw: France, Russia, Hungary, Northern Ireland
Worst draw: France, Italy, Czech Rep, Wales
Prospects/Expectations – Maxime Dupuis, Eurosport.fr: Hard to say for France… because we don’t really who’s going to play at the Euros. Karim Benzema or not? Mathieu Valbuena or not? It’s a really weird situation I must admit and it could change a lot of things. For the worst or for the best. But, even without Benzema or Valbuena, or without both, France has to reach the semis at least. And we can do it. We know, Didier Deschamps especially, how to manage a competition on our soil.
Italy
Best draw: Italy, England, Hungary, Northern Ireland
Worst draw: Italy, Germany, Sweden, Wales
Prospects/Expectations – Mattia Fontana, Eurosport.it: If we talk about talent, this is probably the worst Italian side since the 1986 World Cup. The best players are getting older and older (from Gigi Buffon to Andrea Pirlo) and the Azzurri have never been so poor in terms of offensive power (no trequartista, no striker… and even no Balotelli). The fans are quite cold about this team, but I think that they will not be as disappointing as they were in 2014. Why? Antonio Conte is probably the best Italian coach and he has made a big tactical improvement. Italy, like in 2006, will play as a “club team” more than a national team. This means they can make an impact on the final stages. Winning the Euros is almost impossible, but the semi-finals could be a good target.
Poland
Best draw: England, Ukraine, Albania, Poland
Worst draw: Spain, Italy, Turkey, Poland
Prospects/Expectations – Piotr Kwiatkowski, Eurosport.pl: Polish fans think that they finally have a team which can fulfil expectations. In each big tournament since 2002, the national team was knocked out at the group stage. In France the main goal is to enter the knockout stage. The biggest upset came during the 2012 European Championship on home soil, when Poles failed to win a single game and with two draws finished at the bottom of their group. Now fans want redemption. Coach Adam Nawalka has created a solid group of players, who believe in themselves, are very optimistic and have no inferiority complex. Robert Lewandowski became the team’s true leader and he has strong backing in others like Grzegorz Krychowiak in midfield andKamil Glik in defence. He has created a lethal threat with Arkadiusz Milik at the front.
Russia
Best draw: Portugal, Russia, Romania, Albania.
Worst draw: Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, Turkey.
Prospects/Expectations – Mikhail Biryukov, Eurosport.ru: Russians don’t expect anything special and qualification from the group stage will be a great success. With new coach Leonid Slutsky, Russia won five games in a row and lost only one friendly game with an experimental squad. Russians have become confident and more engaged after the desperate Fabio Capello era. But at Euro 2016 we’ll see an old team with nothing much to get excited about. Sadly, but the limit on foreign players in the Russian Premier League hasn’t helped to find new stars. The youngest players in squad soon will turn 25, the best central defenders from CSKA, Vasili Berezutski and Sergei Ignashevich, are far beyond 30 and Russia simply have no alternatives. But Euro 2016 could be a nice incentive for individual players. Oleg Shatov and Artem Dzyuba have found their best form with Zenit in Champions League. For Alan Dzagoev(CSKA) and Aleksandr Kokorin (Dinamo) it will be perhaps the last chance to show their much-heralded potential. And for Denis Cheryshev from Real Madrid it’s an opportunity to increase his reputation in Europe.
England
Best draw: England, Ukraine, Hungary, Albania
Worst draw: England, Italy, Sweden, Ireland
Prospects/Expectations – Alex Chick, Eurosport.co.uk: It’s nice to be the team everyone wants to play from Pot A! England are a contradiction – perfect in qualifying, but nobody seriously believes they can win Euro 2016. Considering 16 teams go through, a group stage exit would be disastrous – but the quarter-finals would be a significant success. If Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge are fit, we will be dangerous in attack – even more so if Roy Hodgsondrops Wayne Rooney – but in midfield we are a mess. Does Hodgson go for the youthful promise of Dele Alli and Eric Dier, or stick with the experienced likes of Carrick and Milner? Either way, we won’t be good enough. As far as the draw goes, England are fortunate to be in Pot A with the big guns. We will be looking to avoid Italy (who we never beat), Sweden (who we never beat) and Ireland (who we never beat).

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