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Debutants can upset Football championship in Europe

Matthew D’Souza – Hits and misses keep-Matthew D'Souza Web

Anxiety grows as the 15th Edition of ‘Championnat d’ Europe de Football 2016, popularly known as ‘UEFA Euro 2016’ gets closer, millions of people will watch the Tournament, which will for the first time feature 24 teams.

France was chosen as the host nation on May 28, 2010 after a bidding process in which the country beat Italy and Turkey. This the third Tournament hosted by France, which has also won the world title twice (1984 and 2000) under the captaincy of Didier Deschamps.

New players

The forthcoming Championship is special because a number of teams will debut at the Euro. These include Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and Wales.

Other than these, several top Football nations of Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain) will participate in the matches.

One of the early upsets was the failure of Netherlands, which held the Championship once, to qualify for the 2016 games.

Group of Death

Debutants can upset -Matthew D'Souza Web This Edition of the Competition has four teams in each group with a total of six groups, of which, four teams will feature a former champion.

The coveted title of ‘Group of Death’ goes to Group D, of which all four competitors have qualified for the Tournament on previous occasions.

The group comprises Croatia, Czech Republic, Turkey and three-time champion and current defending champion Spain. Another competitive group is Group E which comprises Sweden, Republic of Ireland, former champions Italy and Belgium, the current world number FIFA team.

Out of all the teams at the Tournament, football fans will be keen to watch the players from Germany, which is rebuilding its team since key player Phillipp Lahm retired.

The team may also miss current Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and star defender Jerome Boateng, which would have had a drastic impact as the team lost its international friendly match to England 3-2.

However, they bounced back to claim a 4-1 victory over rivals Italy for the first time in 21 years.

WDebutants can upset- UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Draw Webatch Italy

Italy is also a team to watch for as Manager Antonio Conte looks to rebuild the squad ahead of the tournament in July.

Italy were Runners-up in 2012 after being routed 4-0 by Spain in the final.

But times have changed since and Gli Azzurri drew 1-1 with Spain last fortnight. Italy lost to Germany 4-1 after a late consolation goal from star forward Stephan El Shaarawy, this is down to Italy missing key players such as Marco Verratti, Claudio Marchisio, Graziano Pelle, Andre Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.

Along with these two teams, host nation France is also looking very strong after an impressive performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

France will be keen to use ace midfielder Paul Pogba and star attacker Antoine Griezmann in their prime positions. With both of these players in top form, France could be a fierce competitor for the Trophy.

Sliding Spain

Few fans have hopes for Spain after its disastrous World Cup campaign in 2014.

The team is not a favourite to win the Trophy but top midfielder David Silva and forward Alvaro Morata could be the players who may change the fortunes.

Current top ranked team Belgium will also challenge the more successful football nations for the Trophy as they have a very strong attack force.

But the team’s defence lacks quality.

Belgium will look to use midfielder Eden Hazard, mercurial forward Romelu Lukkaku along with star midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and Dries Mertens.

Overall, this Edition of UEFA 2016 is shaping up to be the one of the most exciting and hotly contested Tournament in the series.

There could also be upsets from the debutant teams.

Matthew D’Souza is one of our Sports Correspondents. He is Year 13 student at Avondale College in Auckland.

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