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    Euro 2016: Group B Preview

    By Carl Halsall


    Dele Alli

    England will go into Euro 2016 with three friendly match victories over Turkey, Australia, and Portugal, which should give them a lot of confidence going into the tournament.

    This is a young squad, which has the ability to cause problems for any side in the Euro’s. They come in with good recent form, talented young players and no current injury worries for manager Roy Hodgson to deal with. The final 23-man squad announcement has no real surprises included, however I guess a lot of people might be wondering why Danny Drinkwater did not get picked after playing an important role during his club side Leicester City’s title winning campaign. Fabian Delph and Andros Townsend were the other players omitted from the original 26-man provisional squad.  

    England have not had much luck in recent Euro’s with penalty shootout defeats in 1996, 2004 and 2012, but this tournament is wide open, and there is a lot of youth, experience and pace in the side which means they could have an outside chance of going far in France, and will have no excuses not to qualify from Group B.

    Full 23-man Squad:

    Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton
    Defenders: Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Rose, Chris Smalling, John Stones, Kyle Walker
    Midfielders: Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling
    Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy.


    Igor Akinfeev

    Russia qualified for Euro 2016 by finishing 2nd in their qualifying group behind Austria losing only two games along the way.
    In 2015 they sacked manager Fabio Capello, but they have recovered since recruiting former CSKA Moscow manager Leonid Slutsky who plays a style which seems to suit the Russian squad better.
    Unfortunately for Russia one of the their star players; Alan Dzagoev has had to pull out of the squad with a broken foot, and record goalscorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov has been left out of the squad. However they still possess some talented and experienced players such as their most capped player with over 100 appearances; defender Sergei Ignashevich, number one goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, Aleksandr Kokorin and Artem Dzyuba who scored 8 goals in qualifying. Roman Neustadter, Schalke’s defensive midfielder is the only player in the entire squad who plays his club football outside of Russia.
    Russia are certainly a team not to be underestimated as they will want to make a good impression ahead of the next major tournament the 2018 World Cup of which they are the hosts.

    Full 23-Man Squad:
    Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev, Guilherme, Yuri Lodygin
    Defenders: Igor Smolnikov, Sergei Ignashevich, Aleksei Berezutski, Roman Shishkin, Georgi Schennikov, Vasili Berezutski, Dmitri Kombarov, Dmitri Torbinnsky, Roman Neustadter
    Midfielders: Igor Denisov, Oleg Ivanov, Roman Shirokov, Pavel Marnaev, Alexander Samedov, Denis Glushakov, Oleg Shatov, Alexander Golovin
    Forwards: Aleksandr Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba, Fyodor Smolov.

    Gareth Bale

    Wales qualified automatically for Euro 2016, finishing in 2nd place behind Belgium with 21 points, and only losing one game. Gareth Bale, Wales’s key player scored 7 goals in the qualification group finishing Wales’s top goalscorer.
    Wales are in their first ever European Championships, a competition where world class former Wales players such as the likes of Ryan Giggs, Neville Southall, Ian Rush and John Toshack have never been able to participate in.
    Joe Ledley who fractured his leg over a month ago has been included in the Wales squad, and manager Chris Coleman insists he had to include him.
    “He’s included because of what he brings to the squad.
    “In the last three or four years he has been fantastic for us.”
    Key players who play in the Premier League have been included in the squad with Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams, and Joe Allen looking to make a huge impact alongside Real Madrid’s and arguably Wales’s best player Gareth Bale who scored seven and assisted two of their 11 goals during the qualifying campaign.
    Wales have one more friendly match left against Sweden on Sunday 5 June, before facing Slovakia in their first group match of the Euro 2016.  

    Full 23-man Squad:
    Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey, Danny Ward, Owain-Fon Williams
    Defenders: Ashley Richards, Ben Davies, James Collins, Chris Gunter, Neil Taylor, James Chester, Ashley Williams
    Midfielders: Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, David Edwards, Joe Allen, David Vaughan, Jonathan Williams, Andy King, George Williams
    Forwards: Hal Robson-Kanu, David Cotterill, Simon Church, Sam Vokes, Gareth Bale.


    Marek Hamsik

    Slovakia are probably many people’s pick to finish bottom of the pile in Group B, but should not be taken lightly after a steady qualifying campaign. They finished 2nd only behind Spain in qualifying, and they also managed to register a victory over Spain back in October 2014.
    This will be the sides first ever European Championships, with their last major tournament appearance in the World Cup 2010 were they made it to the round of 16, eventually losing to eventual runners-up the Netherlands.
    Slovakia do have some very good players in their squad including; Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, their star player; Napoli’s Marek Hamsik, and skilful winger Vladimir Weiss once of Manchester City. These are probably the most well known players in their squad although Everton fans might remember Slovakia’s main goalkeeper; 33-year-old Jan Mucha who spent three years at Goodison Park between 2010-2013 making only a handful of appearances. Another player to watch out for in the team is 21-year-old Ondrej Duda who has been often labelled as a potential long-term replacement for Marek Hamsik.

    Full 23-Man Squad:
    Goalkeepers: Jan Mucha, Matus Kozacik, Jan Novota
    Defenders: Martin Skrtel, Jan Durica, Tomas Hubocan, Dusan Svento, Kornel Salata, Norbert Gyomber, Peter Pekarik, Milan Skriniar
    Midfielders: Marek Hamsik, Stanislav Sestak, Juraj Kucka, Viktor Pecovsky, Miroslav Stoch, Vladimir Weiss, Robert Mak, Ondrej Duda, Jan Gregus, Patrik Hrosovsky
    Forwards: Adam Nemec, Michal Duris.

    Group B Fixtures:
    Saturday 11 June:
    Wales vs. Slovakia – Kick off 17:00
    England vs. Russia – Kick off 20:00
    Wednesday 15 June:
    Russia vs. Slovakia – Kick off 14:00
    Thursday 16 June:
    England vs. Wales – Kick off 14:00
    Monday 20 June:
    Russia vs. Wales – Kick off 20:00
    Slovakia vs. England – Kick off 20:00.

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    Item Reviewed: Euro 2016: Group B Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Carl Halsall
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