In the last month or so, whilst the world has been preparing for the Euros, there has been no word from the best website on the planet!
As you probably all know, blametheblogger is the world in a blog from a thirteen year old, and at this time of year it gets pretty busy… But my exams have finished at the perfect time, so I can get out my verdicts on the upcoming European Championship in France!
Euro 2016 will be the biggest ever, with 24 teams now participating. There is now a Round of 16, so the 4 best-performing 3rd-placed teams also get out of the groups. That should make the tournament much more exciting, and the three games a day means there is a lot to talk about!
Firstly, remember to check out all the awesome features on the Euro pages that you can find in the menu at the top of the page. You can predict the scores in all the games, and you can vote on a number of things too.
But now let’s get into the main stuff… predictions!
Who’s Gonna Win? Can Ze Hosts Win Ze Euros?
It is wide open this time out, with Germany still up there with the favourites, and it is pretty hard to look past the world champions. However, the likes of Lahm and Klose, big name players, are no longer around this time out, and they don’t look quite as strong as before.
The hosts, France, are most people’s tip to win. Their new generation of players, like Griezmann, Payet, Martial and Kante, have had amazing seasons at club level, and on home turf in France they could storm to success. Their group is quite easy, and if the squad gel then I think they will go on to win.
Also in with a chance are Belgium. They have a fantastic squad on paper, with an elite group of Premier League players, but recently they have struggled on the big stage. However, if they perform to their full potential then they could beat anyone.
I am not backing Spain or England to triumph, and although my dad is Northern Irish, I think they may not be able to win it when the make it to the final in Saint-Denis.
Ones to Watch
I have a funny feeling that Gareth Wales can go quite far. Their group is not that hard – obviously England are expected to top it but Russia and Slovakia could be easy opposition for 2nd. And I reckon they have the squad to make it quite far.
Austria, or David Alaba FC, also have a good chance. They have quite an easy group, bar Portugal. Iceland, also in that group, and newbies to the Euros, will also be hoping they can make it through, and I reckon they can.
One other team that always promise much but rarely deliver are Switzerland, but with new Arsenal man Granit Xhaka, plus Xherdan Shari, they could push for Xhecond in their group!
Stars of the Tournament
I have a feeling that this could be Antoine Griezmann’s year. It has all fallen nicely for him – he has hit superb form for Atletico, and with Benzema not in the squad and Giroud not at the top of his game at the moment, this could be the opportunity for him to write his name into the Hall of Fame. France may never have a better chance of winning a tournament for a while after this, and with Griezmann firing on all cylinders they could well come out on top.
Kevin de Bruyne is another one who could have a big tournament. City have built their team around him this year and he has been in scintillating form, and if he can carry that into the Euros then he can take Belgium all the way.
Croatia have a great squad and with players like Mandzukic, Modric and Rakitic they should really be getting further than they often do. I have a feeling that they could go out in the groups this time round, and the lack of Dejan Lovren at the back will definitely hurt.
Italy are another team who I don’t think will do so well. They are in a group with big boys Belgium, and didn’t perform well in Brazil 2014, so I am backing them for an early exit this year.
A Star is Born?
There are some great young talents that have been taken to France, that haven’t yet announced themselves on the big stage. Perhaps none bigger than Dele Alli, who can be the central, main man in England’s push for glory. Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy could also have great tournaments.
For other nations, I have a feeling that Divock Origi will perform. With Christian Benteke not in good form and Origi having a great end of season, he could partner Romelu Lukaku up front and really make his name in the international game.
Granit Xhaka is one who Arsenal fans will be watching closely following his big money move, and the natural leader is one who can lead Switzerland to a successful tourney.
Three Lions Verdict
Well, the young England squad go to France with huge hopes resting on their inexperienced shoulders, but I agree with all the pundits that say England can have a great year. Can they go all the way? I very much doubt it but one thing’s for sure – they will have an exciting team and should play some good football, and I reckon they can make it as far as the semis, or even the final, but they are by no means the best team in Europe.