UEFA Euro 2016: The Squads

8 Jun


There’s a lot of football to cover this summer (as I said in the Copa America post). I’m hoping to provide daily updates of Euro 2016 action (as well as the other tournaments) in their own posts.

I’ve been way too busy at work, partly thanks to this tournament. So I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to post. But I really want to try. I thought I’d start with what players we can expect to see rocking pitches across France.

Euro 2016 kicks off June 10 with France v Romania at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France just north of Paris. The final will be held in the same stadium on July 10.

The Teams:

I’ve highlighted current and former players of Real Madrid.



This will mark Albania’s first major tournament. They’ve been enjoying a steady rise under the watchful eye of Italian coach Gianni De Biasi. During qualifying a match against Serbia was abandoned after a drone flying an Albanian flag flew over the pitch and sparked a brawl.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Etrit Berisha (Lazio, ITA), Alban Hoxha (Partizani, ALB), Orges Shehi (Skënderbeu, ALB)

DEFENDERS (7): Ansi Agolli (Qarabağ, AZE), Arlind Ajeti (Frosinone, ITA), Naser Aliji (Basel, SUI), Elseid Hysaj (Napoli, ITA), Andi Lila (Giannina, GRE), Mërgim Mavraj (Köln, GER), Frédéric Veseli (Lugano, SUI)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Amir Abrashi (Freiburg, GER), Migjen Basha (Como, ITA), Lorik Cana (Nantes, FRA), Ergys Kaçe (PAOK, GRE), Burim Kukeli (Zürich, SUI), Ermir Lenjani (Nantes, FRA), Ledian Memushaj (Pescara, ITA), Odise Roshi (Rijeka, CRO), Taulant Xhaka (Basel, SUI)

FORWARDS (4): Bekim Balaj (Rijeka, CRO), Sokol Çikalleshi (İstanbul Başakşehir, TUR), Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids, USA), Armando Sadiku (Vaduz, LIE)



This team went undefeated in qualifying, winning 9 of their 10 matches and drawing the other. This after failing to reach the tournament in 2012. Their only other Euro appearance was in 2008, when they played cohosts, but were knocked out of the group stages. Christian Fuchs and David Alaba are my choices for players to watch.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Robert Almer (Austria Wien, AUS), Heinz Lindner (Frankfurt, GER), Ramazan Özcan (Ingolstadt, GER)

DEFENDERS (7): Aleksandar Dragović (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Christian Fuchs (Leicester, ENG), Martin Hingeregger (Mönchengladbach, GER), Florian Klein (Stuttgart, GER), Sebastian Prödl (Watford, ENG), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt, GER), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (9): David Alaba (Bayern Munich, GER), Juliam Baumgartlinger (Mainz, GER), György Garics (Darmstadt, GER), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart, GER), Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig, GER), Jakob Jantscher (Luzern, SUI), Zlatko Junuzović (Bremen, GER), Marcel Sabitzer (Leibzig, GER), Alessandro Schöpf (Schalke, GER)

FORWARDS (4): Marko Arnautović (Stoke, ENG), Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt, GER), Marc Janko (Basel, SUI), Rubin Okotie (1860 München, GER)



Belgium are my personal dirty little secret. I latched onto this team in 2014 World Cup qualifying and I can’t stop. The country were Euro runners-up in 1980 and they’ll hope to at least equal that in 2016 tournament. My personal favorite Belgian players? Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, and Eden Hazard (I know… I’m ashamed).

GOALKEEPERS (3): Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea, ENG), Jean-François Gillet (Mechelen, BEL), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool, ENG)

DEFENDERS (8): Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham, ENG), Laurent Ciman (Montreal, MLS), Jason Denayer (Galatasaray, TUR), Christian Kabasele (Genk, BEL), Jordan Lukaku (Oostende, BEL), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge, BEL), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, ESP), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Yannick Carrasco (Atlético Madrid, ESP), Kevin De Bruyne (Man. City, ENG), Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham, ENG), Marouane Fellaini (Man. United, ENG), Eden Hazard (Chelsea, ENG), Radja Nainggolan (Roma, ITA), Axel Witsel (Zenit, RUS)

FORWARDS (5): Michy Batshuayi (Marseille, FRA), Christian Benteke (Liverpool, ENG), Romelu Lukaku (Everton, ENG), Dries Mertens (Napoli, ITA), Divock Origi (Liverpool, ENG)



This is Croatia’s fourth Euro in a row though they’ll be hoping to make it out of the group stages on this occasion. We’ll get to watch Lucky Luka and Cutie Pie Kovacic in action for this squad. I look forward to seeing how Croatia hold up. They’re my pick for sleeper success.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Lovre Kalinić (Hajduk Split, CRO), Danijel Subašić (Monaco, FRA), Ivan Vargić (Rijeka, CRO)

DEFENDERS (7): Vedran Ćorluka (Lokomotiv Moskva, RUS), Tin Jedvaj (Leverkusen, GER), Gordon Schildenfeld (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR), Ivan Strinić (Napoli, ITA), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Šime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo, ITA)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Milan Badelj (Fiorentina, ITA), Marcelo Brozović (Internazionale, ITA), Ante Ćorić (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO), Mateo Kovačić (Real Madrid, ESP), Luka Modrić (Real Madrid, ESP), Ivan Perišić (Internazionale, ITA), Ivan Rakitić (Barcelona, ESP), Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO)

FORWARDS (5): Duje Čop (Málaga, ESP), Nikola Kalinić (Fiorentina, ITA), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim, GER), Mario Mandžukić (Juventus, ITA), Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO)


Czech Republic:

Even though Czech Republic have only been competing as an independent country since 1994 but they’ve competed in every Euro since then. They were even runners-up in 1996. They reached the quarter-finals in 2012. Petr Cech is easily one of the best goalkeepers of the tournament. Can they do big things to support him?

GOALKEEPERS (3): Petr Čech (Arsenal, ENG), Tomáš Koubek (Liberec, CZE), Tomáš Vaclík (Basel, SUI)

DEFENDERS (7): Theodor Gebre Selassie (Bremen, GER), Roman Hubnik (Plzeň, CZE), Pavel Kadeřábek (Hoffenheim, GER), Michal Kadlec (Fenerbahçe, TUR), David Limberský (Plzeň, CZE), Tomáš Sivok (Bursaspor, TUR), Marek Suchý (Basel, SUI)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Vladimír Darida (Hertha, GER), Bořek Dočkal (Sparta Praha, CZE), Daniel Kolář (Plzeň, CZE), Ladislav Krejčí (Sparta Praha, CZE), David Pavelka (Kasımpaşa, TUR), Jaroslav Plašil (Bordeaux, FRA), Daniel Pudil (Sheff. Wednesday, ENG), Tomáš Rosický (Arsenal, ENG), Jiří Skalák (Brighton, ENG), Josef Šural (Sparta Praha, CZE)

FORWARDS (3): David Lafata (Sparta Praha, CZE), Tomáš Necid (Bursaspor, TUR), Milan Škoda (Slavia Praha, CZE)



I suppose I should have a spot in my heart for England, as it’s one of their prodigal sons that got me to watch the sport in the first place. Unfortunately, even David Beckham wasn’t enough to get me to root for England. This team won 10 of their 10 qualifiers for this tournament. I’m still not sure they have what it takes to make the final, but they have fire power up front between Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Jamie Vardy.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Fraser Forster (Southampton, ENG), Joe Hart (Man. City, ENG), Tom Heaton (Burnley, ENG)

DEFENDERS (7): Ryan Bertrand (Southampton, ENG), Gary Cahill (Chelsea, ENG), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool, ENG), Danny Rose (Tottenham, ENG), Chris Smalling (Man. United), John Stones (Everton, ENG), Kyle Walker (Tottenham, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Dele Alli (Tottenham, ENG), Ross Barkley (Everton, ENG), Eric Dier (Tottenham, ENG), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool, ENG), Adam Lallana (Liverpool, ENG), James Milner (Liverpool, ENG), Raheem Sterling (Man. City, ENG), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal, ENG)

FORWARDS (5): Harry Kane (Tottenham, ENG), Marcus Rashford (Man. United, ENG), Wayne Rooney (Man. United, ENG), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, ENG), Jamie Vardy (Leicester, ENG)



Both of our French men were left off the Euro 2016 squad. Varane due to injury and Karim… Well, we all know what happened with Karim. France didn’t need to qualify, as they are playing host, but the squad is strong. If Pogba continues to play the way he has been, and Griezmann and Giroud can continue a good relationship with him, the French attack will be hard to beat.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Benoît Costil (Rennes, FRA), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham, ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille, FRA)

DEFENDERS (8): Lucas Digne (Roma, ITA), Patrice Evra (Juventus, ITA), Christophe Jallet (Lyon, FRA), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal, ENG), Eliaquim Mangala (Man. City, ENG), Adil Rami (Sevilla, ESP), Bacaray Sagna (Man. City, ENG), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon, FRA)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace, ENG), Kingsley Coman (Bayern, GER), N’Golo Kanté (Leicester, ENG), Blaise Matuidi (Paris, FRA), Dimitri Payet (West Ham, ENG), Paul Pogba (Juventus, ITA), Morgan Schneiderlin (Man. United, ENG), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle, ENG)

FORWARDS (4): André-Pierre Gignac (Tigres, MEX), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal, ENG), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético, ESP), Anthony Martial (Man. United, ENG)



Germany are probably favorites to win the Euro after their dominance in the 2014 World Cup. One of my personal favorite German players, Marco Reus, is missing out again through injury but Germany have quite a few more of my favorites (some for no reason *ahem Poldi*). Mario Gomez finds himself back in the squad after missing out on World Cup 2014. Keep an eye on Schalke’s Leroy Sané. He gave Real Madrid a bunch of trouble during Champions League in 2014/15 season. And of course, Ozil can glide across the pitch while Toni works out his own pinpoint passing.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bernd Leno (Leverkusen, GER), Manuel Neuer (Bayern, GER), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona, ESP)

DEFENDERS (7): Jérôme Boateng (Bayern, GER), Jonas Hector (Köln, GER), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke, GER), Mats Hummels (Dortmund, GER), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern, GER), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia, ESP), Antonio Rüdiger (Roma, ITA)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Emre Can (Liverpool, ENG), Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg, GER), Mario Götze (Bayern, GER), Sami Khedira (Juventus, ITA), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid, ESP)Mesut Özil (Arsenal, ENG), Leroy Sané (Schalke, GER), André Schürrle (Wolfsburg, GER), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Man. United, ENG), Julian Weigl (Dortmund, GER)

FORWARDS (3): Mario Gomez (Beşiktaş, TUR), Thomas Müller (Bayern, GER), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray, TUR)



Hungary are former World Cup finalists, having come in as runners-up in 1938 and 1954. But they haven’t participated in a major tournament since 1986. Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas was Hungary’s most notable player. Their first match will be 14 June against Austria.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Dénes Dibusz (Ferencváros, HUN), Péter Gulácsi (Leipzig, GER), Gábor Király (Haladás, HUN)

DEFENDERS (8): Barnabás Bese (MTK, HUN), Attila Fiola (Puskás Akadémia, HUN), Richárd Guzmics (Wisła, POL), Roland Juhász (Videoton, HUN), Tamás Kádár (Lech, AUT), Mihály Korhut (Debrecen, HUN), Ádám Lang (Videoton, HUN), Ádám Pintér (Ferencváros, HUN)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Ákos Elek (Diósgyőr, HUN), László Kleinheisler (Bremen, GER), Gergő Lovrencsics (Lech, AUT), Ádám Nagy (Ferencváros, HUN), Zoltán Stieber (Nürnberg, GER)

FORWARDS (7): Dániel Böde (Ferencváros, HUN), Balázs Dzsudzsák (Bursaspor, TUR), Zoltán Gera (Ferencváros, HUN), Krisztián Németh (Al-Gharafa, QAT), Nemanja Nikolić (Legia, POL), Tamás Priskin (Slovan Bratislava, SVK), Ádám Szalai (Hannover, GER)



I admit, Iceland are one of the teams I would love to see surprise everyone. I had fun watching them qualify but I can’t say I know a whole lot about the team. This is their first major tournament, missing out on World Cup 2014 after losing a play-off match to Croatia. I did come across a neat tidbit, however. In a 1996 friendly against Estonia, striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, then 17, came on for his father Arnór. It was the first time a father and son had played in the same international match.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Hannes Halldórsson (Bodø/Glimt NOR), Ingvar Jónsson (Sandefjord, NOR), Ögmundur Kristinsson (Hammarby, SWE)

DEFENDERS (9): Elmar Bjarnason (AGF, DEN), Haukur Heidar Hauksson (AIK, SWE), Hjörtur Hermannsson (Göteborg, SWE), Sverrir Ingason (Lokeren, BEL), Hordur Magnússon (Cesena, ITA), Birkir Sævarsson (Hammarby, SWE), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Krasnodar, RUS), Ari Skúlason (OB, DEN), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Norrköping, SWE)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kári Árnason (Malmö, SWE), Birkir Bjarnason (Basel, SUI), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff, EPL), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese, ITA), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea, EPL), Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson (Sundsvall, SWE)

FORWARDS (5): Jón Dadi Bödvarsson (Kaiserslautern, GER), Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg, GER), Eidur Gudjohnsen (Molde, NOR), Johann Gudmundsson (Charlton, ENG), Kolbeinn Sigthórsson (Nantes, FRA)


Being that this is Lozil’s ancestral homeland, I can’t rip too hard on Italy. Not that I would, though an Italy without Pirlo and Marchisio is not an Italy I’m excited about. I can, however, get behind De Rossi, Thiago Motta, and Stephan El Shaarawy. And Gigi. Who doesn’t love Gigi?! They’ll be looking to improve on their World Cup run while also trying to get revenge for the 4-0 loss to Spain in the 2012 Euros.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus, ITA), Federico Marchetti (Lazio, ITA), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris, FRA)

DEFENDERS (6): Andrea Barzagli (Juventus, ITA), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus, ITA), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus, ITA), Matteo Darmian (Man. United, ITA), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan, ITA), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina, ITA), Antonio Candreva (Lazio, ITA), Daniele De Rossi (Roma, ITA), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma, ITA), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna, ITA), Marco Parolo (Lazio, ITA), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus, ITA), Thiago Motta (Paris, FRA)

FORWARDS (6): Éder (Internazionale, ITA), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma, ITA), Ciro Immobile (Torino, ITA), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli, ITA), Graziano Pellè (Southampton, ENG), Simone Zaza (Juventus, ITA)

northern ireland

Northern Ireland:

Northern Ireland are another team making their first appearance in the Euros. They have been present at 3 World Cups, however. It’s a bit sad to me that George Best (like Ryan Giggs for Wales) was such an amazing player and never got to grace the pitch of a major tournament. They’ll open their campaign against Poland on 12 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Roy Carroll (Notts County, ENG), Alan Mannus (St Johnstone, SCO), Michael McGovern (Hamilton, SCO)

DEFENDERS (9): Chris Baird (Fulham, ENG), Craig Cathcart (Watford, ENG), Jonny Evans (West Brom, ENG), Lee Hodson (MK Dons, ENG), Aaron Hughes (Melbourne City, AUS), Gareth McAuley (West Brom, ENG), Luke McCullough (Doncaster, ENG), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood, ENG), Paddy McNair (Man. United, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Stuart Dallas (Leeds, ENG), Steven Davis (Southampton, ENG), Corry Evans (Blackburn, ENG), Shane Ferguson (Millwall, ENG), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock, SCO), Oliver Norwood (Reading, ENG), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest, ENG)

FORWARDS (4): Will Grigg (Wigan, ENG), Kyle Lafferty (Birmingham, ENG), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen, SCO), Conor Washington (QPR, ENG)



Lewandowski. I mean, that’s all we really need to know, right? Of course not! Sure, he’s the big name but they have a number of other excellent players. With that said, he did score 13 goals in qualifying. I look forward to keeping an eye on Blaszcykowski (who will be known as Kuba from here on because spelling that is awful). Poland open against Northern Ireland on 12 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Artur Boruc (Bournemouth, ENG), Łukasz Fabiański (Swansea, EPL), Wojciech Szczęsny (Roma, ITA)

DEFENDERS (9): Thiago Cionek (Palermo, ITA), Kamil Glik (Torino, ITA), Artur Jędrzejczyk (Legia, POL), Michał Pazdan (Legia, POL), Łukasz Piszczek (Dortmund, GER), Bartosz Salamon (Cagliari, ITA), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Lechia, POL)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Jakub Błaszczykowski (Fiorentina, ITA), Kamil Grosicki (Rennes, FRA), Tomasz Jodłowiec (Legia, POL), Bartosz Kapustka (Cracovia, POL), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla, ESP), Karol Linetty (Lech, AUT), Krzysztof Mączyński (Wisla, POL), Sławomir Peszko (Lechia, POL), Filip Starzyński (Zagłębie, POL), Piotr Zieliński (Empoli, ITA)

FORWARDS (3): Robert Lewandowski (Bayern, GER), Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax, NED), Mariusz Stępiński (Ruch, POL)



We all know who their most talked-about player is. He belongs to us (Yep… He’s ours, collectively). But Portugal won’t do much if they can’t utilize the rest of the excellent talent that they possess. Mostly their midfielders need to be on point. I’m looking for João Moutinho to be as good as I know he can be and for Ricardo Quaresma to continue the form he’s had in the pre-tournament friendlies.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO), Anthony Lopes (Lyon, FRA), Rui Patrício (Sporting CP, POR)

DEFENDERS (7): Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco, FRA), Cédric (Southampton, ENG), Eliseu (Benfica, POR), José Fonte (Southampton, ENG), Pepe (Real Madrid, ESP), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient, FRA)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Adrien Silva (Sporting CP, POR), André Gomes (Valencia, ESP), Danilo (Porto, POR), João Mário (Sporting CP, POR), João Moutinho (Monaco, FRA), Rafa Silva (Braga, POR), Renato Sanches (Benfica, POR), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg, GER), William Carvalho (Sporting CP, POR)

FORWARDS (4): Éder (Lille, FRA), Nani (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Ricardo Quaresma (Beşiktaş, TUR), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, ESP)


Republic of Ireland:

Ireland didn’t do so well in Euro 2012 and missed out on World Cup 2014. They’ll hope to improve their major tournament run (and ForzaSusan would also appreciate a good showing). Don’t ask me why, but I really like Shay Given and I have an odd love/hate relationship with Robbie Keane. This could likely be his final big tournament for Ireland.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Shay Given (Stoke, ENG), Darren Randolph (West Ham, ENG), Keiran Westwood (Sheff. Wednesday, ENG)

DEFENDERS (7): Cyrus Christie (Derby, ENG), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa, ENG), Seamus Coleman (Everton, ENG), Shane Duffy (Blackburn, ENG), Richard Keogh (Derby, ENG), John O’Shea (Sunderland, ENG), Stephan Ward (Burnley, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Robbie Brady (Norwich, ENG), Jeff Hendrick (Derby, ENG), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich, ENG), James McCarthy (Everton, ENG), James McClean (West Brom, ENG), Aiden McGeady (Sheff. Wednesday, ENG), David Meyler (Hull, ENG), Stephen Quinn (Reading, ENG), Glenn Whelan (Stoke, ENG)

FORWARDS (4): Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy, USA), Shane Long (Southampton, ENG), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich, ENG), Jon Walters (Stoke, ENG)



Romania participated in each of the first three World Cups. They’re one of only four countries to have done that. Their best run in a major tournament came in the 1994 World Cup (taking place right here in the USA) where they reached the quarter finals. They also reached the quarter finals in the 2000 Euros. They may be a “sleeper” as they were another team that went undefeated in qualifying. They’ll open against France in the first match of the tournament at Stade de France on 10 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Silviu Lung (Astra, ROU), Costel Pantilimon (Watford, ENG), Ciprian Tătăruşanu (Fiorentina, ITA)

DEFENDERS (8): Vlad Chiricheş (Napoli, ITA), Steliano Filip (Dinamo Bucureşti, ROU), Valerică Găman (Astra, ROU), Dragoş Grigore (Al-Sailiya, QAT), Alexandru Măţel (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO), Cosmin Moţi (Ludogorets, BUL), Răzvan Raţ (Rayo Vallecano, ESP), Cristian Săpunaru (Pandurii, ROU)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Alexandru Chipciu (Steaua, ROU), Ovidiu Hoban (H. Beer Sheva, ISR), Mihai Pintilii (Steaua, ROU), Adrian Popa (Steaua, ROU), Andrei Prepeliţă (Ludogorets, BUL), Lucian Sânmărtean (Al-Ittihad, KSA), Nicolae Stanciu (Steaua, ROU), Gabriel Torje (Osmanlıspor, TUR)

FORWARDS (4): Denis Alibec (Astra, ROU), Florin Andone (Córdoba, ESP), Claudiu Keșerü (Ludogorets, BUL), Bogdan Stancu (Gençlerbirliği, TUR)



As part of the Soviet Union, Russia won the Euros in 1960. But since then they’ve been unable to make it out of the group stages save from 2008 under Guus Hiddink. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see Denis Cheryshev due to injury. And my other favorite Russian, Andrey Arshavin, hasn’t featured for the team for a couple of years. However, Fedor Smolov was on fire for his club. He scored 20 goals in 28 games.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moskva, RUS), Yuri Lodygin (Zenit, RUS)

DEFENDERS (8): Aleksei Berezutski (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Vasili Berezutski (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Dmitri Kombarov (Spartak Moskva, RUS), Roman Neustädter (Schalke, GER), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moskva, RUS), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit, RUS)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Igor Denisov (Dinamo Moskva, RUS), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moskva, RUS), Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Oleg Ivanov (Terek, RUS), Pavel Mamaev (Krasnodar, RUS), Aleksandr Samedov (Lokomotiv Moskva, RUS), Oleg Shatov (Zenit, RUS), Roman Shirokov (CSKA Moskva, RUS), Dmitri Torbinski (Krasnodar, RUS)

FORWARDS (3): Artem Dzyuba (Zenit, RUS), Aleksandr Kokorin (Zenit, RUS), Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar, RUS)



Slovakia have been regular fixtures in the World Cup since becoming an independent nation, but their luck in Euros hasn’t been as good. They did beat Spain on their way to this tournament, however, to end Spain’s 36-match unbeaten streak. If you don’t know Marek Hamsik, you will. You won’t be able to miss his signature mohawk. He’s another love/hate relationship for me, as I often want to yell at him for not being utterly frustrating.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Matúš Kozáčik (Plzeň, CZE), Ján Mucha (Slovan Bratislava, SVK), Ján Novota (Rapid Wien, AUT)

DEFENDERS (8): Ján Ďurica (Lokomotiv Moskva, RUS), Norbert Gyömber (Roma, ITA), Tomáš Hubočan (Dinamo Moskva, RUS), Peter Pekarík (Hertha, GER), Kornel Saláta (Slovan Bratislava, SVK), Milan Škriniar (Sampdoria, ITA), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool, ENG), Dušan Švento (Köln, GER)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Ondrej Duda (Legia, POL), Ján Greguš (Jablonek, CZE), Marek Hamšík (Napoli, ITA), Patrik Hrošovský (Plzeň, CZE), Juraj Kucka (Milan, ITA), Róbert Mak (PAOK, GRE), Viktor Pečovský (Žilina, SVK), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor, TUR), Vladimír Weiss (Al-Gharafa, QAT)

FORWARDS (3): Michal Ďuriš (Plzeň, CZE), Adam Nemec (Willem II, NED), Stanislav Šesták (Ferencváros, HUN)



I have to mention at the start that I’m absolutely floored that Del Bosque is only bringing 7 midfielders. I’m super excited to see Lucas Vazquez in the seleccion and I also look forward to Nolito getting some playing time. I feel much better about this Spain squad than I did about the 2014 World Cup squad. It’s a nice mix of experience and new blood. All the pressure is on Spain, since they’re holders. They open against Czech Republic on 13 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Iker Casillas (Porto, POR), David de Gea (Man. United, ENG), Sergio Rico (Sevilla, ESP)

DEFENDERS (8): César Azpilicueta (Chelsea, ENG), Marc Bartra (Barcelona, ESP), Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal, ENG), Jordi Alba (Barcelona, ESP), Juanfran (Atlético, ESP), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona, ESP), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, ESP), Mikel San José (Ath. Bilbao, ESP)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Bruno Soriano (Villarreal, ESP), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona, ESP), Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea, ENG), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona, ESP), Koke (Atlético, ESP), David Silva (Man. City, ENG), Thiago Alcántara (Bayern, GER)

FORWARDS (5): Aritz Aduriz (Ath. Bilbao, ESP), Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid, ESP)Álvaro Morata (Juventus, ITA), Nolito (Celta Vigo, ESP), Pedro Rodríguez (Chelsea, ENG)



Here at HB&HB we love ourselves some of the Swedish god that is Zlatan. As he gets closer to the end of his career, we’ve come to realize that if he is going to be held in the same regard as Cristiano or Messi, he’s got to win a big tournament like Euros. Though they missed out on World Cup 2014 (which was a travesty), they have qualified for the last five Euro championships. They open against Ireland on 13 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Patrik Carlgren (AIK, SWE), Andreas Isaksson (Kasımpaşa, TUR), Robin Olsen (København, DEN)

DEFENDERS (7): Ludwig Augustinsson (København, DEN), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar, RUS), Pontus Jansson (Torino, ITA), Erik Johansson (København, DEN), Victor Lindelöf (Benfica, POR), Mikael Lustig (Celtic, SCO), Martin Olsson (Norwich, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Jimmy Durmaz (Olympiacos, GRE), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg, GER), Erkan Zengin (Trabzonspor, TUR), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig, GER), Oscar Hiljemark (Palermo, ITA), Kim Källström (Grasshoppers, SUI), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland, ENG), Oscar Lewicki (Malmö, SWE), Pontus Wernbloom (CSKA Moskva, RUS)

FORWARDS (4): Marcuz Berg (Panathinaikos, GRE), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo, ESP), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris, FRA), Emir Kujovic (Norrköping, SWE)



This country has a lot of talent. On paper, they could make it to the quarter finals. However, a lot of analysts seem to think that Switzerland have lacked something spectacular in recent matches. Keep an eye on Arsenal’s new signing, Granit Xhaka (whose name I cannot read without hearing this). Also important players should be Juventus defender Lichtsteiner and Stoke midfielder Shaqiri. They open against Albania on 11 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Roman Bürki (Dortmund, GER), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg, GER), Yann Sommer (Mönchengladbach, GER)

DEFENDERS (8): Johan Djourou (Hamburg, GER), Nico Elvedi (Mönchengladbach, GER), Michael Lang (Basel, SUI), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus, ITA), François Moubandje (Toulouse, FRA), Ricardo Rodríguez (Wolfsburg, GER), Fabian Schär (Hoffenheim, GER), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys, SUI)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Valon Behrami (Watford, ENG), Blerim Džemaili (Genoa, ITA), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes, FRA), Fabian Frei (Mainz, GER), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke, ENG), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal, ENG formerly Mönchengladbach), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys, SUI)

FORWARDS (5): Eren Derdiyok (Kasımpaşa, TUR), Breel Embolo (Basel, SUI), Admir Mehmedi (Leverkusen, GER), Haris Seferović (Frankfurt, GER), Shani Tarashaj (Grasshoppers, SUI)



Turkey were late qualifying for the tournament. But, like they did in 2008 when they earned a fourth place Euro finish, they are quite good at pulling off late wins. Arda Turan is possibly their most well-known name and it is an earned fame. He’s frustrating, but excellent. Hopefully, he won’t throw too much into any tackles on Modric or Kovacic when Turkey open against Croatia on 12 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Harun Tekin (Bursaspor, TUR), Onur Kıvrak (Trabzonspor, TUR), Volkan Babacan (İstanbul Başakşehir, TUR)

DEFENDERS (6): Ahmet Çalık (Gençlerbirliği, TUR), Gökhan Gönül (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Hakan Balta (Galatasaray, TUR), İsmail Köybaşı (Beşiktaş, TUR), Semih Kaya (Galatasaray, TUR), Şener Özbayraklı (Fenerbahçe, TUR)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Arda Turan (Barcelona, ESP), Caner Erkin (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Leverkusen, GER), Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Nuri Şahin (Dortmund, GER), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş, TUR), Olcay Şahan (Beşiktaş, TUR), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Selçuk İnan (Galatasaray, TUR), Volkan Şen (Fenerbahçe, TUR), Yunus Mallı (Mainz, GER)

FORWARDS (3): Burak Yılmaz (Beijing Guoan, CHN), Cenk Tosun (Beşiktaş, TUR), Emre Mor (Nordsjælland, DEN)



Ukraine go into Euros in potentially volatile territory. In May, their star players Anriy Yarmolenko and Taras Stepanenko had a falling out when playing against each other in club football. Yarmolenko was sent off for kicking Stepanenko and shortly after, the latter announced their friendship was over. It remains to be seen whether they’ve truly gotten over it, as a televised handshake would have Ukrainian fans believe. They’ll face Germany first on 12 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Denys Boyko (Beşiktaş, TUR), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR), Mykyta Shevchenko (Zorya, UKR)

DEFENDERS (6): Bohdan Butko (Amkar, RUS), Artem Fedetskiy (Dnipro, UKR), Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Olexandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR), Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR), Vyacheslav Shevechuk (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Olexandr Karavaev (Zorya, UKR), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla, ESP), Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro, UKR), Serhiy Rybalka (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk, UKR), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Kairat, KAZ), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv, UKR), Olexandr Zinchenko (Ufa, RUS)

FORWARDS (3): Pylyp Budkivskiy (Zorya, UKR), Yevhen Seleznyov (Kuban, RUS), Roman Zozulya (Dnipro, UKR)



This is Wales’ first major tournament since the World Cup in 1958. They’re my other “please get out of the group stages” team. I would love to see Gareth Bale lead this team to quarter finals. I think it’s possible, if they can build on the really impressive qualifying campaign. Obviously, Bale is their big scorer, having scored 11 of their goals in qualifying. But Wales have other talent. Ramsey is inconsistent but he can score and Sam Vokes is also entirely capable. They’ll face Slovakia on 11 June.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Owain Fôn Williams (Inverness, SCO), Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace, ENG), Danny Ward (Liverpool, ENG)

DEFENDERS (7): James Chester (West Brom, ENG), James Collins (West Ham, ENG), Ben Davies (Tottenham, ENG), Chris Gunter (Reading, ENG), Jazz Richards (Fulham, ENG), Neil Taylor (Swansea, ENG), Ashley Williams (Swansea, ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Joe Allen (Liverpool, ENG), David Edwards (Wolves, ENG), Andy Kin (Leicester, ENG), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace, ENG), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal, ENG), David Vaughan (Nottm Forest, ENG), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace, ENG)

FORWARDS (6): Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, ESP), Simon Church (MK Dons, ENG), David Cotterill (Birmingham, ENG), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading, ENG), Sam Vokes (Burnley, ENG), George Williams (Fulham, ENG)


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