Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Brexit month of political May-hem

THERESA MAY has officially taken over as the 75th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on another extraordinary day of British politics in Westminster.

Mrs May entered Downing Street shortly after her predecessor David Cameron made his last appearance at the despatch box at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

And the handover is quite appropriate, for this whole tumult was set in motion by Mr Cameron as long ago as January 2013.

It was back then that he vowed to hold a referendum on British membership of the European Union if the Conservatives got a majority in the General Election.

At the time, it was a political gamble aimed at keeping his backbenchers on side while stopping the drift of Tory voters towards UKIP.

But, when he made the announcement, a Conservative majority government actually did not look too likely.

Then, May 2015 happened.

Labour had collapsed to the Scottish Nationalists north of the border and the Liberal Democrats were utterly routed across the country generally, but particularly against the Conservatives in the south west.

Somehow, Mr Cameron had eked out a majority of 12 and so had to deliver on a promise which he did not think he would ever have to keep.

Unconvincing negotiations with fellow EU leaders followed - and, having played hardball and gained nothing but the most measly of compromises, Mr Cameron then awkwardly had to campaign to stay in.

Almost immediately, he unsurprisingly ran into trouble.

For, if it was not bad enough having the then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage leading the Leave campaign, the loss of support from his old friend Boris Johnson was perhaps an early blow from which the Remainers never recovered.

Mr Johnson, of course, had acted purely in self-interest, as proven by the overtures he had previously made towards the EU when he was London mayor.

But his overwhelming desire for job of Prime Minister outweighed everything else, and his ultimate personal failure - to which I will come - was stunning and oddly satisfying, given his hypocrisy.

Mr Johnson nevertheless played an important part for the Leave team, although both campaigns were surely among the most shoddily ever run by mainstream British politicians.

The Remain side - in a move labelled Project Fear by its opponents - seemed only to warn of the dire consequences of leaving the EU. None of its benefits was mentioned.

Meanwhile, the Leavers provided hardly any vision at all of what a post-Brexit Britain would look like - as would become apparent in the days ahead.

Indeed, much of the media coverage focused on what appeared to be a battle for the Conservative leadership between the incumbents Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne on one side and Mr Johnson and Michael Gove on the other.

Ultimately, as predicted, most people were left thorough confused or just totally disenchanted with the debate, and so understandably went with their gut feeling on 23 June.

That gut feeling was to leave the EU.

The margin of victory for the Leavers - by 52% to 48% or approximately 1.3m votes - was not exactly huge but the fact that it happened at all made it a truly momentous event in the history of Britain.

Mr Cameron, swayed by weakness to promise a vote in the first place, had suddenly never been weaker.

So, unsurprisingly on the morning of 24 June, he felt he had no other option but to resign as a failure, offering to stay on until October in a caretaker capacity.

And it was at this point that the real power games began.

Slowly but surely, the candidates for the Conservative leadership lined themselves up with the contest expected to be between Mrs May, a Remain supporter, and Mr Johnson.

Naturally, Mr Johnson had backed on receiving the support of his Leave colleague Mr Gove.

But on 30 June, just three hours before the nominations closed, Mr Gove announced his own candidacy having come to the conclusion that Mr Johnson could not "provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.

The Telegraph described the move by Mr Gove as "the most spectacular political assassination in a generation" - and it was indeed a deliciously premature end to the Johnson campaign before the contest had even properly begun.

Historically, a streak of ruthlessness seems to have been admired by the Conservatives.

Witness the ascent and the downfall of Margaret Thatcher or, more recently, the removal of Iain Duncan-Smith as leader even before he could fight a General Election.

However, Mr Gove had even been too brutal for a Tory - and, after Dr Liam Fox had been eliminated and outsider Stephen Crabb had withdrawn following the first ballot on 5 July, he was soundly beaten in the second vote on 7 July.

Mrs May unsurprisingly finished top, with the backing of 199 MPs - but second place went to a largely previously unheralded Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom.

Mrs Leadsom picked up 84 votes, against Mr Gove's 46 - and so ensured that, by September, Britain would have its second female Prime Minister.

Except it has all happened rather more quicker than that. Mrs Leadsom, like Icarus before her, has already burned her wings having flown too close to the sun in her rapid ascent.

Rather than The Sun, though, it was instead a problem with the Times - with whom she had given an interview (£) which was published on 9 July.

In the interview, Mrs Leadsom made the highly controversial statement that she would be better placed to lead the country because she has children, whereas Mrs May does not.

Under pressure, she hurriedly denied the claim and ordered the newspaper to publish the full transcript. But the transcript duly followed and did not contradict anything which had been printed.

Subsequently, Mrs Leadsom demanded the Times release the audio of the interview - if anything, though, this further weakened her case, given the emphasis which she placed on her point.

And so, after a weekend of scrutiny - or abuse, according to Mrs Leadsom - the MP for South Northamptonshire officially ended her campaign on Monday.

Mrs May was in the clear.

Of course, the new PM does not exactly take over from a position of strength.

It became evident within hours that some of the promises which the Leave campaigners had made in the run-up to the vote were - and there is no other way of putting this - a pack of lies.

Within hours of winning the referendum on 24 June, Mr Farage - who, in the meantime, has stepped down from his position as UKIP leader for the umpteenth time - denied £350m per week would now be spent on the National Health Service.

Then, the next day, Conservative MEP and Leave campaigner Daniel Hannan suggested that there would not be a "radical decline" in immigration - all far removed from Mr Farage's poster.

No wonder then that Mrs May has entrusted two of the other three Great Offices of State in her new government to fellow Remain supporters.

Key ally Philip Hammond is the new Chancellor, in place of the sacked Mr Osborne, while Amber Rudd fills Mrs May's former job of Home Secretary.

But Mr Johnson - yes, him again - does not get away with leaving his post-Brexit mess entirely to others.

Ludicrously, he is the new Foreign Secretary, a role in which his fine-tuned diplomatic skills should come to the fore.

Finally, it is not all bad news in the May cabinet for Leave supporters. The appointment of strong Leave campaigner David Davis as Secretary of State for Exiting the EU confirms there is no going back on this historic decision.

Having reached enough online signatories, the petition for a second EU referendum will be debated in Parliament after the recess on 5 September.

Under Mrs May, though, there will not be one - and nor should there be. The decision has been made, for better or worse - and only a true masochist would want a repeat of those two campaigns again.

Instead, the new PM will see her task as one of somehow steering Britain through some of the rockiest waters in its post-war existence.

At least, though, she will consider that she is able to do so without any significant effective opposition in the Commons.

For, as the Conservatives slowly untangle themselves, Labour continues to engage in a civil war so fierce that it almost feels inevitable the party will split.

But all that is for another day and a different blog altogether.

Westminster seatEU stanceFirst 
Theresa MAY(Maidenhead)Remain165199unopposed
Andrea LEADSOM(South Northamptionshire)Leave6684withdrew
Michael GOVE(Surrey Heath)Leave4846-
Stephen CRABB(Preseli Pembrokeshire)Remain34withdrew-
Dr Liam FOX(North Somerset)Leave16--


Westminster seatEU stancePosition
Theresa MAY(Maidenhead)RemainPrime Minister
Philip HAMMOND(Runnymede & Weybridge)RemainChancellor of Exchequer
Boris JOHNSON(Uxbridge & South Ruislip)LeaveForeign Secretary
Amber RUDD(Hastings & Rye)RemainHome Secretary
Michael FALLON(Sevenoaks)RemainDefence Secretary
David DAVIS(Haltemprice & Howden)LeaveBrexit Secretary
Dr Liam FOX(North Somerset)LeaveInternational Trade

Monday, 11 July 2016

Dominant Murray produces a masterclass at Wimbledon

ANDY MURRAY became a double Wimbledon champion with a dominant display on Centre Court against Canadian Milos Raonic.

Murray won 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) in two hours and 48 minutes to regain the title which he first won in 2013.

Back then, Murray also won in straight sets against his arch rival and friend Novak Djokovic - but, though there was only one break of serve in the whole match yesterday, this was a lot more comfortable for the Dunblane man.

Raonic, to his credit, had played well over the two weeks at SW19, the highlight of his run being his defeat of the great Roger Federer in the semi finals on Friday in a titanic five-set battle.

The Podgorica-born 25-year-old could find barely any spare change out of Murray, however, and he gained only two breaks points in the whole match.

By contrast, Raonic seemed under regular pressure from a superb returning masterclass by a relentless Murray, only for his big serve to come to his aid.

Still, against Murray's returning ability, Raonic's main weapon was having nowhere near the effect that it had earlier in the tournament.

After all, heading into the contest, Raonic had served 137 aces. In his first ever Grand Slam final, however, he could add only eight more while Murray was able get a highly impressive 74% of his returns back in play.

That was enough to give Murray a vital edge in a match which presented few clear cut opportunities to either player.

Murray's first breakthrough came in the seventh game of the first set in which he earned two break points.

After frittering away the first chance by pushing a backhand too long, the Scot took the second cracking a forehand which his Candian opponent could only net.

Murray then consolidated his break by winning from deuce - and, though Raonic was gallant enough to make the world number two serve out the set, he did so with ease.

The second set oddly followed the same pattern of the first with Murray's big opportunity coming in the seventh game after he forced Raonic to deuce and gained a break point.

Raonic stood firm this time and then saved another couple of break points in the ninth game.

But he was still no closer to forcing a breakthrough on the Murray serve and, following a comfortable hold each, it was time for a tie-break.

Raonic had won four of the previous five tie-breakers between the pair - but Murray did not allow such history to trouble him as he moved into an early position of dominance to go 5-1 up at the change of ends.

That became 6-1 as Murray, on serve, forced Raonic to net a forehand. The Canadian held the next two points on his serve but, back on serve, Murray soon confirmed a two-set lead.

It now became a case of waiting to see whether Murray would steamroller Raonic or if there would be a comeback - and, to be fair, the first major action of the third set suggested the latter.

In the fifth game at 2-2, Raonic finally got some joy and held two break points - but Murray did not flinch.

Saving the first with his serve, the Scot then outlasted Raonic in an attritional rally to get the game to deuce. Murray then made it four points in a row to hold again.

Weaker players may have crumbled at that point but Raonic's serve was always going to keep him in the contest as long as physically possible. The problem was that he never got close on the Murray serve again.

Another tie-break was thus the inevitable conclusion to the third act - and, in a carbon copy of the second set, Murray found himself 5-1 up at the change of ends.

Again it became 6-1 to bring up five championship points - and, though Raonic saved the first of those against the serve, Murray made no mistake on the next point.

Cue the tears - of joy, of course - from Murray, and the 29-year-old made it clear he was going to enjoy this victory far more than his tension-riddled previous success on the hallowed turf at Wimbledon.

Instead, perhaps, the only tension surrounding Murray this year came about from his status as red-hot favourite once Djokovic had surprisingly lost to American Sam Querrey in the third round.

Nowadays, though, Murray is far too good a player to allow the occasion get to him.

Indeed, he seem to relish playing in his 11th Grand Slam final - but his first which was not against Federer or Djokovic. His dominance was rarely examined by the still-developing Raonic.

A second Wimbledon title, and a third Grand Slam in toughest ever tennis era, was never really in doubt.

Andy Murray: the route to glory Wimbledon 2016
Round 1v Liam Broady (GBR)6-2 6-3 6-4
Round 2v Lu Yen-hsun (TPE)6-3 6-2 6-1
Round 3v John Millman (AUS)6-3 7-5 6-2
Round 4v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)7-5 6-1 6-4
Quarter Finalv Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)7-6(12-10) 6-1 3-6 4-6 6-1
Semi Finalv Tomáš Berdych (CZE)6-3 6-3 6-3
Finalv Milos Raonic (CAN)6-4 7-6(7-3) 7-6(7-2)

The pantheon of champions Wimbledon Men's Singles titles in the Open Era (since 1968)
7 Pete Sampras (USA) - 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
7 Roger Federer (SUI) - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
5 Bjorn Borg (SWE) - 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980
3 John McEnroe (USA) - 1981, 1983, 1984 
3 Boris Becker (GER) - 1985, 1986, 1989
3 Novak Djokovic (SRB) - 2011, 2014, 2015
2 *Rod Laver (AUS) - 1968, 1969
2 *John Newcombe (AUS) - 1970, 1971
2 Jimmy Connors (USA) - 1974, 1982
2 Stefan Edberg (SWE) - 1988, 1990
2 Rafael Nadal (ESP) - 2008, 2010
2 Andy Murray (GBR) - 2013, 2016
1 Stan Smith (USA) - 1972 
1 Jan Kodeš (CZE) - 1973
1 Arthur Ashe (USA) - 1975
1 Pat Cash (AUS) - 1987
1 Michael Stich (GER) - 1991
1 Andre Agassi (USA) - 1992
1 Richard Krajicek (NED) - 1996
1 Goran Ivanišević (CRO) - 2001
1 Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) - 2002
*Note: Rod Laver (1961, 1962) and John Newcombe (1967) also won titles in the Amateur Era, pre-1967

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Euro 2016 Final: Éder strikes as Portugal break their duck

EURO 2016 

Portugal 1 Éder 109 
France 0
After extra time

Portugal Rui Patricio - Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro - William Carvalho - Renato Sanches (Eder 79), Adrien Silva (Moutinho 66), Joao Mario - Nani, Ronaldo (Quaresma 25) Booked Cedric, Joao Mario, Guerreiro, William Carvalho, Jose Fonte, Rui Patricio Subs not used Bruno Alves, Carvalho, Vierinha, Anthony Lopes, Danilo, Andre Gomes, Rafa Silva, Eliseu, Eduardo.
France Lloris - Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra - Pogba, Matuidi - Sissoko (Martial 110), Griezmann, Payet (Coman 58) - Giroud (Gignac 78) Booked Umtiti, Matuidi, Koscielny, Pogba Subs not used Jallet, Rami, Kante, Cabaye, Schneiderlin, Mangal, Mandanda, Digne, Costil
Attendance 75,868 at Stade de France, Saint-Denis Referee Mark Clattenburg (England)
Kick-off 8pm BST. Live on BBC and ITV1.

PORTUGAL won their first major international trophy after former Swansea City flop Éder struck in extra time to break French hearts.

Substitute Éder failed to score in any of his 15 appearances for the Swans last season but lashed a raking shot from 25 yards to win a low-quality contest at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

France, of course, had been looking for a third success as hosts having previously won Euro 1984 and World Cup 1998 on home soil.

But it was the Portuguese - and their injured talisman Cristiano Ronaldo - who eventually prevailed in a match which neatly summed up the weaknesses of this expanded 24-team tournament as a whole.

It would be fair to say, as feared, the expansion has not really worked. The format meant a single win was likely to take a team through - with only Turkey and Albania missing out on this basis. 

Portugal, meanwhile, managed to qualify without a group stage victory, Slovakia satisfied themselves with a 0-0 draw against England, and Northern Ireland were even able to celebrate a narrow defeat - albeit against Germany.

Overall, far too many of the group games were tight, tense affairs, usually more readily found in the latter stages of a tournament. In total, there were just 108 goals in 51 games. 

That is a paltry average of 2.12 per match (compared to 2.67 at the last World Cup) - and, though there were only four 0-0 draws, a further 13 matches featured just a single goal.

UEFA truly needs to learn that sometimes less can be more - though having already made the move to 24 teams, it is unlikely the governing body will go back to more easily divisible 16.

After all, the tournament on some levels has been a success. The matches have captured the attention and imagination of a scarred French public, and there have been some truly magical stories featuring some of the supposed lesser nations such as Iceland and Wales

On a personal level, my trip to Lille for five days during the tournament will remain a highlight of my year. The fan camp and the city were largely well organised, and there was hardly any sign of the sort of trouble which the British newspapers would have you believe was commonplace.

It is just a shame that the fun off the pitch was not mirrored by a greater quality of play on it.

Back to the Final anyway - and, though it will be little remembered now, France actually started reasonably well.

On 10 minutes, semi final hero and tournament top scorer Antoine Griezmann sent a looping header towards goal which was tipped over by Rui Patricio.

From the resultant corner, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud headed straight at the grateful Portuguese goalkeeper.

Then, in the 17th minute, there appeared to be a critical twist. Ronaldo nastily clashed knees with West Ham United's Dmitri Payet - and, a couple of minutes later, the Real Madrid man went down in pain again.

Still attempting to carry on at first, he was forced to admit defeat five minutes later, and was replaced by Ricardo Quaresma.

A capacity crowd in the Stade de France sensed the match was now there for the taking - but the team on the pitch looked tense and, bar a Moussa Sissoko shot straight at the goalkeeper, created little as the first half faded to a close.

The early stages of the second period were more of the same before the game was livened up by the introduction of winger Kingsley Coman.

Within moments of coming on, Coman released Griezmann but the Atletico Madrid striker again shot straight at Rui Patricio.

And then Griezmann was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance, heading over from just six yards from an excellent Coman cross.

Unfortunately, thereafter, France failed to kick on and use the little momentum which they had built up.

Portugal began to look ever more dangerous on the counter with Hugo Lloris forced to save from Nani and an acrobatic effort from Quaresma in quick succession.

However, the last big chance of normal time fell to the hosts. Andre-Pierre Gignac twisted and turned into a good position before hitting his shot off the face of the post.

Time had ticked by, slowly for much of the game, and it seemed destined that this underwhelming tie would be decided in extra time.

Sadly, in the first 15 minutes of the additional period, the match got little better.

The Portuguese provided the only vaguely exciting moment in that first half when Lloris saved well from eventual match-winner Éder. 

Nevertheless, it was beginning to become clear which way this match was swinging. 

Consett-born referee Mark Clattenburg had enjoyed a largely uneventful evening - but definitely got one of his decisions wrong by giving a Portugal free-kick when it was actually Éder who had handled.

It could have been costly with Raphaël Guerreiro smacking the resulting effort off the bar - but, within a minute, Portugal did take the lead.

Éder's goal left France little more than 10 minutes to get back into the match, but - in a tournament of dramatic, late goals - Les Bleus never looked like conjuring one.

Indeed, Portugal could have gone further ahead if Paul Pogba had not brought down Joao Mario and if Bacary Sagna had not intercepted a shot from the same player.

Cruelly perhaps, for France, there was one last scrambled effort as Anthony Martial - brought on in extra time - attempted a shot from the edge of the box.

However, it never looked like piercing the mass of bodies in front of it and, on heading into two minutes of injury time, this looked destined to be Portugal's night.

So it was - and, though it could not be said for them in the tournament as a whole, so it deserved to be on the night.

Portugal had a clear game plan and stuck to it, even if their tactics were never going to make the purists purr - and, finally, in their 35th match in European Championship finals history, they had won the trophy.

England - generally poor in France and absolutely atrocious against Iceland in the last 16 - now hold the unwanted crown of having played the most games at the European Championships without winning them.

That streak already stands at 31 and seems likely to go far beyond the Portuguese total in the years ahead.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to get away from the fact that Portugal are surely one of the poorest teams to have ever won an international tournament.

Ahead for only 73 minutes of the whole campaign, A Seleção qualified for the latter stages by drawing their three group games, beating Croatia in extra time, and then Poland on penalties.

A merited victory over spirited Wales was their only win inside 90 minutes but, once it became clear that France were not going to hit the form which had carried them past Iceland and Germany, another workmanlike performance was always going to give Portugal a chance.

It is a chance which they have gratefully taken - but, except for joyous Portuguese and the heartbroken French, this was a forgettable end to a largely drab four weeks.

Roll on 5 August - the start of the new domestic football season as well as the next big event of the year, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Euro 2016: Complete results sheet

EURO 2016 
The complete results 

GROUP A France and Switzerland qualified
Fri 10-JunFRANCE2-1ROMANIASaint-Denis
8pm ITVGiroud 57, Payet 89
Stancu 65pen
2pm BBC

Schär 5
5pm ITVStancu 18pen
Mehmedi 57
Wed 15-JunFRANCE2-0ALBANIAMarseille
8pm ITVGriezmann 90, Payet 90+6

8pm BBC

Sadiku 43
8pm BBC

(Q) FRANCE210417

GROUP B Wales, England and Slovakia qualified
Sat 11-JunWALES2-1SLOVAKIABordeaux
5pm BBCBale 10
Robson-Kanu 81

Duda 61
Sat 11-Jun ENGLAND1-1RUSSIAMarseille
8pm ITVDier 73
Berezutski 90+2
2pm BBCGlushakov 80
Weiss 32, Hamšík 45
2pm BBCVardy 56
Sturridge 90+2

Bale 42
Mon 20-JunRUSSIA0-3WALESToulouse
8pm ITV

Ramsey 11, Taylor 20
Bale 67

Mon 20-JunSLOVAKIA0-0ENGLANDSaint-Étienne
8pm ITV

(Q) WALES201636
(Q) ENGLAND120325
(Q) SLOVAKIA111334

GROUP C Germany, Poland and Northern Ireland qualified
5pm BBCMilik 51

8pm BBCMustafi 19
Schweinsteiger 90+2

5pm ITV

McAuley 49, McGinn 90+6
Thu 16-JunGERMANY0-0POLANDSaint-Denis
8pm ITV

5pm BBC

Gómez 30
Tue 21-JunUKRAINE0-1POLANDMarseille
5pm BBC

Blaszczykowski 54

(Q) GERMANY210307
(Q) POLAND210207

GROUP D Croatia and Spain qualified
2pm ITV

Modrić 41
2pm ITVPiqué 87

5pm BBCŠkoda 76, Necid 89pen
Perišić 37, Rakitić 59
Fri 17-JunSPAIN3-0TURKEYNice
8pm ITVMorata 34, 48, Nolito 37

Tue 21-JunCROATIA2-1SPAINBordeaux
8pm ITVKalinić 45, Perišić 87
Morata 7
8pm ITV

Yılmaz 10, Tufan 65

(Q) CROATIA210537
(Q) SPAIN201526
Czech Republic012251

GROUP E Italy, Belgium and Ireland qualified
Mon 13-JunIRELAND1-1SWEDENSaint-Denis
5pm BBCHoolahan 48
Clark 71og
Mon 13-Jun BELGIUM0-2ITALYLyon
8pm BBC

Giaccherini 32, Pellè 90
Fri 17-JunITALY1-0SWEDENToulouse
2pm ITVÉder 88

Sat 18-JunBELGIUM3-0IRELANDBordeaux
2pm ITVLukaku 48, 70, Witsel 61

Wed 22-JunITALY0-1IRELANDLille
8pm ITV

Brady 85
8pm ITV

Nainggolan 84

(Q) ITALY201316
(Q) BELGIUM201426
(Q) IRELAND111244
GROUP F Hungary, Iceland and Portugal qualified
Tue 14-JunAUSTRIA0-2HUNGARYBordeaux
5pm ITV

Szalai 62, Stieber 87
Tue 14-Jun PORTUGAL1-1ICELANDSaint-Étienne
8pm BBCNani 31
Bjarnason 50
Sat 18-JunICELAND1-1HUNGARYMarseille
5pm BBCG Sigurðsson 40pen
Sævarsson 88og
8pm BBC

5pm BBCGera 19, Dzsudzsák 47, 55
Nani 42, Ronaldo 50, 62
Wed 22-JunICELAND2-1AUSTRIASaint-Denis
5pm BBCBöðvarsson 18
Traustason 90+4

Schöpf 60

(Q) HUNGARY120645
(Q) ICELAND120435
(Q) PORTUGAL030443

(Q) SLOVAKIA [B]111334
(Q) IRELAND [E]111244
(Q) PORTUGAL [F]030443
Turkey [D]102243
Albania [A]102133

Sat 25-JunSWITZERLAND1-1POLANDSaint-Étienne
2pm BBCShaqiri 82aet
(4-5 pens)
Blaszczykowski 39
8pm ITV
aetQuaresma 117
5pm BBCMcAuley 75og

Sun 26-JunHUNGARY0-4BELGIUMToulouse
8pm BBC

Alderweireld 10, Batshuayi 78
Hazard 80, Carrasco 90+1

5pm ITVBoateng 8, Gómez 43
Draxler 63

Mon 27-JunITALY2-0SPAINSaint-Denis
5pm BBCChiellini 33, Pellè 90+1

2pm ITVGriezmann 58, 61
Brady 3pen
8pm ITVRooney 4pen
R Sigurðsson 6, Sigþórsson 19

Thu 30-JunPOLAND1-1PORTUGALMarseille
8pm ITVLewandowski 2aet
(3-5 pens)
Sanches 33
Fri 01-Jul WALES3-1BELGIUMLille
8pm BBCA Williams 31
Robson-Kanu 55, Vokes 86

Nainggolan 13
Sat 02-JulGERMANY1-1ITALYBordeaux
8pm BBCÖzil 65aet
(6-5 pens)
Bonucci 78pen
Sun 03-JulFRANCE5-2ICELANDSaint-Denis
8pm ITVGiroud 13, 59, Pogba 20
Payet 43, Griezmann 45

Sigþórsson 56
Bjarnason 84

8pm ITVRonaldo 50, Nani 53

Thu 07-Jul GERMANY0-2FRANCEMarseille
8pm BBC

Griezmann 45+2pen, 72

Portugal 1 Éder 109 
France 0
After extra time

Portugal Rui Patricio - Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro - William Carvalho - Renato Sanches (Eder 79), Adrien Silva (Moutinho 66), Joao Mario - Nani, Ronaldo (Quaresma 25) Booked Cedric, Joao Mario, Guerreiro, William Carvalho, Jose Fonte, Rui Patricio Subs not used Bruno Alves, Carvalho, Vierinha, Anthony Lopes, Danilo, Andre Gomes, Rafa Silva, Eliseu, Eduardo.
France Lloris - Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra - Pogba, Matuidi - Sissoko (Martial 110), Griezmann, Payet (Coman 58) - Giroud (Gignac 78) Booked Umtiti, Matuidi, Koscielny, Pogba Subs not used Jallet, Rami, Kante, Cabaye, Schneiderlin, Mangal, Mandanda, Digne, Costil
Attendance tbc at Stade de France, Saint-Denis Referee Mark Clattenburg (England)
Kick-off 8pm BST. Live on BBC and ITV1.

6 Antoine Griezmann (France)
3 Olivier Giroud (France), Dimitri Payet (France), Nani (Portugal), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Álvaro Morata (Spain), Gareth Bale (Wales)
2 Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Radja Nainggolan (Belgium), Ivan Perišić (Croatia), Mario Gómez (Germany), Balázs Dzsudzsák (Hungary), Birkir Bjarnason (Iceland), Kolbeinn Sigþórsson (Iceland), Robbie Brady (Ireland), Graziano Pellè (Italy), Jakub Blaszczykowski (Poland), Bodgan Stancu (Romania), Hal Robson-Kanu (Wales)
1 Armando Sadiku (Albania), Alessandro Schöpf (Austria), Toby Alderweireld (Belgium), Michy Batshuayi (Belgium), Yannick Carrasco (Belgium), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Axel Witsel (Belgium), Nikola Kalinić (Croatia), Luka Modrić (Croatia), Ivan Rakitić (Croatia), Tomáš Necid (Czech Republic), Milan Škoda (Czech Republic), Eric Dier (England), Jamie Vardy (England), Daniel Sturridge (England), Paul Pogba (France), Jérôme Boateng (Germany), Julian Draxler (Germany), Shkodran Mustafi (Germany), Mesut Özil (Germany), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Zoltán Gera (Hungary), Zoltán Stieber (Hungary), Ádám Szalai (Hungary), Jón Daði Böðvarsson (Iceland), Gylfi Sigurðsson (Iceland), Ragnar Sigurðsson (Iceland), Arnór Ingvi Traustason (Iceland), Wes Hoolahan (Ireland), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy), Éder (Italy), Emanuele Giaccherini (Italy), Gareth McAuley (Northern Ireland), Niall McGinn (Northern Ireland), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Arkadiusz Milik (Poland), Éder (Portugal), Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal), Renato Sanches (Portugal), Vasili Berezutski (Russia), Denis Glushakov (Russia), Ondrej Duda (Slovakia), Marek Hamšík (Slovakia), Vladimír Weiss (Slovakia), Nolito (Spain), Gerard Piqué (Spain), Admir Mehmedi (Switzerland), Fabian Schär (Switzerland), Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland), Ozan Tufan (Turkey), Burak Yılmaz (Turkey), Aaron Ramsey (Wales), Neil Taylor (Wales), Sam Vokes (Wales), Ashley Williams (Wales)
3 own goals (Ciaran Clark (Ireland) for Sweden; Birkir Már Sævarsson (Iceland) for Hungary; Gareth McAuley (Northern Ireland) for Wales)

Lorik Cana (Albania) v Switzerland
Aleksandar Dragović (Austria) v Hungary
Shane Duffy (Ireland) v France

Friday, 10 June 2016

Euro 2016: The Guide

Fri 10-Jun8pmITVFRANCE v ROMANIASaint-Denis
Wed 15-Jun8pmITVFRANCE v ALBANIAMarseille

FRANCE harbour genuine hopes of adding to their home triumphs in Euro 1984 and World Cup 1998 which were both won on French soil with a kindly group draw offering further encouragement. Certainly, it would be a surprise if this first phase presented many problems for Didier Deschamps' men.
After all, Romania rarely qualify nowadays, Albania are making their debut, while Switzerland have never gone beyond the group stage of a European Championship finals in three attempts. Nevertheless, Les Bleus could find it tough to get off to a flying start in the opening match of the tournament against a steely Romanian team which conceded just twice in an unbeaten qualifying campaign. Indeed, keeping it tight will probably be the Romanians' main tactic throughout these three opening matches.
Albania, meanwhile, make their remarkable European Championship finals debut tomorrow afternoon against Switzerland - a rather spicier tie that it first appears as both teams will field a number of Albanian or Kosovan-born players. There is even the distinct possibility that two brothers - Albania's Taulant Xhaka and slightly better-known Swiss player Granit Xhaka - will line-up against each other. Regardless of sibling rivalry, though, Switzerland will be looking at this opener as the ideal chance to get just a second Euro finals win in history - and, overall, it would be no surprise if the greater amount of recent tournament experience enjoyed by France and Switzerland was deciding factor in this section.
Predictions France - semi finals; Switzerland - second round; Romania, Albania - group stages

FIFA ranking 17
UEFA ranking 8
Head coach Didier Deschamps (since July 2012)
Captain Hugo Lloris
Squad Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille) - Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Adil Rami (Sevilla) - Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United), N'Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle) - Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
Qualification As hosts
Warm-up matches
30-May v Cameroon (H) W3-2
04-Jun v Scotland (H) W3-0 
Best performance Winners 1984, 2000

FIFA ranking 22
UEFA ranking 18
Head coach Anghel Iordănescu (since October 2014)
Captain Vlad Chiricheș
Squad Ciprian Tatarusanu (Fiorentina), Costel Pantilimon (Watford), Silviu Lung (Astra Giurgiu) - Cristian Sapunaru (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Alexandru Matel (Dinamo Zagreb), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli), Valerica Gaman (Astra Giurgiu), Dragos Grigore (Al-Sailiya), Cosmin Moti (Ludogorets Razgrad), Razvan Rat (Rayo Vallecano), Steliano Filip (Dinamo Bucharest) - Mihai Pintilii (Steaua Bucharest), Ovidiu Hoban (Hapoel Be'er Sheva), Andrei Prepelita (Ludogorets Razgrad), Adrian Popa (Steaua Bucharest), Gabriel Torje (Osmanlispor), Alexandru Chipciu (Steaua Bucharest), Nicolae Stanciu (Steaua Bucharest), Lucian Sanmartean (Al Ittihad) - Claudiu Keseru (Ludogorets Razgrad), Bogdan Stancu (Genclerbirligi), Florin Andone (Cordoba), Denis Alibec (Astra Giurgiu)
Qualification Runners-up of Group F (W5 D5 L0 F11 A2 Pts 20) 
Warm-up matches
25-May v DR Congo (N) D1-1
29-May v Ukraine (N) L3-4
02-Jun v Georgia (H) W5-1
Best performance Quarter finals 2000

FIFA ranking 42
UEFA ranking 31
Head coach Gianni De Biasi (since December 2011)
Captain Lorik Cana
Squad Etrit Berisha (Lazio), Alban Hoxha (Partizani), Orges Shehi (Skenderbeu) - Lorik Cana (Nantes), Arlind Ajeti (Frosinone), Mergim Mavraj (Cologne), Elseid Hysaj (Napoli), Ansi Agolli (Qarabag), Frederic Veseli (Lugano), Naser Aliji (Basel) - Ledjan Memushaj (Pescara), Ergys Kaçe (Paok Thessaloniki), Andi Lila (Giannina), Migjen Basha (Como), Odise Roshi (Rijeka), Burim Kukeli (Zurich), Ermir Lenjani (Nantes), Taulant Xhaka (Basel), Armir Abrashi (Freiburg) - Bekim Balaj (Rijeka), Sokol Cikalleshi (Medipol Baksasehir), Armando Sadiku (Vaduz), Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids)
Qualification Runners-up of Group I (W4 D2 L2 F10 A5 Pts 14)
Warm-up matches
29-May v Qatar (N) W3-1
03-Jun v Ukraine (N) L1-3
Best performance Never previously qualified

FIFA ranking 15
UEFA ranking 10
Head coach Vladimir Petković (since July 2014)
Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner
Squad Roman Burki (Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg), Yann Sommer (Moenchengladbach) - Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Nico Elvedi (Moenchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodríguez (Wolfsburg), Fabian Schar (Hoffenheim), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys) - Valon Behrami (Watford), Blerim Dzemaili (Genoa), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Granit Xhaka (Moenchengladbach), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys) - Eren Derdiyok (Kasımpasa), Admir Mehmedi (Leverkusen), Breel Embolo (Basel), Haris Seferovic (Frankfurt), Shani Tarashaj (Everton)
Qualification Runners-up of Group E (W7 D0 L3 F24 A8 Pts 21)
Warm-up matches
28-May v Belgium (H) L1-2
03-Jun v Moldova (H) W2-1
Best performance Group stage 1996, 2004, 2008

Sat 11-Jun5pmBBCWALES v SLOVAKIABordeaux
Sat 11-Jun8pmITVENGLAND v RUSSIAMarseille
Mon 20-Jun8pmITVRUSSIA v WALESToulouse
Mon 20-Jun8pmITVSLOVAKIA v ENGLANDSaint-Étienne

ENGLAND arrive at Euro 2016 still looking to repair their slightly damaged reputation on the international stage. The 100% record in qualifying has gone some way to healing the wounds left by a World Cup group stage exit two years ago - but the Three Lions have qualified convincingly for past tournaments, only then to stutter on the big stage.
Roy Hodgson has come in for criticism in some quarters for being too conservative and the lack of width in his squad, bar Raheem Sterling, is a concern. Nevertheless, Hodgson has overseen a huge turnover of players during his four-year tenure with only four of the squad which went to Euro 2012 having made the short flight to France this time.
England, in fact, have the youngest squad of all 24 teams at this summer's tournament - and it will be the youthful vibrancy of the likes of Dele Alli as well as the goal threat of Premier League top scorers Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy which will be the key factors in this campaign.
Wales will also have plenty to offer having at last made it to a major tournament after 58 years of trying. Undoubtedly, though, all of their best work runs through Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale. The 26-year-old scored seven of his country's 11 goals in qualifying to spearhead a seriously impressive campaign featuring just one defeat. It would be slightly unfair on the Welsh to label them as a one-man team completely, though.
The defence, marshalled by skipper Ashley Williams, kept seven clean sheets and conceded just four goals in qualifying - and it was this record, as much as anything Bale did, which gave Chris Coleman's men the belief to seal a place in the finals.
Russia had a more difficult time of it in the qualifiers and sacked former England coach Fabio Capello after his conservative approach rendered only eight points from the first six games. Under his replacement, Leonid Slutsky, the Russians appeared more confident and won all of their last four games to end up qualifying pretty comfortably but it would still rank as a major surprise if this team came anywhere near matching the class of 2008 by reaching the semi finals. Neither England, nor Wales for that matter, should fear them.
By contrast, the fourth team in this section - Slovakia - should not be underestimated. A strong qualifying performance, featuring a deserved win early on over Spain, instilled great confidence in Jan Kozak's men and they went on to reach only a second major finals since 1993 when they began competing independently. Of course, in their first finals appearance - at World Cup 2010 - they caused a major shock by beating holders Italy 3-2 to reach the Last 16. Dangerously, much of the squad now remains the same now as it was then.
Predictions England - quarter finals; Russia - quarter finals; Wales - second round; Slovakia - group stages

FIFA ranking 11
UEFA ranking 3
Head coach Roy Hodgson (since May 2012)
Captain Wayne Rooney
Squad Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley) - Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) - Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) - Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Qualification Winners of Group E (W10 D0 L0 F31 A3 Pts 30)
Warm-up matches
22-May v Turkey (H) W2-1
27-May v Australia (H) W2-1
02-Jun v Portugal (H) W1-0
Best performance Semi finals 1968, 1996

FIFA ranking 29
UEFA ranking 9
Head coach Leonid Slutsky (since August 2015)
Captain Roman Shirokov
Squad Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Yuri Lodygin (Zenit St Petersburg), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow) - Aleksei Berezutski (CSKA Moscow), Vasili Berezutski (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Dmitri Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Schalke), Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg) - Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitri Torbinski (Krasnodar), Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Oleg Ivanov (Terek Grozny), Pavel Mamaev (Krasnodar), Aleksandr Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (CSKA Moscow) - Artem Dzyuba (Zenit St Petersburg), Aleksandr Kokorin (Zenit St Petersburg), Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar)
Qualification Runners-up of Group G (W6 D2 L2 F21 A5 Pts 20)
Warm-up matches
01-Jun v Czech Republic (N) L1-2
05-Jun v Serbia (N) D1-1
Best performance Winners 1960

FIFA ranking 24
UEFA ranking 19
Head coach Ján Kozák (since July 2013)
Captain Martin Škrtel
Squad Matus Kozacik (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Mucha (Slovan Bratislava), Jan Novota (Rapid Vienna) - Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Milan Skriniar (Sampdoria), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Norbert Gyomber (Roma), Jan Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Kornel Salata (Slovan Bratislava), Tomas Hubocan (Dinamo Moscow), Dusan Svento (Cologne) - Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor), Vladimir Weiss (Al-Gharafa), Robert Mak (Paok Thessaloniki), Patrik Hrosovsky (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Gregus (Jablonec), Viktor Pecovsky (Zilina), Stanislav Sestak (Ferencvaros), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warsaw) - Michal Duris (Viktoria Plzen), Adam Nemec (Willem II)
Qualification Runners-up of Group C (W7 D1 L2 F17 A8 Pts 22)
Warm-up matches
27-May v Georgia (N) W3-1
29-May v Germany (A) W3-1
04-Jun v Northern Ireland (H) D0-0
Best performance Never previously qualified

FIFA ranking 26
UEFA ranking 28
Head coach Chris Coleman (since January 2012)
Captain Ashley Williams
Squad Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Daniel Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness CT) - Ashley Williams (Swansea), James Chester (West Brom), Ben Davies (Tottenham), James Collins (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Swansea), Jazz Richards (Fulham) - Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Joe Allen (Liverpool), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace), David Edwards (Wolves), George Williams (Fulham), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Andy King (Leicester) - Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), David Cotterill (Birmingham), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Simon Church (MK Dons), Sam Vokes (Burnley)
Qualification Runners-up of Group B (W6 D3 L1 F11 A4 Pts 21)
Warm-up match
05-Jun v Sweden (A) L0-3 
Best performance Never previously qualified

Thu 16-Jun8pmITVGERMANY v POLANDSaint-Denis
Tue 21-Jun5pmBBCUKRAINE v POLANDMarseille

WORLD champions Germany will be happy enough in Group C as Joachim Löw's men seek to emulate France (1998, 2000) and Spain (2010, 2012) in following up a World Cup title with victory in the European Championships. The Germans' qualifying campaign was not without its hitches - they lost in Poland, who they will face again this summer, and in Ireland. Nevertheless, the Nationalmannschaft still topped the section, and there is an unflinching belief that, for a sixth consecutive tournament, they will reach at least the semi final stage.
Poland may indeed have beaten Germany in the qualifiers - in a 2-0 win in Warsaw in October 2014 - but this was the Poles' first win over their neighbours in history. Therefore, it really would be a surprise if it happened again in Saint-Denis on 16 June. As such, Adam Nawałka's men may instead look to target their opening match against Northern Ireland as a way of smoothing their progress through to the knockout stage, something which they have never done at a European finals. Robert Lewandowski - Europe's top scorer in qualifying with 13 goals - should at least ensure that happens this time.
Fellow Euro 2012 hosts Ukraine can be less certain of a place in the Last 16. An ageing team, the Ukrainians scrambled through to these finals by beating Slovenia in the playoffs after finishing behind Slovakia as well as Spain. Ukraine failed to score in any of their four matches against the top two - a sign of the times following the retirement of Andriy Shevchenko - and, although Shevchenko is now back involved in the national set-up as assistant coach, Ukraine are undoubtedly a team which the Northern Irish should aim to beat.
Of course, Northern Ireland enter their first major tournament in 30 years with little to lose and nothing to fear. After years in the doldrums, Michael O'Neill's men produced a scintillating qualifying campaign to top their section and reach the finals of the European Championships for the first time ever.
True, there were two World Cup finals appearances in the 1980s - but, as the team declined in the 1990s and 2000s, those days seemed to belong to a bygone era. Now, Norn Iron - as they are sometimes affectionately known - are back, though heavily reliant on the goals of Kyle Lafferty who matched Gareth Bale's qualifying total of seven. An injury doubt to Lafferty on the eve of the tournament has potentially dealt O'Neill a major blow - and, with much of the rest of the squad hailing from England's lower divisions, it would be difficult to see how they would do enough to pick up the slack if their main man is struggling for fitness.
Predictions Germany - winners; Poland - quarter finals; Ukraine - second round; Northern Ireland - group stage

FIFA ranking 4
UEFA ranking 1
Head coach Joachim Löw (since July 2006)
Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger
Squad Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona) - Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Emre Can (Liverpool), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Dortmund), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Antonio Ruediger (Roma) - Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Andre Schurrle (Wolfsburg), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Julian Weigl (Dortmund) - Mario Gomez (Besiktas), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Schalke)
Qualification Winners of Group D (W7 D1 L2 F24 A9 Pts 22)
Warm-up matches
29-May v Slovakia (H) L1-3
04-Jun v Hungary (H) W2-0
Best performance Winners 1972, 1980, 1996

FIFA ranking 19
UEFA ranking 14
Head coach Mykhaylo Fomenko (since December 2012)
Captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk
Squad Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Denys Boyko (Besiktas), Mykyta Shevchenko (Shakhtar Donetsk) - Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kiev), Bohdan Butko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Artem Fedetskyi (Dnipropetrovsk), Oleksandr Karavaev, Oleksandr Kucher, Yaroslav Rakytskiy, Vyacheslav Shevchuk (all Shakhtar Donetsk) - Serhiy Rybalka (Dynamo Kiev), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipropetrovsk), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatoliy Tumoschuk (Kairat), Oleksandr Zinchenko (UFA) - Roman Zozulya (Dnipropetrovsk), Pylyp Budkivskyi (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhta Donetsk)
Qualification Third place in Group C (W6 D1 L3 F14 A4 Pts 19)
Playoffs Won 3-1 on aggregate
14-Nov-15 v Slovenia (H) W2-0
17-Nov-15 v Slovenia (A) D1-1
Warm-up matches
29-May v Romania (N) W4-3
03-Jun v Albania (N) W3-1
Best performance Group stage 2012

FIFA ranking 27
UEFA ranking 17
Head coach Adam Nawałka (since October 2013)
Captain Robert Lewandowski
Squad Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea), Wojciech Szczesny (Roma), Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) - Thiago Cionek (Palermo), Kamil Glik (Torino), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Krasnodar), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw), Lukasz Piszczek (Dortmund), Bartosz Salamon (Cagliari), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Lechia Gdansk) - Jakub Blaszczykowski (Dortmund), Kamil Grosicki (Rennes), Tomasz Jodlowiec (Legia Warsaw), Bartosz Kapustka (Cracovia), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), Karol Linetty (Lech Poznan), Krzysztof Maczynski (Wisla Krakow), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Filip Starzynski (Zaglebie Lubin), Piotr Zielinski (Udinese) - Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Mariusz Stepinski (Chorzow)
Qualification Runners-up of Group D (W6 D3 L1 F33 A10 Pts 21)
Warm-up matches
01-Jun v Netherlands (H) L1-2
06-Jun v Lithuania (H) D0-0
Best performance Group stage 2008, 2012

FIFA ranking 25
UEFA ranking 33
Head coach Michael O'Neill (since December 2011)
Captain Steven Davis
Squad Alan Mannus (St Johnstone), Michael McGovern (Hamilton), Roy Carroll (Linfield) - Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonathan Evans (West Brom), Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Luke McCullough (Doncaster), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood), Lee Hodson (MK Dons), Aaron Hughes (free agent), Patrick McNair (Manchester United), Chris Baird (Derby) - Steven Davis (Southampton), Oliver Norwood, (Reading), Corry Evans, (Blackburn), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Stuart Dallas (Leeds), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest) - Kyle Lafferty (Norwich), Conor Washington (QPR), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock), Will Grigg (Wigan)
Qualification Winners of Group F (W6 D3 L1 F16 A8 Pts 21)
Warm-up matches
27-May v Belarus (H) W3-0
03-Jun v Slovakia (A) D0-0
Best performance Never previously qualified

Fri 17-Jun8pmITVSPAIN v TURKEYNice
Tue 21-Jun8pmITVCROATIA v SPAINBordeaux

DEFENDING champions Spain are looking to make it three European Championship wins in a row following their success at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. However, La Roja's swift exit from the World Cup has called into question if this glorious era for the Spanish national team is indeed fizzling out. Still, Vicente del Bosque's men should have few problems this time negotiating a straight-forward looking group.
Croatia are perhaps their trickiest opponents - and, since their independence in the 1990s, the Croatians have done pretty well at the Euros, failing to qualify only once and reaching two quarter finals. Coach Ante Čačić can call upon Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, and there is some hope that this team could even emulate the last Croatia team to head to France for a major tournament - the class of 98 which reached the semi finals of the World Cup. That may be pushing it a bit far but there can be little doubt that Croatia will be a competitive force this summer.
However, one team which Croatia will not relish facing is Turkey. The Turks knocked the Croatians out of Euro 2008 on penalties having secured a last minute equaliser in extra time. Earlier in that tournament, in the group stage, Turkey had scored late winners against Switzerland and the Czech Republic - and they left it late again to qualify this time. Selcuk Inan scored a free-kick in the last seconds and Turkey duly made it through as the best third-placed finisher, without the need for a playoff.
The Czechs, who they will face again this summer, actually won the same qualifying group - but, while hopes are high in Turkey of another good run, positivity is in much shorter supply in Prague. A team devoid of star names looks hard pushed to match the achievements of their predecessors who reached the Final in 1996 and the semi finals in 2004. The defence is a particular concern having kept only one clean sheet in 22 games under coach Pavel Vrba - and that came in a warm-up against Malta.
Predictions Spain - finalists; Croatia - quarter finals; Turkey - second round; Czech Republic - group stages

FIFA ranking 6
UEFA ranking 2
Head coach Vicente del Bosque (since July 2008)
Captain Iker Casillas
Squad Iker Casillas (Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla) - Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid) - Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Bruno Soriano (Villarreal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid) - Pedro (Chelsea), David Silva (Manchester City), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)
Qualification Winners of Group C (W9 D0 L1 F23 A3 Pts 27)
Warm-up matches
29-May v Bosnia-Herzegovina (N) W3-1
01-Jun v South Korea (N) W6-1
07-Jun v Georgia (H) L0-1
Best performance Winners 1964, 2008, 2012

FIFA ranking 30
UEFA ranking 15
Head coach Pavel Vrba (since January 2014)
Captain Tomáš Rosický
Squad Petr Cech (Arsenal), Tomas Vaclik (Basel), Tomas Koubek (Sparta Prague) - Theodor Gebre Selassie (Werder Bremen), Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim), David Limbersky (Viktoria Pilsen), Marek Suchy (Basel), Michal Kadlec (Sparta Prague), Tomas Sivok (Bursaspor), Roman Hubnik (Viktoria Pilsen), Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday) - Borek Dockal (Sparta Prague), Jiri Skalak (Brighton), Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin), Daniel Kolar (Viktoria Pilsen), Ladislav Krejci (Sparta Prague), Josef Sural (Sparta Prague), David Pavelka (Kasimpasa), Jaroslav Plasil (Bordeaux), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal) - Milan Skoda (Slavia Prague), Tomas Necid (Bursaspor), David Lafata (Sparta Prague)
Qualification Winners of Group A (W7 D1 L2 F19 A14 Pts 22)
Warm-up matches
27-May v Malta (N) W6-0
01-Jun v Russia (N) W2-1
05-Jun v South Korea (H) L1-2
Best performance Winners 1976

FIFA ranking 18
UEFA ranking 22
Head coach Fatih Terim (since August 2013)
Captain Arda Turan
Squad Volkan Babacan (Basaksehir), Onur Recep Kivrak (Trabzonspor), Harun Tekin (Bursaspor) - Gokhan Gonul (Fenerbahce), Ahmet Calik (Genclerbirligi), Sener Ozbayrakli (Fenerbahce), Hakan Balta (Galatasaray), Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahce), Semih Kaya (Galatasaray), Ismail Koybasi (Besiktas), Caner Erkin (Fenerbahce) - Emre Mor (Nordsjaelland), Volkan Sen (Fenerbahce), Hakan Calhanoglu (Leverkusen), Nuri Sahin (Dortmund), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Besiktas), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Selcuk Inan (Galatasaray), Arda Turan (Barcelona), Olcay Sahan (Besiktas) - Burak Yilmaz (Beijing Guoan), Cenk Tosun (Besiktas), Yunus Malli (FSV Mainz 05)
Qualification Third place in Group A (W5 D3 L2 F14 A9 Pts 18)
Warm-up matches
22-May v England (A) L1-2
29-May v Montenegro (H) W1-0
05-Jun v Slovenia (A) W1-0
Best performance Semi finals 2008

FIFA ranking 27
UEFA ranking 12
Head coach Ante Čačić (since September 2015)
Captain Darijo Srna
Squad Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Ivan Vargic (Rijeka) - Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo), Gordon Schildenfeld (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Strinic (Napoli), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen) - Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic (both Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb) - Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina), Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb), Duje Cop (Dinamo Zagreb), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim)
Qualification Runners-up of Group H (W6 D3 L1 F20 A5 Pts 20*)
*deducted one point and fined €100,000 for racist behaviour in the crowd against Italy (H)
Warm-up matches
27-May v Moldova (H) W1-0
04-Jun v San Marino (H) W10-0
Best performance Quarter finals 1996, 2008

Mon 13-Jun5pmBBCIRELAND v SWEDENSaint-Denis
Fri 17-Jun2pmITVITALY v SWEDENToulouse
Sat 18-Jun2pmITVBELGIUM v IRELANDBordeaux
Wed 22-Jun8pmITVITALY v IRELANDLille

IRELAND lost all three games at Euro 2008 after being drawn into a tough group against Spain, Italy, and Croatia. Once again, the Irish will face the Italians - and, this time, it will be little easier against Sweden and Belgium. Still, it would be a surprise if Ireland lost all three group games again with head coach Martin O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane having mined the age-old Irish quality of sheer determination, something which undoubtedly helped them take four points off world champions Germany in the qualifying group. Shane Long is likely to lead the line, meaning Ireland have a bit more pace in their attack than four years ago. Robbie Keane - scorer of 67 international goals in 143 appearances - and playoff hero Jonathan Walters have unsurprisingly also made the cut.
For Italy, the European Championships four years ago have proved to be the highlight of a relatively poor decade since their World Cup win in 2006. Both World Cup campaigns since then have ended in the group stage and so it was something of a surprise that, in between, the Azzurri made it to the Final in 2012 after edging out Germany in the semis. Of course, it will not be a Final too fondly remembered in Italy with Spain running out 4-0 winners - but the Italians will do well to get anywhere near that stage this time. Coach Antonio Conte is leaving for Chelsea straight after the tournament, and it could be that he is making a very wise move indeed.
Belgium, after all, are the seeds in Group E having maintained their high FIFA ranking by winning a facile qualifying group ahead of Wales and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Undoubtedly, the Diables Rouges have a gloriously talented generation of players, spearheaded by the craft of Eden Hazard, the elegance of Kevin De Bruyne and the goals of Romelu Lukaku. Yet, despite this, coach Marc Wilmots has rarely engineered a truly cohesive performance from his men. True, two years ago, they won all of their group games - but they only scored four goals in the three matches, before then squeezing through against the United States in the second round, only to limp out to Argentina in the quarter finals. More frustration awaits this summer.
Finally, Sweden are almost a polar opposite to the Belgians. Whereas the latter seek to produce a performance from a team collective, the Swedes unashamedly look to one man - Zlatan Ibrahimović. Since Euro 2012, Sweden have played 21 competitive matches with Ibrahimović in the side - and, with 19 goals and six assists in that time, the skipper has been directly involved in three-quarters of the team's goals. Of course, this great strength can also be considered a weakness - opponents know that if they can shut out Ibrahimović then it is highly likely they will win. Planning to stop Ibrahimović and actually succeeding are two entirely different matters, however.
Predictions Belgium - second round; Italy - second round; Sweden - second round; Ireland - group stages

FIFA ranking 2
UEFA ranking 5
Head coach Marc Wilmots (since May 2012)
Captain Eden Hazard
Squad Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Jean-Francois Gillet (Mechelen), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) - Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Jason Denayer (Galatasaray), Christian Kabasele (Genk), Jordan Lukaku (Ostend), Thomas Meunier (Club Bruges), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham) - Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester Utd), Radja Nainggolan (Roma), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg) - Michy Batshuayi (Marseille), Christian Benteke (Liverpool), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool)
Qualification Winners of Group B (W7 D2 L1 F24 A5 Pts 23)
Warm-up matches
28-May v Switzerland (A) W2-1
01-Jun v Finland (H) D1-1
05-Jun v Norway (H) W3-2
Best performance Runners-up 1980

FIFA ranking 12
UEFA ranking 6
Head coach Antonio Conte (since August 2014)
Captain Gianluigi Buffon
Squad Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St-Germain) - Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham) - Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele de Rossi (Roma), Mattia de Sciglio (AC Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Thiago Motta (Paris St-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus) - Eder (Sampdoria), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus)
Qualification Winners of Group H (W7 D3 L0 F16 A7 Pts 24)
Warm-up matches
29-May v Scotland (N) W1-0
06-Jun v Finland (H) W2-0
Best performance Winners 1968

FIFA ranking 33
UEFA ranking 23
Head coach Martin O'Neill (since November 2013)
Captain Robbie Keane
Squad Darren Randolph (West Ham), Shay Given (Stoke), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday) - Cyrus Christie (Derby), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Richard Keogh (Derby), Shane Duffy (Blackburn), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Ward (Burnley) - James McClean (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Stephen Quinn (Reading), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), David Meyler (Hull), Robbie Brady (Norwich), Aiden McGeady (Everton) - Jon Walters (Stoke), Shane Long (Southampton), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)
Qualification Third place in Group D (W5 D3 L2 F19 A7 Pts 18)
Playoff Won 3-1 on aggregate
13-Nov-15 v Bosnia-Herzegovina (A) D1-1
16-Nov-15 v Bosnia-Herzegovina (H) W2-0
Warm-up matches
27-May v Netherlands (H) D1-1
31-May v Belarus (H) L1-2
Best performance Group stage 1988, 2012

FIFA ranking 35
UEFA ranking 16
Head coach Erik Hamrén (since November 2009)
Captain Zlatan Ibrahimović
Squad Andreas Isaksson (Kasimpasa), Robin Olsen (Copenhagen), Patrik Carlgren (AIK Solna) - Ludwig Augustinsson (Copenhagen), Erik Johansson (Copenhagen), Pontus Jansson (Torino), Victor Lindelof (Benfica) Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Norwich) - Jimmy Durmaz (Olympiakos), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg), Oscar Hiljemark (Palermo), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland), Pontus Wernbloom (CSKA Moscow), Erkan Zengin (Trabzonspor), Oscar Lewicki (Malmo), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Kim Kallstrom (Grasshoppers Zurich) - Marcus Berg (Panathinaikos), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St-Germain), Emir Kujovic (Norrkoping)
Qualification Third place in Group G (W5 D3 L2 F15 A9 Pts 18)
Playoffs Won 4-3 on aggregate
14-Nov-15 v Denmark (H) W2-1
17-Nov-15 v Denmark (A) D2-2
Warm-up matches
30-May v Slovenia (H) D0-0
05-Jun v Wales (H) W3-0
Best performance Semi finals 1992

Tue 14-Jun5pmITVAUSTRIA v HUNGARYBordeaux
Tue 14-Jun8pmBBCPORTUGAL v ICELANDSaint-Étienne
Sat 18-Jun5pmBBCICELAND v HUNGARYMarseille
Wed 22-Jun5pmBBCICELAND v AUSTRIASaint-Denis

ICELAND will endure a baptism of fire when they play Portugal on Tuesday in their first ever major tournament finals match. With a population of around 330,000 - about the same size of Coventry - it will be quite remarkable when they line up against Cristiano Ronaldo and co. Yet to Icelanders, this qualification has come as rather less of a surprise than you would think. The signs were there in the World Cup 2014 qualifiers when the team was beaten by Croatia in a playoff, and Lars Lagerbäck's men actually qualified for Euro 2016 with two matches to spare, having beaten Netherlands 1-0 in Amsterdam. 
Indeed, it could be said that Iceland's appearance in France this summer is the culmination of a major project by the Icelandic FA to construct seven full-size indoor pitches so that this football-mad country could continue to play through the harsh winter - and, of course, the adventure does not necessarily end at the group stage.
After all, Albania proved in qualifying that Portugal can be beaten. Beyond Ronaldo, this is not a squad to match the talent of the fabled golden generation of Luis Figo et al - and the two centre-backs, Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe, have both seen better days. Still, Portugal will be thankful then for a relatively kind group - and, if Ronaldo has his scoring boots on, he could end up with hatful by the end of the first stage.
The other two teams in this group - Austria and Hungary - have a long rivalry stretching back over 100 years. Historically, the two countries shared a Central European empire which lasted from 1867 until it was broken up after the First World War - and they first played each other on the football field in 1902 in a match which Austria won 5-0. The Austrians this time will again be favourites having breezed through qualifying with nine wins and a draw from their ten games, a real resurgence in a country which, except for hosting duties in 2008, had not qualified for anything since 1998. Hungary, similarly, have ended a long wait and reached their first major finals since 1986. The Magyars were not anything like as convincing as Austria, though, and qualified by edging past Norway in the playoffs.
Predictions Portugal - semi finals; Austria - second round; Hungary, Iceland - group stages

FIFA ranking 8
UEFA ranking 4
Head coach Fernando Santos (since September 2014)
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo
Squad Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Eduardo (Dínamo Zagreb) - Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Cedric (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient) - William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Danilo Pereira (Porto), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich), Adrien Silva (Sporting Lisbon), Andre Gomes (Valencia), Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon) - Rafa Silva (Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Nani (Fenerbahce), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Lille)
Qualification Winners of Group I (W7 D0 L1 F11 A5 Pts 21)
Warm-up matches
29-May v Norway (H) W3-0
02-Jun v England (A) L0-1
08-Jun v Estonia (H) W7-0
Best performance Runners-up 2004

FIFA ranking 34
UEFA ranking 27
Head coaches Lars Lagerbäck and Heimir Hallgrímsson (since October 2011)
Squad Hannes Halldorsson (Bodo/Glimt), Ogmundur Kristinsson (Hammarby), Ingvar Jonsson (Sandefjord) - Ari Skulason (OB), Hordur Magnusson (Juventus), Hjortur Hermannsson (PSV Eindhoven), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Krasnodar), Kari Arnason (Malmo), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (Lokeren), Birkir Saevarsson (Hammarby), Haukur Heidar Hauksson (AIK) - Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff), Theodor Elmar Bjarnason (AGF), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Norrkoping), Birkir Bjarnason (Basel), Johann Gudmundsson (Charlton), Runar Mar Sigurjonsson (Sundsvall) - Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Nantes), Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Kaiserslautern), Eidur Gudjohnsen (Molde)
Captain Aron Gunnarsson
Qualification Runners-up of Group A (W6 D2 L2 F17 A6 Pts 20)
Warm-up matches
01-Jun v Norway (A) L2-3
06-Jun v Liechtenstein (H) W4-0
Best performance Never previously qualified

FIFA ranking 10
UEFA ranking 11
Head coach Marcel Koller (since November 2011)
Captain Christian Fuchs
Squad Robert Almer (Austria Vienna), Heinz Lindner (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ramazan Oezcan (Ingolstadt) - Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Leicester), Gyorgy Garics (Darmstadt), Martin Hinteregger (Moenchengladbach), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Prodl (Watford), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham) - David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig), Jakob Jantscher (Lucerne), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Alessandro Schoepf (Schalke) - Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Rubin Okotie (1860 Munich), Marc Janko (Basel)
Qualification Winners of Group G (W9 D1 L0 F22 A5 Pts 28)
Warm-up matches
31-May v Malta (H) W2-1
04-Jun v Netherlands (H) L0-2
Best performance Group stage 2008

FIFA ranking 20
UEFA ranking 20
Head coach Bernd Storck (since July 2015)
Captain Balázs Dzsudzsák
Squad Gabor Kiraly (Haladas), Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros), Peter Gulacsi (Leipzig) - Attila Fiola (Puskas Academy), Barnabas Bese (MTK Budapest), Richard Guzmics (Wisla Krakow), Roland Juhasz (Videoton), Adam Lang (Videoton), Tamas Kadar (Lech Poznan), Mihaly Korhut (Debrecen) - Adam Pinter (Ferencvaros), Gergo Lovrencsics (Lech Poznan), Akos Elek (Diosgyor), Zoltan Gera (Ferencvaros), Adam Nagy (Ferencvaros), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Werder Bremen), Zoltan Stieber (Hamburg) - Balazs Dzsudzsak (Bursaspor), Adam Szalai (Hoffenheim), Krisztian Nemeth (Al Gharafa), Nemanja Nikolics (Legia Warsaw), Tamas Priskin (Slovan Bratislava), Daniel Bode (Ferencvaros)
Qualification Third place in Group F (W4 D4 L2 F11 A9 Pts 16)
Playoffs Won 3-1 on aggregate
12-Nov-15 v Norway (A) W1-0
15-Nov-15 v Norway (H) W2-1
Warm-up matches
20-May v Ivory Coast (H) D0-0
04-Jun v Germany (A) L0-2
Best performance Semi finals 1964, 1972