After a season full of surprises both domestically (Leicester) and internationally (Iceland qualifying for this tournament) we take a look at the possible surprise packages at Euro 2016.
Poland are an interesting team in this tournament and probably have a stronger team than at Euro 2012. They finished second in qualifying, one point behind Germany and actually beat the Germans 2-0 on home soil. They have some exciting players going forward with Jakub Blaszczykowski, Kamil Grosicki and of course Robert Lewandowski. It’s at the back where they have struggled in recent matches.
They’ve been drawn with Germany again in the group stage and if they come second in that group they will likely face Switzerland. That match-up doesn’t seem too bad of a draw but it will get tougher after that with Spain their possible opponents and I don’t see them going past the quarter-finals.
After a woeful decade in the early 2000’s the Austrian team is firmly on the rise. They won their qualifying group ahead of both Russia and Sweden, finishing with nine wins and one loss in their ten matches, conceding only five goals. They have a crop of excellent players that have come through, including Markus Suttner, Martin Harnik, David Alaba, Kevin Wimmer and Christian Fuchs. Their team has a real mix of youth and experience and I think they will have a similar work ethic as Leicester in the Premier League this year.
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They’ve been drawn in a relatively comfortable group with Portugal, Hungary and Iceland - I can see them topping that group in front of a Portugal team reliant on Ronaldo. They would then face teams from group E and group B, neither being particularly strong, and I can see them getting to the latter stages of this tournament and beating some of the more fancied nations.