With the first round of games now played here’s a look at how I think each team now ranks.
1. Germany (5.3 to win Euro 2016)
The World Champions were comfortable in their 2-0 victory over Ukraine, albeit waiting until the 92nd minute to score their second goal. Joachim Löw’s side forced more saves out of Andriy Pyatov than any other side in their opening game. Surprised the bookmakers still have France as the favourites, I’d recommend backing Germany now whilst the odds are still great.
2. Spain (6.0 to win Euro 2016)
Spain would avoid Germany and France en route to the final if all three nations win their group. Vicente Del Bosque’s side dominated possession and territory in their opener but had to wait until the 87th minute to score against a side who didn’t keep a single clean sheet in qualifying. Spain will be hoping for better finishing in their next group game after creating several chances in their first.
3. Croatia (9.4 to reach final)
Croatia looked impressive versus Turkey, but like Spain they were also poor in front of goal. Comfortable at the back but they can be expected to be tested more versus Spain in the group. A fantastic midfield and with Mario Mandžukić up front they have potential to go far. If they win this group they very well may make the final…
Never write off the Italians… never was it more so true than on Monday when they were comfortable 2-0 winners over Belgium. The best defence in the tournament will help them go far but I wonder about their attack in the latter stages. With Antonio Conte in charge they have a great tactician to help them go far. Group winners could meet Germany and France before the final though.
The hosts got a win in the opener but they weren’t great in front of goal nor did they look solid at the back. Patrice Evra conceded a silly penalty and the central partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Adel Rami seemed to lack communication. Can Olivier Giroud up front lead them to glory? I still don’t see France being deserved favourites.
6. Belgium (Belgium & Italy top 2 1.72)
A very disappointing opener but it was against a great Italian defensive and tactical side. Question marks are being raised over manager Marc Wilmots who failed to get many goals out of his talent two years ago in Brazil. Finishing the group with the Republic of Ireland and Sweden would make it a big surprise if they didn’t finish in the top two.
7. Poland (Germany & Poland top 2 1.44)
Weren’t overly impressive in their 1-0 win over Northern Ireland despite all of their possession and territory. Robert Lewandowski was notably kept quiet too. However, I can still see this Polish team reaching the quarter-finals and they can’t be ruled out of getting a result versus Germany in their second game – they were 2-0 winners at home in qualifying and Germany do have an odd record in second group stage games. Should beat Ukraine if they need to in their final match.
Wasn’t sold on England’s performance versus Russia – drawing with a weak side for one point wasn’t promising but for all their possession and territory, Wayne Rooney (once) was the only player to really test Igor Akinfeev in open play. Roy Hodgson got a lot wrong too – not bringing on Jamie Vardy, keeping Raheem Sterling on for 86 minutes, keeping a tired Harry Kane on and getting the Spurs striker to take corners. If they beat Wales I can see England reaching the quarter-finals but no further.
Disappointing start to the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Iceland but a favourable group means Portugal should still win it. Cristiano Ronaldo was virtually anonymous which is not a good sign and their defending for Iceland’s equaliser was basically inviting them to score.
Wasn’t really sold on Switzerland in beating 10-man Albania 1-0. The debutants were actually getting on top after conceding inside five minutes before Lorik Cana’s dismissal. Might need a result versus Romania to progress which isn’t a gimme. Haris Seferović will need to get his shooting boots on in time for that match after being very wasteful in the opener.
11. Wales (3.25 to win Group B)
An impressive opening performance but for two runs at their defence that caused problems. Gareth Bale delivered the goods and there’s still more to come from Aaron Ramsey. Avoiding defeat to England this week would set them up nicely to win the group.
Bogdan Stancu missed an excellent opportunity in the opening minutes of the tournament’s first game in which Romania weren’t overawed by France by any means. Four points out of Switzerland and Albania would be enough to see them into the knockout stages.
I think this is a really poor Russian team, greatly hurt by all their injuries heading into the tournament. However, a draw versus England means a win versus either Slovakia or Wales will be enough to get them through. Can’t see them causing many problems in the knockout rounds though.
Wrongly expected Hungary to be one of the weakest teams in the tournament and they go and beat Austria 2-0. They defended pretty well and caught their opponents out twice on the counter-attack. One point versus either Iceland or Portugal should see them through to the second round.
Surprisingly poor performance versus Hungary has put Austria in real trouble of making it out of the group. Four points versus Portugal and Iceland should be enough but they’ll need to up their game for that to happen. David Alaba was their best player versus Hungary whilst Marko Arnautović showed some promise. Marc Janko’s positioning wasn’t great though.
Created very little against a very good Croatia side but Turkey could make it through to the knockout stages with a win over the Czech Republic – they made it into this tournament after being the best third-place team after all.
Were pummelled by the World Champions in their opening game but did have one excellent chance cleared off the line and a header well tipped over by Manuel Neuer. Three points could be enough to get out of this group with Northern Ireland and Poland to play it’s not all over yet.
18. Republic of Ireland
A valiant effort in drawing with Sweden in their opening game and if anything you could argue the Republic of Ireland deserved more. Sweden’s only two efforts on target were courtesy of Irish players. Jeff Hendrick also hit the bar and was denied three times by Andreas Isaksson. Problem for Ireland now is that they need points versus Belgium or Italy to get out of the group.
Disappointing first 50 minutes versus the Republic of Ireland looks like it may have cost Sweden’s chances of reaching the knockout stages for a third consecutive European Championship. Zlatan Ibrahimović did very little as Sweden didn’t force a single save out of Darren Randolph. Now they need points versus Italy and/or Belgium to get through.
20. Czech Republic
Spent much of their opener chasing the ball in a late 1-0 loss to Spain. They seemed to panic in the couple of attacks they had making it all look pretty bleak for the remainder of their tournament. They still have Croatia to play as well, which should they lose they’ll need to beat Turkey to have a chance of getting out the group.
Some great defending helped Iceland to a 1-1 draw against Portugal in their tournament debut. It gives them an excellent chance to make it out of the group now with games against Hungary and Austria to come. Weren’t great on the attack in their opener to be honest and helped by some shocking Portuguese defending to score their equaliser.
Only beaten 1-0 by Switzerland despite being reduced to 10 men in the first half. Albania even created a couple of excellent chances to equalise afterwards. Whilst it was a valiant effort they face France today which could leave them on the brink of elimination.
Beaten by the third seeds Wales in the group doesn’t leave much hope for Slovakia. Granted, England and Russia looked unspectacular. Marek Hamšík and Vladimír Weiss is all they have going forward and I find Martin Škrtel overrated.
24. Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland put in the poorest showing of all 24 nations in the opening game – not threatening Poland at all and a few desperate blocks to keep it at 0-1. It’s not unthinkable that they can’t get something against Ukraine but finishing with Germany may not be pretty.