Euro 2016 Power Rankings Group Stage Round 2

With the second round of group games now played here’s a look at how I think each team ranks in chances of winning.

1. Germany (5.9 to win Euro 2016)

An underwhelming 0-0 draw versus Poland in their second group game – but how often does this happen to Joachim Löw’s side?  Drew 2-2 with Ghana in their second game at the World Cup two years ago and lost 1-0 to Serbia in the World Cup before.  I’m not reading too much into this – Germany have yet to concede a goal, have played the toughest team in the group and should win comfortably versus Northern Ireland in their final game.  The world champions are still my pick to win Euro 2016 – their odds have actually got longer since the start of the tournament – no need to trade on this yet guys.

2. Spain (4.4 to win Euro 2016)

Spain were 6.0 third favourites when I recommended backing them in my first power rankings post – their 3-0 thrashing of Turkey has seen their odds cut to favourites.  My biggest concern was getting goals out of their striker – Álvaro Morata hit back with a brace in their second game after wasting some good chances versus the Czech Republic.  He’s only 6.0 to win the Golden Boot now but unless Thomas Müller steps up soon then he’s a very good shout.

3. Italy

Two games, two wins, two clean sheets and Italy can give their first team a rest for their final group game against the Republic of Ireland because they have already won their group.  It means Italy will face the runners-up of Group E which is between Spain/Croatia/Czech Republic – potentially the most-exciting match of the round.

4. France

One of three nations on six points but France’s winners have come in the 89th and 90th minute respectively, versus Romania and Albania respectively.  About as convincing as England, we’ll see how they do against Switzerland this evening.  I like that Didier Deschamps was brave to drop Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann for their second game but they are relying on Dimitri Payet right now.  Though Hugo Lloris has only faced two shots on target in 180 minutes I am not sold on the French defence yet.

5. Croatia

Croatian hooligans cost their side two points against the Czech Republic as manager Ante Čačić said post-game that his players heads had gone thinking about the safety of their friends and families in the stands whilst fights broke out.  Before that and before substituting Luka Modrić Croatia were 2-0 and dominant in their second game.  Their final group game versus Spain will give us a better idea where they are but they still look very good going forward to me.  However, dealing with crosses has been notably poor defensively.

6. Belgium

A much better second half performance, Belgium got their Euro 2016 up-and-running with a 3-0 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland.  They can’t win their group now and a point versus Sweden in their final group game ensures a runners-up finish.  That sets up a second round match versus the winners of Group F (Hungary currently top) and I’d fancy Marc Wilmots’ side to reach the quarter-finals versus any of the four nations in that group.

7. England

A Joe Hart howler spurred England onto victory.  Conceding to Gareth Bale towards the end of the first half forced Roy Hodgson to bring Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge on at half-time versus Wales – both players scored in the comeback win.  Do you think Roy would have brought them on so soon at 0-0?  Victory over Slovakia in their final group game tomorrow means England win the group and place a third-placed team in the second round.  Though I don’t rate the manager at all this team are on course to reach the quarter-finals.

8. Poland

Arkadiusz Milik spurned some great opportunities to beat Germany and top Group C in a 0-0 draw, whilst Robert Lewandowski’s quiet Euro 2016 continues.  With Ukraine eliminated Poland could give them a handing to try top Germany at the top of the group.  The World Champions currently lead by one goal.  Group winner faces a third place team whilst the runner-up faces the runner-up from Group A (either France/Switzerland/Romania) – as long as it’s not France I’d fancy Poland to reach the quarter-finals.

9. Switzerland

With four points after two games Switzerland should make the second round and would be guaranteed that if they avoid defeat to France.  Victory over the hosts would actually see them top the group.  I’m not convinced they’re good enough to do that but they put in a good second half performance versus Romania last time out, arguably their only good 45 minutes of the tournament so far.  Whether they qualify in second or third I make them the underdogs in the second round.

10. Portugal

Yet to win a game Portugal are one of the biggest disappointments of Euro 2016 so far.  However, victory over Hungary in their final group game guarantees a second round berth.  It would depend on the Austria-Iceland result as to whether Portugal win the group or finish runners-up but I can see Fernando Santos’ side winning it.  Even then, that would set up a second round match with Spain/Croatia/Czech Republic of which I’d make them the underdogs against two of them.  Runner-up of this group has a better chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

11. Wales

The only nation to lose after scoring first at Euro 2016 and arguably all three of their goals have had some luck about them.  Wales need to avoid defeat against Russia to reach the second round where the runners-up of this group face the runners-up of Group F, which right now could be any of the four teams but is currently occupied by Iceland.  If Wales finish runners-up there’s a real chance they can make the quarter-finals.

12. Austria

Yet to score in France, Austria were very defensive in hanging onto a 0-0 draw with Portugal.  Finishing the group with Iceland I still believe Austria can sneak into the second round in either second or third place, assuming they can win their final group game.  Their squad is made up of lots of German Bundesliga and English Premier League games – they should be able to pick up three points.

13. Romania

Only beaten late by France and held Switzerland to a 1-1 draw – beating Albania this evening and Romania should reach the second round.  Whilst they are doing OK defensively they are not creating much.  Both goals have come from Bogdan Stancu but Nicolae Stanciu can create chances if given more time.

14. Czech Republic

A good comeback versus Croatia means that the Czech Republic could finish as high as second in their group with a win over Turkey in their final group game.  It would at least give them four points and a likely place in the second round.  They have been on the backfoot for much of both of their games so far but they should versus Croatia they can score whilst they only conceded one versus Spain – they’re real hope, especially playing one of the poorest teams in the tournament.

15. Hungary

Top of their group heading into their final group match versus Austria, Hungary are on four points and in an excellent position to progress.  It did take an 88th minute own goal to get an equaliser versus Iceland though after dominating possession and territory throughout the game.  Not sure they’ve got a goalscorer at this level and only two good attacking players, (Balázs Dzsudzsák and László Kleinheisler), whilst goalkeeper Gábor Király is dodgy, especially at dealing with set pieces.  They won’t go past the second round I can assure you that.

16. Northern Ireland

Credit to Northern Ireland’s 2-0 victory over Ukraine that puts them in a position to reach the second round.  They’re actually the best placed third place them right now with their positive goal difference.  However, they face the World Champions next, but should Romania/Albania be a draw and Republic of Ireland not beat Italy then Northern Ireland would reach the second round.

17. Republic of Ireland

With their final group game against group winners Italy, Republic of Ireland could find themselves against a second string side.  Victory would give them four points which should be enough for a second round berth.  Martin O’Neill’s side do lack much ambition or creativity so they’re not guaranteed of those three points.

18. Slovakia

Facing England means Slovakia can’t be written off taking points in their final group game.  Victory guarantees a top two finish whilst a draw would almost-certainly guarantee a second round berth.  They looked good on the counter-attack versus Russia with two excellent individual goals, whilst they scored a good goal versus Wales too.  Slovakia’s biggest weakness is their defence though; not looked good in either of their games so far.  Surely England can outscore them on Monday.

19. Russia

They’ve looked like one of the worst teams in the tournament but stealing a point from England and facing Wales in their final game gives Russia a chance to reach the second round.  Indeed, if they win their final group game and Slovakia lose to England then Russia will finish runners-up.  They do look vulnerable defensively as both of Slovakia’s goals proved, whilst there has been little supply to striker Artem Dzyuba.  Right-back Igor Smolnikov is actually their best attacking player right now.

20. Iceland

A third draw in their final group game would leave Iceland finishing second or third in their group, the latter with a slight chance of making it to the second round, whilst eliminating Austria.  I feel the minnows have had a lot of luck in their two games so far – some dreadful finishing and defending versus Portugal and a soft penalty awarded against Hungary.  Austria haven’t scored yet – can Iceland keep them at bay?  Hmmm.

21. Albania

The debutants haven’t looked bad at all but have lost both of their games to nil.  They now need to beat Romania and get some help elsewhere to progress.  Certainly not the worst team in the tournament and I’d have fancied them getting out of Group F but they got an unfortunate draw.

22. Turkey

Fortunate only to lose 1-0 against Croatia but then hammered 3-0 by Spain in their second game.  Whilst they have Czech Republic in their final game, their goal difference of -4 is a real hindrance of Turkey making it to the second round.  They’ve shown very little attacking threat and their defence doesn’t look very good.

23. Sweden

The only team without a shot on target so far, Sweden need to beat Belgium to reach the second round.  I don’t see it happening based on their performances in France so far.  They didn’t look very good on paper heading into the tournament either, after beating Denmark 4-3 in a playoff.

Eliminated:

Ukraine

 

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