Spain are the current holders and winners of thee of the last four major tournaments being victorious in 2008 Euro’s in Switzerland the 2010 World Cup triumph in South Africa and concurring the euro’s once again in 2012 in Ukraine. After a very poor World Cup two years ago in Brazil the Spanish will look for redemsion. The talent of their team hasn’t changed they still talented wise they are one of the best teams in the world. The team is filled with stars from Barcelona and Real Madrid most of the players on Spain play in La Liga that’s why they have tremendous chemistry. This team is very deep they have a brilliant 1st unite with players like Sergio Ramos David Silva Thiago as well as many more that are great in their own right but even more than that they have a bench loaded with young players who have proven this season that they can deliver the likes of Morata and Isco. Highlighting the journey to Paris is the emergence of Man United 25 Year old Keeper David De Gea who many consider the best in the world he single handedly kept Man United in a European spot without him they would have finished mid table. Their Defense is also very strong with Serio Ramos & Pique leading the Spanish defense. Arguably their strongest part of their team is their Midfield they have so many different ways they can hurt you with their midfield Iniesta being the veteran as the vocal leader being a part of all thee winning Spain teams was the hero in 2010 scoring the winning goal in Extra time of the world cup final against Holland in South Africa everything really flows through him even at 32 years old he is still very effective for Barcelona as well as the national side. Along with Iniesta they have Spain’s most creative player Manchester City’s Davis Silva who has been nothing short of sensational who can beat you with his speed his pace with the ability to score and assist his teammates in my opinion he is spains best and most important player on the Spanish team. Fabregas and Thiago expected to give Spain that edge on both sides of the ball decisive minded player are very important to the team’s success they both will play a big role in France. The youth and potential of Real’s Isco will add an excitement component this team has a great player at every spot. However, in a little worried of their lack a fire power up front in the striker role. With Fernando Torres David Villa and Diego Costa missing out not making the trip it puts a lot of pressure on Morata who will play as the main striker role must have a spectacular tournament if Spain wants to retain the trophy. They have a good chance to win it again at the very lest they will make it to the last 8. This is a very challenging group but they should see themselves through.
Croatia Runners Up
This is one of the most underrated teams in this competition I can see them getting all the way to semifinals when you look at their team you find yourself surprised how good they look on paper. The main name that comes to mind is Luka Modric who has been one of La Liga’s most effective players this season his helped Real to the champions league final he has been the league’s best this season he led the league in chances created. He is the catalyst of the Croatian attack along with Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic creates a very dangerous Midfield they are both able to score and create it is an incredible due and could be a force to be reckoned with. In addition to Modric and Rakitic they also have talented youngsters Mateo Kovačić from Madrid they has shown signs of brilliance this season also in the Midfield is Barcelona youngster Allen Halilovic the youth of this team makes them dangerous another player to keep your eye on is Inters Ivan Perisic who stepped up for the Milan club when Icardi was plagued with injuries there only drawback is there defense outside of 20year old youngster Jedavj they will struggle defending but I don’t believe it will be a huge problem. The key in the end could be how well there strike force is with their Serie A duo of Juventus’s Mario Mandzukic and Fiorentina Kalilinic both players were in Serie A’s top 15 goal scorers as well as playing major roles in their team’s title chase this season. They have weapons left and right this team can challenge almost anyone this is this tournaments dark horse. Not an easy group but should have no problem securing a spot in the last 16.
The Turkish look to find success once again after quite a long drought their last success coming in the World Cup back in 2002 in South Korea/Japan where they made it all the way to the Semi Finals losing to eventual champion Brazil it seems like forever ago. They have finally shown that they have the quality that they can complete at the highest level with the biggest teams did quite well during qualification for this tournament finishing as the highest 3rd place team which gave the Turkish automatic spot in France. I can see them being one of the third place teams advancing to the round of 16. The Turkish league has vastly improved over the last few seasons which I think has a great deal to do with their national team making their improvements. They are led by their thee European stars playing at big clubs Arda Turan at Barcelona did very well is his debut season as he proved to be a valuable asset for the Spanish champions as a valuable sub and as an occasional starter as he helped the Barca defend they title he also has a very good track record internationally. Another big time Turkish European player is Hakan Calhanoglu who is one of the best and most impactful players at German Club Bayern Leverkusen. Hakan is so good for a player at such a young age his free kicks are for die his chemistry with Mexican Star Javier Hernandez the two of them helped Bayer04 earn 3rd and a champions league spot. There 3 and last big European star is Nuri Sahin who plays for German league runners up Bourrisa Dortmund their defensive midfielder will help fuel the Turkish attack this summer will provide a lot of balls to Turan that will help their chances for a deep run. Man City product Unal may not be in the final squad but if he is chosen he will give the Turkish team youth that they could in certain situations. Again not an easy group but they will be one of the 3rd place teams advancing.
The Czech Republic don’t stand much of a chance in this group. They’re much more talented teams Turkey, Spain & Croatia are over their head skill wise Arsenal keep Petr Cech will be their only hope of getting everything from this group. Cech won the award for the most clean sheets in England this season with 16 he also has the most clean sheets in the Premier League era. It will take more than goalkeeper heroics to get them out of the group. When you only have one dimension and that is the keeper you usually are going to have problems elsewhere it will be rough for them this summer