The draw for the 2016 European Championship was held in France on Saturday. After all of your standard pomp and circumstance from UEFA's Gianni Infantino, the draw was quickly completed, and now Europe's elite know where they are heading.
Group A: France find themselves in a group with Romania, Albania, and Switzerland. The hosts will be expected to easily walk through this group without any issues. Their biggest challenge in the group will be in the final match against Switzerland.
Group B: The English will have slightly more trouble in their group with Russia, Wales, and Slovakia. Everyone will be talking about the England vs Wales match; however, Slovakia won't be a nation to sleep on in this group.
Group C: Germany will be please to be drawn with Ukraine, Poland, and Northern Ireland. Poland is likely to be the second place team in this group, but the Ukrainians could give them a run for their money. The Germans will be targeting nine points in the group. It's not the easiest group, but they will be comfortable with their positioning.
Group D: The reigning and defending two time European Champions Spain have a bit of a tricky group here. They'll be facing the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Croatia. If Spain can't find that goalscorer, look for the other three teams to crowd the middle of the park and not allow the Spanish to play their game. However, if Thiago Alcantara is playing up to his best, anything is possible for Spain.
Group E: Woowee! Belgium were the unlucky top seed to be lumped into a group with Italy. The wild card remains Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden. Though, you should feel a bit sympathetic for the Republic of Ireland. I'm sure many across the world will be praising the "Brave Irish" as they take zero points out of three games.
Group F: This is my favorite group. Everyone will be foaming at the mouth for Cristiano Ronaldo, but the man to watch in this group is David Alaba. Austria will go as far as he can take them, and he's not going to back down from Mr. Ronaldo. Iceland and Hungary have proven over the last two qualifying campaigns that they're going to be down for a fight. Portugal may not get out of this group.
Will a European Championship be the same without the Dutch?
Full Group Listings
- Northern Ireland
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Ireland
What are your thoughts on the groups? Which is your favorite? Is there a "Group of Death"? Who is the favorite to win the competition?