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Euro 2016: Essential Guide

Euro 2016: Essential Guide

The long wait is almost over. This summer, Euro 2016 will commence its 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship. The most awaited event will kick-start with the first match between host nation, France, and Romania at Stade de France, Saint-Denis on June 10.

For the first time in the history of the European Championship, 24 teams will contest its final tournament. This new format is an expansion from the 16-team format used since 1996.

Here’s a glimpse at every team from each group in the tournament:

Group A:

ALBANIA

Albania national football team in 2016. ©Wikimedia Commons.
Albania national football team in 2016. ©Wikimedia Commons.

Coach: Gianni De Biasi
Key player: Lorik Cana, captain and defensive top dog.
Leading scorer: all-time – Erjon Bogdani (18); current – Hamdi Salihi (11)
Did you know? Pano, considered as Albania’s greatest player, was a goalkeeper until a shortage of outfield players led his coach to gamble on a change of position.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Etrit Berisha (Lazio), Alban Hoxha (Partizani), Orges Shehi (Skenderbeu).
Defenders: Elseid Hysaj (Napoli), Lorik Cana (Nantes), Arlind Ajeti (Frosinone), Mergim Mavraj (Koeln), Naser Aliji (Basel), Ansi Agolli (Karabag), Frederik Veseli (Lugano).
Midfielders: Ermir Lenjani (Nantes), Andi Lila (Giannina), Migjen Basha (Como), Ledian Memushaj (Pescara), Burim Kukeli (Zurich), Taulant Xhaka (Basel), Ergys Kace (Paok), Amir Abrashi (Freiburg), Odise Roshi (Rijeka).
Forwards: Bekim Balaj (Rijeka), Sokol Cikalleshi (Medipol Basaksehir), Armando Sadiku (Vaduz), Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids).

 

FRANCE

French national football team players (2006). ©Getty Images/Franck Fife.
French national football team players (2006). ©Getty Images/Franck Fife.

Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key player: Paul Pogba, the 23-year-old Juventus midfielder.
Leading scorer: all time – Thierry Henry (51); current – Karim Benzema (27)
Did you know? France is the only country to win the World Cup, Confederations Cup, and Olympic football gold. Also, it’s the only country apart from Germany and Spain (both three) to have won the UEFA European Championship more than once.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Adil Rami (Sevilla).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N’Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle).
Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Dimitri Payet (West Ham).

 

ROMANIA

Romania played their first international match on 8 June 1922. ©UEFA.
Romania played their first international match on 8 June 1922. ©UEFA.

Coach: Anghel Iordanescu
RomaniaCaptain Vlad Chiriches, formerly of Tottenham, now with Napoli.
Leading scorer: all time – Gheorghe Hagi, Adrian Mutu (35); current – Ciprian Marica (25)
Did you know? Romania have had 77 managers since their first in 1922. All have been Romanian, except Josef Uridil (Austrian) in 1934.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Ciprian Tatarusanu (Fiorentina), Costel Pantilimon (Watford), Silviu Lung (Astra Giurgiu).
Defenders: Cristian Sapunaru (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Alexandru Matel (Dinamo Zagreb), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli), Valerica Gaman (Astra Giurgiu), Cosmin Moti (Ludogorets), Dragos Grigore (Al-Sailiya), Razvan Rat (Rayo Vallecano), Steliano Filip (Dinamo Bucuresti).
Midfielders: Mihai Pintilii (Steaua Bucuresti), Ovidiu Hoban (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Andrei Prepelita (Ludogorets), Adrian Popa (Steaua Bucuresti), Gabriel Torje (Osmanlıspor), Alexandru Chipciu (Steaua Bucuresti), Nicolae Stanciu (Steaua Bucuresti), Lucian Sanmartean (al-Ittihad).
Forwards: Claudiu Keseru (Ludogorets), Bogdan Stancu (Genclerbirligi), Florin Andone (Cordoba), Denis Alibec (Astra Giurgiu).

 

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland earned the silver medal at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. ©UEFA.
Switzerland earned the silver medal at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. ©UEFA.

Coach: Vladimir Petkovic
Key player: Xherdan Shaqiri, plays as a strong midfield.
Leading scorer: all-time – Alexander Frei (42); current – Xherdan Shaqiri (17)
Did you know? Switzerland has nuclear bunker space for every person (8.3 million) which is mandatory under articles 45 & 46 of Swiss federal law.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg).
Defenders: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Johan Djourou (Hamburger SV), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Fabian Schaer (Hoffenheim), Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg).
Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Watford), Blerim Dzemaili (Genoa), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys).
Forwards: Breel Embolo (Basel), Haris Seferovic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Admir Mehmedi (Bayer Leverkusen), Eren Derdiyok (Kasimpasa), Shani Tarashaj (Everton).

 

Group B:

ENGLAND

England won the World Cup in 1966, when they hosted the finals. ©UEFA.
England won the World Cup in 1966, when they hosted the finals. ©UEFA.

Manager: Roy Hodgson
Key player: Wayne Rooney
Leading scorer: all-time – Wayne Rooney (51); current – Wayne Rooney (51)
Did you know? England is the only European nation to have won the FIFA World Cup but not lifted the Henri Delaunay Cup.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

 

RUSSIA

Russia national football team. ©1img.org.
Russia national football team. ©1img.org.

Manager: Leonid Slutski
Key player: Artem Dzyuba, scored 15 in 30 for Zenit this season and grabbed six Champions League goals.
Leading scorer: all-time – Oleh Blokhin (42 for Soviet Union); current – Aleksandr Kerzhakov (30)
Did you know? The average age of the Russia squad is 29, except the 19-year-old Aleksandr Golovin.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yuri Lodygin (Zenit St. Petersburg).
Defenders: Alexei Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Vasily Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Schalke), Georgy Shchennikov (CSKA Moscow), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St. Petersburg).
Midfielders: Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Dmitry Torbinsky (FC Krasnodar), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Oleg Ivanov (Terek Grozny), Pavel Mamaev (FC Krasnodar), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St. Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (CSKA Moscow).
Forwards: Artyom Dzyuba (Zenit St. Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Zenit St. Petersburg), Fyodor Smolov (FC Krasnodar).

 

SLOVAKIA

Slovakia began the qualifying campaign with a 1–0 victory against Ukraine in Kiev. ©UEFA.
Slovakia began the qualifying campaign with a 1–0 victory against Ukraine in Kiev. ©UEFA.

Manager: Jan Kozak
Key player: Marek Hamsik
Leading scorer: all-time – Róbert Vittek (23); current – Róbert Vittek (23)
Did you know? Integral to the Czechoslovakia side that won the 1976 UEFA European Championship final against West Germany, Slovakia has now qualified as an independent nation.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Matus Kozacik (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Mucha (Slovan Bratislava), Jan Novota (Rapid Vienna).
Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Milan Skriniar (Sampdoria), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Norbert Gyomber (Roma), Jan Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Kornel Salata (Slovan Bratislava), Tomas Hubocan (Dynamo Moscow), Dusan Svento (Cologne).
Midfielders: Viktor Pecovsky (Zilina), Robert Mak (PAOK Thessaloniki), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan), Patrik Hrosovsky (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Gregus (Jablonec), Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warsaw), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor), Vladimir Weiss (Al Gharafa).
Forwards: Michal Duris (Viktoria Plzen), Adam Nemec (Willem II), Stanislav Sestak (Ferencvaros).

 

WALES

C. Fletcher played for Wales in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification. ©Socer.ru/A. Mysyakin.
C. Fletcher played for Wales in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification. ©Socer.ru/A. Mysyakin.

Manager: Chris Coleman
Key player: Gareth Bale, scored seven out of the 11 goals in ten qualifying matches.
Leading scorer: all-time – Ian Rush (28); current – Gareth Bale (19)
Did you know? Back in 1876, Wales’ entirely amateur squad included two lawyers, a timber merchant, a soldier, a stonemason, and a miner and defender William Williams, who made chimney tops.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Daniel Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness Caledonian Thistle).
Defenders: Ashley Williams (Swansea), James Chester (West Brom), Ben Davies (Tottenham), James Collins (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Swansea), Jazz Richards (Fulham).
Midfielders: Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Joe Allen (Liverpool), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace), David Edwards (Wolves), George Williams (Fulham), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Andy King (Leicester).
Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), David Cotterill (Birmingham City), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Simon Church (Aberdeen), Sam Vokes (Burnley).

 

Group C:

NORTHERN IRELAND

Northern Ireland national football team 1. ©1img.org.
Northern Ireland national football team 1. ©1img.org.

Manager: Michael O’Neill
Key player: Kyle Lafferty, scored seven goals in qualifying matches.
Leading scorer: all-time – David Healy (36); current – Kyle Lafferty (16)
Did you know? Northern Ireland had never sent a team to the finals of the UEFA European Championship until now.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll (Notts County), Michael McGovern (Hamilton), Alan Mannus (St. Johnstone)
Defenders: Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonny Evans (West Brom), Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Luke McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), Aaron Hughes (Melbourne City), Lee Hodson (MK Dons), Chris Baird (Fulham), Paddy McNair (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Steven Davis (Southampton), Oliver Norwood (Reading), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Shane Ferguson (Millwall)
Forwards: Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic), Kyle Lafferty (Norwich City), Conor Washington (Queens Park Rangers), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock)

 

GERMANY

German national team during Euro 2012 qualifiers. ©upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons.
German national team during Euro 2012 qualifiers. ©upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons.

Manager: Joachim Low
Key player: Thomas Muller, scored 37 goals for club and country this season.
Leading scorer: all-time – Miroslav Klose (71); current – Lukas Podolski (48)
Did you know? Germany have won the World Cup four times, claiming the global prize in 1954, 1974 and 1990 and 2014, and became champions of Europe in 1972, 1980 and 1996.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Emre Can (Liverpool), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Antonio Ruediger (Roma).
Midfielders: Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Leroy Sane (Schalke), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund).
Forwards: Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich), Mario Gomez (Besiktas), Andre Schuerrle (Wolfsburg), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray).

 

POLAND

Poland first qualified for the European Football Championships in 2008. ©UEFA.
Poland first qualified for the European Football Championships in 2008. ©UEFA.

Manager: Adam Nawalka
Key player: Robert Lewandowski
Leading scorer: all-time – Włodzimierz Lubański (48); current – Robert Lewandowski (34)
Did you know? Poland have drawn England in seven of their last 14 qualifying groups and have failed to win any of those 14 fixtures, losing all the away trips.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Artur Boruc (AFC Bournemouth), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Wojciech Szczesny (Roma).
Defenders: Thiago Cionek (Palermo), Kamil Glik (Torino), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund), Bartosz Salamon (Cagliari), Jakub Wawrzyniak (Lechia Gdansk).
Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (Fiorentina), Kamil Grosicki (Rennes), Tomasz Jodlowiec (Legia Warsaw), Bartosz Kapustka (Cracovia), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla), Karol Linetty (Lech Poznan), Krzysztof Maczynski (Wisla Krakow), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Filip Starzynski (Zaglebie Lubin), Piotr Zielinski (Empoli).
Forwards: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax), Mariusz Stepinski (Ruch Chorzow).

 

UKRAINE

Ukraine's home ground is the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv. ©UEFA.
Ukraine’s home ground is the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv. ©UEFA.

Manager: Mykhailo Fomenko
Key player: Yevhen Konoplyanka
Leading scorer: all-time – Andriy Shevchenko (48); current – Andriy Yarmolenko (22)
Did you know? Ukraine was a prolific resource for the Soviet Union in the past and had to wait until their role as UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts for their first finals as an independent nation.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar), Denys Boyko (Besiktas), Mykyta Shevchenko (Zorya).
Defenders: Evhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kiev), Bohdan Butko (Amkar), Artem Fedetskyi (Dnipro), Oleksandr Karavaev (Zorya), Oleksandr Kucher (Shakhtar), Yaroslav Rakytskyi (Shakhtar), Vyacheslav Shevchuk (Shakhtar).
Midfielders: Serhiy Rybalka (Dynamo Kiev), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev), Evhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar), Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar), Anatolyi Tumoschuk (Kairat), Oleksandr Zinchenko (UFA).
Forwards: Roman Zozylya (Dnipro), Pylyp Budkivskyi (Zorya), Evhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar).

 

Group D:

SPAIN

Spain won its first major international title when hosting the 1964 European Championship. ©UEFA.
Spain won its first major international title when hosting the 1964 European Championship. ©UEFA.

Coach: Vicente del Bosque
Key player: Andres Iniesta, a vital part of Spain’s midfield with unmatched consistency.
Leading scorer: all-time – David Villa (59); current –  David Silva (23)
Did you know? Spain doesn’t have a designated national stadium but they became world football’s dominant force from 2008 to 2012.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (FC Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla).
Defenders: Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Francisco “Isco” Alarcon (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), David Silva (Manchester City), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Bruno Soriano (Villarreal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea).
Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Manuel “Nolito” Agudo (Celta Vigo), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid).

CZECH REPUBLIC

Coach: Pavel Vrba
Key player: Vladimir Darida, likely to be the midfield fulcrum.
Leading scorer: all-time – Jan Koller (55); current – Tomáš Rosický (22)
Did you know? Czech Republic has been competing as an independent nation only since 1994, yet in that time the country has qualified for every UEFA European Championship.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Arsenal), Tomas Vaclik (Basel), Tomas Koubek (Slovan Liberec).
Defenders: Theodor Gebre Selassie (Werder Bremen), Roman Hubnik (Viktoria Plzen), Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim), Michal Kadlec (Fenerbahce), David Limbersky (Viktoria Plzen), Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday), Marek Suchy (Basel), Tomas Sivok (Bursaspor).
Midfielders: Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin), Borek Dockal (Sparta Prague), Daniel Kolar (Viktoria Plzen), Ladislav Krejci (Sparta Prague), David Pavelka (Kasimpasa), Jaroslav Plasil (Bordeaux), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal), Jiri Skalak (Brighton), Josef Sural (Sparta Prague).
Forwards: David Lafata (Sparta Prague), Tomas Necid (Burkaspor), Milan Skoda (Slavia Prague).

 

TURKEY

Turkey then qualified for the 1954 World Cup after a play-off with Spain. ©UEFA.
Turkey then qualified for the 1954 World Cup after a play-off with Spain. ©UEFA.

Coach: Fatih Terim
Key player: Arda Turan, the only Turkish player who is consistently included in lists of the world’s best players.
Leading scorer: all-time – Hakan Şükür (51); current – Burak Yılmaz (19)
Did you know? It took Turkey ten attempts to qualify for their first UEFA European Championship final tournament.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Volkan Babacan (Medipol Basaksehir), Onur Recep Kivrak (Trabzonspor), Harun Tekin (Bursaspor).
Defenders: Gokhan Gonul (Fenerbahce), Sener Ozbayrakli (Fenerbahce), Caner Erkin (Fenerbahce), Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahce), Hakan Kadir Balta (Galatasaray), Semih Kaya (Galatasaray), Ismail Koybasi (Besiktas), Ahmet Yilmaz Calik (Genclerbirligi).
Midfielders: Selcuk Inan (Galatasaray), Emre Mor (Nordsjaelland), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Volkan Sen (Fenerbahce), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Besiktas), Olcay Sahan (Besiktas), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen), Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund), Arda Turan (Barcelona), Yunus Malli (Mainz 05).
Forwards: Burak Yilmaz (Beijing Guoan), Cenk Tosun (Besiktas).

 

CROATIA

Coach: Ante Cacic
Key player: Luka Modric
Leading scorer: all-time – Davor Šuker (45); current – Darijo Srna (21)
Did you know? Croatia have become final tournament regulars, missing out only twice – in 2000 and 2010 – but have progressed beyond the group stage on just one further occasion, at UEFA EURO 2008.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Ivan Vargic (Rijeka).
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo), Gordon Schildenfeld (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Strinic (Napoli), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen).
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb) Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb).
Forwards:Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina), Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb), Duje Cop (Dinamo Zagreb), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim).

 

Group E:

IRELAND

Ireland national team organized group photo. ©Getty Images/AFP.
Ireland national team organized group photo. ©Getty Images/AFP.

Coach: Martin O’Neill
Key player: Shane Long, plays as forward and has 16 international goals.
Leading scorer: all-time – Robbie Keane (67); current – Robbie Keane (67)
Did you know? Ireland won only one game at the UEFA European Championships, their infamous 1-0 win against England in 1988.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Stoke), Darren Randolph (West Ham), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday).
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Richard Keogh (Derby), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Shane Duffy (Blackburn), Stephen Ward (Burnley).
Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday), James McClean (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), David Meyler (Hull), Stephen Quinn (Reading), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Jeff Hendrick (Derby) Robbie Brady (Norwich), Jonathan Walters (Stoke).
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich).

 

ITALY

Coach: Antonio Conte
Key player: Daniele De Rossi, midfielder.
Leading scorer: all-time – Luigi Riva (35); current – Daniele De Rossi (17)
Did you know? Italy is Europe’s most successful nation in the FIFA World Cup with four victories, in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Federico Marchetti (Lazio), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain).
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan).
Midfielders: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Emanuele Giaccherini (Bologna), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Stefano Sturaro (Juventus).
Forwards: Eder (Inter Milan), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Juventus).

 

BELGIUM

Belgian team in 2013. ©upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons.
Belgian team in 2013. ©upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons.

Coach: Marc Wilmots
Key player: Kevin De Bruyne, scored 5 goals in qualifying matches.
Leading scorer: all-time – Bernard Voorhoof, Paul Van Himst (30); current – Marouane Fellaini (15)
Did you know? In 2000, Belgium became the first host nation who failed to pass the group stage.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Jean-Francois Gillet (Catania).
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Jason Denayer (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Christian Kabasele (Genk), Jordan Lukaku (Oostende), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manhcester United), Radja Nainggolan (Roma), Axel Witsel (Zenit), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Dries Mertens (Napoli).
Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Christian Benteke (Liverpool), Divock Origi (Liverpool), Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Michy Batshuayi (Marseille).

SWEDEN

Coach: Erik Hamren
Key player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his country’s record scorer with 62 goals.
Leading scorer: all-time – Zlatan Ibrahimović (62); current – Zlatan Ibrahimović (62)
Did you know? Sweden was the only FIFA World Cup host nation to be defeated in the finals.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (Kasimpasa), Robin Olsen (Copenhagen), Patrik Carlgren (AIK).
Defenders: Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Norwich City), Ludwig Augustinsson (Copenhagen), Erik Johansson (Copenhagen), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar), Victor Lindelof (Benfica), Pontus Jansson (Torino).
Midfielders: Kim Kallstrom (Grasshoppers), Pontus Wernbloom (CSKA Moscow), Oscar Lewicki (Malmo), Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig), Jimmy Durmaz (Olympiacos), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland), Erkan Zengin (Trabzonspor), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg), Oscar Hiljemark (Palermo).
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Berg (Panathinaikos) John Guidetti (Celta de Vigo), Emir Kujovic (IFK Norrkoping).

 

Group F:

 

AUSTRIA

Austria has qualified for seven World Cups, most recently in 1998. ©UEFA.
Austria has qualified for seven World Cups, most recently in 1998. ©UEFA.

Coach: Marcel Koller
Key player: David Alaba, holds five Bundesliga titles and five consecutive Austrian player of the year awards.
Leading scorer: all-time – Toni Polster (44); current – Marc Janko (25)
Did you know? Austria were never quite able to get across the line in qualifying, until the UEFA EURO 2016.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Robert Almer (Austria Vienna), Heinz Lindner (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ramazan Ozcan (Ingolstadt).
Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Dinamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), Gyorgy Garics (Darmstadt), Martin Hinteregger (Borussia Monchengladbach), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Prodl (Watford), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham).
Midfielders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig), Jakob Jantscher (Luzern), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Alessandro Schopf (Schalke).
Forwards: Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Rubin Okotie (1860 Munich), Marc Janko (Basel).

 

HUNGARY

Hungary has a long-standing rivalry with her neighbor, Romania. ©UEFA.
Hungary has a long-standing rivalry with her neighbor, Romania. ©UEFA.

Coach: Bernd Storck
Key player: Balazs Dzsudzsak
Leading scorer: all-time – Ferenc Puskás (84); current – Zoltán Gera (24)
Did you know? The Rubik’s Cube inventor, Erno Rubik, was a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture who sold 350 million worldwide.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Gabor Kiraly (Haladas), Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros), Peter Gulacsi (Leipzig).
Defenders: Attila Fiola (Puskas Academy), Barnabas Bese (MTK Budapest), Richard Guzmics (Wisla Krakow), Roland Juhasz (Videoton), Adam Lang (Videoton), Tamas Kadar (Lech Poznan), Mihaly Korhut (Debrecen).
Midfielders: Adam Pinter (Ferencvaros), Gergo Lovrencsics (Lech Poznan), Akos Elek (Diosgyor), Zoltan Gera (Ferencvaros), Adam Nagy (Ferencvaros), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Werden Bremen), Zoltan Stieber (Nuremberg).
Forwards: Balazs Dzsudzsak (Bursaspor), Adam Szalai (Hannover), Krisztian Nemeth (Al Gharafa), Nemanja Nikolics (Legia Warsaw), Tamas Priskin (Slovan Bratislava), Daniel Bode (Ferencvaros).

ICELAND

Coach: Lars Lagerback
Key player: Gylfi Sigurdsson, top scorer in qualifying with six goals.
Leading scorer: all-time – Eidur Gudjohnsen (25); current – Eidur Gudjohnsen (25)
Did you know? Iceland made history by reaching the qualifying play-offs for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Hannes Halldorsson (Bodo), Ogmundur Kristinsson (Hammarby), Ingvar Jonsson (Sandefjord).
Defenders: Ari Skulason (OB), Hordur Magnusson (Cesena), Hjortur Hermannsson (PSV Eindhoven), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Krasnodar), Kari Arnason (Malmo), Sverrir Ingi Ingason (Lokeren), Birkir Sævarsson (Hammarby), Haukur Heidar Hauksson (AIK).
Midfielders: Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff), Theodor Elmar Bjarnason (AGF), Arnor Ingvi Traustason (Norrkoping), Birkir Bjarnason (Basel), Johann Gudmundsson (Charlton), Eidur Gudjohnsen (Molde), Runar Mar Sigurjonsson (Sundsvall).
Forwards: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (Nantes), Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Kaiserslautern).

 

PORTUGAL

Portugal tried to qualify for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. ©Getty Images/AFP.
Portugal tried to qualify for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. ©Getty Images/AFP.

Coach: Fernando Santos
Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Leading scorer: all-time – Cristiano Ronaldo (55); current – Cristiano Ronaldo (55)
Did you know?: Portugal was the last team to receive the FIFA World Cup Most Entertaining Team award for their performance at the 2006 finals in Germany.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb).
Defenders: Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Cedric (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient).
Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Renato Sanches (Benfica), Adrien Silva (Sporting), Andre Gomes (Valencia), Joao Mario (Sporting).
Forwards: Rafa Silva (SC Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Nani (Fenerbahce), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Lille).

France, as the host nation, will hold the matches in ten stadia in ten cities, namely: Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse.
By the end of Euro 2016, the winning team earns the right to compete at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup hosted by Russia.

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