Euro 2016 – What can we expect?
June 4, 2016 (No Comments) by theSharpeUser

euro 2016

Any time the Euros come around there is huge excitement in the football world but it seems as if there is an added air of excitement around these parts this year about international football’s European showpiece. Not least because Ireland have qualified from a tough group beating the reigning world champions along the way. The fact that the Euros are in France also means there will be a huge number of Irish fans travelling and it promises to be a great spectacle to look forward to. But what can we expect to see on the pitch, both from an Irish point of view and in the tournament as a whole?

As expected, due to the seeding system, Ireland have found themselves in a very tough group with Belgium, Italy and Sweden. At first glance this group could hardly be tougher. Three teams littered with world class players means Ireland face a daunting task to qualify. We do however go into the tournament on a high and there can be cause for optimism. Martin O ‘Neills men have been impressive in qualifying and while not blessed with the array of talent of some of the other teams in the group they have become a very difficult team to beat. The Germans will testify to that. Ireland are very well drilled and tough to break down at the back and while they hardly set the world alight going forward they are improving. There’s also a great affection towards the manager and the team from the fans which is great to see because it suffered under Trappatoni. Despite the group I think there is genuine hope in the country that Ireland can compete with the big boys in France.

First up for O ‘Neills men, is the Swedes in Paris. If Ireland are to be competitive and give themselves at least a chance of qualification they will need a result against probably the weakest team in the group on paper bar us. Sweden are no mugs though and they do have Zlatan in their team, who on his day is unplayable. They are beatable however and I’m sure Martin O ‘Neill will have targeted this game a long way out as a chance to pick up 3 points. With that said I’m sure Sweden will be thinking the same. If there is a loser in this game then they will be facing a huge uphill battle to qualify. Ireland need to have a real cut at Sweden if they have aspirations of getting out of the group.

Most neutrals will see Belgium and Italy qualifying from this group with ease but I don’t think it will be that simple. Belgium are short price favourites to top the group but still remain a bit of an enigma. They topped their qualification group but were more functional than fantastic in doing so. They were beaten by Wales and drew away from home with Ireland’s playoff opponents, Bosnia and Herzegovina. While their squad is among the best in Europe they have yet to properly gel as a team in a major tournament. If they do click they will walk the group but I don’t think Ireland should pay them too much respect because as Wales showed, they are beatable. The other powerhouse in the group, Italy while traditionally a giant of world football, also failed to impress in qualification albeit, still topping the group. They are far removed from Italian teams of old and while they have some good players they are nowhere near the force they once were. I do however think they will be difficult to beat because of their safety first approach. While it may be seen as the worst possible group for Ireland I think we could ruffle a few feathers and if we can get a win against the Swedes who knows.

Looking at the broader picture, the bookies make the hosts France slight favourites ahead of Germany and it’s hard to argue with this although there are a few strange selections in the French squad and they will be without Karim Benzema one of their best players due to his strange and seedy behaviour off the field. It is hard to know what to expect from Spain while the English again are being hyped up as they are every tournament although this time maybe with good reason as they have an awful lot of in-form attacking players. With no team setting the world alight it is a very open tournament with a handful of teams who could win it and this could make for a great spectacle. And the sight of the Irish fans taking over the Stade de France on June 13th will be a sight worth waiting for.

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Euro 2016 – What can we expect?
June 4, 2016 (No Comments) by theSharpeUser

euro 2016

Any time the Euros come around there is huge excitement in the football world but it seems as if there is an added air of excitement around these parts this year about international football’s European showpiece. Not least because Ireland have qualified from a tough group beating the reigning world champions along the way. The fact that the Euros are in France also means there will be a huge number of Irish fans travelling and it promises to be a great spectacle to look forward to. But what can we expect to see on the pitch, both from an Irish point of view and in the tournament as a whole?

As expected, due to the seeding system, Ireland have found themselves in a very tough group with Belgium, Italy and Sweden. At first glance this group could hardly be tougher. Three teams littered with world class players means Ireland face a daunting task to qualify. We do however go into the tournament on a high and there can be cause for optimism. Martin O ‘Neills men have been impressive in qualifying and while not blessed with the array of talent of some of the other teams in the group they have become a very difficult team to beat. The Germans will testify to that. Ireland are very well drilled and tough to break down at the back and while they hardly set the world alight going forward they are improving. There’s also a great affection towards the manager and the team from the fans which is great to see because it suffered under Trappatoni. Despite the group I think there is genuine hope in the country that Ireland can compete with the big boys in France.

First up for O ‘Neills men, is the Swedes in Paris. If Ireland are to be competitive and give themselves at least a chance of qualification they will need a result against probably the weakest team in the group on paper bar us. Sweden are no mugs though and they do have Zlatan in their team, who on his day is unplayable. They are beatable however and I’m sure Martin O ‘Neill will have targeted this game a long way out as a chance to pick up 3 points. With that said I’m sure Sweden will be thinking the same. If there is a loser in this game then they will be facing a huge uphill battle to qualify. Ireland need to have a real cut at Sweden if they have aspirations of getting out of the group.

Most neutrals will see Belgium and Italy qualifying from this group with ease but I don’t think it will be that simple. Belgium are short price favourites to top the group but still remain a bit of an enigma. They topped their qualification group but were more functional than fantastic in doing so. They were beaten by Wales and drew away from home with Ireland’s playoff opponents, Bosnia and Herzegovina. While their squad is among the best in Europe they have yet to properly gel as a team in a major tournament. If they do click they will walk the group but I don’t think Ireland should pay them too much respect because as Wales showed, they are beatable. The other powerhouse in the group, Italy while traditionally a giant of world football, also failed to impress in qualification albeit, still topping the group. They are far removed from Italian teams of old and while they have some good players they are nowhere near the force they once were. I do however think they will be difficult to beat because of their safety first approach. While it may be seen as the worst possible group for Ireland I think we could ruffle a few feathers and if we can get a win against the Swedes who knows.

Looking at the broader picture, the bookies make the hosts France slight favourites ahead of Germany and it’s hard to argue with this although there are a few strange selections in the French squad and they will be without Karim Benzema one of their best players due to his strange and seedy behaviour off the field. It is hard to know what to expect from Spain while the English again are being hyped up as they are every tournament although this time maybe with good reason as they have an awful lot of in-form attacking players. With no team setting the world alight it is a very open tournament with a handful of teams who could win it and this could make for a great spectacle. And the sight of the Irish fans taking over the Stade de France on June 13th will be a sight worth waiting for.

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