Most talks of who will likely emerge as winner at the ongoing Euros 2016 have been centered around the host, France; World Cup defending champions, Germany; Euros defending champions, Spain, and the likes of Italy, Belgium and England. But as it happened in 2004 when Portugal hosted the games, an underdog could emerge eventual winners like Greece did, and we could see 1 of the competition’s dark horses pull up a surprise come July 10. For all its worth, even the most favorites can’t lay claim to that tag anymore given what we’ve so far. One of these 5 countries might just return home with the trophy.
Parading the Modrics, Rakitics and Mandžukićs of this world, the Croats sure have gotten enough firepower in their ranks capable of challenging any side at the Euros. A hard-fought victory over Turkey isn’t only a proof of what to expect from them, it also talks about their teamwork and ability to win. Making it to the next round is definitely certain, it is only a question of whether they would finish as group winners or runners up.
Most super stars aren’t that excellent with their national teams, and C.Ronaldo has been guilty of that of recent. This tournament provides him another opportunity to do what he hasn’t been able to do with the 2008 Euros host, and a great outing, most especially a victory will see him definitely notch his 4th Balon D’or. The side’s captain has single-handedly won games for Real Madrid on many occasions. He can do it for Portugal if he’s at his best. Aided with the likes of Nani, Joao Mario, Carvalho, Gomes and Renato, a surprise victory isn’t far from reality really.
Robert Lewandowski has particularly been the talking point anytime the Poles surfaced in the Euros discussion. However, his striking partner, Arkadiusz Milik has also proven his worth by grabbing the winner against Northern Ireland after his brilliant displays during the qualifiers. A newly unearthed gem in teenage midfield sensation, Bartosz Kapustka was the talking point after their opener, and has been heralded as the future. These 3 might just be enough to propel Poland to the pinnacle in France. Only time will tell if that is possible though.
Wales also boast of a couple of stars in Bale, Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ward and Williams. The win over a tough Slovakia side will sure boost their confidence, and they are set to make the best use of their outing in France after a 58-year wait for a tournament. They must however get some points from the England and Russia games if they are to cause any major upset.
The Swiss can be the true dark horses due to their underdogs status. They parade a relatively young side that features the likes of Xhaka, Shaqiri et al. They face their toughest test against the hosts, and if per adventure, they emerge unscathed, then we can expect them to remain exceptional in the knockout stages. Could we be seeing them at the finals? It’s 2016, everything and anything can happen in football.