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England Draw Wales In Euro 2016 Group Stage

(Enrique de la Fuente/Action Plus/Icon Sportswire)

The groups are drawn for Euro 2016 next summer in France. The hosts will play Albania, Romania and Switzerland in Group A. England will play rivals Wales in Group B along with Russia and Slovakia.

Here’s a full rundown on the draw:

Group A: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland.

Reaction: The hosts have a tendency of getting favorable draws, and Group A is definitely a decent group for the French. As long as they can put the whole Valbuena sex-tape scandal behind them, they should be considered the favorites. Behind them it’s a pretty open race. Romania was the best defensive side through the qualification group stage, only allowing two goals in 10 games.

Schedule:

6/10: France – Romania

6/11: Albania – Switzerland

6/15: Romania – Switzerland

6/15: France – Albania

6/19: Switzerland – France

6/19: Romania – Albania

 

Group B: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia.

Reaction: England against Wales will be a huge match, as the rivalry is alive and well between the two nations after Wales’ win over England in the Rugby World Championship. England won all 10 games in the qualifiers and must be considered the favorites. Russia has played better since switching managers. Wales is very reliant on Gareth Bale, and the Real Madrid winger could be one of the biggest stars of the tournament. Slovakia has a couple of weapons of their own, including Napoli star Marek Hamsik.

Schedule:

6/11: Wales – Slovakia

6/11: England – Russia

6/15: Russia – Slovakia

6/16: England – Wales

6/20: Slovakia – England

6/20: Russia – Wales

 

Group C: Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland.

Reaction: As reigning World Cup champions, Germany will be the big favorite to win the whole tournament. Poland were drawn against the Germans again, as they played each other in the qualifiers. With Robert Lewandowski scoring goals like there’s no tomorrow, Poland could make things difficult for the Germans. Ukraine and Northern Ireland will most likely battle for third place in the group.

Schedule:

6/12: Poland – Northern Ireland

6/12: Germany – Ukraine

6/16: Ukraine – Northern Ireland

6/16: Germany – Poland

6/21: Northern Ireland – Germany

6/21: Ukraine – Poland

 

Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia.

Reaction: Deemed as one of the toughest groups on paper right after the draw, Spain will be the favorites to win Group D as they can boast a very strong lineup. The Spaniards won the qualification group after racking up nine wins and only one loss, while outscoring their opponents 23-3. The other three nations will prove stiff competition for the reigning European champions, as they all have potential game-winners on their squads. The Czechs also won their qualification group while Croatia came second behind Italy and Turkey, who got a direct spot in the tournament after becoming the best overall third-placed team in the qualifications.

Schedule:

6/12: Turkey – Croatia

6/13: Spain – Czech Republic

6/17: Czech Republic – Croatia

6/17: Spain – Turkey

6/21: Croatia – Spain

6/21: Czech Republic – Turkey

 

Group E: Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Sweden.

Reaction: Another tough group on paper, where Belgium and Italy will be seen as the favorites to win the group. Sweden went through the qualification playoffs by beating rivals Denmark, and a lot of soccer fans are excited to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic in what will most likely be his last tournament with the Swedish national team. Belgium tops the latest FIFA world rankings and has an extremely promising squad with players like Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard. Ireland and Sweden will bring a lot of enthusiastic fans to the tournament as they always have a very strong and loud following.  

Schedule:

6/13: Ireland – Sweden

6/13: Belgium – Italy

6/17: Italy – Sweden

6/18: Belgium – Ireland

6/22: Sweden – Belgium

6/22: Italy – Ireland

 

Group F: Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary.

Reaction: Two group winners ended up in Group F, and it will be interesting to see if Cristiano Ronaldo can lead Portugal to glory as they take on a very talented Austria and a well-organized Iceland side. Hungary is the underdog in the group and will have to be extremely disciplined if they are to make any noise against, on-paper, much stronger opponents. Portugal won their qualification group ahead of Albania, whereas Iceland finished second behind the Czechs in their group. Austria won the group that included Russia and Sweden, while Hungary knocked off Norway in the qualification playoffs.

Schedule:

6/14: Austria – Hungary

6/14: Portugal – Iceland

6/18: Iceland – Hungary

6/18: Portugal – Austria

6/22: Hungary – Portugal

6/22: Iceland – Austria

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