The 15th edition of the European Championship is just a week away and now that the club season is over for most European teams, the fans can focus on one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world. France is the host nation, and Online Soccer odds place them as 3/1 favorites to win it all.
There isn’t a team that looks head and shoulders above everyone else this time around, but that’s to be expected, as the European Championship has always been one of the most unpredictable tournaments in the world. Some people even say it’s more competitive and harder to win than the World Cup.
With that being said, teams like France, Spain, Germany and England should all be in with a chance of making the final. There’s little to separate them in terms of footballing ability and with France being the hosts, it could play a vital role in Deschamps leading his country to winning the European Championship for the third time.
France already proved they can use their home advantage well enough by winning the World Cup in 1998 and they’ll surely be hopeful of lifting yet another major trophy on home soil. They have the right blend of youth and experience in their team and more than enough quality to go all the way.
Deschamps has also been at the helm long enough to know his best team and he seems to have the trust and respect of the players, unlike Raymond Domenech, who was heavily criticized and blamed by his own players for France’s utter failure in South Africa 6 years ago.
The former Marseille and Juventus player proved his impeccable decision making skills by leaving Karim Benzema, who was involved in a peculiar sex-tape scandal with Mathieu Valbuena, out of his squad for the tournament. Some of France’s campaigns have already been disrupted by disciplinary problems in the past and Didier Deschamps has made sure it won’t ever happen on his watch.
Deschamps has great players at his disposal and he’ll need to adopt the right tactics in order to get the best out of them. A few established internationals have been ruled out of the tournament due to injuries, with Raphael Varane being the most notable absentee, but there are more than enough options to help deal with it.
France has some amazing young players right now. The French fans could even claim it could be their new golden generation. Players such as Antoine Griezmann, Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman and Paul Pogba are still quite young, but they’re also already good enough to make their mark at Euro 2016 and lead France to glory.
Deschamps’ team has other reliable players as well. Hugo Lloris is one of the best goalkeepers in the English Premier League, which is a solid base to build from.
The defense is extremely experienced. Evra, Koscielny, Sagna, Jallet and Rami are all over 30 years old. Some might say they’re too old, but they all enjoyed decent campaigns at their clubs, so their inclusion in the squad is more than justified. Still, if we have to identify a relatively weak link in this French team, it’s the defense.
The team’s midfield and attack look very strong and Deschamps has plenty of options to choose from. Kante, Matuidi and Pogba could prove to be one of the most balanced midfields in the tournament, while Coman, Griezmann and Martial offer plenty of skill, pace and energy in attack.
Deschamps’ team is rightfully regarded as one of the favourites to win Euro 2016, but there are no guarantees in football. Every team deserves its place in the tournament and every team has a right to dream of lifting the trophy on July 10th. That’s why we all love the game. A team can have the best players on paper, but the individual quality alone is not enough to triumph in a major tournament.
The coach has to get the tactics spot-on and also be able to motivate his players. The players have to make the most out of the fact they’re playing on home soil and have to be up for it. The fans play a vital role as well. Every team will be able to enjoy the passionate support of its fans, but the French fans will have a golden opportunity to make their team’s home advantage count. It could prove the difference between going out in the 1/8 finals and winning the trophy.