In Part One, Patrick previewed groups A and B, containing the likes of favourites France, as well as Home Nations England and Wales. Here he previews groups C-F as well as picking his overall winners for the tournament.
Germany will likely cruise it, even if they do plump for faux hard man Emre Can at full-back and only have Mario Gomez as an out-and-out centre-forward. False nines are out of fashion tactically, but any side that contains Thomas Muller will carry significant threat going forward. There’s quality all over the park, in the form of Champions League winner Toni Kroos and new Bayern signing Mats Hummels, amongst others, and this will see the Germans into the latter stages.
Welcome, Northern Ireland while we’re at it! Michael O’Neill’s combative outfit will no doubt fancy their chances of making it out of a group without a second seed of the quality of Italy.
And so it’s upon us. After months- perhaps even years in some cases (Wales, I’m looking at you)- of waiting, Euro 2016 is set for lift off on Friday evening. Expectant fans across Europe await, with a sternly security conscious France putting final measures in place (for good reason) for the extravaganza of football that’s going to dominate TVs up and down the country over the next four weeks.
In many ways it’s a hermit’s dream. What better than three games of top level football per day, on average, for the foreseeable? Answer: little to nothing. Sorry, in advance, to anyone who watches the Chase or Pointless. Cancelled until further notice, thanks.
Underwhelming, woeful, abject, hopeless; following- and indeed commenting on- Everton this season has felt like an increasingly depressing game of (negative) adjective bingo.
At the time of writing, under-fire Blues boss Roberto Martinez’s three-year tenure has just come to an abrupt end. For months, the Catalan had been teetering on the brink; staring into the abyss from which he may never return. Put simply, lower mid-table isn’t good enough for this crop of players. Sure, the Goodison board- with Bill Kenwright still nominally at the helm despite new billionaire backer Farhard Moshiri’s recent investment- hasn’t helped, but it’s hard not to arrive at the conclusion that Martinez’s dismissal was almost entirely of his own making.
After the inevitable pessimism that followed a thoroughly abject 2014/15 Premier League campaign, this time around Everton, as a club, finally has its swagger back, both on and off the pitch. Gone is the overly lateral, possession-centric football witnessed during last season’s below-par showings; in its place a fluid, exciting – if slightly more direct – attacking style that caters to the considerable strengths of the plethora of young stars being carefully (and successfully) nurtured by the reinvigorated Roberto Martinez. As such, it’s fair to say there’s a general ‘sky’s the limit’ sort of optimism sweeping through the Evertonian ranks at the minute. Supporters are enjoying seeing their side play, and rightly so, for the case could well be made that Blues are currently English football’s great entertainers.