Scotland may not be in the European Championships once again, but that has not stopped Scotzine’s contributors having their say on who will win this year’s tournament in France, which kicks off tonight at 8pm.
First up Calum Clark tips Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to beat the odds to win the tournament. He said: “Well it has been a year for the underdog this year and I have sneaking suspicion we may see the same in this summer’s Euros, Now I am not saying Albania are going to do a Greece of 2004 but with no real outright favourite in my eyes I am going for Portugal and more really with Cristiano Ronaldo, it is his last real chance of international silverware and if he plays like he did towards the end of the La Liga season I think he could drag this ordinary Portugal side to the final, but they will more than likely have to battle past France and Germany in the latter stages which will be a mammoth task for any side. It really is an open completion for the first time in many years.
Aiden Wylie doesn’t care who wins it in all likelihood, given Scotland are not participating, he hopes plucky Iceland can do well but think the Auld Enemy England will be dark horses. However, he is tipping hosts France to lift the trophy.
He commented: “It is a fact that this summer, every single country in Europe will see their football team compete in the Euros – apart from Scotland. It certainly feels like that. Albania, Switzerland and hipsters’ choice Iceland will all be there. Northern Ireland even.
“With no hopers like Northern Ireland and the Republic making up the numbers, it reflects terribly on Gordon Strachan that Scotland won’t be playing. Who will win it? Well, it won’t be Germany or Poland (neither of those teams looked any good, although stranger things have happened). England pummelled Scotland the last time they played, and they would again if they played tomorrow, but England will most likely fall at the quarter finals as per usual. I have a lot of time for Roy Hodgson, but I don’t think they have the defence to go all the way.
“Italy and France both looked very good against an atrocious Scotland side, so I’ll plump for France, with home advantage. Truth is, I don’t much care. I’ll be watching for the also-rans. England will be the dark horses, and Iceland the plucky funsters who everybody simultaneously respects and patronises. Oh how good that used to feel.”
France were also tipped to win the competition by John Bleasdale, he added: “They have a talented squad with guys like Griezman, Payet, Kante and Pogba all on a high after a good club season. Having home advantage on top of that gives them an edge like they had in ’84 and ’98.”
Craig John Shields is of the opinion that the quality of the top teams has dropped and he is tipping Croatia to do win. He explained: “While France are undoubtedly favourites for the Euros, the quality of the top teams at this years tournament has dipped considerably and that’s why it’s time to look outside the usual suspects and for Euro 2016; and I’m picking Croatia.
“With lynchpins from both Real and Barca in Modric and Rakitic, the Croats are undefeated since September and haven’t lost under new coach Ante Cacic. A competitive group may work in their favour and hold them in good stead for the quality of the latter stages, and while they may not be the most fashionable pick for the tournament, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Croatia’s chances in this tournament.”
Finally, editor Andy Muirhead has his say on the tournament.
He said: “The tournament has been overshadowed by growing security concerns following the continued threat from terror attacks, but hopefully we can stick to football matters throughout the competition and enjoy what is the best of the beautiful game in Europe.
“Focusing on the teams in the competition itself, the partisan crowd will fire France to the latter stages in my opinion – but can they win it? Well it paid off in the 1998 World Cup so why not now? Germany will be there or thereabouts also and there is also Belgium – but the two latter teams have issues with their defence.
“Once again there is hype surrounding England, but as we all know it is more press bluster than actually anything worthy of note and I cannot see them producing the goods.
“So I am tipping hosts France to use the occasion to bring some cheer back to the nation following some tough times and become European champions in the city of love.”
What do you think? Who will win the competition?