Euro 2016 Predictions: Player to watch, who will win and how will England get on?

The Star's sport team give their views

The Star's sport team give their views

0
Have your say

The wait is almost over as on Friday night in Paris, France and Romania kick off the eagerly-awaited European Championships.

The home nation are tournament favourites, with England around 8/1 to end what is now 50 years of hurt.

Dimitri Payet

Dimitri Payet

Here, The Star's sport team put their necks on the block and predict who we think are going to be the big hitter in this summer's competition.

DANNY HALL

Player to watch: Antoine Griezmann (France). Converted from winger to striker with stunning results, as 32 goals last season shows. He can do it all (and frequently does) so could be one of the stars of the tournament on home soil.

Winning team: Germany. Ruthless efficiency and big-game players. My team to beat.

Manchester City and Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne

Manchester City and Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne

How will England do?: Quarter finals before drowning in a tidal wave of optimism and tumbling out as only the English seemingly can.

Surprise package: Wales and Northern Ireland. The Welsh are solid enough with the added star quality of Gareth Bale, and Michael O'Neill has transformed the Northern Irish into the side with the longest unbeaten run of all the 24 Euro teams. And they have a striker on fire, too, apparently...

PAUL GOODWIN

Player to watch: Dimitri Payet - a big game player and special talent who is going into his first major tournament full of confidence.

England's Harry Kane

England's Harry Kane

Winning team: France - The hosts will waltz through their group and look good to go the distance.

How will England do?: Quarter-finals. We don't have the defensive solidity or cut-throat mentality to go any further.

Surprise package: Italy. Everyone appears to be writing them off but they know what they're doing when it comes to tournament football.

PAUL DAVIS

Player to watch: Eden Hazard. Found his form at the right time. I don't see a European player with more talent.

Winning team: Never back against Germany when it matters. After them, France.

How will England do? All right, but they won't win it. Too weak in central defence, although they could score a few. They need to find a way to accommodate Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli in the same side.

Surprise package: Not Wales. I suspect their bubble has burst. Although their one good game will come against England.

DOM HOWSON

Player to watch: Kevin de Bruyne. Despite an injury-hit campaign, de Bruyne still bagged 16 goals for Manchester City. Is a quick, dynamic forward who can create or score a goal out of nothing.

Winning team: Germany. A boring and predictable answer, but the Germans rarely disappoint at a major tournament.

How will England do?: Will comfortably get out of their group. Reaching the quarter-finals would be a positive step in the right direction. However, their defensive deficiencies will be exposed by the top sides.

Surprise package: Iceland. Beat the Netherlands home and away in qualifying so should not be under-estimated.

LIAM HODEN

Player to watch: Paul Pogba. One of the best performers in European club football over the last few years with Juventus. All-action midfielder could be the driving force behind a strong French side.

Winning team: France. Arguably the best attacking options in the tournament plus home advantage should be enough in a tournament with few stand out contenders.

How will England do?: Semi-finals. The group shouldn't be a problem and neither should the round of 16. One of Portugal, Belgium or Italy should provide the opposition in the quarters and England would have a good chance.

Surprise package: Wales. More than Gareth Bale plus ten others, they could thrive in what could be a very defensive-minded tournament. Staying well organised and laying the platform for Bale to produce magic could take them fairly deep into the tournament.

CHRIS HOLT

Player to watch: Harry Kane. Can now be regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe and his star just keeps rising. Given the right support, the Spurs striker can end up top scorer in the competition.

Winning team: Northern Ireland. No? Ok, they'll be beaten finalists. Spain it is, then. Granted, they aren't the force they were but a look at the players left out of their squad - Niguez, Mata, Torres, Costa among others - shows just how much quality the holders have within their ranks.

How will England do?: Sneak into the semi-finals and get battered by one of the good teams. If Roy Hodgson lets the reins off a little bit, this could be an exciting tournament for England. They have plenty of attacking talent, thought the backline is cause for concern

Surprise package: Would Northern Ireland really be a surprise? They are Europe's in form team after all. I'm backing Michael O'Neill's men to get out of the group and after that, who knows?

JAMES SHIELD

Player to watch: Renato Sanches looks like being the next big thing to come out of Portugal. Bayern Munich certainly think so, having signed him from Benfica for an initial £28m. France's Kingsley Coman is another youngster to keep a close eye on.

Winning team: A really exciting team and home advantage. A few injuries apart, you've got to fancy France's chances.

How will England do?: It depends on where they finish in the group. There's a lack of tournament experience in the squad but, with a good start, momentum could see England reach the semi-finals.

Surprise package: Player-wise, I've got a sneaking suspicion that Olivier Giroud might surprise a few people. So bet on him to get subbed at half-time in the opening game and then finish with zero goals. Team-wise, across the tournament as a whole, I can't chose between Croatia and Poland. On a game to game basis, Turkey are capable of beating anyone on their day.