Euro 2016 preview
Four of the home nations will be taking to the pitch in France this month with one shared goal: lifting The Henri Delaunay Cup. The Directory Group looks ahead to the much-anticipated tournament and highlights some key fixtures to put in the diary…
The tournament kicks off on Friday 10th June, as hosts France face Romania, with England and Wales both in action the following day – facing Russia and Slovakia respectively. Northern Ireland kick off their Euro 2016 campaign against Poland, while Republic of Ireland face Sweden.
On Thursday 16th June, England and Wales will meet at a tournament for the first time. Wales thrived in qualifying as the plucky underdogs, while England will be buoyed by their brilliant comeback in the friendly victory over Germany and plenty of promising talent coming through the ranks. On the same day, Germany face Poland in another enticing fixture.
Given the difficulty of the remaining opposition in Group E, the Republic of Ireland’s opening match promises to be vital. They need to get their campaign off on the right foot and face Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden as they seek to do so. Both teams came through the play-offs but after beating Germany during qualifying, Martin O’Neill’s men will mean they fear no one.
If Northern Ireland can get something from their first two games against Poland and Ukraine, their fate will come down to the final game – in Paris against Germany on Tuesday 21st June. Northern Ireland proved formidable opponents in qualifying. While anything from a game against the world champions is surely beyond them, this will still be an occasion to remember.
All roads lead to the final at Stade de France in Paris on Sunday 10th July…
Group A: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland
Group B: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia
Group C: Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland
Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia
Group E: Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Sweden
Group F: Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary
Home nations TV guide
Saturday 11th June: 17.00 Wales v Slovakia (BBC); 20.00 England v Russia (ITV)
Sunday 12th June: 17.00 Poland v Northern Ireland (BBC)
Monday 13th June: 17.00 Republic of Ireland v Sweden (BBC)
Thursday 16th June: 14.00 England v Wales (BBC); 17.00 Ukraine v Northern Ireland (ITV)
Saturday 18th June: 14.00 Belgium v Republic of Ireland (ITV)
Monday 20th June: 20.00 Russia v Wales (ITV); 20.00 Slovakia v England (ITV)
Tuesday 21st June: 17.00 Northern Ireland v Germany (BBC)
Wednesday 22nd June: 20.00 Italy v Republic of Ireland (ITV)