Can We Compare England With The Favourites?

England have made it through the Group Stage and it was fairly straight forward. While they didn’t pick up the results they should have, there was no denying their dominance in every game.

Now it’s time to face the big boys. If Roy’s Boy’s are going to go all the way they’ll have to beat some major forces. But how do their squads match up?

England have made it through the Group Stage and it was fairly straight forward. While they didn’t pick up the results they should have, there was no denying their dominance in every game.

Now it’s time to face the big boys. If Roy’s Boy’s are going to go all the way they’ll have to beat some major forces. But how do their squads match up?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at three of the strongest Euro 2016 squads and see how England measure up…

France

Host nation France are now established as one of the tournament favourites after a successful Group Stage and can be backed at 7/2 to lift the Euro crown. Despite this, it can be argued that England’s squad measures up well against the French, with both showcasing similar strengths and obvious areas of vulnerability.

Both squads lack proven depth and quality in defence, for example, although the presence of Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny and the experienced Patrice Evra probably affords them the edge. In attack, England arguably pack more fire-power in the shape of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, despite not the best of starts for Kane, although much will depend on the deployment and performance of the precocious Anthony Martial towards the latter stages.

It is in midfield that France look particularly strong, however, with the brilliant Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet, and PSG’s Blaise Matuidi operating as the heartbeat of the side. In contrast, England lack a true world-class presence, with the onus on Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney to provide some much needed guile.

Our Verdict: It is deceptively close, but a slightly stronger defence and a world-class midfield gives the French the edge.

Germany

Six months ago, world champions Germany were overwhelming favourites to win the Euros. They are now a distant third at 19/4, however, with the some of the cracks first evident in qualifying having become deeper during the tournament so far.

Despite this, the German squad is dripping with talent while it also benefits from a delicate balance of youthful place and experience. Led by the outstanding Mats Hummels at the back, the Germans also boast a midfield that includes world-class performers such as Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil. There are also several young prospects who bring pace and energy to an experienced squad, with Leroy Sane, Julian Draxler and Julian Weigl leading the charge.

England’s midfield cannot measure up against such quality, and this would be a major concern for Roy Hodgson should his side reach the latter stages of the tournament. The same can also be said in attack, as while the Germans only include two recognised forwards (Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez) they also have the versatile Thomas Muller who has plundered 32 international goals in just 73 appearances.

Our Verdict: The German squad is definitely superior to England in terms of defence and midfield options, and while the Three Lions have greater depth in attack they do not possess the same level of experience or international goals-threat.

 Spain

While many claimed that the era of Spanish dominance had ended after Vincent del Bosque’s side exited the 2014 World Cup at the group stage, the squad has gradually improved and evolved in the two years’ since. The result of this is that Spain are now in the box-seat to qualify and are established as favourites for the title at 3/1, as they hunt their third consecutive European Championship success and fourth overall.

Typically, the wealth of world-class players at Spain’s disposal has meant that some high profile performers have missed the cut, with EPL starts Juan Mata and Diego Costa among these. This offers an insight into the depth and the quality of Spain’s squad, with experienced and talented stars such as Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Thiago, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas leading the way.

This balance of quality and experience is something that England simply cannot match, with the majority of the Three Lions more senior players lacking in caps and proven international pedigree.

Interestingly, the omission of Costa may leave Spain a little vulnerable in attack, with inexperienced players including Nolito (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus) and Lucas Vasquez (Real Madrid) selected in his stead. With Kane, Vardy, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford in his squad, Roy Hodgson may feel as though his side has a distinct attacking edge.

Our Verdict: While England may have more fire-power in attack, Spain boast a vastly superior defence and midfield. This is a common them when you compare England to their elite Euro rivals, so the Three Lions will need to be at their very best if they are to compete in the knockout stages.

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