The countdown to the European Championship is gathering pace with hosts France kicking off the tournament against Romania at the Stade de France on Friday night.
Didier Deschamps’ side are favourites to be crowned the champions of Europe but they will face competition from the likes of Germany and holders Spain.
Whilst there are many opinions as to who is likely to win the tournament in France this summer, there are bound to be some surprising moments, and unexpected results.
In the build up to kick-off, we at Free Bets, take a closer look at all the group stage fixtures, as we predict every result from every group game.
France vs Romania
Whilst many expect the hosts to kick-off the tournament in style, Romania will be no pushovers. Anghel Iordanescu’s side had the best defensive record of any team in qualification, conceding just two goals in 10 games. France will prevail but it will be tough.
Albania vs Switzerland
Despite never reaching the knockout stages of the competition, the Swiss will fancy their chances this time around. Albania’s lack of goals will cost them here, and this will be a comfortable victory for the Swiss.
Romania vs Switzerland
A very tough match to call. After an opening game defeat to France, Romania will need to get something out of this one, whilst Switzerland’s overconfidence after victory over Albania could prove costly.
France vs Albania
Let the floodgates open. France will have too much for Albania, and this will be the fixture where Didier Deschamps’ side send out a warning to their rivals.
Switzerland vs France
After two consecutive group stage victories, France may take their foot off the gas slightly, allowing the Swiss to get the all-important point they need to advance to the knockout rounds.
Romania vs Albania
The result between France and Switzerland will leave Romania hoping to secure a best third place finish, in order to advance past the group stage. They will get the victory they need against Albania, though Gianni de Biasi’s side won’t go down without a fight.
Wales v Slovakia
Despite being able to call upon the individual brilliance of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Chris Coleman’s side will find Slovakia a tough nut to crack, and this game will likely end all square.
England v Russia
Whilst expectancy levels are unusually low compared to previous years, Roy Hodgson’s side are expected to come through their group with relative ease. A tough opening fixture awaits, but back England to negotiate their way through this one, with Harry Kane to get on the scoresheet.
Russia vs Slovakia
A win will be vital for both teams, and it could come down to which of Slovakia or Russia’s main men produce. Marek Hamsik and Artem Dzyuba will be key to their respective side’s progression, but expect this one to end all square.
England vs Wales
The game we’ve all been waiting for. There will be a lot of pride at stake for both sides but in all truth England should have too much quality for the Welsh, though Gareth Bale will do everything in his power to ensure otherwise. Expect a tight game, full of passion and desire.
Wales vs Russia
Wales will be going all out for the win in this crunch game, but three points for Russia will also be crucial. With both side’s having to go for it, expect plenty of goals, which ultimately leaves both sides disappointed.
England vs Slovakia
With England already safely through to the last 16, the pressure will be off Roy Hodgson’s side. Whilst playing without pressure will do England the world of good, the intensity will also dip, allowing Slovakia to get the point they need to unexpectedly qualify from Group B.
Poland vs Northern Ireland
Poland possess one of the best strikers in Europe right now in Robert Lewandowski, who’s 13 goals in qualifying ironically equalled the record set by David Healy in 2008. Expect the Bayern superstar to make a big impact at the tournament. Despite Northern Ireland’s fantastic record in qualifying, Poland should have too much for them.
Germany vs Ukraine
The Germans are heavy favourites to come top of their group, and looking at their squad and past history it’s easy to see why. Mykhaylo Fomenko’s side will look to the likes of Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko to score the goals, but in all truth they will most likely be overpowered by Thomas Muller and co.
Ukraine vs Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland scored more goals from set-pieces than any other team during qualification and will use this strategy effectively to grab their first point of the tournament.
Germany vs Poland
Adam Nawalka masterminded a 2-0 victory over Joachim Lowe during qualifying, and they should be backed to get another result here. The Germans will be more prepared this time, but Poland may surprise many in France.
Germany vs Northern Ireland
Michael O’Neil will be caught between two minds in this one. On the one hand, Northern Ireland will need to be bold and brave in order to try and pull of a miraculous result to somehow qualify for the knockouts, on the other hand, O’ Neil, will be wary of a wounded German side who will want to bounce back with a victory after their draw to Poland.
Poland vs Ukraine
Robert Lewandowski may end the group stages, as the tournaments leading goalscorer. Expect the 27-year-old to grab a couple more against Ukraine in their last fixture.
Turkey vs Croatia
Turkey and Croatia will both fancy their chances of qualifying from their group, and this is likely to be a cagey affair. Whilst Fatih Terim can rely on Arda Turan to inspire his side, Croatia have a little bit more individual brilliance, and so they should be backed to win this one.
Spain vs Czech Republic
Just when it looked as though Spain were back to their best, Vicente Del Bosque’s side suffered one of their most embarrassing defeats in history, losing to Georgia 1-0 only a few short days before kick-off in France. Whilst the Spaniards aren’t as reliable as they were during their recent years of dominance, the current European Champions will make light work of Pavel Vrba’s side, who were poor defensively during qualifying.
Czech Republic vs Croatia
Buoyed by their opening game victory over Turkey, Croatia will again find a way to overcome the Czechs, in yet another cagey affair for Ante Cacic’s side.
Spain vs Turkey
The first major shock at the tournament. After victory over Czech Republic in their opening game, the Spaniards will become over confident, allowing Faith Terim’s side to produce the shock of the tournament so far.
Spain vs Croatia
After their shock defeat to Turkey, Spain take on group leaders Croatia with the prospect of not finishing in the top two of their group. Despite their wobble against the Turks, Vicente Del Bosque’s side will regroup to beat Croatia.
Turkey vs Czech Republic
After victory over Spain, Turkey will look to get a positive result over the Czech Republic to ensure a best third place finish at least. The Czechs may have underperformed in their first two games, but will not want to lose their last match.
Republic of Ireland vs Sweden
The first name that springs to mind in this encounter is of course Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 34-year-old will look to make a statement during the tournament before his probable summer move to Man United, and while Martin O’Neil’s side have spirit and desire, the one thing they don’t have is a Zlatan.
Belgium vs Italy
Despite going unbeaten in qualifying, this is perhaps one of the weakest Italy squads we have seen at a major tournament for a long time. Having said that, Antonio Conte, will have his side defensively organised throughout the tournament. Belgium are many people’s tip to win the tournament, and looking at the array of talent in their squad it’s easy to see why.
But in tournament football, it’s tough to back Italy to lose. This is going to end all square.
Belgium vs Republic of Ireland
This will be that match that all but ends Martin O’ Neil’s side’s tournament. Expect Marc Wilmots to have his team ready to announce themselves as real contenders on the world stage, and claim all three points. Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne will run rampant.
Sweden vs Italy
Both sides will most likely be fighting it out for second place, so expect this contest to be tight, especially as it’s Italy. Whilst many might be looking to over hype such a clash, the game will have very few goals, and their just may be one moment of brilliance which decides the contest.
Sweden vs Belgium
Coming off the back of their first victory of the tournament against the Republic of Ireland, Belgium will carry the momentum in their last remaining game against Sweden and claim all three points.
The result will leave Zlatan and co waiting for the results in the other groups to see if they can qualify as one of the best third place teams.
Republic of Ireland vs Italy
With no chance of qualifying for the knockouts, Ireland will look to put on a brave performance for their travelling fans during their last group fixture. Whilst there is no lacking in spirit, Martin O’Neil’s side will not have the tournament know-how of the Italians, who will once again continue to fly under the radar in tournament football.
Portugal vs Iceland
After Portugal’s recent 7-1 victory over Estonia, Fernando Santos’ side will go into the tournament with plenty of belief and momentum. Cristiano Ronaldo was of course amongst the goals, and his performance during the tournament, will have a huge effect on how far Portugal progress.
Many people are tipping tournament debutants Iceland to get out of their group, but Lars Lagerback’s side will most likely need to mastermind his side’s progression after an opening game defeat.
Austria vs Hungary
Austria are many people’s dark horses this year, having achieved the second highest points tally from the qualifying groups, and winning nine out of 10 games. Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak is the great hope, but it is probable that Bernd Stock’s side will finish rock bottom of their group.
Iceland vs Hungary
Iceland will use this fixture to give their qualifying hopes a real boost. Gylfi Sigurdsson will drive his side to victory, whilst Hungary will be all but out.
Portugal vs Austria
With both sides having won their opening group fixtures, expect this one to end as a stalemate. Portugal will take a draw all day long, with their last fixture against Hungary, whilst Austria will need to avoid defeat against Iceland to ensure their safe passage to the knockout rounds.
Austria vs Iceland
Iceland will go into the last fixture needing to beat Austria in order to finish above them in the group. There won’t be a lot of goals but expect Marcel Koller to steer his side through this one and into the last 16.
Portugal vs Hungary
Portugal will use their last game of the tournament to send out a statement of intent. Expect goals galore, as Fernando Santos’ men easily advance to the knockout rounds. With Portugal going undefeated in their group, could they yet surprise many in France during the latter stages of the competition?