The tournament kicks off with France vs Romania tonightThe 2016 UEFA European Championships kick-off on Friday evening when hosts France entertain Romania at the Stade de France – a fixture which will signal the start of the month-long tournament.
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will all be present at the continental competition, as supporters descend on the county to watch their sides compete for Europe’s biggest football prize.
With the tournament nearly upon us, it is time to take a look at how the home nations are likely to fair at the Euros, as well as rounding up the best of the rest in our betting preview.
Roy Hodgson’s England side arrive at the Finals having won ten of their ten matches in the qualifying stage for the European Championships.
The Three Lions have been drawn in Group B, alongside Wales, Russia and Slovakia, and have been priced at 9/1 to win the tournament by Sky Bet, in what would be a first triumph since the World Cup of 1966.
England will be confident of erasing past memories of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they failed to qualify from the group stages.
This is due to a youthful playing squad, which subsequently provides cause for optimism this summer, with Tottenham Hotspur’s energetic duo of Dele Alli and Harry Kane giving Hodgson food for thought.
Former Fleetwood Town striker, Jamie Vardy, who is fresh from a Premier League title-winning season at Leicester City, also provides another option.
Vardy is 33/1 to win the Golden Boot, and you can get the same odds on Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, who is expected to play in a deeper midfield position.
Kane is 2/1 to top England’s goal scoring charts, while Vardy is priced at 9/2 with the same bookmaker.
Questions still remain regarding defensive issues ahead of the opening game with Russia on Saturday 11th June in Marseille, along with which formation will be used, with a 4-4-3 switch into a diamond formation expected.
Wales stand on the edge of their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, after coming through a qualifying group which including Belgium and Bosnia.
Manager Chris Coleman, who extended his stay in charge of the team prior to the Championships, has seen his side drawn in Group B in France this summer, alongside England, Russia and Slovakia.
Ahead of the Euros, Wales have been priced at 80/1 by Sky Bet to win the competition.
Real Madrid’s Cardiff born winger Gareth Bale will be the team’s main man at the Finals, after he netted seven of Wales’ 11 goals in qualification.
Bale is priced at 40/1 to secure the Golden Boot, and 10/11 to finish as top scorer for his country.
Elsewhere, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey is 9/1 to top the Welsh scoring, while Hal Robson-Kanu is 12/1.
Other Premier League based players, Ashley Williams, Wayne Hennessey and Joe Allen will be vital to any success this summer, while Coleman is left waiting upon the full fitness of Joe Ledley, who recently remarkably recovered from a broken leg.
Wales will have eyes on advancing to the knockout stages of the competition, and with Bale leading the line, they can be quietly confident.
The 2016 UEFA European Championships in France will be a first competition since the Mexico World Cup of 1986 for Michael O’Neill’s Northern Irish side.
Seeded in Group C of the draw, Poland, Germany and Ukraine await the Green and White Army in what is arguably one of the tougher groups at the tournament.
Having come through qualifying successfully, topping their group, Northern Ireland will compete without any fear with a strong togetherness amongst their side.
Currently ranked at 26th in the FIFA World Rankings, Northern Ireland are 250/1 with Sky Bet to cause a shock and win the Championships on 10th July.
Much like Wales in qualifying, they proved a difficult team to break down, with O’Neill proving an astute tactician who gets the very best out of his players.
A well organised side, the Northern Ireland squad has Fleetwood Town interest, with full-back Conor McLaughlin excelling in the starting eleven for his national side over the course of the last two years or so.
Up front, Kyle Lafferty of Norwich City is 4/1 to finish top scorer for his side, and it is at international level where Lafferty has played his best football, having scored seven goals in qualifying.
Will Grigg, the Wigan Athletic forward, who helped his club to promotion last season, is 7/1 to lead the way for his country.
Republic of Ireland
A second successive European Championship Finals awaits the Republic of Ireland, who are priced at 150/1 by Sky Bet to be victorious.
The Boys in Green will be hoping that the 2016 tournament is kinder to them, after crashing out in the group stages four years ago.
Martin O’Neill, who alongside assistant Roy Keane recently extended his stay on a long-term basis, will oversee a team in Group I, alongside Belgium, Italy and Sweden.
He will probably favour a 4-2-3-1 style formation at this forthcoming competition, a formation that could indeed produce an element of surprise amongst their fellow group rivals.
Shane Long, who enjoyed a positive season with Southampton, will be the main attacking option for O’Neill, and Sky Bet are offering odds of 7/2 for him to finish top goal scorer for the Republic.
The 29-year-old Long is joined by the evergreen Robbie Keane, now playing his club football at American MLS side LA Galaxy, is 7/1 to find the net most for O’Neill’s team.
Ireland’s main objective will be to get out of a tough group, but given the new 24 team format, qualifying as one of the best third placed teams brings an added spice to proceedings.
Best of the rest
In terms of the best of the other countries competing this summer, France are 3/1 favourites to win on home soil, closely followed by World Champions Germany at 4/1, Spain at 5/1 and Belgium at 10/1.
Teams who are considered the dark horses are Italy at 16/1, Austria at 40/1 and Poland at 50/1.
Fancy a flutter on an outsider? Well, Iceland, who have Eidur Gudjohnsen in their side, are at their maiden competition and are 150/1 to claim the trophy.
Germany’s Thomas Muller is 7/1 favourite to win the Golden Boot, closely followed by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo at 8/1, and France’s Antoine Griezmann at 9/1.
To view all odds, please click here
Picture courtesy of Camera Sport