Host France are expected to top Group A of Euro 2016. Expected, not a guaranteed outcome. Teams like Albania, Romania or Switzerland could also have their amount of luck from the group in the European Championship.
With the mega football tournament almost here, the prediction game has struck everyone with massive frenzy. France play the first game of the tournament against Romania and the match is expected to set the benchmark for the entire event.
All the six groups have a favourite team, but the non-favourites also have a massive chance to cause upsets. That is what the history of football tells us. Be it the FIFA World Cup or the Euros or the Copa America, there has never been one year where we have not witnessed lower-ranked getting past top teams to make it to the knockout stages.
France are considered the favourites from Group A and Switzerland could also join them as the other potential team in the Euro 2016 knockouts stage. Can Albania and Romania remain far behind? Let us look at the potential of the four teams from Group A and what we could expect from them.
FRANCE: Termed as the favourites to top Group A from the competition and also reach at least until the last four of Euro 2016, Les Blues will be expected to really give their best foot forward to snatch the trophy from Spain. Remember, they had hosted the European Championship in 1984 and had come out as the champions in the event.
In 1998 too, they had hosted the FIFA World Cup and had come out as the winners of the tournament. So, the home advantage has really worked wonders for them in the international events.
FIFA ranking: 17
Key players: Paul Pogba - The Juventus midfield maestro will be the key to creating most of the chances for Les Blues in the tournament. Appreciated for his abilities to connect the defence and the forward line with elan, Pogba's creative acumen and pinpoint passing will be the key to France's campaign.
He ended his league season with a total of 16 assists and ten goals from 49 games in all competitions.
Olivier Giroud - The Arsenal star striker has been on a massive form ahead of the Euro 2016. Expected to be an integral part of Didier Deschamps' plans in the tournament, the 29-year-old will be asked to poach as many goals as possible for Les Blues.
He ended his league season with 24 goals from a total of 53 games in all competitions for the Gunners and also has three goals from France's last two international friendly games against Cameroon and Scotland.
ROMANIA: Defensively, Romania will be unstoppable. But in football, having good defensive abilities doesn't only win you matches. Anghel Lordanescu's side conceded just an incredible two times in the Euro 2016 qualifiers to come second from Group F.
They also held Spain to a goalless draw in a friendly game ahead of Euro 2016.
FIFA ranking: 22
Key players: Vlad Chiriches - The Romania defence features one of the most experienced footballers of the country -- Razvan Rat. The 35-year-old, however, had an injury-ravaged season at Rayo Vallecano and whether he will remain fit during the Euro 2016, remains to be seen.
In Rat's possible absence, Chiriches, the skipper of the side, will be given orders to step up and use his formidable character to marshal the defence. The Napoli centre-back may not have had too good a season at Serie A but for his country, he is expected to step up his level.
Gabriel Torje - Romania doesn't have much of attacking options, to be honest. Torje, the reliable right winger, can be, however, expected to pop in the all-important goals for the side. The 26-year-old already got two goals for Romania from their last two international friendlies against Ukraine and Georgia.
SWITZERLAND: With a host of star players in their midst, what needs to be seen is how Switzerland combine as a whole to dish out good performances after another in Euro 2016. Vladimir Petkovic's side have to use the best combination possible to bring about the right balance and chemistry in his team during the event.
FIFA ranking: 15
Key players: Granit Xhaka - The new Arsenal signing has not had that amount of impact with his country's senior football team so far, but Euro 2016 could turn out to be one of the best competitions to showcase his talent. The 23-year-old will be a key midfielder for a star-studded Swiss team and he is expected to play an integral part to Switzerland's campaign in the competition.
Xherdan Shaqiri - One of the most influential names in the Swiss squad over the last few years, Shaqiri will be expected to give a standout performance once again to lead his side to the knockouts. Only worry though will be his inconsistency. The 24-year-old winger may not have had that great a season with Stoke, but his exploits with the national team cannot be underestimated.
ALBANIA: Making their debut in the European Championship, the underdogs cannot be that lowly rated by the rest of the teams too. They finished above Denmark and Serbia in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and that says everything. Even Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City had no big names during the start of Premier League 2015-16, but the end of the season said something completely different. Can the same happen with Gianni De Biasi's side? Well, you cannot take anything for granted in football.
FIFA ranking: 42
Key players: Lorik Cana - One of the most experienced players in the Albania squad, the 32-year-old defender is expected to be at the fore once more for his national team. Possibly calling his international retirement following the end of the tournament, Cana will once again be expected to give a perfect display of his leadership skills to motivate the side.
Odise Roshi - The 25-year-old winger is known for his blistering pace and abilities to dribble past defenders with the best of ease. One of the most integral men in the Albania squad, Roshi will once again expected to give his best to cause the best of upsets to the other top teams in the group.