England football
Can England deliver at the world stage in Euro 2016? Pictured: England's players during training on June 7, 2016.Reuters

Some stars will be born in France while some will go from hero to zero and vice versa as the Euro 2016 is set to entertain viewers all around the world. The wait is over as the greatest trophy to be fought among the European nations -- Euro 2016 -- is here, where 23 teams after a gruelling qualifying stage, have made it to the all-important quadrennial event. France, as hosts, make the twenty-fourth team in the competition, which starts on June 10. 

With a number of quality teams in the competition including Spain, Germany, England, France and Italy, it is very difficult to choose an overall favourite. It is such competitive nature of Euro 2016 that makes it one of the most watched events in the world.

What makes Euro 2016 a special event is also the number of high-profile players involved in the competition, including Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gareth Bale (Wales), and a lot more. 

Most of the players picked in their respective squads have earned their way into the national team after some prolific performances for their respective clubs. These players will be keen to shine for the national colours, and help their team win silverware. 

Ronaldo is one such player, who will want to help Portugal clinch the title, and thus win his first trophy for his country. The Real Madrid star has shone for his club brightly, helping them win a number of titles, including the Champions League from last season. If Portugal are to win Euro 2016, Ronaldo needs to carry his club form to France, while also getting support from stars like Pepe and Nani. 

The same can be said of Zlatan Ibramahovic, who will be keen to carry his team, Sweden, single-handedly to the future rounds, but the road is not going to be an easy one. Placed in a group, which comprises Belgium, Italy and Republic Of Ireland, Sweden will need all their stars to shine, not only the former PSG striker, to progress into the round of 32. Belgium, with their star-studded lineup, and Italy's strong defence will prove to be a major hurdle in Sweden's chances.

Portugal and Sweden may not be top favourites to win the title, but France, who won the FIFA World Cup when they last hosted the tournament in 1998 and the Euros in 2000, are a serious contender with some stars including Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann in their team. Add to it the full support from the home fans that France will receive in Euro 2016, they will be a force to reckon with. 

Talking about title contenders, teams like England, Spain and Germany will fall in the top bracket. England, always a team with some quality players, walk into the tournament as a major contender, but fail to deliver during major events. After being knocked out of 2014 World Cup campaign winless, they have looked a solid unit, not losing a single game in the Euro qualifying stages. 

England have the ammunition and in-form players like Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane, but the question once again remains the same – will England deliver at the bigger stage? One cannot say the same for Spain and Germany, who been strong in major competitions.

Germany and Spain are two of the most successful teams in the competition, having won the title three times each. They will be keen to add another European title. Germany, arguably, have the best squad in the competition, with all their bases covered. However, how will Germany cope without their retired stars -- Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and Philipp Lahm – in France? Do they have enough to script another title win?

Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque, having left out players like Diego Costa, Isco, Santi Cazorla and other well-known figures, will want to silence his critics with a fourth European title. Spain will have a thing or two to prove after being knocked out of the group stages in the 2014 World Cup.

Beside the above mentioned teams, there are some who are more than capable of surprising. Austria, being one of them. They have a good squad with quality players like David Alaba, Marko Arnautovic and Christian Fuchs. Poland, with Robert Lewandowski, were a quality outfit in the qualifiers, but their progression depends on the performance of the Bayern Munich striker.

A total of 24 teams will feature in Euro 2016, which will witness five debutants, including Iceland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Wales and Albania. Wales may have the best chance among the five teams to go through to the group stages, but will face stiff competition from Russia and Slovakia in their group for the second position. 

With the competition set to kick off on Friday, France will hope to defeat Romania, and give them the confidence to spur them on and win the title in front of their home fans when the final will be played on July 10. For that matter, all teams will have a similar ambition, but the team, which plays consistent football for a period of 30 days will have a greater chance of lifting the trophy at the Stade de France in Paris on the final day of Euro 2016.

Euro 2016 complete groups

Group A: France, Albania, Romania, Switzerland

Group B: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia

Group C: Germany, Poland, Northern Ireland, Ukraine

Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia

Group E: Italy, Belgium, Republic of Ireland, Sweden

Group F: Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary

Euro 2016 schedule

10 June France vs Romania 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET  Stade de France
11 June  Albania vs Switzerland 3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis
11 June  Wales vs Slovakia 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Matmut Atlantique
11 June England vs Russia 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Vélodrome
12 June  Turkey vs Croatia 3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Parc des Princes
12 June  Poland vs Northern Ireland 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Allianz Riviera
12 June  Germany vs Ukraine  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Pierre-Mauroy
13 June Spain vs Czech Republic  3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Stadium Municipal
13 June Republic of Ireland vs Sweden 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade de France
13 June Belgium vs Italy 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Parc OL
14 June Austria vs Hungary 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Matmut Atlantique
14 June Portugal vs Iceland  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
15 June Russia vs Slovakia 3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Stade Pierre-Mauroy
15 June Romania vs Switzerland  6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Parc des Princes
15 June France vs Albania  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Vélodrome
16 June England vs Wales  3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Stade Felix Bollaert
16 June Ukraine vs Northern Ireland  6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Parc OL
16 June Germany vs Poland  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade de France,
17 June Italy vs Sweden 3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Stadium Municipal,
17 June Czech Republic vs Croatia  6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
17 June Spain vs Turkey  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Allianz Riviera
18 June Belgium vs Republic of Ireland  3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Matmut Atlantique
18 June Iceland vs Hungary 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade Vélodrome
18 June Portugal vs Austria 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Parc des Princes
19 June Romania vs Albania 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Parc OL
19 June Switzerland vs France  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Pierre-Mauroy
20 June Russia vs Wales  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stadium Municipal
20 June Slovakia vs England 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
21 June  Northern Ireland vs Germany  6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Parc des Princes
21 June Ukraine vs Poland 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade Vélodrome,
21 June Croatia vs Spain  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Matmut Atlantique
21 June Czech Republic vs Turkey  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis
22 June Hungary vs Portugal 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Parc OL
22 June Iceland vs Austria 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade de France
22 June Italy vs Republic of Ireland  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Pierre-Mauroy
22 June Sweden vs Belgium  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Allianz Riviera
25 June A2 vs C2 (Round of 16) 3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Stade Geoffroy
25 June B1 vs 3A/C/D ( R 16) 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Parc des Princes
25 June D1 vs 3B/E/F (R 16) 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Felix Bollaert
26 June A1 vs 3C/D/E (R 16) 3 p.m CET, 6:30 p.m IST, 2 p.m BST, 9 a.m ET Parc OL
26 june C1 vs 3A/B/F (R 16) 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade Pierre-Mauroy
26 June F1 vs E2 (R 16) 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stadium Municipal
27 June E1 vs D2 (R 16) 6 p.m CET, 9: 30 p.m IST, 5 p.m BST, 12 p.m ET Stade de France
27 June  B2 vs F2 (R 16) 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Allianz Riviera
30 June QF1 vs QF2 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Vélodrome
July 1 QF3 vs QF4  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Pierre-Mauroy
July 2 QF5 vs QF6  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Matmut Atlantique
July 3 QF7 vs QF8  9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade de France
July 6 SF1 vs SF2 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Parc OL
July 7 SF3 vs SF4 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade Vélodrome
July 10 FINAL (July 6 vs July 7 winner) 9 p.m CET, 12:30 a.m IST, 8 p.m BST, 3 p.m ET Stade de France

TV listings: India and Indian subcontinent: Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. UK: ITV. US: ESPN. France:  BeIN Sports. Germany: ORF1. Spain: TeleCinco Espana. Australia: BeIN Sports and SBS. South Africa: Supersport. African countries: SuperSport Africa.

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