Euro 2016: All you need to know about Group A

Frenchman Paul Pogba will be one to watch in Group A. Photo / Getty
Frenchman Paul Pogba will be one to watch in Group A. Photo / Getty

The best footballing talent Europe has to offer will descend on France for Euro 2016. The Daily Mail previews Group A:

FRANCE

MANAGER Didier Deschamps, 47-years-old, French
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Roma), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Samuel Umtiti (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), N'Golo Kante (Leicester), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle).
Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Dimitri Payet (West Ham).

FIXTURES
v Romania, Stade de France, Paris
v Albania, Stade Velodrome, Marseille
v Switzerland, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille

WHAT TO EXPECT?
France tend to play a 4-3-3 but can easily switch it up to a 4-2-3-1. Paul Pogba is the creative hub of the team, while Olivier Giroud looks likely to get the nod to lead the line.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
Never count out a host nation. France are not at their turn of the century best but possess enough quality to make a real impact in the latter stages.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Paul Pogba - Arguably the best central midfielder in the world, Pogba can turn a game in an instant as he showed against Cameroon in a friendly.
Antoine Griezmann - Forget his penalty miss in the Champions League final, Griezmann is a creative and goalscoring force.
N'Golo Kante - After the season he has had, Kante deserves a stage like the Euros to prove that it was not just a fluke.

KIT RATING
7/10 - not a classic, but the red socks provide a great and fashionable contrast to the all-blue shirt and socks

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
8/10 - A stirring marching song that makes you want to storm the Bastille and make someone eat cake.

PUB AMMO
France are hosting the tournament for a third time this summer, which is a record. They won it last time it was on French soil in 1984.

ROMANIA

MANAGER Anghel Iordanescu, 66, Romanian
SQUAD (provisional 28-man squad)
Goalkeepers: Ciprian Tatarusanu (Fiorentina), Costel Pantilimon (Watford), Silviu Lung (Astra Giurgiu).
Defenders: Cristian Sapunaru (Pandurii Targu Jiu), Alexandru Matel (Dinamo Zagreb), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli), Valerica Gaman (Astra Giurgiu), Cosmin Moti (Ludogorets), Dragos Grigore (Al-Sailiya), Razvan Rat (Rayo Vallecano), Steliano Filip (Dinamo Bucharest).
Midfielders: Mihai Pintilii (Steaua Bucharest), Ovidiu Hoban (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Andrei Prepelita (Ludogorets), Adrian Popa (Steaua Bucharest), Gabriel Torje (Osmanlispor), Alexandru Chipciu (Steaua Bucharest), Nicolae Stanciu (Steaua Bucharest), Lucian Sanmartean (al-Ittihad).
Forwards: Claudiu Keseru (Ludogorets), Bogdan Stancu (Genclerbirligi), Florin Andone (Cordoba), Denis Alibec (Astra Giurgiu).

FIXTURES
v France, Stade de France, Paris
v Switzerland, Parc des Princes, Paris
v Albania, Stade de Lyon, Lyon

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Romania had a fantastic defensive record in qualification, conceding only two goals. Expect them to line-up in a 4-2-3-1 with an eye on clean sheets.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
A good defence gives even a weaker side an opportunity to prosper. Romania could be a wildcard but it is difficult to see them finishing in the top two of their group.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Vlad Chiriches - The former Spurs centre-back is Romania's captain and is an important part of their incredibly strong defence.
Nicolae Stanciu - Scored 12 goals in 28 games for Steaua Bucharest this season and offers a genuine threat down the wings.
Ciprian Tatarusanu - Behind every good defence is a good goalkeeper, and that is especially true in the case of Fiorentina's No 1.

KIT RATING
3/10 - Joma's offering looks like it stepped straight out of 1994. Would probably not even appeal to your most diehard hipster.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
5/10 - A stirring call to arms, probably for the best that most opponents cannot understand Romanian.

PUB AMMO
The Romanian national team put equations on the back of their shirts in March for their friendly against Spain in order to encourage children to learn maths.

ALBANIA

MANAGER Gianni De Biasi, 59, Italian
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Etrit Berisha (Lazio), Alban Hoxha (Partizani), Orges Shehi (Skenderbeu).
Defenders: Elseid Hysaj (Napoli), Lorik Cana (Nantes), Arlind Ajeti (Frosinone), Mergim Mavraj (Koeln), Naser Aliji (Basel), Ansi Agolli (Karabag), Frederik Veseli (Lugano).
Midfielders: Ermir Lenjani (Nantes), Andi Lila (Giannina), Migjen Basha (Como), Ledian Memushaj (Pescara), Burim Kukeli (Zurich), Taulant Xhaka (Basel), Ergys Kace (Paok), Amir Abrashi (Freiburg), Odise Roshi (Rijeka).
Forwards: Bekim Balaj (Rijeka), Sokol Cikalleshi (Medipol Basaksehir), Armando Sadiku (Vaduz), Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids).

FIXTURES
v Switzerland, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
v France, Stade Velodrome, Marseille
v Romania, Stade de Lyon, Lyon

WHAT TO EXPECT?
De Biasi has built an organised and well motivated side with a defensive outlook. Usually play a 5-man midfield who are expected to be hard-working.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
Not to be unfair but they will be minimal. Albania are glad to have qualified more than anything, but a couple of good points and a hard-fought victory could see them progress.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Lorik Cana - Brought back into the fold by De Biasi and played a key role in qualification, offering quality in defence.
Elseid Hysaj - Hysaj is a defensively solid but attack-minded full-back who provides one of the better threats in the side.
Ledian Memushaj - Relatively inexperienced in international terms but the Pescara midfielder provides an integral defensive shield.

KIT RATING
5/10 - Nothing particularly wrong with this red shirt with white trim, but nothing particularly right about it either.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
4/10 - Sounds a bit like it was written by John Williams and featured in a celebratory scene in the Star Wars universe.

PUB AMMO
Lorik Cana was made a citizen of honour in the city of Mitrovica after wrestling a Serbian fan who had hit Bekim Balaj with a chair.

SWITZERLAND

MANAGER Vladimir Petkovic, 52, Bosnian
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg)
Defenders: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basle), Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Fabian Schaer (Hoffenheim), Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg)
Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Watford), Blerim Dzemaili (Genoa), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys)
Forwards: Breel Embolo (Basle), Haris Seferovic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Admir Mehmedi (Bayer Leverkusen), Eren Derdiyok (Kasimpasa), Shani Tarashaj (Everton).

FIXTURES
v Albania, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
v Romania, Parc des Princes
v France, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille


WHAT TO EXPECT?
Switzerland line up in a 4-2-3-1 with a focus on getting the best out of the talismanic Xherdan Shaqiri. Haris Seferovic leads the line with aplomb.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
They are the obvious tip to get out of Group A in second behind France, and could, with a bit of luck, progress beyond the quarter-finals.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Ricardo Rodriguez - One of the better attacking left-backs currently playing, Rodriguez has already shown his ability on an international stage at the 2014 World Cup.
Granit Xhaka - Ahead of his move to Arsenal it will be interesting to see how the powerful Xhaka can impact Switzerland's fortunes.
Xherdan Shaqiri - Shaqiri had a so-so first season with Stoke City but there are goals and assists in the boots of the winger that German football fans nicknamed the Power Cube.

KIT RATING
7/10 - This red jersey is bold and works well with the prominent white trim. The two-toned collar is also nicely done.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
4/10 - A very slow hymn that was put to a public vote in 2015 due to the relative unsuitability of the lyrics of the old anthem.

PUB AMMO
Switzerland were the first country in World Cup history not to score a single penalty during a shoot out when they lost 3-0 to Ukraine at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

- Daily Mail

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