Euro 2016: All you need to know about Group B

18-year-old England sensation Marcus Rashford. Photo / Getty
18-year-old England sensation Marcus Rashford. Photo / Getty

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

ENGLAND

MANAGER Roy Hodgson, 68, English
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
Midfielders: James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester United), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Ross Barkley (Everton), Delle Alli (Tottenham)
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

FIXTURES
v Russia, Stade Velodrome, Marseille
v Wales, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
v Slovakia, Stade G. Guichard, Saint Etienne

WHAT TO EXPECT?
England have flitted between a 4-2-3-1, a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2 diamond formation throughout their Euro 2016 warm-ups. Hodgson seems keen to develop a counter-attacking style.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
It has now been 50 years of hurt for England. Surely something has to change at some point? England actually have a good and underrated squad, which must be a first.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Harry Kane - Kane genuinely has to rank among the top five strikers in the world, and having a player of his quality up front can only benefit England.
Dele Alli - The bright spark in midfield, if Alli can play like he did for spells of the Premier League season then England have a chance.
Joe Hart - It is obviously going to come down to penalties at some point, so Hart's ability to handle the situation will be key.

KIT RATING
5/10 - No one is a particularly big fan of the grey sleeved white shirt or the red socks.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
8/10 - The only reason the England team are so heavily criticised for not singing the anthem is that it is such an inherently singable tune.

PUB AMMO
Roy Hodgson qualified for Euro 96 as manager of Switzerland but quit almost immediately to take over at Inter Milan. He has never both qualified and managed a team in the tournament until this summer.

RUSSIA

MANAGER Leonid Slutsky, 45, Russian
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow), Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow), Yuri Lodygin (Zenit St. Petersburg).
Defenders: Alexei Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Vasily Berezutsky (CSKA Moscow), Sergei Ignashevich (CSKA Moscow), Dmitry Kombarov (Spartak Moscow), Roman Neustadter (Schalke), Georgy Shchennikov (CSKA Moscow), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Igor Smolnikov (Zenit St Petersburg).
Midfielders: Igor Denisov (Dynamo Moscow), Denis Glushakov (Spartak Moscow), Alexander Golovin (CSKA Moscow), Oleg Ivanov (Terek Grozny), Pavel Mamaev (Krasnodar), Alexander Samedov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Oleg Shatov (Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (CSKA Moscow), Dmitri Torbinski (Krasnodar).
Forwards: Artyom Dzyuba (Zenit St Petersburg), Alexander Kokorin (Zenit St Petersburg), Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar).

FIXTURES
v England, Stade Velodrome, Marseille
v Slovakia, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille
v Wales, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Russia will look to play a 4-5-1 with Artem Dzyuba as a lone striker. They tend to sit back and look to absorb pressure before potentially picking off a team on the break.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
For Russia's sake you would assume they would progress in third place ahead of Slovakia, but they will have to get some good results to beat the cut off.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Aleksandr Golovin - The CSKA Moscow attacking midfielder has rarely played for Russia but manager Slutsky knows him from the club, where he won the Russian Premier League this season.
Roman Shirokov - A deep-lying playmaker who has the ability to pick holes in any defence with his range of passing.
Artem Dzyuba - Scored six goals in six Champions League games for Zenit St Petersburg this season, but may have a difficult task in leading the line alone.

KIT RATING
8/10 - A very cool burgundy affair with faded versions of the badge dotted around. Would not look out of place in a Shoreditch vintage shop.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
10/10 - One of the most easily distinguishable national anthems in the world.

PUB AMMO
Igor Akinfeev has kept more clean sheets in Russian football than any other goalkeeper in history.

WALES

MANAGER Chris Coleman, 45, Wales

SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness).
Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham), Neil Taylor (Swansea), Chris Gunter (Reading), Ashley Williams (Swansea), James Chester (West Brom), Ashley Richards (Fulham), James Collins (West Ham).
Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest), Joe Allen (Liverpool), David Cotterill (Birmingham), Jonathan Williams (Crystal Palace), George Williams (Fulham), Andy King (Leicester), Dave Edwards (Wolves).
Forwards: Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Simon Church (Nottingham Forest), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

FIXTURES
v Slovakia, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
v England, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
v Russia, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Wales have become well organised under Chris Coleman and sensibly reliant on the twin talents of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey to see them through.

CHANCES OF GLORY? Coleman's side would expect to progress through the group stages but getting any further in the competition is probably dependent on Bale's star shining exceptionally brightly.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Gareth Bale - Not since John Charles have Wales had a player of Bale's quality in their side. One of the world's best footballers.
Aaron Ramsey - Ramsey has had a difficult season for Arsenal but he tends to turn on the style in the shirt of his country.
Joe Allen - Despite featuring irregularly for Liverpool, Allen is one of Wales's better players and can be the heartbeat in Coleman's side.

KIT RATING
8/10 - adidas have focused on tradition with this red shirt. It's a clean, uncomplicated and genuinely classy look.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING 10/10 - Exceptionally stirring, which is suitable since this is a nation that feels like it is waking from a slumber in terms of international football.

PUB AMMO
Wales have only ever qualified for one major international tournament, the 1958 World Cup. They have one win in a finals, from that year.

SLOVAKIA

MANAGER Jan Kozak, 62, Slovakian

SQUAD (provisional 28-man squad)
Goalkeepers: Matus Kozacik (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Mucha (Slovan Bratislava), Jan Novota (Rapid Vienna).
Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Milan Skriniar (Sampdoria), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Norbert Gyomber (Roma), Jan Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Kornel Salata (Slovan Bratislava), Tomas Hubocan (Dynamo Moscow), Dusan Svento (Cologne).
Midfielders: Viktor Pecovsky (Zilina), Robert Mak (PAOK Thessaloniki), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan), Patrik Hrosovsky (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Gregus (Jablonec), Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warsaw), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor), Vladimir Weiss (Al Gharafa).
Forwards: Michal Duris (Viktoria Plzen), Adam Nemec (Willem II), Stanislav Sestak (Ferencvaros).

FIXTURES
v Wales, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
v Russia, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille
v England, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint Etienne

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Kozak is adaptable, and in qualification he consistently rotated his formation in order to counter opposition threats. He works from a base of 4-1-4-1 before altering it.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
Slovakia would be the team to pick to finish bottom of the group, but they do have some talent that cannot be ignored. An exit before the knockout stages is to be expected though.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Martin Skrtel - May not be playing consistently for Liverpool but the central defender is important to any potential Slovakian success.
Marek Hamsik - The one true star of the Slovakia side, although his has been on the wane in recent years. Can still be a driving force in an advanced midfield role.
Vladimir Weiss - Weiss will want to show English opposition that he is not simply the player who struggled to adapt to the Premier League. Finished top for assists during qualification across the entire continent.

KIT RATING
9/10 - A clean and vaguely minimalist approach from Puma on the white home shirt. The blue trim gives it a little kick that adds to the fact that this is just a nice shirt.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
9/10 - Most of the song is about lightning hitting mountain ranges, thunder and no longer acquiescing. It's difficult to complain.

PUB AMMO
Slovakian side TJ Tatran Cierny Balog have a train line running between their stand and the pitch, and it occasionally rolls past as the match is going on.

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 12 Dec 2016 01:09:14 Processing Time: 540ms