Euro 2016

Euro 2016: All you need to know about Group D

Czech Republic's goalkeeper Petr Cech. Photo / Getty
Czech Republic's goalkeeper Petr Cech. Photo / Getty

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

SPAIN

MANAGER Vicente del Bosque, 65, Spain
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla).
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid).
Midfielders: Bruno (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Pedro (Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea).
Strikers: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Lucas Vasquez (Real Madrid).

FIXTURES
v Czech Republic, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
v Turkey, Stade de Nice, Nice
v Croatia, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Expect possession, defensive organisation and flair in the final third. They still play a 4-3-3, but could potentially have more of a focus on an orthodox central striker.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
It seems ridiculous to discount the winner of the previous two tournaments, but Spain are clearly in the middle of a rebuild that began with the World Cup. They do, however, possess the quality to win it all.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Koke - One of the best central midfielders in La Liga, Koke adds a new level of grit to the Spain midfield.
Alvaro Morata - Scored seven for Juventus this season while mainly playing a cameo role from the bench.
Lucas Vazquez - Became a trusted cog for Zinedine Zidane's Champions League winners this season, surpassing James Rodriguez and Isco.

KIT RATING
8/10 - Bold and brash reds and yellows catch the eye, with a well thought out pattern adding depth.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
8/10 - One of the most easy recognisable anthems at any international tournament, with a brilliant coda towards the end.

PUB AMMO
Manager Vicente del Bosque may have liked to have sat on his balcony and relaxed when he was sacked by Real Madrid after winning La Liga, but he could not, because the view from it was the Real training camp.

CZECH REPUBLIC

MANAGER Pavel Vrba, 52, Czech
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Arsenal), Tomas Vaclik (Basle), Tomas Koubek (Slovan Liberec).
Defenders: Theodor Gebre Selassie (Werder Bremen), Roman Hubnik (Viktoria Pilsen), Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim), Michal Kadlec (Fenerbahce), David Limbersky (Viktoria Pilsen), Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday), Marek Suchy (Basle), Tomas Sivok (Bursaspor).
Midfielders: Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin), Borek Dockal (Sparta Prague), Jiri Skalak (Brighton) Daniel Kolar (Viktoria Pilsen), Ladislav Krejci (Sparta Prague), David Pavelka (Kasimpasa), Jaroslav Plasil (Bordeaux), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal), Josef Sural (Sparta Prague).
Forwards: David Lafata (Sparta Prague), Tomas Necid (Burkaspor), Milan Skoda (Slavia Prague).

FIXTURES
v Spain, Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
v Croatia, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint Etienne
v Turkey, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens

WHAT TO EXPECT?
The Czech Republic are terrible at the back and shipped 14 goals during qualification. However, Vrba prefers an attacking style, which might explain the issue.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
They topped their group but the odds currently suggest they may exit in the group stages. It would be strange to write them off so easily though, as they do have talent in the squad.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Petr Cech - Cech has more caps for the Czech Republic than any other player and will need to be at his best to aid a leaky defence.
Tomas Rosicky - The Arsenal midfielder has spent most of the season on the sidelines but if he can find fitness and form he is one of the better creative forces at Euro 2016.
Pavel Kadarebek - Kaderabek starred for the Czech Republic in the Under-21 European Championship and is an attack-minded full-back capable of doing damage.

KIT RATING
7/10 - This all-red kit is eye-catching but the chevrons across the ribs feel slightly out of place.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
6/10 - This is a quite typical Eastern European anthem with very little to write home about it.

PUB AMMO
Petr Cech only started to play in net after breaking his leg at the age of seven, when he realised he could still go in goals with a cast on.

TURKEY

MANAGER Fatih Terim, 62, Turkish
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Volkan Babacan (Medipol Basaksehir), Onur Recep Kivrak (Trabzonspor), Harun Tekin (Bursaspor)
Defenders: Gokhan Gonul (Fenerbahce), Sener Ozbayrakli (Bursaspor), Semih Kaya (Galatasaray), Ahmet Calik (Genclerbirligi), Hakan Balta (Galatasaray), Caner Erkin (Fenerbahce), Ismail Koybasi (Besiktas)
Midfielders: Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahce), Selcuk Inan (Galatasaray), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Besiktas), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen), Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund), Arda Turan (Barcelona), Olcay Sahan (Besiktas), Volkan Sen (Fenerbahce), Emre Mor (Nordsjaelland)
Strikers: Burak Yilmaz (Beijing Guoan), Cenk Tosun (Besiktas), Yunus Malli (Mainz).

FIXTURES
v Croatia, Parc des Princes, Paris
v Spain, Stade de Nice, Nice
v Czech Republic, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Turkey have played a 4-3-3 with wingers that cut inside and join the striker. They have issues up front, with even first choice Cenk Tosun a cut below the required standard.

CHANCES OF GLORY?
They have not been in the finals of an international competition for eight years, so Turkey are likely glad just to be involved. They do have the talent to go beyond the group stages.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Arda Turan - A difficult first season for Barcelona does not hide the fact that Turan is one of the best central midfielders in Europe.
Nuri Sahin - Sahin has not returned to the heights he achieved before joining Real Madrid, but he is still a genuine talent and one of Turkey's true dangermen.
Hakan Calhonoglu - The idea of a set piece specialist is dying out in the world's game, but expect free-kick goals from the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder.

KIT RATING
7/10 - The criss-cross design on the shirt that blends into the shorts is clever, but may just be a gimmick that will not look good in motion.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
7/10 - It stirs the emotion from the first note, which is all that a national anthem really needs to do.

PUB AMMO
Turkey knocked out Spain in a 1954 World Cup qualifier by drawing straws, with a blindfolded boy asked to pick the straws.

CROATIA

MANAGER Ante Cacic, 62, Croatian
SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Ivan Vargic (Rijeka).
Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo), Gordon Schildenfeld (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Strinic (Napoli), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen).
Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb).
Strikers: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina), Marko Pjaca (Dinamo Zagreb), Duje Cop (Dinamo Zagreb), Andrej Kramaric (Leicester).

FIXTURES
v Turkey, Parc des Princes, Paris
v Czech Republic, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint Etienne
v Spain, Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux

WHAT TO EXPECT?
Croatia tend to play a 4-2-3-1, with Ivan Rakitic in an unfamiliar position in the hole behind Mario Mandzukic. However, Cacic is known for his tactical variations.
CHANCES OF GLORY? On paper Croatia are the second strongest team in the group and should progress. They may even be in the category of dark horses to go on and win the competition.

THREE STARS TO WATCH
Luka Modric - The Real Madrid midfielder comes into the competition on a high, having just won the Champions League. A creative force of nature.
Ivan Rakitic - Rakitic has managed to step into Xavi's boots at Barcelona with aplomb, not an easy feat by any stretch. Hard working but also technically gifted.
Mario Mandzukic - Mandzukic, who helped Juventus win another league title this season, is a threat in the air but also a talented player with the ball at his feet.

KIT RATING
8/10 - Croatia have one of the most unique shirts in world football, and this red and white check design has been varied well up by being made to run diagonally.

NATIONAL ANTHEM RATING
4/10 - An ode to Croatia and the beautiful homeland that does not connect in the same way as other anthems.

PUB AMMO
Luke Modric's first shinpads had photographs of the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo on them.

- Daily Mail

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