You by now get the point. There’s not much in me writing another introduction, except for the fact that I have to get two out today. When I post this, I will literally have to start on the next immediately. Better get started, then.
GROUP C FIXTURE
- Mon Jun 13, 2am: Poland v Northern Ireland, Nice
- Mon Jun 13, 5am: Germany v Ukraine, Lille
- Fri Jun 17, 2am: Ukraine v Northern Ireland, Lyon
- Fri Jun 17, 5am: Germany v Poland, Saint-Denis
- Wed Jun 22, 2am: Ukraine v Poland, Marseille
- Wed Jun 22, 2am: Northern Ireland v Germany, Paris
- How they qualified: 1st in Group D
- Euro 2012: Semi-finals
- Best Euro performance: Champions (1972, 1980, 1996. However, the first two were as West Germany, so, if you really want to be pedantic, their best finish is champions in 1996, but not in 1972 or 1980.)
- Manager: Joachim Löw
- Captain: Bastian Schweiensteiger
- Key player: Mario Götze. The attacking midfielder won his team the 2014 World Cup, showing awareness beyond his age of 24. Götze, who is the equal-first player to be born in a reunified Germany, got minimal game time in the 2014 title, and will want to prove to everyone that he is one of the top ten in the world.
- Pass mark: Germany have to win this, anything less could be considered a failure.
- How they qualified: 3-1 over Slovenia in a playoff
- Euro 2012: Group stage
- Best Euro performance: Group stage (2012) (They qualified as co-hosts, making this the first tournament Ukraine has qualified for)
- Manager: Mykhaylo Fomenko
- Captain: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk
- Key player: Yevhen Konoplyanka. The winger has a large haul of achievements. He was part of the Europa League Squad of the Season for 2014-15 while at Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, has been a valuable contributor for Sevilla, almost made the UEFA Team of the Year in 2015, dominated England at Wembley, and captained Ukraine in a playoff for qualification. Legend.
- Pass mark: Top two in the group.
- How they qualified: 2nd in Group D
- Euro 2012: Group stage
- Best Euro performance: Group stage (2008, 2012) (They were co-hosts in 2012)
- Manager: Adam Nawałka
- Captain: Robert Lewandowski
- Key player: Robert Lewandowski. Could become the greatest ever from Eastern Europe in future. 13 goals in qualifying, one of the best hauls ever. Four time Bundesliga champion. Fifth highest goalscorer in Polish history. Captain of Poland. Fastest foreign player to score 100 goals in the Bundesliga. Came on as a sub with Bayern 0-1 down at half time. Nine minutes later, it was Lewandowski 5-1 Wolfsburg.
- Pass mark: Top two in the group, in competition with Ukraine.
- How they qualified: 1st in Group F
- Euro 2012: Did not qualify
- Best Euro performance: First tournament
- Manager: Michael O’Neill
- Captain: Stephen Davis
- Key player: Niall McGinn. 28 years of age, McGinn is making his way through the ranks in Scotland. Man of the Match on his debut for Celtic in 2009, but didn’t get much gametime in later years, so moved to Aberdeen. Twice a winner of the Golden Boot award in the Scottish Premier League, and has an incredible work ethic.
- Pass mark: They’re in a strong group, so let’s be realistic. Score.