The Group-by-Group Euro 2016 Preview – Group F

I’m finally at the end.

Of course, it could be considered a bit cheeky of me to write a ‘preview’ five days into the tournament.

None of these teams have played yet, though, so…here it is.

GROUP F FIXTURE

  • Wed Jun 15, 2am: Austria v Hungary, Bordeaux
  • Wed Jun 15, 5am: Portugal v Iceland, Saint-Étienne
  • Sun Jun 19, 2am: Iceland v Hungary, Marseille
  • Sun Jun 19, 5am: Portugal v Austria, Paris
  • Thu Jun 23, 2am: Iceland v Austria, Saint-Denis
  • Thu Jun 22, 2am: Hungary v Austria, Lyon

PORTUGAL

  • How they qualified: 1st in Group I
  • Euro 2012: Semi-finals
  • Best Euro performance: Runners up (2004)
  • Manager: Fernando Santos
  • Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo. Him and Lionel Messi have been locked in a constant battle for the mantle of world’s best player since 2008, with Ronaldo a clear best in Europe (only Zlatan comes close). The most insane statistic for Ronaldo is that he scores more than a goal per game for Real Madrid. Legend, surely one of the top ten ever.
  • Pass mark: There’s a real shine around this Portugeuse squad, and they reckon they can make the semis like last time.

ICELAND

  • How they qualified: 2nd in Group A
  • Euro 2012: Did not qualify
  • Best Euro performance: First tournament
  • Managers: Heimir Hallgrímsson & Lars Lagerbäck (Sweden) (and no, this isn’t a mistake. Iceland really do have two managers)
  • Captain: Aron Gunnarsson.
  • Key player: Gylfi Sigurðsson. Gylfi is one of the key players over at Swansea, and has metamorphosed into an attacking midfielder in recent times. Five times the Icelandic Footballer of the Year. Future captain.
  • Pass mark: Get a point, show the world they’re not the minnows they once were.

AUSTRIA

  • How they qualified: 1st in Group G
  • Euro 2012: Did not qualify
  • Best Euro performance: Group stage (2008)
  • Manager: Marcel Koller (Switzerland)
  • Captain: Christian Fuchs
  • Key player: Aleksandar Dragović. The guy with the coolest last name at the Euros, Dragović makes absolutely crunching tackles as a well-rounded centre back. Him and captain Christian Fuchs (go Leicester) will be rocks in the Austrian backline.
  • Pass mark: To make the round of 16 (i.e. don’t be ‘that team that lost to Iceland’).

HUNGARY

  • How they qualified: Won two-leg playoff 3-1 over Norway
  • Euro 2012: Did not qualify
  • Best Euro performance: Third (1964)
  • Manager: Bernd Storck (Germany)
  • Captain: Balázs Dzsudzsák
  • Key player: Gábor Király. Their goalkeeper twice the age of some players at the Euros is set to become the oldest player in Euro history tonight. The former player of Crystal Palace and 1860 Munich now plays for his hometown team of Szombathelyi Haladás (gotta love East European names). Trivia: he always wears tracksuit pants when playing.
  • Pass mark: Hungary hasn’t qualified for a Euro tournament since 1968. The team that was once the greatest nation in the world hasn’t been much good for fifty years, and will want to change that as soon as possible. Top two in the group.
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