So, here are my 2016 Euro predictions in the form of the media #narrative that I believe will emerge for each team out of the group stage. Essentially it will be the talking point and the go to “theme” for people like to me to bust out 500 words to at any point during the group stage and before the knock out round. Enjoy!
#Albania: Racism did Albania a favor in the sense that they were gifted 3 points during qualifying. Finish bottom of their group while possibly registering a point. “No Free Points Here”.
#Austria: WWI jokes will never stop. Until Austria smash Hungary. Austria makes it out of the group with wins against Hungary and Iceland, people are impressed by Arnautovic. “Plucky little Austria makes some noise”.
#Belgium: Absolutely loaded with talent, top to bottom. Hazard is the star of the show. Cruise though the group stage. “Golden Generation Destined For Silverware”.
#Croatia: The midfield dominates and comes up with flashes of brilliance, but and grind out results. Beat the Czechs, lose to Spain, draw with Turkey. “Possession Statistics Don’t Win Football Matches”.
#England: England don’t crack under pressure as Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy give defenses fits. Both score in the group stage in their particular fashion and England is through to the knockout rounds. Wayne Rooney annoyingly plays. “England buck trend, finals bound”.
#France: Not enough of a spine, pressure of hosting tournament is difficult. Make it through, but struggle along the way. “Leaky France, worriedly squeks through”.
#Germany: Older group, many similar faces from their world cup victory, will make it through the group but won’t dominate. “Germany older, not necessarily wiser”.
#Hungary: Teams like Hungary are what will make those upset with the expanded tournament upset. Hungary will limp through the group stage, perhaps drawing Iceland. “Expanded Euros Bad Idea”.
#Iceland: Will surprise many along the way, looked strong in qualifying. “Iceland Enjoying Their Summer In France”.
#Portugal: Same old Portugal, Ronaldo will be upset with his teammates and Pepe will do something stupid and get sent off. Will make it to the Round of 16, but no farther. “Pepe temper leaves Ronaldo Alone”.
#Italy: No Buffon, and Bonucci as the only “big name” defender. Strong in the midfield and exciting, but flaky attackers. “Problems at Both Ends As Italy Squeak Through”.
#Northern Ireland: Steven Davis is the only recognizable name on the list. ‘Nuff said. “What An Honor To Be Competing In Euro 2016”
#Poland: Some of the same names we’ve seen for quite some time, but one that we haven’t. Will be keen to get forward. “Milik Scores a brace”.
#Republic Of Ireland: Two MLS players in Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle representing their countires. Not enough quality to hang with Belgium or Italy. “MLS: Bad Career Choice”.
#Romania: Romania beat Albania and then lose to England and Switzerland. “Romania unable to draw Switzerland”
#Russia: Rough qualifying, not a ton of different goal scorers. If Dzyuba doesn’t show up, Russia will struggle. Also, managers last name is Slutsky. Just had to include it. “Russia Struggle To Score, Fail To Advance”.
#Slovakia: Hamsik and Skrtel are the only household names on the roster. Skrtel has a bad habit lately of giving away penalties. “Skrtel foul costs Slovakia”.
#Spain: Similar to Belgium, absolutely loaded with talent throughout the entire roster. “Will Spain Be Able To Up Their Game Against Quality Opponents?”
#Sweden: Seeing Zlatan at an international tournament will be fun. Too bad they won’t make it out of the group. “Ibra Golazos not enough to get Sweden out of Group”
#Switzerland:Shaqiri is going to be a cancer in the locker room, and spend a lot of the tournament shaking his head or throwing his arms in the air (but he will care). “Switzerland sneak Into knockout games”.
#Turkey: Qualified out of a very difficult group, assuming the Netherlands were a good team at one point. Finished third in that group, but were the best third place team. “Jury’s Still Out On Turkey”
#Ukraine: Don’t give up a ton of goals, not a lot of scoring either, outside of putting up three goals against Luxembourg and Belarus. Only six different goal scores during qualifying. Advance as one of the best third place teams. “In Difficult Group, Ukraine Impress”.
#Wales: Similar to Sweden, Gareth Bale won’t be able to carry the team very far. Could possibly get out of the group depending on how Russia turn out. “Strong Midfield and Bale Brilliance Fall Just Short”.