Euro 2016 Group B Preview: England

Roy Hodgson’s England are not favoured to make an impact at Euro 2016 but the lesser the pressure, the better it could get for England. Can the Three Lions cause a few shocks in France or will there be more heartbreak?

England last reached a European Championship semi-final in 1996 image: irishmirror.ie

England last reached a European Championship semi-final 20 years ago
image: irishmirror.ie

History

This is England’s ninth time at a European Championship, making them side to compete in more Euros without winning it.

They have been semi-finalists twice in 1968 and in 1996, when they hosted the tournament. More recently, England failed to qualify for the European Championships in 2008 and reached the quarter-finals in 2012.

Key Player

Wayne Rooney is England's all-time leading goalscorer image: goal.com

Wayne Rooney is England’s all-time leading goalscorer
image: goal.com

England captain Wayne Rooney heads to his third Euros tournament to lead England to put years of heartbreak at major tournaments behind them as they look for a first European Championship triumph.

The 30-year-old has come under much criticism for his underwhelming performances for Man United this season but he got back on form in the latter stages of the season as he thrived in a new central midfield role.

England’s all-time leading goalscorer will more likely be preferred to a number ten role in France as England will look to their captain to inspire the Three Lions to least the quarter-finals.

One to Watch

Just three months after breaking out into the Man United first-team, 18-year-old Marcus Rashford looks like he could be the next big thing in England as he aims to make an impact for his country.

Marcus Rashfors scored on his England debut agaisnt Australia image: sportsnews.pro

Marcus Rashford scored on his England debut against Australia
image: sportsnews.pro

He scored on his international debut against Australia two weeks ago and in just three months in the Man United first team picture, Rashford has bagged 8 goals in 18 appearances.

He is an exciting young talent and although he is unlikely to start ahead of Harry Kane or soon-to-be Arsenal man Jamie Vardy in the starting XI, Rashford will hope to get some time to shine at Euro 2016.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Man City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)

Defenders: Ryan Betrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Man United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Wayne Rooney (Man United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

England were the only nation with a 100% record in qualifying image: skysports.com

England were the only nation with a 100% record in qualifying
image: skysports.com

Prediction: Quarter-Finals

You just never know what you will get with England. They breezed through qualifying as the only nation to finish with a 100% record but this time as they head to the finals, England fans will be hoping they can handle the pressure.

England don’t do well under pressure but expectations don’t seem to be ridiculously high this time around. They will look to Vardy and Kane for the goals but the rest of the team doesn’t really match the quality to compete with the likes of Spain and Germany.

I think they should be able to make it out of the group and if they finish top,  they will need a kind draw in the last 16 to go any further. The quarter-finals seem a realistic target for Roy Hodgson’s side but I don’t think they will get much further than that.

England’s Fixtures

11 June v Russia (2000)

16 June v Wales (1400)

20 June v Slovakia (2000)

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