After the grilling rounds of qualifiers earlier in the year, the group stages will see 24 teams battle it out to reach the knockout stage at this year’s European Championship.
With only three weeks left for Euro 2016, we take a look at how teams are placed in Group D and what can we expect from them ahead of this summer’s extravaganza.
Today, we will take a closer look at Group D in our Euro 2016 Group D Preview, and what we might see in terms of qualification to the knockout stages and which players can set the tournament on fire from this group.
Euro 2016 – GROUP D
Teams: Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, Turkey
Current holders of the EUROS, Spain are drawn in a decent group with all the other three teams having equal chances of qualification.
Spain dominated Group C in the qualifiers and was top of the group with 9 wins out of 10 and is expected to top the Group D in the finals.
Let us now take a closer look at each teams from Group D in our detailed Euro 2016 Group D Preview including the key men for all the teams in this group.
They finished second in their group in the qualifiers and played some good football on their way to France.
They have some quality players in the squad and have a great chance to go into the knock-out stage of the competition.
Key Player – Luka Modric
The Real Madrid mid-fielder is currently one of the best players in Europe in his position.
He is an intelligent player who loves to run the mid-field on his terms and if his team can build the play around him, Croatia will surely cause some upsets in France.
He has already scored twice for the country in the tournament and will be an important player for his team.
Topping a relatively easy Group A in the qualifiers, the most interesting thing about the team is that it lacks any big name players from Europe.
Coach Pavel Vrba has done a good job till now in the competition but it will only get tough for the team who will have to be at their best to have a chance at qualification.
Key Player – Petr Cech
He most experienced player in the squad, Arsenal’s shot stopper Petr Cech is also the skipper of the team.
He is a great presence for the squad in the dressing room and his cool and composed approach to the game also keeps the team away from panicking.
Though he cannot effect the out-field play, Cech will have an important role to play in the side’s journey in France.
The winners of the previous edition, Spain, are the favorites to top this group.
They were superb in the qualifying stage losing just the one game against Slovakia. They will surely on the top of their game in the competition after being humiliated in the World Cup, couple of years ago.
They have one of the best squads in the tournament and will hope to go at-least to the semi-finals of the competition.
Key Player – Andres Iniesta
Barcelona legend and skipper of the side Andres Iniesta is the most experienced player for the side in the tournament.
He is arguably the best mid-fielder in the world at the moment and will hope to repeat his heroics in his side’s victory in the last edition of the competition.
The depth of the Spain squad is shown in the fact that Iniesta may not be playing every game for the side.
Moving into the group stage after winning a qualifying play-off Turkey were drawn in this group alongside Spain, Croatia and Czech Republic.
They have qualified for 4 of the last 6 finals and have a decent chance to qualify from Group D.
Fatih Terim, the coach of the squad has been with them for three years now and will surely have his plans to help his side move as far as possible in the tournament.
Key Player – Arda Turan
Though not a regular starter at Barcelona, Turan has played a big role in Barcelona’s defense of the La Liga title recently.
He has been an important player for his country starting almost every game and is one of the most important part of the plans Terim has for the team.
He is a true match-winner who never gives up and can easily be the difference in moving forward and getting knocked out of the competition.
Key Match: Turkey vs Croatia (June 12)
Often the opening game of a group tends to set the tone for all the teams throughout the tournament. With Spain favorites to go through to the knockout rounds, Croatia and Turkey will battle against each other to fight for the next qualification spots.
Both Turkey and Croatia have players capable of winning games on their own and they will need to step up their game at the Euros to lead their teams to the next round of the competition.