Euro 2016 Group F is certainly not a group that has gone to plan, but the same can be said about England’s Group B. After beating Wales, Roy Hodgson’s team was expected to then finish in top spot in the group, not end up finishing second behind the Welsh. Now they will face the runners-up in Group F, but who that will be is far from straight-forward.
According to the bookies the group is wide open, but Portugal are still expected to finish top despite failing to register a win so far. If Ronaldo and co, can beat table toppers Hungary in their final encounter, it would more than likely leave the current group leaders favourites to play England in the first knock-out round.
If Iceland can manage to find some killer instinct against the still capable Austrians, who would also still qualify with a win, then they will complicate the picture, in terms of England’s next opponents. Goal difference between them and Portugal (if Portugal win), will then be a factor.
This group was expected to have been bossed by Portugal and Austria, but it hasn’t quite panned out that way.
Austria raised a few eyebrows when they cruised through their qualifying well above Russia and Sweden, but they have failed to live up to their ‘dark horse’ tag. Still, their draw against Portugal may prove to be vital, after slipping up against Hungary in their opener.
There’s enough talent there with Janko leading the line and Arnautovic creating behind him to do the job against Iceland, and give them a likely date against Germany or Croatia. After that, with Alaba and Baumgartlinger solidifying the midfield and with their talented full-backs in Fuchs and Dragovic, they might be able to make a fight of the next round.
Probably the story of the qualifying groups. They despatched the Dutch home and away, on route to coming second in Group A, a couple of points behind the Czechs. After opening with a great point against Portugal though, they may feel they threw away their chances of qualifying allowing Hungary to equalise late on in their previous game.
Austria will be off the leash and will attack them furiously, in what will be the Icelander’s biggest game in their history. It’s a game they will no doubt have to win, unless Hungary can upset the odds and beat Portugal.
After crawling out of a weak qualifying group in third place to beat in Norway in a play-off, the Hungarians have been a relelation in how they’ve conducted themselves on and off the pitch. Their black T-shirted ultras have lead a noisy supporter base who have pushed their team all the way.
Their captain Balasz Dzsudzsak has lead a stunning win against Austria and a spirited fightback against Iceland. Unless they pull off another major result against Portugal, it is likely they will play England next. When you consider they have rejected Aston Villa academy player in Zoltan Stieber and a goalkeeper in Gábor Király that played for Villa in a handful of games, on an emergency loan, you have to think how is that even possible?!
Király’s infamous track pants are symbolic of a rag-tag team of also-rans, that have demonstrated immense team spirit and made their country proud. It’s also good to see Zoltan Gera still pulling the strings too of the tournament’s biggest underdog.
Group Villa Connection
Former Villa five-game emergency loan keeper Gábor Király at 40-years-old is the oldest man to play at the Euros. Also, did Aston Villa teach their ex-academy player Zoltan Stieber all he knows? Were they rash to get rid of him, because considering the coolness of his finish, after coming on as a sub for Hungary against Austria, maybe there was perhaps more about him than met the eye?
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