Being South African, we get all the feels in June when it comes to football, tomorrow see's 6 years since we successfully hosted the FIFA World Cup in our beautiful country, fast forward to today and after a seriously of allegations and arrests, many of the FIFA hierarchy that were involved then and now in hot water over corruption scandal but that's not what the purpose of this blog was for, tonight the UEFA Euro 2016 kicks off in Paris, France and see's the giants of Europe go head to head in what should be a thrilling tournament.
The first game sees hosts France up against a team many tip for second place in their group, Romania. Albania and Switzerland make up the rest of the group, so the hosts seem to have got them self a fairly easy opening stage of the tournament.
For most groups they seem pretty well balanced but there's always the one Group of Death and that for me has to be Group D with Spain, Czech Republic, Turket and Croatia, all of which are capable of causing massive upsets. It's bound to be a tight affair with Spain not playing at the same level as they were 6 years ago, although they remain favourites to top the group.
Another interesting group to keep an eye on is Group E, which features underdogs Belgium, whilst they are tipped to take top spot in the group which also features Italy, Republic of Ireland and Sweden, the bookies don't think Belgium has what it takes to go all the way. They have a star studded team with many players whom feature in the English Premier League and many rate them as their favourites but it remains to be seen if they can do it.
The money is on Germany though, they find themselves in Group C which features Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland. Seems pretty straight forward but don't write off any of the others, we all know what Ukraine are capable off and tournament debutantes Northern Ireland will have a point to prove in their first appearance in the continental competition.
England find themselves in Group B, whilst everyone feels they should secure top spot, their other opponents, namely Russia, Wales and Slovakia will try to upset this notion. England with Roy at the helm have had a fair bit of luck in qualifying for the tournament and while people are taking bets on when England will get knocked out, many are keen to write off the stigma that is normally associated with the Three Lions, they squad, is young and full of talent and maybe this could be their year?
Finally Group F, another one that should be straight forward with Portugal looking to finish in the lead after the group stages, who will follow behind them is a tricky one, many tip Iceland but Hungary and Austria will have something else to say about that. One things for certain though, when Portugal eventually get knocked out, we will see Cristiano crying on the field.