Euro 2016: Top 5 dark horses …

Everyone’s tipping France and Germany as the favourites to win the Euro 2016 tournament (and quite rightly so) but what if we have another story of the underdog on our hands just like Greece in 2004? Here are AFEfootballnews’ top 5 underdogs to consider as outside contenders for the trophy …

Austria

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Many pundits and analysts are predicting that Austria will have a good campaign and it’s hard to disagree. Playing in group F alongside Portugal, Iceland and Hungary, arguably they should pick up at least six points from that group,which would see them progress into the knockout round of the tournament.
They’ll rely heavily on the likes of Alaba, Baumgartlinger and Arnautovic, but if those three in particular are on top form then the Austrians may find themselves having a decent campaign.

Probable starting XI:
Almer, Fuchs, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Wimmer, Arnautovic, Alaba, Baumgartlinger, Jantscher, Junuzovic, Janko.

Croatia

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AFEfootballnews’ personal favourites when it comes to dark horses, Croatia have a very underrated side and should be underestimated by nobody.
With Rakitic and Modric providing balls through for Mandzukic in attack, there’s no doubt that they’ll be a great team to watch. They’re in the fairly unpredictable group D alongside Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic, but if they play to their strengths, then they could finish top of that group.

Probable starting XI:
Subasic, Srna, Vida, Corluka, Vrsaljko, Modric, Rakitic, Kovacic, Brozovic, Perisic, Mandzukic.

Poland

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With Glik and Piczscek in defence, Lewandowski captaining the team this time around and the engine that is Krychowiak running things in midfield, Poland look stronger than they have done for many years now.
In a group with world champions, Germany (who they beat in qualifying last year) Ireland and Ukraine, Poland seem as though they have a great chance of progressing through the group and possibly far beyond that.

Probable starting XI:
Fabianski, Pazdan, Cionek, Glik, Piszczek, Błaszczykowski, Krychowiak,  Mączyński, Grosicki, Milik, Lewandowski.

Portugal

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Surprisingly not fancied by many, even though they have the mighty Ronaldo, but it has to be said that Portugal can be unplayable on their day.
Despite not winning a major tournament in their history, they’ve always been a great team to watch and have the players to succeed, but always fall short eventually. This time around they’ve got players with big tournament experience such as the aforementioned Ronaldo, Carvalho, Nani, Pepe, Alves and the list goes on …
They should breeze through their group, so keep an eye on them!

Probable starting XI:
Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu, Moutinho, Carvalho, Mario, Quaresma, Ronaldo, Nani.

Switzerland

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Such a strong team, the Swiss have a mixture of younger generation stars such as Embolo, Rodriguez and Xhaka, who are mixed in with experienced players in their squad such as Djourou and Behrami and the two groups of players blend together effortlessly. Xherdan Shaqiri will most likely be there deadliest weapon though as any true football fan is wary of the skill that he can possess on occasion.
They’ll be expected to get through Group A alongside France, but they may just get quite abit further with the talent they’ll have on show.

Probable starting XI:
Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Djourou, Schär, Rodriguez, Xhaka, Behrami, Dzemaili, Shaqiri, Seferovic, Embolo.

Will we see one of these teams surprise the world by lifting the Euro 2016 trophy? Only time will tell, but keep a close eye on these teams over the next month as they may just impress.

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