Written by Harry Martin
Widely regarded as the ‘group of death’, Group C is possibly the most difficult one to call going in to the tournament. Germany are the stand out team, but you can easily make a case for anyone to win the group, plus, who would want to write off Northern Ireland?
Germany – Prediction: 1st
Very much one of the pre-tournament favourites, the Germans are always a good bet to deliver in a major tournament. To start with, the squad at Joachim Loew’s disposal is quite incredible, with an array of talent in all the key areas. Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels will have to prove their worth, with players such as Lewandowski and Yarmolenko lining up against them. The likes of Mezut Ozil and Thomas Muller offer goals and assists going forward, and can provide for the front man Mario Gomez. Whilst I can’t see Germany scoring an awful lot in the early stages, I think the stability and know-how is what will win them this group, especially if they go for their usual 4231 formation, being resolute and just generally being efficient in front of goal. For me, the only thing that could work against them is complacency and this isn’t a group you can afford to be complacent in, as I’m sure Loew has made them aware.
credit Aleksandr Osipov
Ukraine – Prediction:2nd
A team which I’m very excited to watch and will surprise a lot of football fans. Ukraine will really give this tournament a go and attack teams from the wide areas with the two main threats being Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko. Not many teams will play with out and out wingers who can beat their man and change a game but this is why they are going to cause major problems for opposition defences. This will suit them perfectly against a team like Germany, where for all of the possession Germany might have, they will have to be wary of the break. Ukraine have an excellent blend of experience coupled with youthfulness. 19 year old forward Oleksandr Zinchenko is the country’s youngest ever goalscorer and holding midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will bring his many years in the game to the table.
credit Damian Kosciesza
Poland – Prediction:3rd
A very strong team on paper, Poland will be looking to progress to the latter stages of the tournament and will be ever reliant on Robert Lewandowski to deliver the goods. The likes of Grzegorz Krychowiak, Lucas Piszcek and Maciej Rybus are all big players for them but In a group such as this, I think if Lewandowski doesn’t turn up, they could be in trouble. Lets not forget that a 3rd place finish might be enough to qualify but for a a country like them, the pressure is well and truly on. I could be proven wrong, but I personally see this as a struggle for them.
credit Warwick Gastinger
Northern Ireland – Prediction:4th
The Northern Ireland players and fans alike must be absolutely buzzing, as nobody even expected them to qualify for the tournament. Anything else is a bonus. That isn’t to say they’re here to make up the numbers and I really do hope I’m proven wrong with this prediction. Captain Steven Davis is an integral part in Michael O’Neil’s side and will be a driving force from midfield. Up front the likes of Kyle Lafferty and Will Grigg will look to provide the goals that will be crucial. The most important part of their game will be at the back, can veteran Roy Carroll keep out the top player he will be facing? Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart and Gareth McAuley will be massive if the underdogs of the group are to succeed. Who knows how they will do but I just feel that they might lack that bit of edge that makes all the difference.
Do you agree with the prediction? Where would you place all 4 teams? Let us now in the comments below!
featured image by Nazionale Calcio