Group F pits Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal against Iceland, Hungary and Austria, in what the Portuguese will consider a relatively easy draw. Portugal and Austria qualified top of their respective groups, while Iceland finished second in a tough Group A, and Hungary scraped passed Norway in a closely fought Play-off.
In a strange twist of faith, whoever finishes second in Group F will likely have an easier round of 16 tie than the team who tops the group. The winners will play the runners-up in Group E, a group consisting of Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Sweden, while the runners-up in Group F take on the runners-up in Group B, which has England, Russia, Slovakia and Wales.
That said, Portugal will be looking to top the group and hope for a favorable draw in the next round.
Austria remarkably qualified atop of Group G in qualifying, ahead of Russia and Sweden. The Austrian side had an almost perfect campaign, with only one draw and no losses in their ten games, along with a goal difference only bettered by four teams.
Playing Hungary in their opening match, Austria will look to start the campaign strong and hopes rest on star striker Marc Janko of Basel to deliver goals throughout the campaign. The Basel striker scored seven goals in nine appearances in qualifying, and continuing his rich vain of form in front of goal is critical.
Player To Watch: Marc Janko
Prediction: Quarter Finals
Hungary will consider themselves lucky to have qualified, after only Albania had a lower points tally of all the qualified teams, and Albania played two games less than Hungary. They also unfortunately boast the worst goal difference of all the sides at the tournament.
Despite this, Hungary will be happy to be a part of the tournament, having not qualified for a major tournament since 1986. With very little pressure on Hungary, they could prove to be a banana skin for any team and with the new format, could easily progress out of this group.
Player To Watch: Balazs Dzsudzsak
Prediciton: Group Stages
Iceland will have been extremely happy with their qualifying campaign, finishing ahead of Turkey and The Netherlands. They even managed home and away victories against The Netherlands, who would have been favorites to qualify from the group.
Group A proved to be one of the toughest groups in qualifying and Iceland’s early performances in the group was enough to see them qualify in second. Although their form slipped towards the end of the campaign, Iceland showed resolve to come out of the group in the automatic places.
Player To Watch: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Prediction: Group Stages
Portugal are in line to continue the form that saw them top Group I with just one defeat. The first match with Iceland will be a tough opening test, but with Cristiano Ronaldo firing, it’s hard to look past Portugal to top the group.
Ronaldo scored an impressive five goals in six appearances in qualifying. Add to this his recent success in the Champions League, and he should inspire Portugal to a strong showing at Euro 2016. Portugal must not rely too heavily on their star man however, who has played a lot of football already this year.
Player To Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo
Prediction: Round of 16