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Euro 2016: What To Expect From Group F

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.

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Austria

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - OCTOBER 12: David Alaba of Austria controls the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier between Austria and Liechtenstein at Ernst Happel Stadion on October 12, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)
VIENNA, AUSTRIA – OCTOBER 12: David Alaba of Austria controls the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier between Austria and Liechtenstein at Ernst Happel Stadion on October 12, 2015 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)

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

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Hungary

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - NOVEMBER 15:  Captain Balazs Dzsudzsak #7 and Richard Guzmics of Hungary celebrate their team's 2-1 victory and qualification following the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier Play-Off, second leg match between Hungary and Norway at Groupama Arena on November 15, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – NOVEMBER 15: Captain Balazs Dzsudzsak #7 and Richard Guzmics of Hungary celebrate their team’s 2-1 victory and qualification following the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier Play-Off, second leg match between Hungary and Norway at Groupama Arena on November 15, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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

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Iceland

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - OCTOBER 10: Players of Iceland pose for a photograph during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Iceland and Latvia at Laugardalsvollur National Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images).
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – OCTOBER 10: Players of Iceland pose for a photograph during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Iceland and Latvia at Laugardalsvollur National Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images).

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

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Portugal

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 26:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts after a missed chance during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Portugal and Ghana at Estadio Nacional on June 26, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BRASILIA, BRAZIL – JUNE 26: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts after a missed chance during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Portugal and Ghana at Estadio Nacional on June 26, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.