Monday 6 June 2016

International Reds: Euro 2016 preview

The domestic football season may be taking a summer hiatus but there's no rest for many of our squad as they join up with their countries ahead of Euro 2016 which starts on Friday.

Hosts France kick off the tournament against Romania in Paris with Reds Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin both in Didier Deschamps 23-man party, albeit the latter a late call-up to replace the injured Lassana Diarra. 
Switzerland and tournament debutants Albania make up the group. 

Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and wildcard pick Marcus Rashford are all included in an England squad that get their campaign underway on Saturday when they take on Russia in Marseille before matches against Wales (16 June) and Slovakia (20 June)

Bastian Schweinsteiger missed much of the second half of United's season with injury but despite his knee problem, the 31-year-old has been passed fit to feature at the Euros and will captain Joachim Low's world champions.

Schweinsteiger looks set to be involved in the always dangerous Germans group opener against Ukraine before subsequent matches with Poland and club team mate Paddy McNair's Northern Ireland who are making their maiden appearance at the continental showpiece.

Holders Spain are in Group D and, such is the luxury of options at manager Vicente del Bosque's disposal, Reds playmaker Juan Mata has missed out on selection for the final 23 man squad.
United goalkeeper David De Gea is one of three stoppers in the 23, however, along with uncapped Sergio Rico and Porto's Iker Casillas.
DDG faces a battle to be first choice ahead of 166-cap Casillas, but will hope for more than a watching brief as the European champions take on Turkey, Croatia and the Czech Republic in their group section.

Group E provides an early highlight and is one to watch for Reds fans when Marouane Fellaini's Belgium face Matteo Darmian's Italy as two of the tournament's dark horses meet in Lyon on 13 June in a group also featuring the Republic of Ireland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden. 

Former United star Cristiano Ronaldo captains Portugal with another ex-Red, Nani, also in Fernando Santos' 23-man squad for a group campaign against debutants Iceland, 2008 co-hosts Austria, and Hungary. 

Euro 2016:

Group A: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland
Group B: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia
Group C: Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland
Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia
Group E: Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Sweden
Group F: Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary 

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