https://footballfutbolcalciosoccer.blogspot.ca/2016/06/euro-2016-preview-group-c-germany.html Germany, Poland and Ukraine to advance. Euro 2016 Preview (Group C - Germany / Ukraine / Poland / Northern Ireland) Team: GERMANY Squad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2016_squads#Germany http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2016/teams/team=47/squad/index.html Captain: Bastian Schweinsteiger Key Players: Manuel Neuer; Thomas Muller; Mesut Ozil Potential Breakout Player: Leroy Sane Notable Absentees: Marco Reus (injury); Ilkay Gundogan (injury) Best Historical Finish: Winner (1972; 1980; 1996) Minimum Expectation: Semifinals How Far Could They Go: Winners The defending world champions will enter as one of the favourites and why shouldn't they be. The Germans are the most consistent of all footballing nations, they always get to the latter stages of tournaments. History is one thing, but take a look at the squad list and it is impressive. Take a look at the absentees either through injury or non-selection and it is even more impressive. The Germans have a wealth of talent already in their prime and arguably an even better group coming through. The German team is built around a core of players who won the Euro U-21 championship in 2009. How much of a core? Try Neuer, Boateng, Howedes, Hummels, Khedira and Ozil. Six of their regular starters played on that team. So basically their entire defensive side of the game and Ozil's creative spark were nurtured all the way through. The team has a settled core and Low keeps the faith even if his players are not playing their best at club level (i.e. Podolski, Schweinsteiger and Gotze all have had underwhelming seasons). Add to that mix a number of exciting youngsters called up for their first major tournament experience (i.e. Sane, Can, Leno, Ter Stegen, Weigl, Rudiger and Kimmich). The Germans will be missing two key players in Gundogan and Reus through injury, and the tournament on the whole will be poorer for their absences given the level of talent of the Borussia Dortmund duo. The Germans will be there near the end and will be looking to avoid their bogey teams (i.e. Italy & Spain) as they look to add to their World Cup glory. Team: UKRAINE Squad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2016_squads#Ukraine http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2016/teams/team=57166/squad/index.html Captain: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Key Players: Andriy Yarmolenko; Yevhen Konoplyanka; Yaroslav Rakitskiy Potential Breakout Player: Viktor Kovalenko Notable Absentees: Artem Kravets (non-selection); Oleh Husyev (non-selection) Best Historical Finish: Winner (1960 as the USSR); Group Stage (2012) Minimum Expectation: Second Round How Far Could They Go: Second Round Ukraine will enter the tournament having qualified for the first time, given their previous appearance in 2012 was as hosts when they were unable to advance out of the group stage. Ukraine do have issues given the fiery rivalry between their two largest clubs Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv, who between them contribute almost half of the squad. The strengths of Ukraine's team are the familiarity of the defensive line which conceded just four goals in their ten qualifying games and creativity/guile of their two star wide men in Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka. These two will lead the offensive threat for Ukraine with an ability to take on players and shoot from distance, but there is a sense of an over reliance on the pair. A Shevchenko in his prime could have put this team firmly in a dark horse role, if only.... Ukraine should have enough to advance from this group, but can probably not expect much more. Ukraine showed flashes in qualifying pushing the great Spain in both legs albeit losing 1-0 in both games. That being said they were also unable to break down Lithuania in Ukraine. Team: POLAND Squad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2016_squads#Poland http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2016/teams/team=109/squad/index.html Captain: Robert Lewandowski Key Players: Robert Lewandowski; Kamil Glik; Grzegorz Krychowiak Potential Breakout Player: Arkadiusz Milik Notable Absentees: Pawel Wszolek (injury); Maciej Rybus (injury) Best Historical Finish: Group Stage (2008; 2012) Minimum Expectation: Second Round How Far Could They Go: Semifinals Poland were brilliant in qualifying and were just a point shy of having won their group ahead of the mighty Germans. The Poles have a team where the majority of their key players are in their prime and firing on all cylinders. Their qualifying campaign saw them the highest scorers, although quite a few - fifteen of their thirty-three goals in qualifying - came against the hapless Gibraltar. Lewandowski is a well known superstar but he doesn't have to carry the team. Milik is a very promising forward partner for Lewa, with the midfield cast behind them a seemingly perfect blend with a mix of hard running, crunching tackling and guile provided by Błaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Zieliński and Grosicki. Watch out for Glik who is dominant in the air and has a penchant for scoring towering headers. A plethora of goalkeeping options, a defence which while not world-class is serviceable, a midfield that is diverse and capable, with a striking duo which will cause any defence trouble - Poland is an intriguing team and one that should be considered a proper dark horse. It is not unreasonable to think the Poles could even win this group. Advancing from this group is almost a given. Team: NORTHERN IRELAND Squad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2016_squads#Northern_Ireland http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2016/teams/team=63/squad/index.html Captain: Steven Davis Key Players: Steven Davis; Kyle Lafferty; Jonny Evans Potential Breakout Player: Paddy McNair Notable Absentee: Chris Brunt (non-selection) Best Historical Finish: N/A Minimum Expectation: Qualifying (Already achieved) How Far Could They Go: Group Stage A first time qualifier for the European Championship, Northern Ireland has had previous major tournament experience having been to three World Cups (1958, 1982, 1986). The Northern Irish qualified for this tournament as group winners no less, having topped a section which included Greece as the seeds (they finished bottom, losing both your games versus the Faroe Islands will do that). On paper the team lacks any true strong areas, with the vast majority of the squad playing lower league football in England. There are five players playing in the Premier League with only Davis and Cathcart players who can consider them regulars. They will rely heavily on Lafferty for the goals. Already probably the weakest team on paper in the tournament, the Northern Irish will likely struggle in a group where the other three teams are substantially stronger and will each know their results against the group minnows will be key. Gaining a point at this tournament could be viewed as a success for this team, getting a goal even could be considered an accomplishment. Qualifying is already a historic achievement.