Spain Plot Triple Win Raid At Euro 2016 Finals

Football’s UEFA Euro 2016 kicks off in France on June 10 with Spain hoping to snatch the trophy for the third successive time.

Spain are already the only team to defend the title successfully.

However, they lag France, who the bookies rate as 3/1 favourites to life the cup.

Germany are second favourites at 7/2, followed by Spain at 11/2.

England lead the outsider at 8/1, with Belgium at 11/1 and Italy at 16/1.

France have also won the championship twice – in 1984 and 2000 – and are tipped to do so again as they have home advantage.

Fading legends

Many fans feel the brilliant Spanish team that has graced the European and World stage for more than a decade is aging and lacks the pace to handle the up and coming Germans.

A skilful, young Belgium team could do well. They have a host of good players, including midfielder Eden Hazard of Chelsea and striker Romelu Lukaku of Everton. Both have changed clubs for fees of millions of pounds in recent seasons.

For the first time, 24 teams will take to the stadiums – eight more than the 16 who competed since 1996.

They will play in six groups of four in Paris and other major French soccer cities.

Besides the traditional big European sides, some smaller countries have battled through to the finals, including Wales and Albania.

Surprise package

Wales are also a surprise package as the side can field Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale and several other established English Premier League stars.

England will play Wales in what is expected to be a fiercely contested group stage match at Lens on June 16.

Tickets are a sell-out. A few tickets for other games are available, but most matches between major teams are already sold-out.

The final will take place in Paris at the Parc des Princes on July 10.

Security is a major issue for fans and players. France and Belgium have both been targets for terrorists this year, with several horrific incidents.

The two sides do not face each other at the group stage, but could meet if both remain later in the competition.

Click here for dates and times of matches

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