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Ronaldo claims Italy among Euros favourites

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo believes hosts France and world champions Germany are among the favourites to win Euro 2016, as well as holders Spain and Antonio Conte’s Italy.

Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus will be expected to mount a strong challenge on home soil, while Joachim Low’s side are attempting to add the continental crown to the World Cup they won in 2014.

European Championship holders Spain have been tipped to make amends for their group-stage exit in Brazil two years ago with an improved showing, while Real Madrid star Ronaldo also considers Italy among the leading contenders.

“As hosts, France has a strong team to go the distance,” he told the Times of India. 

“Then we have the world champions Germany. They are always favoured and this time they are coming to the tournament stronger. In the last two Euros, they played well, reached the final in 2008 and semi-finals in 2012. 

“And then, how can you forget Italy? And of course Spain… they are the reigning Euro champions.”

Portugal have been drawn in Group F of the competition, against Iceland, Austria and Hungary. 

While some consider Fernando Santos’ team to have received a favourable route to the knockout stages, Ronaldo was quick to offer a reminder of the quality of Portugal’s opponents.

“Opinions will always be there,” he said.

“You have to play the game [and] fight it out on the ground for 90 minutes to earn a win. Austria and Hungary are strong teams. They can surprise many. 

“Iceland came to the Euros from the same group from where the Netherlands were eliminated. They were second behind the leaders Czech Republic in the qualifiers. The Netherlands were the fourth in the same group. Need we say more about Iceland’s credentials?”

Thu 9 Jun, 2016
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