England finished second in Group B, which has put them in the same side of the draw that features Germany, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, France and the Republic of Ireland.
Wales, who topped the group, have more favourable competition with Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Portugal, Northern Ireland, Hungary and Belgium.
It’s led to criticism of England for not taking the group stages more seriously given how much easier their journey to the final could have been, so have they blown their chances of success given the task at hand?
England will have to beat stellar opposition to reach the final
England face Iceland in the last-16 of the European Championships, and could face France in the quarter-finals. France are favourites to go all the way on their own turf this summer, and have fantastic pedigree in international tournaments. This side of the millennium, Les Blues have won a European Championship and made a World Cup final, so they shouldn’t be underestimated.
If England progress in the quarter-finals, the chances are they will face the winner of Germany/Spain for the semis. Germany are the current World champions, while Spain are the defending European champions. Both sides pose a major threat to the Three Lions’ hopes of reaching the final, and only an upset would England see avoid such giants. They only have themselves to blame, however, after falling short of expectations in their group.
Hodgson has to take his share of the blame
England finished second Group B with five points from a possible nine. The Three Lions were held to a 1-1 draw in their opener against Russia, and were frustrated in a goalless stalemate to Slovakia, days after having beaten Wales with a last-gasp winner. Questions were asked of England manager Roy Hodgson following his decision to make six changes to the side that had not long beaten Wales in the group, and the Three Lions boss was under further pressure after his gamble backfired.
England scored just one goal in games against Russia and Slovakia, two teams Wales dispatched in the group, so how will they fare against more stellar opposition? There’s little indication that suggests England are improving game after game, and while they should beat Iceland in the last-16 to make the quarter-finals, few are giving them a chance of making it further in the European Championships. England are 10/1 to win Euro 2016, but has their failure in the group stages cost them a chance at a deep run?
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