The European Championship qualifying is drawing to a close during this international break from club competition. The final games of qualifying are set to take place on Tuesday, and after that we will know who will have made the cut and earned a spot in the tournament.
The 2016 European Championship is set to take place in France, and will most certainly be a competitive tournament in one of the most competitive soccer continents on the planet. Germany proved their dominance on the world stage last summer as world champions at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but they are not the favorites to win this tournament, due to inconsistency in qualifying. With the world champions struggling in qualifying, the question is: Who are the favorites to win?
One team in particular has really stood out in the qualifying for the European Championship. England has proven that they are favorites to win the tournament, being the only team with a 100% record in qualifying, winning 9 out of 9 games. Despite having a rather poor performance at the World Cup in Brazil, being eliminated in the group stages, they have really improved in 2015. The last time that England has won a major trophy on the world stage, was back in 1966 when they won the World Cup. It would be an incredible story for the current national team to win the European Championships, 50 years after they won the World Cup.
Spain are another team who has been extremely successful in qualifying matches for the European Championship. They have won 8 of their 9 matches, accumulating 24 points, the third most points out of all of the teams. Spain won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but, like England, failed to make it through the group stages in the 2014 World Cup. They have been in outstanding form in 2015, winning all five games and not conceding a single goal.
Professional soccer is full of twists, turns and underdogs, and one of the big surprises of the European Championship qualifying games has been the success of Austria. Austria failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, but they are currently flying in the European Championships. They have an outstanding 25 points out of a possible 27 points. They have not lost a game in qualifying and have won all of their games in 2015.
Austria will most certainly qualify for the European Championships, making only their second ever appearance in the tournament. Led by Bayern Munich player, David Alaba, Austria are certainly underdogs to win the European Championships, but seeing their current record, it would not be impossible for this nation.
These are three extremely competitive teams and in a tough tournament, but we could see a completely different team walking away with the trophy in France. One thing is for sure; it will be a very entertaining tournament.