Because making ourselves look completely stupid during the Premier League season wasn’t enough…
– Who is going to win the thing, and briefly why?
Sarah Winterburn: France – because that midfield makes me feel a little sexy downstairs. And I don’t mean in the cellar.
Daniel Storey: France. The last few major tournaments have been won by the team with the best midfield, and the combination of Kante, Pogba and Matuidi is several different strains of sexy.
Matt Stead: Belgium. They have the best players. What about France, you say? I don’t care mate.
Nick Miller: France. Pogba, Griezmann, Coman, Martial, home advantage. It’s not a creative selection, but it makes sense.
John Nicholson: Belgium. A squad full of players who had superb seasons, exciting strikers that offer height, power and pace. Plenty of creativity and energy in midfield, at least one of the best defenders of last season and a top notch keeper, plus they’re virtually playing at home. If not now, then when?
– Give us the other semi-finalists, just to show off
SW: Spain, Germany and England. Why? Because I did a predictor and that’s what it said.
DS: Portugal, Germany, Spain.
MS: Spain, Portugal and France.
NM: Portugal, Germany and…..ah, balls to it – go on then, England. I haven’t suddenly taken up a job for the Sun, but they do have some pretty exciting players. Assuming Mr Roy doesn’t somehow manage to play them all out of position, mind.
JN: Spain, Germany, France
– Who is going to surprisingly achieve nice things?
SW: Do England count? Switzerland will get to the quarter-finals at least, as will Croatia. Northern Ireland may well concede only once and still go out at the group stages.
DS: I think Albania might make the knockout stages, against such things like widespread opinion and logic. I also think Austria will make the quarter-finals, and Portugal the semis. All these could cock up spectacularly.
MS: Slovakia will progress from England’s group and push Spain close in the next round. The last-16 ties between Albania and Poland and Wales and Austria will be lovely.
NM: I’m probably being sentimental but I rather fancy Wales to do quite well. They’ve got a solid unit, plus Gareth Bale, they should get through the group – I reckon they’ll make the quarters.
JN: I’m supporting Iceland and Albania. Wiith four third placed teams due to go through to the last 16, one win could easily see you qualify. I fancy Iceland might beat Austria or Hungary and Albania could squeeze past Romania. For either to go through would be a huge achievement.
– Which is the most likely ‘big’ nation to stink the place out?
SW: Italy. If Emanuele Giaccherini can still get in the squad…
DS: Russia’s a big country, isn’t it? Hahaha, geography banter. Seriously, Marc Wilmots shouldn’t be trusted with Belgium’s nice things and Italy’s squad is what the Italian’s call ‘Meh-issimo’.
MS: Germany will rip through Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland, before edging past Switzerland and eventually falling to Belgium. Italy will not progress past their group.
NM: Spain’s squad selection was a bit weird, and I reckon Bestest Team In The World Ever Belgium might collapse like a poorly made flan too.
JN: Although I’ve put France into the semi-final, it’s not hard to see them imploding under pressure, especially with all the bad vibes that are flying around the management. Italy literally have a Immobile striker, but obviously, England are the favourites for being so awful you have to remove your eyes with a spoon and eat them.
– Top scorer?
SW: Olivier Giroud. And he will still lose his Arsenal place to Jamie sodding Vardy.
DS: Ronaldo has a gentle group, and everything will go through him. Also think Olly Giroud will flourish for France, while Poland’s Arkadiusz Milik is my speculative shout. *taps nose*
MS: Robert Lewandowski will p*ss all over Will Griggs’ fire in the groups, finishing with a five-goal haul overall.
NM: Harry Kane.
JN: It’ll have to be a Belgy, so let’s go for Romalu Lukaku joint top with Robert Lewandowski, who will score the only hattrick of the tournament.
– Player of the Tournament?
SW: We will award it to N’Golo Kante but it will be Paul Pogba who gets all the plaudits.
DS: Ronaldo is the biggest individual star, but this tournament is set up to make Paul Pogba European football’s golden boy.
MS: Eden Hazard. It is the only explanation for how thoroughly sh*t he was in the Premier League.
NM: Antoine Griezmann.
JN: Sticking with the Belgium theme, I’m going with Kevin Du Bruyne. A few goals, a few assists and lots of pink-faced running. Or Iceland striker, Alf Finnbogason, for scoring the goal that gets them into the last 16, obviously.
– Which player or country would you most like to see fail (without revealing your hatred of a particular nation)?
SW: Ronaldo, Zlatan and anybody else who thinks they’re greater than a 24-team competition.
DS: I think I’m the only person that doesn’t like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Wonderful player, dreadful d*ck.
MS: France’s hosting skills will be tested to its limits by the last-16 clash between Portugal and Sweden. Only one of Cristiano or Zlatan can progress. The latter will be sent off for revealing a shirt emblazoned with his own face, and the former – the poor man’s Harry Kane – will eventually score the winner with his 427th free-kick.
NM: Albania. Revenge for Sergeant William Schumann.’
JN: Spain. I pine for the days when they were bottlers who kicked people a lot. All this passing the football business is very tedious and needs consigning to history.
– And, finally, the most likely tabloid back page headline on the morning after England’s competition ends.
SW: ‘ONE EL OF A COCK-UP’ when they lose to Spain in the semis.
DS: FULL-KIT WINKER. It’s Ronaldo getting Dele Alli sent off in the quarters.
MS: ‘ROO ARE YA?’ or something similarly tedious.
NM: ROO ROO ROO ROO ROO ROO. They’ve run out of puns by now, but law states there must be some version of Roo in all England-related headlines, so this is the result.
JN: After a heavy defeat to Belgium BRUSSELS SPR-OUT! with Rooney & Roy’s heads as said brassica.