Four shouts for Euro 2016 outright and top scorer double
Robbie Purves | May 24, 2016
With Euro 2016 fast approaching, Europe’s finest talent is preparing to descend upon France.
As the nations arrive, they bring with them some of the most deadly marksmen in world football, itching to make their mark.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Thomas Muller will all bring their goal-laden boots, but are they the most likely to collect a top scorer and Euro winner double?
Here we take a look at some of the most likely to achieve the feat…
Thomas Muller and Germany
The reigning World Cup champions finished top of their hotly contested qualifying Group D, with Bayern Munich forward Muller netting nine in as many games.
Since the retirement of Miroslav Klose in 2014, Muller has risen to the goalscoring challenge and is one of the first names on Joachim Low’s team-sheet.
Despite occupying a right flank berth for Germany, with Mario Gotze playing in a false nine position regularly during Euro 2016 qualifying, the Bavarian still manages to be prolific. Muller also scored an incredible 32 times for his club in all competitions this term, mainly from attacking midfield.
The forward is a complete all-rounder that is capable of playing in multiple positions at the highest level. Muller’s biggest attributes are his understanding of space and knack for being in the right place at the right time. Muller himself describes his role as ‘Raumdeuter’, an interpreter of space.
Germany’s star man isn’t particularly good at beating a man one-on-one or dribbling, but consistently finds the goal.
Speaking before the 2014 World Cup, Low commented that he is ‘impervious to pressure’. With this in mind, and Germany’s young squad growing stronger with the experience of winning the World Cup in Brazil, Muller is 14/1 to finish Euro 2016 top scorer with his nation lifting the title.
Antoine Griezmann and France
Atletico Madrid sharpshooter Antoine Griezmann has enjoyed the best scoring year of his career, netting 33 in all competitions.
The France forward is a superb finisher from inside and out the box and is excellent at holding onto the ball. Griezmann also has the knack of scoring hugely important goals, for instance he netted in second leg of Atleti’s Champions League semi-final, bagged a brace against Barcelona at home and notched one past Real Madrid in an away win.
Therefore, Griezmann should not be fazed by the immense pressure playing a tournament on home soil will bring.
In the last two friendlies France have played, Griezmann started on the flanks. Either Olivier Giroud or Andre-Pierre Gignac will start in the middle of a three-pronged attack in Karim Benzema’s absence, while Dimitri Payet or Anthony Martial will complete the dangerous trio.
Les Bleus now face a highly winnable Group A of Albania, Romania and Switzerland, and will take immense confidence in the competition with the whole nation behind them. The last time France hosted the Euros they won it in 1984, with Michel Platini emerging as their hero. Could Griezmann be the man with the heroics this year?
Harry Kane and England
Tottenham’s Harry Kane has experienced a whirlwind couple of seasons after his breakthrough. The forward has recorded an incredible 64 goals in all competitions over the last two campaigns and looks set to take that form into his first international tournament.
Kane is a strong finisher, is excellent with his head and dangerous from outside the box. The striker looks set to be England’s attacking focal point in France, with fast incisive players surrounding him. Kane has fantastic movement and many have likened it to Teddy Sheringham – with his powerful accurate shots compared to Alan Shearer.
Players such as Jamie Vardy, Adam Lallana and even Raheem Sterling, will help Kane excel with regular service. Wayne Rooney will likely play behind Kane providing the frontman the security to stay forward and focus on scoring goals. Roy Hodgson’s boys will open their Euro 2016 campaign against an ageing Russia defence, which looks as though it is just asking to be ripped apart by pace.
The England side will likely have a distinct Spurs presence through its spine; Dele Alli likely to make an appearance and Eric Dier impressing in recent friendlies with his solid screening of the back four – no doubt helping Kane comfortably slot in up top.
England are full of pace and power and should fancy their chances in France, after winning every game of their qualifying campaign. Kane is 50/1 to end the competition top scorer with the Three Lions collecting the trophy.
Romelu Lukaku and Belgium
The 23-year-old netted 25 goals in all competitions this term for a struggling Everton side and, with the immensely talented Belgium team around him, expect Romelu Lukaku to be one of the stars of this summer.
Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens will likely complete the Red Devil’s attacking frontline, providing Lukaku with quality ammunition. If the Everton striker can score 25 with a poor Toffee side, imagine when he is let lose with a team that creates chances and can defend properly.
Belgium topped their qualifying group, scoring a phenomenal 24, conceding just five.
Labelled by many as their ‘dark horses’ for the World Cup in 2014, the Belgians didn’t do themselves justice and crashed out in the quarter-finals to Argentina.
However, this summer the competition is held in neighbouring France, with two more years of individual development and playing as a team, they should be able to go all the way this tournament.
There is however, a lingering doubt over Marc Wilmots’ men and there mental ability to deal with the high pressure occasions international tournament football creates.