Euro 2016 Group C preview: Germany can conquer as Northern Ireland face tough campaign
Lee Gormley | June 5, 2016
Euro 2016 Group C preview
With 24 teams vying for Euro 2016 success in France this summer, those hopeful nations are split across six groups of four countries, and Coral analyse each section for the finals.
Here, we cast an eye over Group C, which is headlined by world champions Germany, Poland, Home Nation Northern Ireland and Ukraine. So, read on to find out more about those in contention in this testing group of sides…
History between teams
Two nations that will know each other very well are Germany and Poland, with the pair having collided during qualifying as the 2014 World Cup winners finished atop their standings ahead of their tournament opponents.
It’s Germany that holds a dominant record over their rivals, having lost this fixture just once in 20 previous meetings, winning on 13 occasions and being involved in six draws. The Polish outfit will look for better success in their latest match-up, a clash which could be decisive in Group C.
Joachim Low’s men are 9/2 second-favourites for glory this summer, and they also boast a superior record over group foes Ukraine, having never lost in five former clashes, while they have overcame Northern Ireland eight times 14 encounters, falling short just twice.
All signs point towards Die Mannschaft claiming Group C success, though Poland, who are behind in previous head-to-heads with both the Green and White Army and Ukraine, should provide stern competition.
Michael O’Neill’s side made history by reaching the finals but, having never toppled Ukraine and enjoyed limited success against Germany, they could struggle on their travels to France and are 11/4 to crash out with no points secured.
Back-to-back major trophies is the measure of a great national team and Germany will aim to reign supreme once again, following their World Cup dominance two years ago, but Low’s squad selections did raise some eyebrows.
The inclusion of youngsters Leroy Sane and Julian Weigl prove there is plenty of promising talent coming through the nation’s ranks, though Andre Schurrle and Lukas Podolski’s call-ups at the expense of Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi caused concern among fans.
Marco Reus is the key absence, though, with the Borussia Dortmund wideman missing out through injury after his similar misery for the World Cup. For Poland, with both Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski, they possess two genuine match-winners.
The latter Bayern Munich marksman is arguably the best frontman in the continent and enters at 16/1 to finish as top goalscorer overall.
Polish boss Adam Nawalka opted to leave out goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton and forward Artur Sobiech, who were both relegated with their respective Bundesliga clubs this season, though, with defenders Pawel Dawidowicz and Maciej Rybus and winger Pawel Wszolek also missing out.
Ukraine will be without experienced winger Oleh Gusev and striker Artem Kravets after they were dropped from the provisional set-up, with Northern Ireland missing injured Chris Brunt for their Euro 2016 campaign.
Previous tournament success
Northern Ireland made national history when they qualified for Euro 2016, with it set to be their first ever appearance at the continental tournament, though they have featured at three World Cups, including reaching the quarter-final stage in both 1958 and 1982.
Germany’s victory in Brazil added to their illustrious background, being one of the most successful countries ever with four World Cup and three European Championship wins, most-recently in 1996. They have also been runners-up thrice in the Euros, something they will hope to avoid emulating this year.
Poland’s maiden appearance in a Euro event was back in 2008, while they were automatically slotted into the 2012 edition as joint-hosts with Ukraine, but haplessly finished bottom of their groups on each occasion.
Other than an automatic spot at Euro 2012, Ukraine secured their first ever qualification spot in the European finals this year, winning their play-off clash after previous hurt, having been unsuccessful via that route for Euro 2000, and the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Group C fixtures
Poland v Northern Ireland, Sunday 12 June, 17:00, BBC One
Germany v Ukraine, Sunday 12 June, 20:00, BBC One
Ukraine v Northern Ireland, Thursday 16 June, 17:00, ITV
Germany v Poland, Thursday 16 June, 20:00, ITV
Northern Ireland v Germany, Tuesday 21 June, 17:00, BBC
Ukraine v Poland, Tuesday 21 June, 17:00, BBC