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Euro 2016 draw: Five headline match-ups as England get Wales

England will play Wales at Euro 2016 after the two home nations were drawn against each other in this evening’s draw for next summer’s finals in France.

SEE MORE: Euro 2016 draw: Relive the drama from Paris with our live blog

That fixture, pitting the neighbours against each other in the finals of a major tournament for the first time, is arguably the standout pairing of the draw.

SEE MORE: Euro 2016 draw: Twitter reacts as England get Wales (video)

But there are several other interesting ties which have been thrown up. Here, CaughtOffside picks out the five headline match-ups from the Euro 2016 draw.

1) England v Wales

There’s only one place to start. Wales will have been desperate to be placed in the same pool as their more-esteemed neighbours, and now they have their wish in Group B. It was somewhat inevitable.

The Red Dragons have qualified for their first major tournament in 57 years and will fancy their chances of claiming a famous scalp, with a motivated squad pulling around the talismanic Gareth Bale.

This draw will quash the talk of a potential pre-tournament friendly, but not many tears will be shed over that. We’re gonna find out who the better home nation is when it really matters.

2) Germany v Poland

These two were in the same qualifying group and it was even-stevens. Their aggregate score over the two fixtures was 3-3, with Poland beating the newly-crowned world champions 2-0 in Warsaw.

In Robert Lewandowski, the Poles have one of the best strikers around and one which the Germans should be familiar with courtesy of his prolific spells with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Watching Lewandowski face several of his Bayern teammates in Group C will be engrossing stuff.

Lewandowski Bayern

3) Belgium v Italy

Arguably the only first-round game which pits two genuine contenders against each other.

And it is a fascinating match-up. Belgium, the pretenders; number one ranked team in the world but no history of tournament success. Italy; serial winners, who usually show up when they need to.

The Azzurri are a team in transition but still have top-class players all over the field. How Belgium fare against them in Group D will be a good gauge of whether they are the real deal or not.

4) Spain v Croatia

Not a standout tie at first glance, but Spain v Croatia should be seen as one of the most significant matches of the group stages as it will be the biggest test of Vicente del Bosque’s new-look side.

It was the end of an era at the 2014 World Cup. Defending champions Spain, who have won the last two European Championships, were absolutely rubbish as they failed to reach the knockout stages.

Croatia are probably their toughest opponents in Group D, which also contains Turkey and the Czech Republic. If they beat Luka Modric and company, it might be a sign that Spain are contenders again.

5) Northern Ireland v Germany

Steven Davies Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland did so well to reach Euro 2016. Michael O’Neill’s side of Premier League rejects and Football League journeymen topped their qualifying group to reach a first European Championships.

Their reward: the world champions – as well as Poland and Ukraine in Group C. On paper, there is perhaps no greater a mismatch than the minnows of Northern Ireland playing the giants of Germany.

The Republic of Ireland proved that beating Joachim Low’s men is possible in qualifying. Can Northern Ireland follow their neighbours and produce one of the biggest upsets of all time?

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More Stories Gareth Bale joachim low Luka Modric Michael O'Neill Robert Lewandowski Vicente del Bosque