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Opinion: Why France are rightly the Euro 2016 favourites

In less than a week, France kick off Euro 2016 and as the host nation, the pressure will certainly be on their shoulders to step up to the occasion.

Unsurprisingly at this level, Didier Deschamps and his men have been handed a tough draw in Group A alongside Albania, Romania and Switzerland, but they will be more than confident in their ability to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament.

From that point on, it will be a case of the group maturing and growing into genuine contenders, while as in any tournament scenario, they’ll need a bit of luck along the way if they are to go on and secure glory this summer.

Although the absence of Karim Benzema may well turn out to be a significant blow, Deschamps has a good combination of youth and experience at his disposal this summer, with the likes of Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Laurent Koscielny all hoping to emerge as fundamental players.

Coupled with the fact that home advantage could well be key, as seen with their successes at Euro 84 and the 1998 World Cup, it really is no surprise to see them picked out as favourites to win the tournament by the leading bookmakers.

Furthermore, there are still question marks hanging over both Spain and Germany, despite the latter hoping to add the European crown to their success in Brazil just two years ago.

Vicente Del Bosque’s men are at somewhat of a crossroads as they hope to prove that their disastrous time in Brazil was merely a blip rather than the start of a downward spiral, while the Germans appear to be lacking something in key departments with a number of stalwarts calling time on their international careers or falling short of their usual high standards this year.

There is no doubt that both sides will be contenders and will be expected to reach the latter stages of the tournament, but whether they have that belief and quality as a team as a whole remains to be seen.

The likes of England, Belgium and Italy will also be seen as potential winners too, but again, none really match what France have with Deschamps working closely with the same group now for some time with many of the individuals in his squad delivering at the highest level, both individually and collectively.

As hosts, big tournaments come with a different type of pressure. Les Bleus have proven previously that they can embrace it rather than be bogged down by it, and with a great squad under Deschamps’ watchful eye, they are rightly heavily fancied to win Euro 2016.

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