Euro 2016's must-watch group games

The 2016 Euro Cup expanded tournament format means more European Championship games than ever before with a total of 36 games to be played in the preliminary rounds alone. Fans, here are 10 of the must-watch group games before the knockouts, semis and championship game in France.

France v Romania (8pm Friday 10 June)

The national football team of France opens Euro 2016 looking to avoid a defeat just like the 2002's 1-0 loss by Senegal through a bad World Cup defence. Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Co carry the team in the kick off match of this year Euro Cup.

England v Russia (8pm Saturday 11 June)

Roy Hodgson takes his England team to begin their Euro 2016 campaign as headline match on Day 2. All eyes will be on the young members of Lions as they look to establish a new order closer to home.

Belgium v Italy (8pm Monday 13 June)

A standout tester of Belgium's title hopes will come early on as they deal with being the favourites against one of the European heavyweights and past tournament masters Italy. According to FIFA rankings, it's the second best team in the world against the 12th. Will 2016 form or historic class prevail?


England v Wales (2pm Thursday 16 June)

The undisputed big one for domestic football fans, even if it has been scheduled at the socially unfriendly time of early afternoon on a working day. Expect the economy to grind to a halt as we all find out how England's defense will cope with Gareth Bale.

Germany v Poland (8pm Thursday 16 June)

Another tasty match-up of near neighbors with their fair share of previous on the football field comes later, including another underdog boasting the fixture's best player, to boot. Poland's Robert Lewandowski plays the Bale role in this one but can he thwart the world champions? The Germans certainly looked wobbly in the warm-ups...

Belgium v Republic of Ireland (2pm Saturday 18 June)

After their own impressive end to the qualification campaign, Ireland will hope to emulate Wales and secure an upset win over the Belgian fancies. Martin O'Neill's men will also be out to avenge the disappointment on the same stage four years ago under Giovanni Trapattoni.

Northern Ireland v Germany / Ukraine v Poland (5pm Tuesday 21 June)

Northern Ireland's tournament hopes may rest on getting a result against the world champions. If they don't stand a chance then the prospect of arch rivals Ukraine and Poland battling it out for a better run into the knockout stages could prove an entertaining and highly charged alternative.

[Complete UEFA EURO Cup 2016 Tournament TV Schedule guide]

Russia v Wales/Slovakia v England (8pm Monday 20 June)

The result of England v Wales will have gone a long way to determining both nations' fortunes in France but all should be decided in the third round of games in the group. Will it be the Eurostar home or exercising the deposit on an extended hotel stay?

Croatia v Spain (8pm Tuesday 21 June)

Defending champions Spain may have totally flubbed their World Cup defence two years ago but they will be a shoo-in to reach the knockout stage at least with three teams going through from each group. How likely they will be to retain their European title will rest on performances in games like this one. Croatia stand in the way as a reliably stiff test of any team's ambitions.

Italy v Republic of Ireland (8pm Wednesday 22 June)

Ireland's final group match will be one to savour if they can get a positive result against Italy and progress. Much will depend on the importance of Belgium's simultaneous clash with Sweden, but this final match of the group stages could prove to be a mid-tournament classic. ~ BT Sports

What's your most anticipated Euro Cup 2016 groups games fans?
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