Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expects there to be a surprise winner at this summer’s Euro 2016 campaign in France.
Hosts nation France are the pre-tournament favourites but have defensive concerns while neither world champions Germany nor holders Spain are in top form.
With the tournament now expanded to 24 teams, Wenger believes everyone can expect their to be a surprise winner.
‘I’m looking forward to it because it’s in my country, and for the first time I can watch a big competition without travelling too much,’ Wenger told the Arsenal website.
‘It’s more difficult to predict maybe who is the super favourite. Spain before were the super favourites, but they were not as convincing at the World Cup – will they get back to the level they were at before?
‘Will Germany be the natural leader of the favourites because they won the World Cup? It looks like they struggled a little bit in the qualifiers.’
The 66-year-old experienced manager insists that this edition of the Euro tournament will be more open than it usual is.
‘It’s maybe more open, and you have teams coming up with top-level young players like England and France. For me it’s interesting to see who will catch form and the right balance. Who will have the mental strength and confidence to be a major asset in this European Championship,’ he added.
The Frenchman has tipped Croatia as the surprised package in the tournament and believes they have to internal quality to succeed.
‘The surprise package could be Turkey, who only just qualified, but in the end could have an impact. Then you have Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who could be a surprise too, you never know, the Arsenal manager said.
‘But one team, above all – who nobody speaks about – who has the internal quality to be a major favourite, is Croatia. When you look at the players they have – Kovacic, Rakitic, Modric, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Srna, and I forget so many – but you think “oh”.
‘When you look at the names you think there is something there, so why should they not be favourite? For me, they could be the surprise package.’
Euro 2016 group previews: