Spain staked a claim to be considered one the the best international teams ever when they won three major tournaments in a row from 2008 – 2012, beating Ireland 4-0 along the way in Poland last time out. 

If the group-stage exit from the Brazil World Cup proves to be a blip and boss Vicente del Bosque leads the side to a third consecutive European Championship, then there will be little room left for debate on that subject.

On the surface, Spain's qualifying record of nine wins out of 10 going into the tournament looks impressive but they rarely delivered a performance that reached their previous levels.

Another triumph will require a settled spine to his team, yet there remains uncertainty over who will start as central striker and in goal, where the manager must decide whether to demote Iker Casillas in favour of David de Gea, whose consistently outstanding performances in the last three seasons contrast with the long-standing captain's waning powers.

Up front, the situation is equally fluid. After leaving out Diego Costa and Paco Alcacer - top scorer in qualifying - Del Bosque is likely to opt for Alvaro Morata as first-choice striker, although he made just 16 league starts for Juventus.

Manager: Vicente del Bosque

Key player: Andres Iniesta

Named best player at Euro 2012, Iniesta is set for his sixth major tournament with Spain in France. At the age of 32, it could well be his last.

He is likely to captain the team in their opening group game against Czech Republic if, as expected, Ike Casillas drops to the bench.

As Spain try to rise again after their painful early exit from the World Cup two years ago, the elegant pass master is best placed to orchestrate another triumph and reassert their credentials among football's elite.

13 June Spain v Czech Republic, Toulouse, 8pm
17 June Turkey, Nice, 8pm
21 June Croatia v Spain, Bordeaux, 8pm


Turkey qualified as the best third-placed team from the nine qualifying groups, albeit with a slice of luck as results went their way in the other groups in the final round.

Captain Arda Turan, talented 22-year playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu and striker Burak Yilmaz, who joined Chinese top division side Beijing Guoan after four years at Galatasaray, are the team's backbone.

Most of Turkey's squad play in the country's 18-team first division, with Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray providing the core.

That makes for a compact and well-drilled unit whose midfield, also boasting Borussia Dortmund's Nuri Sahin and Galatasaray's Selcuk Inan, is their strongest suit.

Turkey will bank on the vast experience of their talismanic 62-year-old coach Fatih Terim, who was also at the helm in 2008 when their adventurous football won the hearts of many neutral fans at the tournament.

Manager: Fatih Terim

Key player: Arda Turan

Despite failing to establish himself in the Barcelona team, Turkey’s hope rest largely on their captain firing on all cylinders.

Pace and dazzling footwork combined with an eye for goal ensure he is a driving force, bossing a midfield that includes the talented Hakan Caljanoglu, Selcuk Inan and Nuri Sahin.

For inspiration, Arda will have his memories of Euro 2008 when he scored in comeback wins over Switzerland and the Czech Republic as Turkey reached the semi-finals.

12 June Turkey v Croatia, Paris, Parc des Princes, 2pm
17 June Spain v Turkey, Nice, 8pm
21 June Czech Republic v Turkey, Lens 8pm


The Czechs topped their qualifying group, twice beating the Netherlands and unearthing new talent in midfielder Borek Dockal, who finished as their top scorer with four goals.

A number of key players, such as Arsenal's Petr Cech, remain from the Euro 2012 team to give them a mix of youth and experience.

However, Pavel Vrba's attack-minded side lack a proven threat up front and rely heavily on playmaking through the middle. No one does that better than a fully-fit Tomas Rosicky, although to return to the international stage at the age of 35 with scarcely any game time after a season disrupted by injury is a huge ask.

To qualify, the Czechs will almost certainly have to make history because they have never beaten their first two opponents, Spain, who have only once conceded against them in four games, and Croatia, who are undefeated under new coach Ante Cacic.

Their tournament record is formidable, though. As Czechoslovakia, they won the tournament in 1976 and, since independence in 1993, the Czech Republic have qualified for every European Championship tournament, reaching the final in 1996 when they lost to Germany.

Manager: Pavel Vrba

Key player: Peter Cech

Cech has remained a steady presence on the Czech backline, helping to guide them to seven wins in qualifying.

The Arsenal stopper is tied with Karel Poborsky, a hero of the 1996 Czech team who finished Euro runners-up, on 118 national team appearances, however, he failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their 10 qualifiers.

13 June Spain v Czech Republic, Toulouse, 8pm
17 June, Czech Republic v Croatia, St Etienne, 5pm
21 June Czech Republic v Turkey, Lens 8pm


Euro 2016 is the eighth time Croatia have qualified for a major tournament in 10 attempts as an independent nation.

This will be their fourth European Championship and they will look to at least emulate quarter-final appearances in 1996 and 2008 when they were seconds away from advancing to the last four.

Croatia took a 1-0 lead against Turkey with one minute left in extra time but conceded an equaliser with the last kick of the game and then lost the penalty shootout in an epic clash in Vienna.

In qualifying for France they seemed to be in control of their group after winning four and drawing two of their opening six games, but a 0-0 result at Azerbaijan and a 2-0 defeat in Norway triggered the departure of coach Niko Kovac, who reportedly came to loggerheads with key players.

In his place came 62-year-old Ante Cacic, who steadied the ship to see them finish group runners-up behind Italy.

Manager: Ante Cacic

Key player: Ivan Rakitic

Once a winger and now a versatile playmaker with an eye for goal, Ivan Rakitic will be Croatia's driving force at Euro 2016 after finally stepping out of Luka Modric's shadow.

The 28-year-old, Swiss-born player has flourished since joining Barcelona in 2014, quickly asserting himself as a regular starter for the Catalan giants.

Rakitic's superb close control, outstanding vision and immaculate passing are complemented by darting runs into the penalty area and the ability to unleash thundering long-range shots.

12 June Turkey v Croatia, Paris, Parc des Princes, 2pm
17 June, Czech Republic v Croatia, St Etienne, 5pm
21 June Croatia v Spain, Bordeaux, 8pm