John Giles says Belgium have the strongest team at Euro 2016 on paper, but he’s tipping defending champions Spain to lift the trophy again.
The Red Devils have a squad packed with exciting players who are earning their livings in Europe’s top leagues.
Many are tipping them to finally make a breakthrough at tournament level, though RTÉ soccer analyst Giles reckons Spain will bounce back from their World Cup 2014 humiliation and win the competition outright.
“On paper, you have Belgium, who have really terrific players,” he said.
“They have a lot of players in the Premiership, but that’s all on paper. In the last World Cup they had a lot of great players as well and they didn’t do anything.
“I would have a sneaking fancy for Spain.”
Spain won three tournaments on the bounce - Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 before flopping at Brazil 2014.
They have a team jammed full of experienced players who have won medals with club and country. They are in Group D alongside Croatia, the Czech Republic and Turkey, which means passage to the last 16 is far from straightforward.
Belgium are one of Ireland’s Group E opponents alongside Italy and Sweden.