Group E is a breathe of fresh air in this European Championships, with the new format and ease of qualification throwing up some amazingly uninspiring fixtures.
The pitting together of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden, the highest international scorer at Euro 2016, Robbie Keane’s Republic of Ireland, the embarrassing wealth of riches that is Belgium and the surprisingly underrated Italians.
— Joe Morrison (@joefooty) June 13, 2016
The Italian ‘keeper’s levels of consistency are even more impressive when you see the decline in the once imperious Iker Casillas.
Question: Seamus Coleman says he trusts every Irish player with his life?
Roy Keane: "On the pitch? Ok. [pulls face] That’s a bit extreme."
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 13, 2016
There’s certainly better defenders in the group, but true out-and-out full-backs are hard to find in this group, with Italy opting for three Juventus centre-backs as their backline. Coleman may not quite be as sought after as he was a couple of years back, but the Everton right-back would make a handy addition to most teams.
"It is better to be an unpleasant winner than a nice loser." – Giorgio Chiellini.
— Somtochukwu Mbah (@SomtoMbah) June 13, 2016
Not much to choose between the Old Lady’s trio of Chiellini, Barazagli and Bonucci. However, Chiellini is second in command at the Turin club, and that speaks volumes.
Toby Alderweireld………… pic.twitter.com/nQInetKZj8
— #FreeMe7o (@Gilwut) May 26, 2016
The greatest defender of all-time, Paolo Maldini, averaged less than a tackle a game during his career. Alderweireld made 32 tackles in 38 Premier League games, so the signs are good for the Tottenham faithful.
When you realise your center backs are Koscielny & Rami and not Alderweireld & Vertonghen pic.twitter.com/VLXlBhKARC
— Tom Thorp (@Tom_Thorp) June 10, 2016
Although a centre-back for Tottenham, Vertonghen arrived in England as a left-back and his versatility is one of his most beneficial attributes. Furthermore, the Belgium international is vice-captain of the Lilywhites, and the more leaders along the backline the better!
Kevin De Bruyne
Top provider at #EURO2016?
Kevin De Bruyne has created 19 chances in his last two outings for Belgium. 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/L6FEc5frwo
— UEFA EURO (@UEFAEURO) June 7, 2016
Will be a contender for the Golden Ball.
Daniele De Rossi
— Soccer Culture ⚽️ (@soccercultureca) June 7, 2016
Age is just a number, and De Rossi – alongside Totti – are still running tings at Roma. And, to be honest, he gets in on that beard alone?.
— Shelley Johnson (@shelleyj89) June 3, 2016
The combative midfielder’s inclusion makes it three Belgium Spurs players in this combined XI. Trust England to take half the Lilywhites squad but not the genuine world-class players that reside at White Hart Lane.
No one truly believes that the Chelsea forward is no longer a world-class player; he was merely throwing a strop and sulking over the situation the Blues were in with Jose Mourinho.
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 10, 2016
The £65million price tag over the Everton striker’s head could very well near ever closer to that nine-figure sum should he have an impressive tournament.
Although the forward tailed off towards the end of last season, being put in by the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne rather than Leon Osman should see Big Rom have a huge impact in France.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 5, 2016
Well you just knew he’d be here, didn’t you?!