Christian Fuchs (Leicester City, Austria)
Fuchs started his international career back in 2006, he marked his European Football Championship debut in 2008, when Austria co-hosted the competition alongside Switzerland. In 2012, he assumed the permanent mantle of captain for the national squad. In club football, Fuchs was part of Leicester’s remarkable league run, winning a Premier League title in the first season following his transfer from Schalke 04.
Without a doubt, Fuchs will be instrumental to Austria’s defence in the upcoming Euro 2016. He will be hopeful of emulating similar success to that of Leicester, but this time on the international stage.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea FC, Belgium)
Position: Attacking Midfielder, Winger
Hazard’s latest season with Chelsea hasn’t been the brightest. He only managed to score 4 goals in 31 matches. In fact, Chelsea’s season on the whole was nothing short of embarrassing, especially when you consider they were defending champions.
Nonetheless, this shouldn’t diminish Belgium’s star man and his qualities on an international level. He has proven to be of great use in the past, and we expect more of the same in France. When you take a look at Group E, you know for sure that they’ll need all the help they can get.
Mesut Özil (Arsenal, Germany)
Position: Attacking Midfielder, Winger
After their triumph at the World Cup in 2014, Germany will come in as strong favourites in France. They may very well be on the way to win two back to back major international trophies, something Spain accomplished not too long ago.
Singling out one key player in Germany is tough, as their well-oiled machine works like a charm precisely because everyone plays his part. Still, Mesut Özil has always shined for the German national team, regardless of club performance. The Arsenal man could prove to be a key man upfront for his team at Euro 2016. If Germany do manage to win it, we have no doubts Özil will be one of the big names we talk about.
Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea FC, Spain)
Position: Central Midfield
In similar fashion to Hazard, Fabregas had a worrying season in the Premier League due to Chelsea’s disappointing performance on the whole.
On a national level, it’s a different story. Fabregas, alongside Iniesta, acts as the brain of the team operating from midfield. Del Bosque has been spoiled for choice in midfield, but despite the competition we have no doubts Fabregas will be in the starting XI for the most part.
Due to Spain’s lack of a reliable forward, Fabregas may also assume the position of a False 9, something he has managed to adapt to in the past.
The Spanish national side is hungry for another taste of international glory. They will come in strong in France, and Fabregas will be one of the men to watch.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City, Switzerland)
Right after his relatively anonymous spells at Bayern FC and Inter Milan, Shaqiri settled for a deal to move to Stoke City. It was only then where his skills truly shined the most on a club level, in large thanks to his massive increase of play time. He scored 3 goals in 27 matches in the Premier League, but this player’s value is beyond simple statistics.
On an international level, Shaqiri has been a force to be reckoned with ever since his debut in 2010. His most notable performances started at and after the World Cup of 2014. His excellent performances continued in the qualifiers for Euro 2016, and we have no doubts he will continue in the same fashion in France.
The sportsbooks surely had their fun with betting on the top goalscorer in the league. There were probably only few who placed a bet on the first English golden boot winner since Kevin Phillips and sportsbooks like RedBet.com might compare this to playing in their casino. And there was probably also a small amount of punters who placed a later bet on Kane, especially if we consider his really slow start with no goals in the first six rounds. Let us hope Kane won’t have a slow start during the Euros this summer!