Who are the leading contenders to win Euro 2016? France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium assessed ahead of the international break

 
Joe Hall
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The international break is one of the final opportunities for Euro 2016's leading contenders to prepare for business in France this summer.

Heavyweight nations France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium are all expected to duke it out in the latter stages of the tournament - here's the current state of play for each.

France

France

  • World ranking: 24
  • Form: WWWWWL
  • Odds: 100/30 (Betway)
  • Coach: Didier Deschamps
  • Key players: Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

France's preparations for their home tournament have been overshadowed by controversies surrounding star striker Karim Benzema, who has been suspended by his country over his involvement in a sex-tape scandal.

Coach Didier Deschamps has not reintroduced him into the squad for friendlies against Holland and Russia this week, but has extended an olive branch to two of the Premier League's most in-form players in Dimitri Payet and N'Golo Kante. The former has struggled to win over Deschamps' doubts over his attitude while Kante has never been capped.

Antoine Griezmann, scorer of over 20 goals for Atletico Madrid this season, is the team’s creative fulcrum.

Read more: Forget World Cup in 2022, England can win the European Championships in four years

Belgium

Belgium

  • World ranking: 1
  • Form: LWWWWW
  • Odds: 11/1 (Betway)
  • Coach: Marc Wilmots
  • Key players: Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel

The No1 team in the world according to Fifa rankings, Belgium’s prospects of securing silverware with their golden generation have never been better.

The form of Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke and Marouane Fellaini - not to mention Vincent Kompany’s recurring injury issues - will be a concern, but the contrasting performances of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku this season demonstrate how well stocked in talent Belgium are.

Germany

Germany

  • World ranking: 4
  • Form: WWWLWL
  • Odds: 3/1 (Betway)
  • Coach: Joachim Low
  • Key players: Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels

Losses to Ireland, the USA, France and a home draw with Australia, may have taken the sheen off the reigning world champions last year, but Germany will still be one of the favourites to triumph in France.

Mats Hummels and Marco Reus are back to their best for a rejuvenated Borussia Dortmund, Tomas Muller is enjoying the highest scoring season of his career to date and Mesut Ozil has had a fine season with Arsenal.

The fitness of Jerome Boateng - who has been sidelined since the beginning of the year - is the only major concern for coach Joachim Low.

Read more: Kane and Sturridge can be Roy Hodgson's answer to Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham

Italy

Italy

  • World ranking: 14
  • Form: WWWWLD
  • Odds: 16/1 (Betway)
  • Coach: Antonio Conte
  • Key players: Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Claudio Marchisio

Antonio Conte has largely built his Italy side on the same foundations that brought him success for Juventus - Gianluigi Buffon in goal, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in defence and Claudio Marchisio in midfield.

Andrea Pirlo has not been included in Conte’s latest squad and is likely to be left out completely with Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti taking control in midfield.

Goals could be a problem - Southampton’s Graziano Pelle, who most often led the line during qualifying, is the top scorer in their squad for the forthcoming friendlies with just four goals. Napoli speedster Lorenzo Insigne is one to keep an eye on.

Spain

Spain

  • World ranking: 3
  • Form: WWWWWW
  • Odds: 5/1
  • Coach: Vicente del Bosque
  • Key players: Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas

Spain will be hoping their defence of the European Championships is more successful than their limp relinquishing of the World Cup in Brazil - but don’t expect to see drastic revolution from La Roja.

Vicente del Bosque has remained loyal to longtime servants such as Iker Casillas - at the expense of David de Gea - Sergio Busquets, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta.

There are question marks up front: Fernando Torres is out of the picture but Diego Costa has just one international goal, Pedro has struggled for Chelsea and even 35-year-old Aritz Aduriz is now in contention.

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