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      Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]

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      JD
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      Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Jun 13, 2016 09:34:34 am
      * All dates and times in UK time (BST)

      13th June
      Republic of Ireland v Sweden Group E: 5pm BBC1
      Belgium v Italy Group E: 8pm BBC1

      17th June
      Italy v Sweden Group E: kick-off 2pm ITV

      18th June
      Belgium v Republic of Ireland Group E: kick-off 2pm ITV

      22nd June
      Italy v Republic of Ireland Group E: 8pm ITV
      Sweden v Belgium Group E: 8pm ITV4

      Every tournament needs a "Group of Death" and it is the misfortune of Belgium, Italy, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland to be drawn in the Euro 2016 version. It means that at least one of three players – Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gianluigi Buffon – will not feature in the knock-out stages.

      Martin O'Neill's Irish team will have their work cut out to progress, but they will at least have Roy Keane on their side in what could be a fight to the death.

      Belgium: Odds 10-1

      Belgium are the best team in Europe and second in the world, according to Fifa, but they find themselves at longer odds than England to win Euro 2016 thanks to the competitiveness of Group E. A trip to the bookies may be in order though as Marc Wilmots has a squad that is bursting with talent, even without the injured Vincent Kompany.

      It is likely that if they get out of the group they will be installed as tournament favourites. Belgium got to the last eight at the 2014 World Cup but many thought they underachieved by not going further. Two years later a squad featuring the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku will surely expect to make the last four.

      "They should finish first [in the group]. But they can't afford any more injuries," says ESPN.

      Italy: Odds 18-1

      Chelsea fans will be eager to see how their new manager Antonio Conte fares in France. But they are unlikely to see anything they haven't seen before. The Guardian calls Conte a "modern tinkerman" and says Italy will focus on their traditional strength – defence.

      They are no strangers to an early exit at major tournaments, notes ESPN. "They were the runners-up in 2012, but are not the force they once were, as two calamitous group stage exits from the last two World Cups prove. Italy scored only 16 goals in 10 games in qualifying and were obliterated by Germany in March."

      Getting out of the group and into the last eight would be "quite an achievement", says Eurosport, especially after the loss of midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti before the tournament.

      Sweden: 100-1

      They might have Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Sweden's odds reflect the fact that they do not have much else. While their stringy striker preens, the rest of the squad must rely on hard work and team spirit.

      Coach Erik Hamren "retains the public's sympathy because they recognise his resources of quality are not what they once were," says the Daily Telegraph. "Nine battlers and an ageing genius is hardly innovative or sustainable but it did put Sweden through the play-offs."

      Sweden's Under-21 side won the age group tournament last season, but this is a big step up for the graduates of that side. "Ibrahimovic is so vital to the side's success that it will literally come down to how well he performs as to whether they qualify from Group E or not," says website Britwatch Sports.

      Republic of Ireland: Odds 150-1

      The dark horses of the group, primarily because they lack a superstar or two, Martin O'Neill's side will be well-drilled and hard to beat, and could spring a surprise.

      Euro 2012 was a disaster for the Irish and assistant boss Roy Keane in particular will want to avoid the impression the Irish are only in France for another "sing song", after his angry rant four years ago.

      He may well get his wish. "There will be no harder-working side than Martin O'Neill's during this tournament but they have a sprinkling of genuine quality too and certainly do not lack experience," says Eurosport. "Qualification for the last 16 will be difficult in a tight Group E but they have the capacity to pull off the one big result that could see them through."

      The key players:
      If the E in Group E is for ego then there is no doubt that Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic would top the table. He has little competition from within his own squad, or that of Ireland, although Wes Hoolahan could make an impression.

      Italy are also short of stars, with Napoli hero Lorenzo Insigne probably the biggest draw among the outfield players. The daddy of the squad, though, remains 38-year-old Gianluigi Buffon.

      Belgium bring the glamour to Group E however. Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne will be battling for top billing in the side, but if he brings his scoring boots Romelu Lukaku could do his reputation a power of good, and that could leave Everton tempted to cash in on their star striker.
      crouchinho
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #1: Jun 13, 2016 11:18:10 am
      On Belgium to win the lot. I like their team and i think the big boys are a bit shaky.

      Hoping our boys can contribute to it.
      bmck
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #2: Jun 13, 2016 12:27:28 pm
      If can keep Ibra quiet, think Ireland can at least get the draw.
      O'Shea will start. So between Clark, Duffy and Keogh for other CB spot - I reckon it'll be Keogh, old fashioned 'tackle, head, kick' CB ... try match Ibra physically.
      Don't think Hoolahan will start, would like him to personally, but reckon O'Neill will go for the 'keep it tight' approach, at least for first 60mins. And see how things look.  If Wes doesn't start, it'll probably be scrappy as hell, Ireland will find it hard to keep possession, and look to set pieces/free kicks as opportunities.
      Walters will probably start to even though has been having injury probs ... at least have Shane Long is fit and in form, best chance of a goal from open play... http://www.joe.ie/sport/video-ireland-fans-have-stolen-will-greigs-on-fire-for-themselves/548765 :)
      Won't be in Paris tonight, but will be in Bordeaux on Saturday.. can't wait ...
      what-a-hit-son
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #3: Jun 13, 2016 05:07:54 pm
      Routing for the Irish.

      Still waiting for a big game moment in this tournament. Great goal, bad bit of cheating, just something mad.
      Emlyn Hughes
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #4: Jun 13, 2016 05:32:28 pm
      Like this Brady lad! Would fancy if we would have him instead of Moreno....
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #5: Jun 13, 2016 05:47:14 pm
      The Irish should be winning this game, far the better team.
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #6: Jun 13, 2016 06:05:26 pm
      1-0 Ireland, Hoolahan. Nice goal
      Diego LFC
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #7: Jun 13, 2016 06:06:05 pm
      Good goal that. Come on Ireland!
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #8: Jun 13, 2016 06:09:26 pm
      Should be 1-1, sitter blazed over the bar. That Brady is looking very good.
      mcarz
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #9: Jun 13, 2016 06:20:34 pm
      I thought the Irish were meant to be solid? Walters is a f**king pansy! :D A little flick on his face and he's down holding it like he's been punched.
      JD
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #10: Jun 13, 2016 06:20:35 pm
      Ireland's goal

      andylfcynwa
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #11: Jun 13, 2016 06:31:39 pm
      Where did he think he was heading that  poor
      Tayls
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #12: Jun 13, 2016 06:43:52 pm
      Quite like the Irish, would want them to do well ordinarily, but I need a Sweden win to keep my accumulator alive! Come on the Swedes!
      JD
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #13: Jun 13, 2016 08:09:17 pm
      Belgium top ranked European team in the FIFA rankings, and 2nd overall behind Argentina.
      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #14: Jun 13, 2016 08:11:21 pm
      Gonna have to pull out the old Johnny Aldo card here and support Belgium ;)
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #15: Jun 13, 2016 08:19:25 pm
      Lukaku picked up where he left off for Everton in the last chunk of the season, crap.
      7-King Kenny-7
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #16: Jun 13, 2016 08:32:39 pm
      1-0 Italy, Giaccerini
      Ribapuru
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #17: Jun 13, 2016 08:33:33 pm
      I don't know how Belgium got high up in the rankings. They have won nothing and they are not that good.
      TheRedMosquito
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #18: Jun 13, 2016 08:34:43 pm
      So simple yet executed so well.
      fields of anny rd
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #19: Jun 13, 2016 08:34:54 pm
      Big underachievers imo are Belgium.
      Ribapuru
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #20: Jun 13, 2016 08:39:10 pm
      5 years ago they were ranked about 50. I am not sure how they rise 50 places without winning a trophy.
      HUYTON RED
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #21: Jun 13, 2016 08:44:18 pm
      5 years ago they were ranked about 50. I am not sure how they rise 50 places without winning a trophy.

      Winning matches!!

      You get points etc for winning qualifiers, friendlies etc, that's how FIFA judge it.
      Ribapuru
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #22: Jun 13, 2016 08:49:21 pm
      Italy should be winning 3 nill now.
      PurpleMonkey
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #23: Jun 13, 2016 08:49:23 pm
      Lukaku picked up where he left off for Everton in the last chunk of the season, crap.

      yeah, looks absolutely sh*t!!

      As for the Italians, they look very solid!!!
      Ribapuru
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      Re: Group E - Euro 2016 [Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Rep. of Ireland]
      Reply #24: Jun 13, 2016 08:53:39 pm
      I think Origi should come on for Lukaku.

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