FRANCE – the home side is looking stronger than ever with several full teams to select their players from. They have the potential to knock off the Irish and eliminate them from finals contention. Players to watch include Captain, Gregoire Patacq and hard running midfielder, Joevin L’Hotelier.
SPAIN: The Spaniards are looking to build on performances from previous Euro Cups and take it up to Italy, one of the favourites to take the Cup. Expect plenty of run, especially out of the back line from Daniel Ribas and some silky smooth skills on display.
ITALY: As one of the favourites of the competition, the Italians take the field in their initial matches against Spain and Austria. Expect aggression and physicality from players such as Filippo Alloisio in the forward line who can kick some very classy goals.
NORWAY: Norway have the most difficult path to a finals berth, having to overcome defending champions, Ireland and home favourites, France. It will be a hard ask of the Norwegians however their fighting spirit should see them at least be competitive.
FINLAND: The ferocious Finns are another side who are looking to build on their previous Euro Cup efforts having worked hard on their skills and fitness over the past year.
CROATIA: After making the long journey by road from Dubrovnik, the Croatian team will be looking to build on their winning form from the inaugural Euro Cup in 2010. Captain, Tomislav Cvetko heads a stellar lineup with the likes of Josip Kravar, the rock down back and forward pressure provided by Zvonimir Murkovic. Expect the Croatian Knights to be a force in today’s proceedings.
IRELAND: the defending champions are back and fielding a slightly weakened team to fight for a another Euro Cup title and another trophy to accompany their European Championships crown from earlier this year.
ENGLAND: Players from Great Britain who came heartbreakingly close to a breakthrough win in the European Championships this year, take the field in a strong England outfit. Expect England to be a main contender for this years title with the likes of Sean Walton in the centre looking to cut a hole in Ireland’s defence.
ICELAND: Having featured in a couple of Euro Cups now, Iceland will be looking for an upset or two. Stalwarts such as Pall Tomas Finnisson will lead the charge.
THE CRUSADERS: this combination of Europeans from various countries who don’t get the opportunity just yet to represent their own nation is shaping up to be a tricky team to pick. With a great mix of many cultures and languages, expect there to be some difficulties on the field but some serious, unexpectedness!
CATALUNYA: As complete underdogs, Catalunya are coming in to this year’s Euro Cup with nothing to lose. Expect competitiveness and a will to improve on past performances.
AUSTRIA: the Austrians have been a weak team in the past Euro Cup however they are looking to compete harder in this years competition. With a strengthened team, expect the Austrians to be competitive against the best.