Because less players equal more space to pass and move

England begin Euro 2016 preparations

England to face three challenging opponents as the build-up to Euro 2016 begins in earnest for Roy Hodgson’s team who go into the tournament as one of the darkhorses.

Impressive performances against France and Germany in recent friendlies has reignited hope across fans and pundits alike that England do have the talent and quality in order to compete in France this summer.

Having a number of players in superb form for their respective clubs at domestic level could work in Hodgson’s favourite, with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane showing the sort of clinical finishing that could prove the difference between success and failure at Euro 2016.

Their chances of reaching the latter stages may be aided by lowered expectation levels; England often approach major tournaments amidst mass euphoria and support for a team that many believe have the quality to end many years without silverware, but with the likes of Belgium, Spain and Germany looking extremely strong, it may allow the players to express themselves without the pressure to succeed weighing on their shoulders.

England face three interesting warm-up games against Turkey, Australia and Portugal, with all three friendlies set to be played at different stadiums across the country.

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The latter of the three will be played at Wembley before Hodgson and his twenty-three man squad travel over to their headquarters in France which is based in Chantilly.

A city which is known for its history, culture and horse racing will provide a picturesque backdrop for the England squad to enjoy, with its selection based on the calm and relaxing atmosphere that should be perfect during downtime periods for the players, along with its proximity to Paris (less than 25 miles) and transport links to the French capital.

They will stay at the 5-star Auberge de Jeu de Paume hotel, with the English FA gaining exclusivity which will allow the players and coaching staff to enjoy their own private space. The team will train at the Stade de Bourgognes, with the base receiving a newly laid pitch and preparation in order to be in top condition ahead of England’s arrival. and other bookmakers may change their minds on England’s position among the darkhorses in the latest Euro 2016 bettings odds if they fail to impose themselves in warm-up games that may give an indication as to where they stand. Portugal undoubtedly stand out as the toughest test from the three, but it may stand England in good stead given that many believe their qualification campaign posed no significant test of their true credentials. Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo at bay will provide Joe Hart and the defenders with a considerable confidence boost heading into Euro 2016, which could prove crucial given that England still appear vulnerable at the back.

Playing with the same intensity and flair as they did against France and Germany could also provide the perfect springboard for Hodgson and his team; although it does not guarantee that England will play in the same manner when it comes to tournament football, particularly if they reach the latter stages against more illustrious opponents that Wales, Russia and Slovakia, it would at least create confidence within the camp and enable England’s in-form players such as Vardy and Kane to potentially continue their purple patches at Euro 2016.

This summer’s European Championship promises to be an intriguing tournament, with the increase from sixteen from twenty-four teams not only providing fans with more matches to enjoy, but also providing more countries with a shot at achieving international glory.

England are certainly among those who will fancy their chances of reaching the latter stages, but they will have to show the right application and hope their star players shine in order to do so. have recently reported on who they believe are the favourites to start in England’s opening Group B fixture against Russia, with Hodgson likely to eye three points as the best possible start to their Euro 2016 campaign.

The group represents a potential banana skin, and while all eyes will be on the Battle of Britain clash against Wales, England will have to take nothing for granted against three teams who are capable of causing an upset. It may come down to Kane and Vardy to lead from the front in attack, but if England captain Wayne Rooney can return to his influential best and the likes of Eric Dier and Ross Barkley showcase their talents, then the Three Lions could make a big impact in France this summer.