With the tournament expanded to 24 teams for the first time, reaching the tournament should not prove to be a difficult obstacle for most of the established teams.
So, with the competition proper just under two years away, which teams are looking like the top candidates to taste international glory?
World champions Germany have to be included in that conversation. After ending Spain’s dominance of three-straight major tournaments with a stunning seven games in Brazil, Joachim Low’s side will be the team to beat in France, presuming they qualify.
The retirement of captain Philipp Lahm, amongst others, may provide their rivals with some hope that they can be challenged but it is still a formidable squad of talent.
Spain themselves will out for revenge after their untouchable status came to an embarrassing end in Brazil. They too have seen key men move in in the shape of Xabi Alonso and Xavi, but coach Vicente Del Bosque has stayed and will be looking to their younger generation to guide them back to the top having won the last two Euros.
Netherlands were the team to inflict most damage to the deposed champions and finished third as they enjoyed an impressive World Cup under Louis van Gaal. Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie remain their most threatening players and Euro 2016 could represent a last realistic chance at glory for the experienced attackers.
Hosts France will also be amongst the favourites. After reaching the World Cup quarter-finals, they are heading in the right direction under coach Didier Deschamps and will fancy their chances in front of a home support as young stars like Paul Pogba and Antoine Greizmann continue to develop.
Belgium were another side to reach the last eight in Brazil and there will be expectations on their golden generation to go a couple of steps further after another two years together improving team cohesion.
Four major nations who endured a disastrous World Cup will be under extreme pressure to perform better in 2016. Roy Hodgson’s England failed to pick up a victory last summer, while Italy are under new leadership with Antonio Conte after being unable to get out of the same group.
Portugal are also looking to rebound. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo has already said he is targeting the competition as a more realistic chance of silverware after a disappointing summer on an individual and team level, while Russia need to show signs of progress as they build towards a home World Cup in 2018.
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