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The European Championships return today, four years on from Spain's victory in 2012.

This time around, the finals take place in France and the tournament takes on a new format, with 24 teams competing for glory over the next month.

With England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland having all made the cut, we take a look at the teams battling to make it all the way to the final on Sunday 10th July.

On their home turf, the French are heavily-backed favourites to go the distance and win the entire competition.

Didier Deschamps has assembled a team of superstars and allowed them all to flourish in the same team, which is a huge feat in itself.

With the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi all on top of their game heading into the tournament, a nation expects.

England qualified for Euro 2016 with a 100% record, winning 10 games out of 10, including impressive results against Switzerland both home and away.

They have some individual players in top form heading to France, such as Premier League champion Jamie Vardy and Golden Boot winner Harry Kane.

Chris Coleman led Wales to their first major international tournament for 57 years by qualifying for this summer's French football festival.

Their path to the finals looked tricky, but after taking four points from two games against a once-world number one ranked Belgium side, the confidence flooded through the squad and they reached Euro 2016 at a canter.

In Gareth Bale, Wales have one of the best footballers at the tournament, and with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey in midfield, don't be surprised to see Wales achieve more than expected.

In a similar fashion to Wales, the boys from Belfast reached this summer's competition in style, and ended up topping their qualification group after famous wins against Greece both home and away.

Manager Michael O'Neill has put together a group of players who play for their country as if they were club team-mates, with a strength in unity present among the entire squad.

Southampton's Steven Davis is their standout player, along with ex-Manchester United defender Jonny Evans.

Northern Ireland have been given an incredibly tough task, in a group with current world champions Germany, plus Poland and Ukraine, and will hope rather than expect to reach the knockout stages.

Germany, the current champions of the world, had a tougher-than-expected route to the finals, but always seem to turn it on when it really matters in tournament football and are sure to be close again in France.

With the best goalkeeper in the tournament (Manuel Neuer) between their sticks, and an array of attacking talents at their disposal, it could be yet another German summer in 2016.

Spain, the holders of the competition, enter the tournament on the back of a poor showing at the 2014 World Cup.

But make no mistake, with the crop of talented players in their side, the Spanish are not to be taken lightly at France 2016.

Unlike Wales and Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland enter Euro 2016 with recent previous tournament experience, having reached the last European Championships in 2012.

Martin O'Neill's men will be hoping to better their efforts of four years ago, however, where they finished bottom of a tough group.

This time around they face Belgium, Italy and Sweden in Group E, and although the task looks daunting, Ireland have a team which has been together for a number of years now and will be hungry to achieve at least progression to the Round of 16.

In the middle of a golden generation, Belgium go into this summer's European Championships hoping to eclipse their previous best finish as runners-up in 1980, losing out in the final to West Germany.

Courtois, Kompany, Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku are just some of the big-name players set to star for Belgium this time around.

Portugal are perhaps not seen as favourites this summer, or even potential front-runners at the European Championships, but any side which possesses a player with the raw talent of Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be ignored.

Seeded in Pot 1 before the tournament, Portugal have the kindest draw possible in the group stage, with no disrespect to Austria, Hungary and Iceland, so beware of the dark horses.

A full list of fixtures can be found on the BBC Sport website.


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