EURO Group E 2016: Teams, Preview & Match Schedule

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France will attempt to become the only nation to win as hosts twice, while Spain is chasing a third consecutive title. (Getty)

In what may be toughest group in EURO competition, Belgium is the unfortunate top seed to be paired with Italy. Throw in Zlatan, and legions of insane Irish fans, and Group E looks like the most fun you’ll have watching EURO.

At 34 years old, June 22nd against Belgium could be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last appearance in a major international tournament. Sweden needed the playoff to qualify for France, and will likely have third-place aspirations in the group.

While Italy have the quality to advance, conservative tactics have been their nature in major tournaments. It might be boring, but it’s worked. Italy knocked off both Germany and England at EURO 2012, only to be dismantled 4-0 by Spain in the final.

In France, all group matches will be played at either 3, 6, or 9 p.m. There is a six-hour time difference between New York and France, meaning many American viewers will be watching EURO in the morning and early afternoon. All times below will be Eastern. For a full match schedule, click here.

Each team will play three group stage games, one against each member in their group. After three games, the top two teams in each group will advance, as well as the four best third-place teams across all groups. So even teams in the Group of Death have a chance to advance on points, and goal differential will be very important in breaking ties.

Here’s how this group looks:


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KDB is one of several outstanding young players for Belgium. (Getty)


The current top-ranked team in the world, all signs point to Belgium making their deepest EURO run in over 30 years. Marc Wilmots squad is loaded with talent, and they look to build off a strong showing at the 2014 World Cup. There Belgium went unbeaten in their group and knocked off the United States, only to be narrowly beaten by Argentina in the quarterfinal.

Belgium’s roster is filled with some of the league’s best young players. BPL midfielders Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard led the team with five goals apiece during qualifying, and they might not be the most dangerous of the bunch. Romelu Lukaku has scored in six straight matches for Everton, but failed to score in over 250 minutes of qualifying action. If he can find his form in France, Belgium will be tough to beat this summer.

Manager: Marc Wilmots

World Ranking: 1


June 13, 3 p.m. vs. Italy

June 18, 9 a.m. vs. Ireland

June 22, 3 p.m. vs. Sweden


Gianluigi Buffon leads the 2006 World Cup champions into the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France. Getty

Gianluigi Buffon leads the 2006 World Cup champions into the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France. (Getty)


Italy is back in the spotlight in an international tournament, as they qualified for the 2016 European Championship as Group H winners. The Italians finished 7-3-0 and with 24 points to win their qualification group, their ninth straight time finishing a top their group qualification.

One of the most decorated international teams, Italy has gone to the finals of the European Championship three times, winning in 1968. Italy had a strong 2012 European Championship run before finishing runners up to Spain in a 4-0 loss in Kiev. (Preview by Chris Zolli)

Manager: Antonio Conte

World Ranking: 15


June 13, 3 p.m. vs. Belgium

June 17, 9 a.m. vs. Sweden

June 22, 3 p.m. vs. Ireland


Robbie Brady leads the Republic of Ireland into the 2016 European Championships in France. Getty

Robbie Brady leads the Republic of Ireland into the 2016 European Championships in France. (Getty)


The playoff round was kind to the Republic of Ireland for EURO 2016, as they beat Bosnia 2-0 to earn their berth in the group stage. A third place finish in Group D sent Ireland to the playoff round, as they finished with a 5-3-2 record and behind both Germany and Poland with 18 points.

The Republic of Ireland was a part of the tournament in 2012, qualifying for the group stage but falling short of the knockout round. The playoff for Ireland against Bosnia was not the first time that Ireland was in a playoff, as they beat Estonia to make EURO 2012 and lost to France for entry to the 2010 World Cup. Ireland has twice made it to the quarterfinals of a major tournament, losing to Spain in EURO 1964 and Italy in the 1990 World Cup. (Preview by Chris Zolli)

Manager: Martin O’Neill

World Ranking: 31


June 13, 12 p.m. vs. Sweden

June 18, 9 a.m. vs. Belgium

June 22, 3 p.m. vs. Italy


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Sweden will go as far as Zlatan will carry them. (Getty)


“It’s going to be magic – big magic.”

These were the words from Zlatan Ibrahimović, after Sweden needed playoffs to qualify to this summer’s tournament. Ibrahimović, who plays his club football in host nation France, has had tremendous success at the club level but has struggled with Sweden. The Blue and Yellows haven’t advanced past the EURO quarterfinals since 1992, and have missed out on the pervious two World Cup finals.

The 34-year old Ibrahimovic is excited to play in his professional home of Paris, in what might be his final EURO tournament. They barely qualified for what will be their fifth straight final tournament. Matched against rival Denmark, Zlatan scored three of Sweden’s four goals in a 4-3 aggregate win to advance.

Manager: Erik Hamrén

World Ranking: 35


June 13, 12 p.m. vs. Ireland

June 17, 9 a.m. vs. Italy

June 22, 3 p.m. vs. Belgium