Monday 19 February 2018

Euro 2016 teams ranked: Where are Ireland placed in the list of 24?

Hoolahan mobbed after goal against Sweden
Hoolahan mobbed after goal against Sweden

With the first round of games over, the Telegraph has ranked the 24 teams at Euro 2016. It doesn't make pleasant viewing for Northern Ireland who, according to the telegraph, are ranked bottom in 24th place.

Despite only drawing with a poor Russian side, England make it into  the top five while Ireland might find the going tough in forthcoming games against Belgium and Italy.

Here is the full list and the reason for each team.

24. Northern Ireland

Offered almost literally nothing going forward, were lucky to keep the score against to Poland to just the one goal. Need to improve drastically and quickly.

Steven Davis, centre, has called on Northern Ireland to remember that they are in France for a reason

23. Ukraine

Didn't even look that fussed for a lot of the match against Germany and their talented attacking trio didn't have much luck. Must try harder.

22. Romania

Had the unenviable task of playing hosts France in the opening match and weren't able to spoil the party. Didn't threaten too much upfront but look a well organised side.

21. Russia

Were extremely poor against England and fortunate to grab a late equaliser as Roy Hodgson's men switched off. Injury has robbed them of their best players.

20. Sweden

A team built upon and entirely dependent on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He's good enough that sometimes it works and Sweden had a strong end to their match against Ireland as a result of his cross, but Sweden do not look strong at all.

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

19. Austria

Were brilliant in qualification and many tipped them as a dark horse of the tournament. A poor performance against Hungary got worse when Aleksander Dragovic was sent off, and the 2-0 goal defeat was deserved. They won't be mad with how they played, just disappointed

18. Albania

Not bad, not great and suffered from going a man down against the Swiss. Even with 10 men they threatened to get back into the match on several occasions.

17. Hungary

An excellent return to European Championship football, Hungary have a solid team without being particularly spectacular.

16. Slovakia

Should have taken the lead against Wales but didn't, Slovakia had an opening match to regret. Have some great players but were undone by the direct attacking of Gareth Bale and co.

15. Belgium

Belgium have some wonderful players but their manager doesn't seem to have a clue how to use them. Unbalanced, too narrow, too slow - Belgium are not making use of this golden generation at all.

Belgium's midfielder Marouane Fellaini vies for the ball against Italy's defender Andrea Barzagli during the match between Belgium and Italy. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/Getty Images

14. Iceland

The goalkeeper looks shaky and most of the passing was a full power punt down the pitch. However, in stark contrast to Belgium, Iceland are incredibly well drilled, extremely well organised and know how to defend, which they did all game long.

Lulled Portugal into a false sense of security and took advantage of a lapse of concentration to score - in a tournament with no clear favourite, might the efficient Icelanders stand an outside chance? Are they this year's Greece?

13. Ireland

Hard working, well drilled and unlucky not to beat the Swedes, Ireland look alright but will struggle against a good side.

12. Turkey

Turkey were pretty against Croatia and were it not for that Luka Modric goal, would very likely have taken a point from them.

11. Portugal

Should have beaten Iceland, didn't take their chances, still looked good. Ronaldo wasn't at his clinical best but also seemed to be trying rather too hard to do it all himself - Ricardo Quaresma, Andre Gomes, Joao Moutinho and Nani are all capable of lighting up this tournament and deserve a pass or two.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo acknowledges the crowd at the end of the Euro 2016 group F football match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

10. Czech Republic

Tomasz Rosicky wasn't able to get the Czech Republic's tournament off to a great start, although they did hold out until the final few minutes against the former world champions, Spain, who were impossible to get off the ball. Had a great qualification and should be much better in their second match.

9. Switzerland

Haris Seferovic missed a lot of chances against Albania but otherwise Switzerland looked well organised. Granit Xhaka controlled the centre of the park.

8. Wales

Gareth Bale made the headlines with his brilliant freekick and the entire Wales team worked extremely hard to get their 2-1 win over Slovakia. Wales might surprise quite a few teams in this competition yet.

Gareth Bale of Wales scores his team's first goal from a free kick during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between Wales and Slovakia. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

7. Croatia

Luka Modric's superb/lucky volley settled a tight match against Turkey but Croatia were the better team and passed the ball well.

6. Poland

Robert Lewandowski got all of Northern Ireland's attention which left Arkadiusz Milik all on his own. The latter should have scored two as Poland kept their opponents pinned in the corner.

5. England

Should have beaten Russia by two goals but Roy Hodgson's decision to hold on rather than push for a second was ultimately his downfall. England were excellent until the 90th minute.

Russia's Artem Dzyuba in action against England at the weekend

4. Germany

The current World Champions didn't really give Ukraine a chance in their opening game, except for the few that they did. Toni Kroos was the best player on the pitch by a million miles, the forwards kept popping up in the right places and the defence looks solid. Just make sure Jogi Low's washed his hands before you shake them.

3. Spain

Struggled to find an opening against a well drilled Czech Republic but dominated the match. Andres Iniesta was at his very best and dictated play - if they can find their scoring touch, Spain might be untouchable.

2. France

The hosts didn't disappoint against a Romania team whose main intention for the match was not to concede. Dimitri Payet's wonderstrike was fantastic and France looked dangerous throughout.

1. Italy

Antonio Conte's team was absolutely superb against Belgium, regularly tearing them apart, drawing them in with clever defending and the opening goal was a thing of beauty. Italy have the best defence in the tournament and always raise their game when it matters.

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