Spain, Italy, Croatia and Ireland

Most Spain supporters expect their side will defend the title and become the first team to win three consecutive major international tournaments. The success of Barcelona and Real Madrid, alongside Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid, has cemented this idea. They face an Italy side who will look for a decent showing after the traumas of South Africa four years ago. Ireland's players will hope they receive the same recognition as their rugby counterparts but a lot will ride on their first game against Croatia. Slaven Bilic is convinced his Croatia team can be contenders. They will hope to improve on their quarter-finals showing last time.

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