HOST nation France and neighbours Belgium have many backers in their quest to go far in Euro 2016 – and Chris Waddle is among that number.
Les Bleus have famously triumphed on the last two occasions that a major tournament has been played in France – in 1998 and 1984 respectively.
Meanwhile, France’s friends from the north, Belgium, also have their supporters among those in the know, with many of the view that their golden generation will finally come of age across the Channel.
Both sides are favoured by Waddle, although he is rather more sceptical when it comes to the chances of World Cup champions Germany – in a departure from the norm among football pundits.
Waddle, capped 62 times by England, said: “I fancy Belgium with France. Germany have had a funny last three or four months and the manager can’t seem to get a back four together or a settled side. I know they turn up at tournaments, but I am not sure Germany will win this tournament.
“They have some very good players, but they are not the Germany who won the world cup in Brazil, put it that way.
“Belgium will love to win it in France, coming over the border, while France are strong with players such as (Antonie) Griezemann. (Antonio) Conte has got Italy playing fast football and I’ve always liked Spain. Then there’s the dangerous teams such as Croatia and Portugal who won’t fear anybody and will think they can win it.”
As for England’s hopes, Waddle is guarding against any shreds of complacency.
He added: “We look at England and bar four or five countries, think we can beat everyone. How can we say we can beat anyone easily?
“If we play say the Republic of Ireland are we guaranteed to beat them?
“No. I think we have to realise we are not above anyone.”
* Chris Waddle met England fans at The Three Lions pub in Bradford as part of Carlsberg’s ‘Pubstitutions’ campaign. Carlsberg will be substituting pub names and renaming them ‘The Three Lions’ across England in the build-up to UEFA EURO 2016™