Euro 2016: Lawro's predictions – opening games

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson is predicting the outcome of every game at the 2016 European Championship.

He starts with the opening games in each group, which include England v Russia, Wales v Slovakia and Northern Ireland v Poland.

Lawro also picks his two teams to automatically go through from each group into the knockout stage, and his six teams which will finish bottom and definitely go home (four of the six third-placed teams also go through to the last 16).

You can make your own predictions and take on your friends and other fans using the BBC's Euros Predictor.

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.


GamesScoreLawro's prediction
Friday, 10 June
France v Romaniax-x2-0
Saturday, 11 June
Albania v Switzerlandx-x0-1
France v Romania

France v Romania (Paris, 20:00 BST)

France are my pick to win Euro 2016. Home advantage will be massive for them and they are so strong in midfield and attack.

I would be even more confident if they were a little bit better defensively but if you look around the competition, there are not too many teams capable of winning it who are very good at the back.

There are some good defensive teams, including Romania, who conceded the fewest goals in qualifying - two goals in 10 games - but they are not going to win it.

I am at Stade de France for this game and, usually, the opening game of any tournament is not great.

It will be tough for France to break Romania down but I think they will do it in the end.

Albania v Switzerland

Albania v Switzerland (Lens, 14:00 BST)

Albania are another team who are very defensive minded and Switzerland must find a way of breaking down what is likely to be a 5-4-1 formation.

But goals were not a problem for the Swiss when they came through qualifying in the same group as England, and I don't think Albania will keep them out either.

Lawro's pre-tournament picks - Going through: France and Switzerland Third place: Romania Going home: Albania


GamesScoreLawro's prediction
Saturday, 11 June
Wales v Slovakiax-x1-1
Saturday, 11 June
England v Russiax-x1-1
Wales v Slovakia

Wales v Slovakia (Bordeaux, 17:00 BST)

I saw Slovakia draw with the Republic of Ireland in Dublin in March and they were hopeless.

But my fellow BBC pundit John Hartson watched them beat Germany in Augsburg a few days ago and he said they were very good.

I am a little bit worried about Wales because they have not won for four games since they beat Andorra at the end of their qualifying campaign in October.

So, I am going to go for a draw, mainly because I am not sure what to expect from Slovakia.

England v Russia

England v Russia (Marseille, 20:00 BST)

I have heard a lot about England's prospects in their opening game but not many people have mentioned the searing heat that this game could be played in - it could hit 30C in Marseille.

The temperatures will not be good for Russia either and I think, as far as the game is concerned, they will just sit in.

Russia have got aging centre-backs in Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski - who have a combined age of 70 - and they will stay deep, especially if Jamie Vardy starts for England.

It might turn into a frustrating evening for Roy Hodgson's side, but I do not see them being beaten.

Lawro's pre-tournament picks - Going through: England and Russia Third place: Wales Going home: Slovakia


GamesScoreLawro's prediction
Sunday, 12 June
Poland v Northern Irelandx-x2-0
Sunday, 12 June
Germany v Ukrainex-x2-0
Poland v Northern Ireland

Poland v Northern Ireland (Nice, 17:00 BST)

I have seen Poland play a few times because they were in the Republic of Ireland's group, and they are a real threat.

Everyone always goes on about Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski but there is a lot more to them than his finishing ability, and the speed at which they attack makes them very dangerous.

Northern Ireland make things difficult for every team they play and are on a 12-game unbeaten run, but I see that ending here.

Germany v Ukraine

Germany v Ukraine (Lille, 20:00 BST)

This is another game between one team - Germany - with defensive issues and another - Ukraine - who are strong at the back.

Ukraine were extremely difficult to break down in qualifying but their shortage of goals meant they had to come through the play-offs.

Germany have had some mixed results in their warm-up matches but I am expecting a big improvement from the world champions once this tournament gets started.

Lawro's pre-tournament picks - Going through: Germany and Poland Third place: Ukraine Going home: Northern Ireland


GamesScoreLawro's prediction
Sunday, 12 June
Turkey v Croatiax-x1-2
Monday, 13 June
Spain v Czech Republicx-x1-0
Turkey v Croatia

Turkey v Croatia (Paris, 14:00 BST)

I was impressed with the way Turkey played in their friendly defeat by England at the end of May. They have some promising young players who seem to be improving quickly.

But I am backing Croatia to begin with a win. If and when they get out of their group, nobody will want to play them in the last 16 because they look like a very good side.

Spain v Czech Republic

Spain v Czech Republic (Toulouse, 14:00 BST)

Czech Republic play some nice football and will be easy on the eye but I do not see them causing Spain too many problems.

The defending champions have got a decent chance of a third straight triumph but their team is not as strong as the one that won Euro 2012.

Lawro's pre-tournament picks - Going through: Croatia and Spain Third place: Turkey Going home: Czech Republic


GamesScoreLawro's prediction
Monday, 13 June
Republic of Ireland v Swedenx-x0-0
Monday, 13 June
Belgium v Italyx-x1-1
Republic of Ireland v Sweden

Republic of Ireland v Sweden (Paris, 17:00 BST)

All eyes will be on Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but I think he will struggle to breathe against the Republic of Ireland.

Sweden will see a lot of the ball but the Republic are absolutely brilliant at stopping the opposition from playing and they will be all over Ibrahimovic.

The Republic will look to threaten with set-pieces, although I don't see them scoring either.

Belgium v Italy

Belgium v Italy (Lyon, 14:00 BST)

Italy are missing a number 10, looked laboured in qualifying and probably do not know their best formation but, like Germany, they are a tournament team and will get out of their group.

I am expecting bigger things from Belgium than we saw at the last World Cup, when they reached the last eight.

Belgium have some fantastic individual players but I am still not totally convinced yet that they will come together as effectively as a team.

Lawro's pre-tournament picks - Going through: Belgium and Italy Third place: Sweden Going home: Republic of Ireland


GamesScoreLawro's prediction
Tuesday, 14 June
Austria v Hungaryx-x1-0
Tuesday, 14 June
Portugal v Icelandx-x2-0
Austria v Hungary

Austria v Hungary (Bordeaux, 17:00 BST)

Austria were unbeaten in qualifying and did not lose a game. Even so, I am not sure they have got enough goals in their team to reach the latter stages in France.

I think they will get out of their group easily enough, though, starting with a win over a Hungary side that sneaked here through the play-offs and look short of quality.

Portugal v Iceland

Portugal v Iceland (Saint-Etienne, 20:00 BST)

I was impressed by Portugal in their friendly against England, especially considering they were without Cristiano Ronaldo.

With him back, they will be a real threat and, looking at the opposition, Ronaldo could have four goals by the end of the group stage.

Iceland are another team who have done well to qualify but I don't see them stopping him.

Lawro's pre-tournament picks - Going through: Portugal and Austria Third place: Hungary Going home: Iceland

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