Euro 2016: Looking ahead to the draw

OTJ ym Mharis
Gary Pritchard

Gary Pritchard

Friday, 11 Dec 2015, 14:45

The matches have finished, the new shirts are in the shops and the sticker books have been bought. There’s only one question left for Wales fans … who will we be playing … and where?

By Saturday night the guessing will be over and we will know who will be Wales’ Euro 2016 opponents and former Wales midfielder, Owain Tudur Jones, has travelled to Paris for Sgorio to get the reaction to the draw.

You can hear Owain’s thoughts and, more importantly, the thoughts of the Welsh management team as well as our opponents’ thoughts on Clwb on Sunday evening, and, of course, you can follow it all by following the Sgorio Twitter feed.

But in the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s ahead of us.

The Pots

Pot 1: Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Belgium, France

Pot 2: Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Ukraine

Pot 3: Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary

Pot 4: Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, WALES, Albania, Northern Ireland

The Groups

One team from each pot will be placed into each of the six groups, from Group A through to Group F … except for France who have already been assigned to Group A.

The two teams who top the groups as well as the four best third placed teams will advance to the Round of 16 … in other words, only eight teams will be going home after the opening fortnight! How many Wales fans have factored this into their travel plans?

The Venues

There are 10 stadiums in 10 different cities. The opening match as well as the final will be hels at the Stade de France, Saint Denis. The other matches will be in Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseilles, Nice, Paris, Saint Etienne and Toulouse.

No team will play more than one match at any one stadium in the opening phase, but the teams who are drawn out of the hat as A2, C1 and F3 will play one match at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis and another match just 9 miles away at the Parc des Princes in Paris … however, they will have to wrestle with the capital’s traffic.

The teams in Group D will play in the tournament’s smallest stadiums with the team drawn as D2 playing their three matches at Saint Etienne, which has a capacity of 41,965, Lens (38,223) and Toulouse (33,300).

Fans of the team drawn as D3 will have a fair bit of travelling to do as their opening match will be at the Parc des Princes, Paris before they head to Nice for the second match – a journey of 577 miles, or eight and a half hours in a car. They will then need to head back north on a 705 mile, 10 hour journey to Lens for the final group game!

It won’t be much better for the team drawn as B2 either as their campaign starts in Marseilles before they head north to Lille and then face a final group game in the south west city of Toulouse – a total of 1,182 miles!

Of course, the reality is that Wales fans will quite hapily take a bit of travelling being happy enough to be involved in the first place! But who would you like to face … or avoid? Let us know on our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

You can watch Owain Tudur Jones’ report from Paris on Clwb on S4C on Sunday afternoon at 5.00 o’ clock