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Euro 2016 Draw: Germany avoid Italy, Group E tricky

The draw for the 2016 Euros has been made. Germany will be happy with their group, as will England and hosts France. Group E looks set to be a thriller, while Group F sees underdogs face superstars.

After much anticipation, the draw for the 2016 European Championship was completed on Saturday. France against Romania will be the opening match on June 10 in the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

Germany avoided Italy, a country that has plagued them in international tournaments, but did find themselves reunited with Poland, a side they faced in qualifying. Ukraine and Northern Ireland were the other two nations in Group C.

"We know our opponents. Obviously we also respect our opponents," said Germany head coach Joachim Löw. "We have a rather balanced group, which is feasible, and one which we have to win."

Both Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus also voiced encouragement over the draw for Germany. "It's not the strongest line-up," said Beckenbauer, while Matthäus added: "German football fans can look forward to the second round."

Group D includes the defending champions, Spain, along with play-off qualifiers Turkey. "It's going to be very difficult for us, very difficult," said Spain's head coach Vicente del Bosque afterwards. Spain is the only team to have won the competition consecutively, in 2008 and 2012. Also in Group F, Austria will face off against the surprise qualifiers Iceland as well as superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Group E was hailed as the tournament's toughest group, with the Republic of Ireland facing a very tough draw against the likes of Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Daniele De Rossi.

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale will face a few former teammates after Wales joined England in Group B. Alongside Roy Hodgson's team, Russia and Slovakia will be the hurdles for a Wales side at a major international tournament for the first time since the 1958 World Cup.

jh/ (AP)

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