‘Euro 2016 looks more open than usual’

Arsene Wenger believes this summer’s European Championship will be more open than usual.

Hosts France are the pre-tournament favourites but have defensive concerns, while neither world champions Germany nor holders Spain are in top form.

Wenger believes the competition - which has been extended to 24 teams for the first time - could even see a surprise winner.

"But one team, above all - who nobody speaks about - who has the internal quality to be a major favourite, is Croatia"

Arsene Wenger

“I'm looking forward to it because it's in my country, and for the first time I can watch a big competition without travelling too much,” he told Arsenal Player. "So from a personal point of view it's quite interesting for me, but especially on the football side.

“It's more difficult to predict maybe who is the super favourite. Spain before were the super favourites, but they were not as convincing at the World Cup - will they get back to the level they were at before?

“Will Germany be the natural leader of the favourites because they won the World Cup? It looks like they struggled a little bit in the qualifiers.

“It's maybe more open, and you have teams coming up with top-level young players like England and France. For me it's interesting to see who will catch form and the right balance. Who will have the mental strength and confidence to be a major asset in this European Championship.

“The surprise package could be Turkey, who only just qualified, but in the end could have an impact. Then you have Slovakia and the Czech Republic, who could be a surprise too, you never know.

“But one team, above all - who nobody speaks about - who has the internal quality to be a major favourite, is Croatia. When you look at the players they have - Kovacic, Rakitic, Modric, Lovren, Vrsaljko, Srna, and I forget so many - but you think 'oh'.

“When you look at the names you think there is something there, so why should they not be favourite? For me, they could be the surprise package.”

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