Smallest nations, most kidneys

There are 24 teams at the expanded Euro 2016, which starts with host nation France taking on Romania in Paris on 10 June.

But which one failed to keep a solitary clean sheet in qualifying? Who made the most passes? And who climbed almost 100 places in the Fifa world rankings?

Belgium (Fifa world ranking 2)


It was a frustrating qualifying campaign for Christian Benteke, whose only goal came against Cyprus

Belgium scored 24 goals as they finished top of Group B but only four of them were scored by strikers – with Christian Benteke, Divock Origi, Michy Batshuayi and Laurent Depoitre all finding the net once. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne both scored five goals.

Germany – (Fifa world ranking 4)


World champions Germany finished top of Group D – and midfielder Toni Kroos made 315 more passes than any other player during qualifying.

Spain (Fifa world ranking 6)

Spain’s 36-match unbeaten run in World Cup or Euro qualifiers was ended by Slovakia in October 2014. However, Vicente del Bosque’s team won their remaining eight games and set a national record of eight consecutive clean sheets in competitive matches.

Portugal (Fifa world ranking 8)

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo could become the first player to score at four European Championships if he finds the back of the net in France – and he also has Frenchman Michel Platini’s goals record in sight.

Austria (Fifa world ranking 10)

Austria were ranked at an all-time low of 105th in the world after their only other appearance at the European Championship, the one they co-hosted with Switzerland in 2008. They rose as high as 10th following an unbeaten qualifying campaign.


England – (Fifa world ranking 11)

England are the only European team to have won the World Cup but not the European Championship. They qualified for Euro 2016 with a 100% record – only the sixth nation to ever win every European Championship qualifier in a campaign. They will have the youngest squad in France – with an average age of 25 years and 308 days.


Italy (Fifa world ranking 12)

Italy’s 4-0 defeat by Spain at Euro 2012 is the biggest losing margin in the final of a European Championship or World Cup.


It was a miserable end for Mario Balotelli, who is not even in this summer’s squad, and Italy at Euro 2012

Switzerland (Fifa world ranking 15)

Switzerland have finished bottom of their group in each of their three previous Euros, winning only one of nine matches.

France (Fifa world ranking 17)

As the host nation, France did not need to qualify for Euro 2016.

Instead they played home and away friendly matches against the five teams in qualifying Group I as part of a Uefa initiative to better prepare host nations for tournaments. Based on those results, France would have topped the group.


Turkey (Fifa world ranking 18)

Turkey have improved every time they have competed at the European Championship: group stage in 1996, quarter-finals in 2000, semi-finals in 2008.


Turkey were involved in a series of enthralling matches at Euro 2008

Ukraine (Fifa world ranking 19)

Prior to beating Slovenia to book their place in France, Ukraine had lost all five play-off ties they had played – four for the World Cup and one for the Euros.

Hungary (Fifa world ranking 20)

First-choice goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly is hoping to become the first 40-year-old to appear in the European Championship, surpassing Lothar Matthaus as the tournament’s oldest player. Shay Given – 19 days Kiraly’s junior – could beat him to the landmark, however, with the Republic of Ireland playing first.

Romania (Fifa world ranking 22)

Romania have played 13 matches at European Championship finals. Their only victory came courtesy of a last-minute penalty to beat England in 2000 and advance to the quarter-finals.


It was the end of the road for Alan Shearer and England after their Euro 2000 defeat against Romania

Slovakia (Fifa world ranking 24)

Slovakia midfielder Vladimir Weiss, who started his career at Manchester City and is now a winger for Al-Gharafa in the Qatar Stars League, made six assists in qualifying – the joint highest.

Northern Ireland (Fifa world ranking 25)

Northern Ireland became the first nation seeded fifth to finish top of a European Championship group. And they go into the tournament in excellent form. They are on the longest unbeaten run of any side participating at Euro 2016 – 12 games.

Wales (Fifa world ranking 26)

Gareth Bale scored 64% of Wales’ 11 goals in qualifying – the highest proportion by a player from the teams that qualified for France.


The dots represent the country’s goals during qualifying, including play-offs for Sweden

Croatia (Fifa world ranking =27)

Euro 2016 is their fourth successive appearance in the finals, and fifth in their six attempts since the country seceded from Yugoslavia. They reached the quarter-finals on debut in 1996 and again in 2008.


Poland (Fifa world ranking =27)

Poland scored 33 goals in qualifying, more than any other team, while Robert Lewandowski top scored with 13 goals, two more than Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

And a bonus stat, because how could we leave this out? Midfielder Slawomir Peszko, once of Wolves, has four kidneys. He was diagnosed with having duplex kidneys during a medical on joining Cologne in 2011. The condition affects one in every 5.5 million people.

Russia (Fifa world ranking 29)

Russia, who play England in their opening Euro 2016 fixture, are the only finalists who did not score a header in qualifying. They were credited with scoring 21 goals in qualifying but actually only scored 18. They were handed a 3-0 win at Montenegro after that match was abandoned because of crowd trouble with the game scoreless.

Czech Republic (Fifa world ranking 30)


The Czechs were the only Euro 2016 finalists who failed to keep a clean sheet in qualifying.

Republic of Ireland (Fifa world ranking 33)

The Republic of Ireland will have the oldest squad at Euro 2016 – with an average age of 29 years and 297 days. Three of their players have won more than 100 caps – Robbie Keane (143), Shay Given (134) and John O’Shea (111).

Given would become the first 40-year-old to play at a European Championship if he faces Sweden in their opener – otherwise Hungary’s Gabor Kiraly is likely to take that landmark a day later.


Shay Given made five appearances for Stoke during the 2015-16 season

Iceland (Fifa world ranking 34)

Iceland will be competing at the Euros for the first time this summer. With a population of 330,000, they’re the smallest country to qualify for a European Championship or World Cup.


Sweden (Fifa world ranking 35)

It would be fair to say Sweden were reliant on Zlatan Ibrahimovic during qualifying. He scored 11 of Sweden’s 19 goals – Erkan Zengin was next on the scoring charts with three.


Ibrahimovic’s goals were crucial to Sweden – including in their play-off victory over Denmark

Albania (Fifa world ranking 42)

Albania had 28 shots on target in qualifying – fewer than any side who made it to Euro 2016, and only one fewer than Gibraltar, who finished pointless with a goal difference of -54 at the bottom of Group D.


Fifa rankings correct as of 2 June.

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