Could France actually be the best soccer team in the world? They had a long road to recovery after imploding at the 2010 World Cup, but at press time, France is tied with Germany as +325 co-favorites to win the 2016 UEFA European Championship. And that might be paying a disservice to Les Bleus.

Maybe the world has gotten a little too used to seeing Germany and the defending champions from Spain (+550) take home all the best hardware in international soccer. These are still the top two European teams on the World Football Elo Ratings, Germany checking in at No. 2 and Spain at No. 4. But France is only a couple of spots back, at No. 6, right ahead of Uruguay. That's far, far ahead of their No. 21 FIFA ranking. Some analytics-minded people think France is even better than that.
 

Pole Position

As luck would have it, France is the host for Euro 2016, so their chances of winning go up another notch. There will be 24 national teams playing across 10 different venues, starting June 10 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, where France will host Romania (+15000 to win the Cup) in Group A action. The final also takes place in Saint-Denis on July 10.

Here's how the 24 teams have been seeded for the Group Stage:

Group A: France, Romania, Albania, Switzerland
Group B: England, Russia, Wales, Slovakia
Group C: Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Northern Ireland
Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia
Group E: Belgium, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Sweden
Group F: Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Hungary

The top two teams from each group advance to the Knockout stage, and on paper, France has the easiest path of anyone in the tournament. Germany shouldn't have too much trouble getting out of Group C, but Poland (+4000 to win the Cup) is somewhat undervalued here at No. 22 on the Elo ratings. They'll meet June 16, again at the Stade de France.
 

Ice Is Nice

It might be a bit of a stretch to call Group F the “Group of Death” at Euro 2016, but Portugal (+2000 to win the Cup) should have the hardest time of the recognized European soccer powers. They're not quite so powerful these days at No. 12 on the Elo ratings. However, if you're looking for a long shot with betting value, skip over Austria (+3300) and consider Iceland (+6600) at twice the payout. This program is competing in its first-ever major tournament, having made great strides under co-coaches Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson. Iceland and Portugal will go at it June 14 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne.



*Odds as of May 31, 2016