Greece secured their passage from the qualifying round with a match to spare and head into this home mini-tournament in fine fettle. Since their most recent competitive match in October, they have played just one friendly – a 2-0 victory against Ukraine in mid-February.
Coach Babis Zelenitsas thinks that Poland, Turkey, Norway and Greece make for a very balanced group. "All four teams are at approximately the same level and details will be important in the elite round," he said. "This is the chance for our players to showcase their talent. We have tried to work on our weaknesses and hopefully we will be up to the task by late March."
Qualifying round: Estonia 3-1, Andorra 1-0, Serbia 0-0 (Group 6 runners-up)
Key players: Lazaros Lamprou (forward, Panathinaikos FC), Giorgos Makrostergios (defender, Olympiacos FC), Manolis Patralis (midfielder, PAOK FC), Giorgos Karakoutis (forward, Panserraikos FC)
After crashing out of last year's competition in the qualifying phase, Turkey are particularly keen to secure a place at this year's finals. They won last month's preparatory La Manga Tournament in Spain despite starting their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Sweden. Speaking about his team's target, coach Hakan Tecimer said: "We know there will be difficult opponents in the elite round, but our goal will be reaching the finals by topping our group."
Qualifying round: Luxembourg 2-2, Latvia 1-0, Northern Ireland 2-0 (Group 9 winners)
Key players: Enes Ünal (striker, Bursaspor), Hayrullah Alıcı (midfielder, Borussia Dortmund), Muhammed Samed Karakoç (midfielder, Fenerbahçe SK)
Poland won their qualifying round with a perfect record, most notably coming from two goals down to secure a 3-2 victory against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Earlier this month, Robert Wójcik's team played two friendlies against Serbia, losing 4-1 and winning 2-1.
"I believe in us, but I also know that Turkey and Greece are very good teams," said Wójcik. "Many people say this Turkish side are one of the best in Europe at this level. The Greeks are also technically good and tactically well prepared. Furthermore, one must not forget Norway – physically strong and with iron discipline. It is going to be tough competition, but we will do everything to demonstrate our skills."
Qualifying round: FYROM 3-2, Bulgaria 3-0, Belgium 2-0 (group 13 winners)
Key players: Dawid Kownacki (striker, KKS Lech Poznań), Oktawian Skrzecz (midfielder, FC Schalke 04), Filip Jagiełło (midfielder, Zagłębie Lubin)
Norway qualified with just four points, but Øivind Nilsen's charges warmed up last month with 2-1 and 3-0 triumphs over Iceland. Also, at La Manga they defeated Sweden (4-2) and Slovakia (2-1), as well as losing 2-0 to Turkey. "I'm optimistic going into these matches," said Nilsen. "The progress this team has made since last autumn is immense. Our aim is to win the group."
Qualifying round: Cyprus 4-2, Moldova 1-1, Spain 0-2 (Group 8 runners-up)
Key players: Amund Wichne (goalkeeper, Mandalskameratene FK), Sander Svendsen (forward, Molde FK), Adrian Ovlien (defender, Kongsvinger IL)
By UEFA.com reporters Piotr Koźmiński, Türker Tozar, Vassiliki Papantonopoulou and Eivind Aarre
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