Five strikers who could star for smaller nations next month

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Next month will see some of the world's best strikers represent Europe's biggest nations at Euro 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal, Sweden revolve around frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic while France and Germany have their own star forwards in Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Muller respectively.

But what about the less fancied nations? They all have strikers too, and they'll be as motivated and determined to impress as the big stars.


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Here we look at five strikers who could make an unexpected impact next month.

5) Graziano Pelle (Italy & Southampton)

Italy are not seen as one of the leading favourites for this tournament but will put up a strong fight and hope to compete amongst the top teams in the continent.

They will look to 30-year-old Pelle for goals, as he looks set to line up alongside Eder in attack. The Southampton man has had a relatively poor campaign, featuring mostly off the bench, and will be determined to regain his reputation as a quality striker this summer. If the team can create chances, then Pelle could bag himself a few goals next month.

The Italians face tough opposition however, with both Sweden and Belgium in their group, as well as a plucky Republic of Ireland side.

4) Burak Yilmaz (Turkey and Beijing Guoang)

Despite not being fancied by many. Turkey have some solid players in their squad with the likes of Hakan Calhanoglu, Arda Turan and Mehmet Topal preparing to line up for the side this summer.

However, Yilmaz is a crucial man and their most dangerous player. The 30-year-old bagged some important goals in qualifying, and has a decent national record with 19 goals from 42 games.

He enjoyed a superb scoring rate at Galatasaray, where he made an excellent return of 65 goals in 105 games.

He has been hit with injuries since his move to China but if he can get back to his best then he could lead Turkey to an upset.

His country could definitely do with him being at his best, as they are in arguably the toughest group, alongside tournament favourites Spain, a strong Croatia side and a determined Czech outfit.

3) Artem Dzyuba (Russia and Zenit St Petersberg)

Dzyuba is the frontman of an unassuming but talented Russian team, finishing as their top scorer in qualifying and with an average of a goal every two games so far in his international career.

He comes into the tournament off the back of an impressive debut season at Zenit, where he scored 14 goals in 27 games.

His country have a rather kind group featuring alongside a hopeful, young England side, a trying Welsh outfit, and minnows Slovakia.

If he gets the chances, expect the 27-year-old to get a few goals in the group stages and possibly send Russia through to the Round of 16.

2) Haris Seferovic (Switzerland and Frankfurt)

Despite France being one of the favourites to win the whole tournament, they will face competition in the group stages from the Frankfurt striker and his team.

Seferovic features as the main attacker, flanked by Stoke City's speedster Xherdan Shaqiri and Admir Mehmedi, a talented winger at Leverkusen.

The Swiss have been handed a kind group this summer, with France their only real challenge. Their other games come against Albania and Romania, which they will hope to win comfortably.

If the Swiss remain composed and don't get complacent, then Seferovic could fire in a glut of goals to send them through to the second round.

1) Marc Janko (Austria and Basel)

Janko is Austria's target man and with good reason. At 6ft 4, he has terrific aerial ability as well as a solid touch on the floor.

He is a goal machine, who fired into prominence with 75 goals in 107 games at Red Bull Salzburg, before a spell at Twente, where he again impressed with 24 goals in 45 games.

Spells in Portugal, Turkey and Australia followed before Janko joined Basel in his homeland, where he has continued his impressive goal scoring form.

Unsurprisingly he also has an excellent goal tally for his country too - 26 goals in 51 games.

Austria's biggest game next month will come against Portugal, but they are not known for having a particularly strong defence. Games against minnows Iceland and Hungary should be routine victories, and give Janko the opportunity to bag a ton of goals and make an impact on the major international stage.

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Wayne Rooney
England Football
Premier League

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