With the curtain due to come up on the biggest and most complicated European Championship in history, there is greater subtext behind the tournament than ever before. Will France rise to the occasion on home soil again? Can Zlatan Ibrahimovic bow out on a high? And how will England's young breed, with or without Wayne Rooney, fair on the other side of the channel?

Coupled with concerns over security – less than seven months on from the Paris terror attacks – and imminent strikes set to affect the transport network across the country, the next five weeks have the capacity to be the most dramatic and newsworthy major competition in recent history. With that in mind, IBTimes UK's sports team have attempted to look ahead to what to expect over the next 30 days.

Karthick Arvinth

Winner: France to beat all-comers and emulate their 1998 World Cup win on home soil – they have the team to do it.

Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo – The Real Madrid man will plunder plenty in a group that Portugal should sail through.

Flop of the tournament: England – Roy Hodgson's men are destined to go out at the quarter-final stage on penalties yet again.

How will England do? Anything beyond the last-eight is a bonus for a squad that packs plenty of attacking punch, but is raw on the big stage.

Greatest hope: Wayne Rooney leading England from the front and finally delivering at an international tournament to cement his status as one of the game's modern greats.

Biggest fear: Goalless draws – with the 24-team format making it possible to qualify for the latter stages without winning a match or scoring a goal, parking the bus may become a very profitable strategy for some of the lesser lights.

Euro 2016: Which team will crash out in France? IBTimes UK

Arjun Devgan

Winners: Spain – They have the best midfield in the competition with [Andres] Iniesta, [David] Silva and co. Their defence looks solid while Nolito and [Alvaro] Morata provide freshness up front following the disastrous Diego Costa experiment

Top Scorer: Gareth Bale – If Wales progress, Bale will score. No other team is so dependant on one player, bar Sweden

Flop of the tournament: Wayne Rooney – Overrated. Not suited for a playmaker role. Pulling the strings against Crystal Palace is one thing, against international teams he will be found out.

How will England do? Lose in the round of 16/crash out in group stages. They have a shaky defence, which holds up against smaller nations but not when facing stronger teams. Again a very overrated outfit.

Greatest hope: Italy to roll back the years and put in a decent performance.

Biggest fear: Terror threats overshadowing the event.

Euro 2016 predictions: Which player will be top scorer in France? IBTimes UK

Josh Evans

Winners: France – Despite their defensive injury crisis, France have the most talented squad at the tournament and will be cheered on by home support, as was the case during their only World Cup win in 1998.

Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo – Assuming he is fully fit, Cristiano Ronaldo could take advantage of a particularly feeble-looking group to claim the Golden Boot ahead of Germany's Thomas Muller.

Flop of the tournament: Italy – One of the historic giants of European football, Antonio Conte's Italy appear to be devoid of their usual quality and it would be a major surprise if they progress to the latter stages of the tournament.

How will England do?: Roy Hodgson's men have a fairly straightforward route into the quarter finals, but are once again likely to be exposed by the better teams in the last eight.

Greatest hope: If England do go down, l hope they go down swinging, trying to play an enterprising style and not being afraid to take the occasional risk with selections.

Biggest fear: That England's campaign will be overshadowed by the tiresome debate surrounding Wayne Rooney's position on the pitch and his international future.

Euro 2016 predictions: Which team will win the tournament in France? IBTimes UK

Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal

Winners: France – They have two of the best players in the tournament in Antonie Griezmann and Paul Pogba. Les Bleus will probably miss the likes of [Karim] Benzema and [Raphael] Varane, but the support of the local fans can help them to cope.

Top scorer: Thomas Muller or Cristiano Ronaldo – I have doubts regarding both Germany and Portugal's chances on reaching the final, but their easy groups means both players can hit the ground running.

Flop of the tournament: Belgium – Marc Wilmots has so far failed to harness the undoubted talent at his disposal and I expect that to continue in France.

How will England do?: Should Rooney play in the midfield with [Jamie] Vardy and [Harry] Kane up front I predict another disappointing summer for England, unless Hodgson leaves his captain on the bench – as Spain did in 2008 – and allows Dele Alli to thrive.

Greatest hope: As a Spaniard I can only hope that Vicente del Bosque finally regain his sanity and moves on from the glorious past with Iker Casillas and thinks about the bright future with David de Gea.

Biggest fear: Having another dull winner as in 2004 when Greece conquered Europe, with the likes of Germany, Spain and France arriving in the tournament far from their best.

Euro 2016: How far can England go in France? IBTimes UK

Nick Howson

Winners: Belgium – With an almost embarrassing array of defensive options and key players such as Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard refreshed and in form, the Red Devils' golden generation are ready to right the wrongs of the World Cup and trump clear favourites France.

Top scorer: Thomas Muller – Germany's favourable group, coupled with a renewed desire to exploit Muller's aerial ability, means the Bayern Munich forward has no excuse not to repeat his World Cup heroics on the European stage.

Flop of the tournament: Italy – Without outlets to take the strain off the back three and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, the Azzuri face recording their third group-stage exit in four major tournament outings before Antonio Conte joins Chelsea.

How will England do?: Roy Hodgson's inability to properly use the talent at his disposal means though England should cruise through to the last eight and avoid an ignominious defeat to Wales, any side with a genuine backbone should contribute to their undoing.

Greatest hope: That the nation of France can overcome crippling fear and emerge from the embers of 13 November 2015 and impose its character and charm on an event that, in 2020, will be lacking a distinctive theme thanks to Uefa's money-making scheme to take the tournament across the continent.

Biggest fear: An unnecessarily bloated tournament is diluted in quality due to an absurd group stage format and plays host to dull, unattractive and meaningless football.

Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze
Will world champions Germany will celebrating again? Getty

Tony Mogan

Winners: France – Unlike some (I'm looking at you, Brazil), France thrive on home soil in major international competitions and will embrace the pressure this summer.

Top scorer: Antoine Griezmann – All eyes may be on Paul Pogba, but the Atletico Madrid star will be the man to fire France into the final.

Flop of the tournament: Belgium – The so-called 'Golden Generation' still looks no closer to reaching its once-burgeoning potential under Marc Wilmots.

How will England do?: After a straight-forward group campaign, expect an inevitable quarter-final exit.

Greatest hope: For at least one knock-out stage meeting between a Home Nation side and Republic of Ireland.

Biggest fear: The expanded format lives up to all those early fears and we are left with a bloated, watered-down affair this summer.

Gareth Bale
Can Gareth Bale lead Wales into the knock-out phase? Michael Steele/Getty Images

Pradhan Muthanna

Winners: Belgium – The strength in depth in the Belgium squad is immense, they have quality backups in every position and Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are among the best midfielders in Europe.

Top Scorer: Thomas Muller – The German always turns up for his national team during the big tournaments, and with Germany's dearth of strikers, the onus will be on him to get the goals.

Flop of the tournament: Spain – Despite winning the Euros on the last two occasions, the squad does not look strong enough this time around to reach the latter stages of the tournament. Moreover, the opposition have learnt to cope with and counter their quick passing style.

How will England do? – The Three Lions will perish in the quarter-finals – their defence is just not up to scratch with the rest of the top teams in Europe. They will get exposed when they come up against more potent attacks than what they face in the group stages.

Greatest hope – The tournament going ahead without any unwanted interference and the spirit of the game lifting France back from the devastation they suffered last year.

Biggest fear – The tournament losing its value due to the introduction of 24 teams for the first time in the competition's history

Wayne Rooney
Captain Rooney's role in the England team remains uncertain. Getty

Arunava Ray

Winners: Germany – A balanced team who are great in defence, midfield and attack. Expect them to dominate like in the 2014 World Cup.

Top scorer: Thomas Muller – He has an array of midfield talent to feed him and thrives on responsibility

Flop of the tournament: Italy – Missing a lot of key players like [Marco] Veratti and [Claudio] Marchisio, Antonio Conte is likely to precede his Chelsea career on a losing note.

How will England do?: Should reach the semi-finals provided they win their group

Greatest hope – Both England and Wales qualify from their group while beating Russia

Biggest fear: Spain, the holders, fail to find their form and are unable to deliver

Can Spain win a record third European Championship in a row. Getty Images

Naveen Ullal

Winners: Germany – The World Cup winners' balanced squad and their experience of progressing to the latter stages of major tournament makes them favourites.

Top scorer: Thomas Muller – With five goals in the 2014 World Cup, the Bayern Munich star is braced to lead the charts in Euro 2016.

Flop of the Tournament: Romelu Lukaku – The Belgium striker has been in impressive form for Everton, but he is unlikely to be replicate the same streak in Euro 2016, though I expect Belgium to make it to the quarters comfortably.

How will England do?: The Three Lions will make it to Round of 16 due to the format of the tournament, but will struggle to make past that because of the lack of international experience in the squad.

Greatest hope: Zlatan Ibrahimovic leads Sweden to the final on his international swansong.

Biggest fear: A player's asking price sky rocketing after Euro 2016 because of his impressive display in the tournament.