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Euro 2012 Group D: Preview and Prediction
Published by William | Filed under England, Euro 2012, France, Predictions, Previews
Euro 2012 Odds | Stats
Euro 2012 Group C features England, France, Sweden, and the Ukraine. Former World Cup winners England and France have not been at their best in years past. Their recent international campaigns have been, for lack of better words, disastrous. Off the pitch issues, coaching problems, and locker room disagreements are just a few of the problems that have plagued the two nations. Sweden and the Ukraine will fancy their chances in Group D but have to face a youthful England and a re-surging French side.
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Captain: Steven Gerrard
FIFA World Ranking: 7
Player(s) to watch: Ashley Young
Best Euro Performance: Third: 1968, Semi finals: 1996
Strength: No pressure
Weakness: Creativity & Rooney suspension
Roy Hodgson comes into one of the world’s toughest manager positions untested and with only a month to prepare. England finally has the advantage of low expectations, so in theory, their performance and situation can only improve. Star man Wayne Rooney is out for England’s first two matches against France and Sweden.
In Rooney’s absence, strikers Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll will get the playing time they have been craving. Leader Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill (jaw) both picked up injuries that will sideline them for the tournament. Joe Hart has been solid for Manchester City, so it looks as if England’s goalkeeping woes are over.
Manager: Laurent Blanc
Captain: Hugo Lloris
FIFA World Ranking: 16
Player(s) to watch: Franck Ribery
Best Euro Performance: Winners, 1984 and 2000
Weakness: No true leader
Les Blues are still regrouping after the embarrassment of South Africa 2010. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has the touch and awareness to do damage, Samir Nasri is getting better and Yann M’Vila is exciting. Watch out for Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud, who has Arsene Wenger’s attention after winning the Championship and achieving top scorer in Ligue 1. The French come into Poland/Ukraine underrated and ready to show their potential. Like in England, expectations are low, so the French can only look forward to a bright future.
Manager: Erik Hamrén
Captain: Zlatan Ibrahimović
FIFA World Ranking: 17
Player(s) to watch: Zlatan Ibrahimović
Best Euro Performance: Semi-finals, 1992
Weakness: Lack of depth
The Blågult (The Blue-Yellow) look to take the field and surprise the world. Everything lies on AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who for the most part has underperformed for Sweden. Scoring five goals in eight qualifying matches, Ibrah is the Swedish star. The Swedes will need to master the counter attack and take advantage of set pieces in order to make it out of Group D. Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom and Rasmus Elm are all more than capable of scoring from distance.
Manager: Oleh Blokhin
Captain: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk
FIFA World Ranking: 52
Player(s) to watch:
Best Euro Performance: Never been before
Strength: Home field advantage
Debut European Championship hosts Ukraine meet Sweden in their opening match and are looking to make history with a victory against the Swedes. 22 year old striker Andriy Yarmolenko has the attention of several big European clubs so he will be looking to impress. Yarmolenko will co-lead the attack with 35 year old Andriy Shevchenko, who is on his way out of international competition. Realistically, Zhovto-Blakytni (the Yellow-Blues) have little chance, but maybe the fan support and pride of playing at home can push them through to the knockout stage.
France and England advance. In that order.
June 8th, 2012