Just a few days until EURO 2012 - I thought I’d start a thread to get some predictions and speculations out. Here’s the groups:
I’m hoping it’ll be the Polish and the Czechs that make it out, but the Russians have been doing well (beat Italy 3-0 recently) even though their team is old. I still begrudge the Greeks their win in 2004, so I’m hoping they’ll fail. The Polish have the strongest team they’ve had in ages.
The toughest group to be in. Germany should be the strongest, but they did recently lose to Switzerland 5-3 the other day; a lot of their players have had a long season and many just lost the Champions League final, which may depress them. The Dutch were strong in the qualifiers, but have not been doing as well recently, losing to Bulgaria 2-1 and to Germany a few months ago 3-0. Van Marwijk has trouble finding the right defenders, and although the Dutch attackers are amongst the best in Europe, it’s difficult to find a system that will make them all work together. The Portuguese have become a bit of an *angstgegner *for the Dutch, but we should be able to beat them, they only barely made it through the qualifiers.
Italy’s in trouble, lots of consternation surrounding the team, with one of their players being arrested for involvement in a bribe taking scandal. I think they might get stranded in the group stage if the Croatians do well. The Spanish are obviously a major favorite but I feel their players are all very very tired, more so than other teams, playing so many games for Barcelona or Real.
Tough to say. Ukraine would not have made it to the EUROs if they were not hosts, I think. Normally, it’d be England and France, but I think neither team has been doing really well. England was strong in the qualifiers, unlike France, but they’re hardly title favorites. The Swedish could beat the French or the English, I feel; Zlatan’s in great shape.
So my bets:
A: Poland and Russia
B: Germany and The Netherlands
C: Spain and Croatia
D: England and Sweden